Tesla patent addresses panel gaps utilizing intelligent clamping meeting

The construct high quality of Tesla’s automobiles would seemingly see a notable enchancment within the close to future. As revealed in a lately revealed patent, the corporate is engaged on a brand new kind of clamping meeting that permits some flexibility between panels throughout manufacturing. With such a system in place, gaps between a car’s panels could possibly be adjusted and aligned through the meeting course of.

Tesla’s newly revealed patent, titled “Clamping Meeting for Securing Collectively a Pair of Adjacently Positioned Panels,” describes a easy but intelligent approach to handle misaligned physique panels. Tesla notes that typical clamps, that are normally utilized to connect physique panels to a car’s body, are unable to attach panels and their particular person tolerances successfully on account of their inflexible construction.

“Though (typical clamps) can be utilized to safe adjacently situated components to 1 one other, the clamp doesn't account for components which have massive manufacturing tolerances or components that should not be fastened in at the least one path (that's there should be play between the components). Making an attempt to make use of a standard clamp to safe two components that should have some play between them could introduce ugly gaps and/or overlaps between the components, decreasing the aesthetic look upon meeting.”

Diagrams depicting Tesla’s design for its new clamping meeting. [Credit: US Patent Office]

Tesla’s patent outlines a brand new kind of clamping meeting that's extra versatile. Such a system permits Tesla to regulate panels throughout meeting, permitting the corporate to deal with any attainable misaligned panels earlier than the car is distributed off to supply. Tesla explains the rationale of its new clamp as follows.

“The current invention was derived in mild of the foregoing challenges, and it's an object of the current invention to offer a clamping meeting that gives flexibility in securing components which can be manufactured to bigger dimensional tolerances and by which play is important between adjoining components throughout, or after, meeting. The clamping meeting of the current invention can accommodate misalignment of the half or components owing to variances in a single or each components throughout manufacture and/or needed play between the components by permitting flexibility in adjusting the positions of the components relative to 1 one other in a single path whereas nonetheless securing the components to 1 one other. That's, the clamping meeting secures collectively a pair of manufactured components, by which the manufactured components require play alongside at the least one path whereas confining the motion of the components in a second path.

“In accordance with sure embodiments of the current invention, the clamping meeting features a retainer member. The retainer member could have a U-shape groove that permits for the insertion of a tab member and a slender retaining throat that confines a bulbous portion of the tab member in a number of instructions. For instance, as soon as inserted into the groove of the retainer member, the tab member with the bulbous portion is confined from transferring vertically and horizontally. As soon as inserted into the groove of the retainer member, motion of the tab member with the bulbous portion is feasible by sliding the tab member and the bulbous portion thereof relative to a airplane P 2 of the groove, i.e., by sliding the tab member and the bulbous portion into or out of the web page. Thus, with use of the clamping meeting disclosed herein, some play or flexibility between two panels is feasible, and the panels will be adjusted relative to 1 one other throughout meeting.”

Diagrams depicting Tesla’s design for its new clamping meeting. [Credit: US Patent Office]

Tesla has been challenged with misaligned panels on its automobiles previously. When Detroit’s Sandy Munro began his teardown of an early manufacturing Mannequin three, for one, the auto veteran lamented that the car’s panel gaps had been so inconsistent, they had been harking back to a Kia from the 90s. Munro was finally blown away by the Mannequin three’s battery, tech, trip high quality, and efficiency, however his criticism of the automotive’s construct high quality had been notable till he accomplished his evaluation. Tesla later issued a response to Munro’s criticism of the early manufacturing Mannequin three’s construct high quality, stating that “the usual deviation of all gaps and offsets throughout your complete automotive has improved, on common, by practically 40%, with explicit hole enhancements seen within the space of the trunk, rear lamps and rear quarter panel.”

A letter to Tesla staff despatched final April revealed that Elon Musk is taking the difficulty of misaligned panels very significantly. In his message, Musk famous that whereas the construct high quality of the corporate’s automobiles continues to enhance, Tesla should attempt to push more durable in making certain that its electrical automobiles have design tolerances which can be an element of ten higher than every other car within the auto business.

“Many of the design tolerances of the Mannequin three are already higher than every other automotive on this planet. Quickly, they'll all be higher. This isn't sufficient. We'll maintain going till the Mannequin three construct precision is an element of ten higher than every other automotive on this planet. I'm not kidding. Our automotive must be designed and constructed with such accuracy and precision that, if an proprietor measures dimensions, panel gaps, and flushness, and their measurements don’t match the Mannequin three specs, it simply signifies that their measuring tape is unsuitable,” Musk wrote. 

There isn't a denying that misaligned panels are a difficulty for Tesla’s electrical automobiles, significantly early manufacturing fashions produced previously. In a method, such points are a part of Tesla’s rising pains, contemplating that mastering panel alignment is among the many extra fundamental facets of auto manufacturing. That mentioned, Elon Musk’s unrelenting stance on bettering construct high quality, along with intelligent methods to deal with and keep away from misaligned panels, may quickly enable the corporate to shake off its panel hole points altogether.

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