Analysts Believe Tesla is Overusing Automation in Model 3 Final Assembly

DooKey

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 25, 2001
Messages
12,912
According to Bernstein analysts Tesla is overusing automation in the final assembly of the Model 3. They say this is causing their scaling woes and they are spending far more than their competitors per unit on capacity. The good news for the rest of us is robots aren't the end all be all and good old human labor is still needed in certain areas for at least the near future. After that all bets are off and Skynet can continue to grow.

The report describes how automation is expensive and “statistically inversely correlated to quality.” It goes on to note how if Tesla tries to automate 50 percent of the tasks in final assembly, it would only cut out about five hours of human labor.
 
Their woes are only going to get worse when more people start driving this and try to use them as complete daily drivers. I am pretty sure that my normal driving habits would destroy a tesla in 6 months.
 
Well when the robots are driving the cars, I'm sure they will fix the problems, they'll demand 100% perfection (and yeah that means getting rid of all the humans).
 
I am pretty sure the reason to use robotics has less to do with the speed of assembly and more to do with not having to deal with autounion workers and all that it entails.

I mean, you can go out to the line and take a hammer to a robot,....not so much to a union worker, no matter how much you want to.
 
I am pretty sure the reason to use robotics has less to do with the speed of assembly and more to do with not having to deal with autounion workers and all that it entails.

I mean, you can go out to the line and take a hammer to a robot,....not so much to a union worker, no matter how much you want to.

Pretty typical to blame the working man for above the line problems.

Also, the Tesla plant isn’t unionized, if they were, things would probably be better.
 
There's no better substitute for the consistency of accuracy with automated manufacturing.

To quote a famous movie line:
"It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop... ever"
 
Pretty typical to blame the working man for above the line problems.

Also, the Tesla plant isn’t unionized, if they were, things would probably be better.

NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE.

I worked in a shop that was under the thumb of the UAW. These "workers" would sabotage the lines almost daily in order to get out of work and because they were union employees there was nothing that could be done to get rid of the bad ones.

I will NEVER work in a union shop again.
 
If we can pause the exe for a moment, I'll let everyone in on a secret. In spite of the thought package your download from the party... Tesla isn't a union shop.

Automation happens because robots are really good at repetitive tasks, it's almost like it's all they can do.

Tesla also pays back their loans. Tesla's subsidies and tax exemptions are also a tiny fraction per worker of what the oil and gas industry collect.

You may now resume executing your party installed copy hate_the_future.exe
 
It is better to get the automation correct now than to wait and fumble with it for decades into the future.
 
NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE.

I worked in a shop that was under the thumb of the UAW. These "workers" would sabotage the lines almost daily in order to get out of work and because they were union employees there was nothing that could be done to get rid of the bad ones.

I will NEVER work in a union shop again.
I've worked in a UAW shop before; if you have a problems getting rid of bad workers it's the managers' fault. Working union means the managers actually have to be only managers not manager/worker. Management needs to over document and cut things off as quickly as possible as it's a ton of paper work to prove the worker is in violation of their contract. It's not hard just tedious, the manager has to do their job else yes there is little you can do to remove bad workers.

It is better to get the automation correct now than to wait and fumble with it for decades into the future.
Depends on what they are automating and how flexible that line is going to be in the future.

You notice that tesla model x/s aren't like 2013, 2014 etc. It's not that tesla doesn't update their cars it's that they do it silently and constantly. You'll notice if you ever get to take one apart, parts change, mounting points change, little things get added and not necessarily publicised etc.

The article does go into tesla having QC issues due to automation? Afaik tesla QC standards tend to be pretty high, and their first pass yield tends to be pretty low because of that. So i can't see tesla shipping many cars with real issues, vs the figment issues tesla car owners seem to find like this body panel is 2mm gap while the other one is 3mm even though the lines on the car are true. Ofc that was true for their x/s 100 grand cars wonder how true that holds for their 3.
 
Last edited:
NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE.

I worked in a shop that was under the thumb of the UAW. These "workers" would sabotage the lines almost daily in order to get out of work and because they were union employees there was nothing that could be done to get rid of the bad ones.

I will NEVER work in a union shop again.


Those men should be released yes, I’m a union worker and I will not hire people like this ever. I still don’t blame the working man for this, this is the foreman’s job to weed out the bad apples quickly.
 
A couple months ago, people were up in arms because they (reportedly) were welding things by hand. Now they're using too much robotics. Either this is clickbait bullshit, or Telsa just can't win with people who write clickbait bullshit.
 
Good to know Tesla is not a union shop, that does not negate the fact robots are still a better choice for the task of building a car. They can run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They do not need breaks. They perform the same exact repetitive task with extreme prejudice, quickly and efficiently, as long as the human overseers properly maintain them.
 
Good to know Tesla is not a union shop, that does not negate the fact robots are still a better choice for the task of building a car. They can run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They do not need breaks. They perform the same exact repetitive task with extreme prejudice, quickly and efficiently, as long as the human overseers properly maintain them.

The perception that robots work 24x7 with no breaks is a misconception. Its called maintenance. If you dont do it things break. There will be downtime...it probably will not equal what a human worker would take but there will be downtime.
 
The perception that robots work 24x7 with no breaks is a misconception. Its called maintenance. If you dont do it things break. There will be downtime...it probably will not equal what a human worker would take but there will be downtime.

Depending on the robot, they can go weeks without being touched. Some can only go days, or even hours before needing to be tweaked, but like you said, downtime is less than what a human gets/needs and over time robots cost less.

If a robot needs extended down time, then they shove a backup unit into its place.
 
Last edited:
Wouldn't surprise me.

I bet there's an ex Toyota factory manager who is smashing his head against the wall because of a bunch of tech nerds that won't listen about the fact that robots are only good for some tasks and supply chain and demand supply planning are the hardest thing in modern manufacturing.

Humans learn, have very high dexterity and can change what they're doing or how they do it quickly and at low cost. You generally don't automate something until it's absolutely nailed as a process as otherwise you're stopping the line every 5 minutes to change something or redoing it to meet quality objectives.

Of course all of that would be part of the problem with losing manufacturing industry. Finding people that know how to do things is very hard, contrary to what politicians and 25 year old start up founders think, some things are hard, take a lot of domain knowledge and require experience. No-one has experience of mass assembly of an electric vehicle and Tesla don't have experience of large scale assembly of anything.

Not really surprised they're having trouble. VW or Toyota will probably crack it before they do.
 
The perception that robots work 24x7 with no breaks is a misconception. Its called maintenance. If you dont do it things break. There will be downtime...it probably will not equal what a human worker would take but there will be downtime.
He said "can run 24x7" not "do run 24x7" or "must run 24x7". The operative word "can" is at play here. The robots can do that or at the very least have the potential to do it. However, it is rare due to all the factors you mentioned. ;)
 
Tesla also pays back their loans. Tesla's subsidies and tax exemptions are also a tiny fraction per worker of what the oil and gas industry collect.

The subsidies on oil is lower than the amount the Fed and State governments collect back in taxes. A lot more. That's just from the products they sell, not how much they get from employees of the industry or the companies.

With Tesla...I don't know. Not enough info out there to see if the government gets back what they put in for Tesla's subsidies/tax exemptions.
 
He said "can run 24x7" not "do run 24x7" or "must run 24x7". The operative word "can" is at play here. The robots can do that or at the very least have the potential to do it. However, it is rare due to all the factors you mentioned. ;)

I understand that. Which is why I pointed out its an unrealistic expectation ;).
 
Back
Top