General Motors (GM) has discreetly acquired Tooling & Equipment International (TEI), a prominent gigacasting company known for its expertise in sand casting techniques. TEI, previously a key partner for Tesla, played a pivotal role in the electric automaker's innovative approach to manufacturing large body parts and reducing production costs.
Sources familiar with the matter revealed that TEI collaborated with Tesla since 2017, initially contributing to the development of the Model Y and later playing a crucial role in gigacasting mold prototyping for the Model 3, Cybertruck, and Semi. GM's acquisition of TEI is estimated to have involved a transaction ranging between $80 million and $100 million, according to reports by Reuters.
Recognized as one of the world's premier sand-casting specialists, TEI utilizes advanced technology such as powerful 3D printers or binder jets to construct test molds from industrial sand. This method allows for rapid adjustments and cost-effective modifications to mold designs, contributing to the efficiency of the casting process.
Before the acquisition, GM and TEI initiated collaboration in 2021, focusing on testing and producing underbody castings for the all-electric Cadillac Celestiq. Following successful cooperation, GM and TEI solidified their partnership through a long-term contract, with TEI investing in a dedicated production line for the Celestiq. The integration of TEI into GM's Global Manufacturing Division occurred on July 1, with details of the acquisition recently coming to light.
GM confirmed the acquisition in a statement, emphasizing its intent to enhance its innovation portfolio and secure access to unique casting technology through the purchase of TEI. The statement clarified that TEI will continue to operate as its own business entity, with GM serving as its parent company. The move highlights GM's strategic commitment to advancing casting technology and aligning with industry trends in the rapidly evolving automotive landscape.