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Leaked Tesla factory photos reveal ‘alien’ robot army for Model 3 production line

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New insider photos taken by an individual who claims to be a Field Service Engineer for Kuka Robotics – maker of the “X-Men superhero robots” responsible for producing Tesla’s Model S, Model X and energy product line – has revealed an army of 467 new robots that will reportedly be used on the upcoming Model 3 production line. SoutheastTraders forum user Mac11FA, via the Tesla subreddit, posted rare photos that show a large shipment of unmounted robots that will presumably be responsible for various Model 3 production line duties, including, but not limited to, spot welding, laser welding, handling, and loading of materials.

Tesla has long used automation as a key piece of production in its factory. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on an earnings call last August that the Model 3 production line would ultimately resemble something like an “alien dreadnought”. The robots captured in the photos appear to be largely manufactured by Augsburg, Germany-based Kuka robotics. The Kuka robots, each costing anywhere between $50k to as much as $500k can manage multiple tasks by switching adapters and moving across multiple axes. Larger robots similar to the one Musk used when presenting the D are often used for transporting large components between sub-assembly lines.

The original poster of the photos Mac11FA claims that they are onsite at the Tesla factory for the next 7 weeks to “help set up and commission 467 robots and 21 KL slides”. A slide is a track that keeps the robots planted and level to within a .01 millimeter tolerance. “Right now I am installing a separate cable for an external axis.”

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