‘ผู้ผลิตชิ้นส่วน’ เตรียมเปิดตัว Gigacast สำหรับแม่พิมพ์ขนาดใหญ่ - Prototypes

Auto Parts Companies Prepare to Introduce "Gigacast" for Large Molds and Prototypes

Latest Update March 25, 2024
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Regarding the timing of the spread of Gigacast, a technology for integrally molding vehicle body structures, in Japan, several people involved have said the following. 2024 will be a preparation period. Full-scale introduction will likely begin in 2025.  

Japan, March 15, 2024 - “Gigacast” attracted attention after being introduced by US electric vehicle (EV) giant Tesla, and Toyota Motor Corporation has also announced plans to introduce Giga-cast in its next- generation EV, which is schedules to be launched in 2026. In anticipation of full-scale introduction in the future, auto parts-related companies are also moving to enter the Giga-cast related business.

Gigacast is a technology that integrally molds the body structure of an EV using aluminum die-casting. Partial practical use is progressing in EV production in Europe, the United States and China. Tesla used Gigacast to replace the car body frame, which used to consist of about 70 parts, with just one part, which led to cost reductions and improved car body rigidity.

Yonetani Seisakusho (Kashiwazaki City, Niigata prefecture) is collaborating with Kyowa Kogyo (Sanjo City, Niigata Prefecture) and plans to begin providing the large molds needed for Gigacast in 2024. Tsuyoshi Yonetani, president of Yonetani Manufacturing Co., Ltd., said of Gigacast, “it has the advantage of saving labor at production sites, so I expect that its adoption will increase”

Koiwai (Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture) has started a sand casting prototype business for Giga-cast, utilizing 3D printing technology. It was determined that there would be an increase in demand for prototyping castings using sand molds before mass production using Gigacast. The company has a rich track record in prototyping engine casting parts, but orders are decreasing due to the advancement of vehicle electrification. Aiming to make a comeback by capturing demand for Gigacast prototypes. Ryobi also plans to start operation of a new factory exclusively for Gigacast at its Kikugawa factory (Kikugawa City, Shizuoka prefecture) in March 2025. The company aims to install large die-casting machines and mold processing machines and receive orders for prototypes from automobile manufacturers.

Sodick is collaborating with Nippon Seiki (Moroyama Ward, Nagoya City) to develop technology to use metal additive manufacturing (AM) to create large mold parts for Gigacast, called nests. Aisin positions Gigacast, which integrally molds the body of EVs. As a growth market in its medium-term management plan, and is accelerating its efforts.

Toyota is the only Japanese automaker that has made a clear statement about the introduction of Gigacast, including the timing, but multiple sources, including those that have not made their stance clear, say they are “prototyping”. Although some people are skeptical that Gigacast will be able to deliver the same quality as before, many parties believe that “the introduction of Gigacast will continue” In Japan, there is a strong opinion that Gigacast will be adopted first in battery parts from the standpoint of safely and quality.

As the name “Giga” suggests, the machines and molds used in Gigacast are larger than conventional ones. It is also important to consider how to transport these large machines and molds and where to install them. Taking molds as an example, when transporting large molds, procedures are required under the Road Traffic Act, and it is necessary to establish a base that includes the design and production of molds within or near the factory where Gigacast will be introduced.

Decisions and responses seem to vary depending on the policy of the completed vehicle manufacturer, as to whether to mold the whole thing in one piece or to split it into multiple parts.  If the parts are molded separately, technology will be required to join the parts in a subsequent process, which could create new business opportunities.

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