Italian high-pressure die casting company Idra Group announced a new contract with Swedish luxury vehicle manufacturer Volvo Cars that will introduce a pair of 9,000-ton Giga Press machines to a Volvo factory in Slovakia.
With a customer base that already includes Tesla, Ford and Hyundai, Idra advertises its Giga Presses as machines that can assist the automotive industry’s transition to electric and hybrid vehicles.
The 9,000-ton Giga Presses are about the size of a small home and can generate a clamping force of over 9,000 tons. According to Idra, the equipment enables the production of lightweight and complex vehicle components in a manner that saves energy and reduces waste.
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Volvo aims to reach full electrification by the decade’s end and climate neutrality by 2040. The company hopes that, with the help of the Giga Presses, its $1.2 billion Slovakian factory can get it there. The facility is said to be capable of manufacturing 250,000 vehicles annually. Volvo expects to install production lines at the plant next year and begin production of electric vehicles in 2026.
Meanwhile, Giga Presses and the gigacasting process are making their rounds in automotive news.
In September, Reuters reported that Tesla was on the verge of a breakthrough that would enable it to die cast nearly the entire underbody of an electric vehicle in a single piece instead of the roughly 400 parts seen in traditional cars.
Around the same time, Toyota allowed the media to view a prototype of the automaker’s gigacasting equipment that could reportedly produce a third of a car body in about three minutes.
Toyota said it plans to use its gigacasting method to make the front and rear sections of an EV in 2026. Sources familiar with Tesla’s process indicated that a single large frame could be featured in a small EV, which the automaker anticipates pricing at $25,000.