Job openings are not product roadmaps, but they can hint at them. Some recent Tesla job openings imply that Tesla may be preparing for battery production plans in North Carolina and Semi production plans in Nevada. We have some other clues on those matters, too.
Also Tesla Semi jobs have appeared in sparks Nevada pic.twitter.com/liF9lKHqbi
— 🔋 Ryan Alvarez 🔋 (@Ryan_Alvarez116) December 30, 2020
Furthermore, someone who has been tracking what’s going on in Sparks for years, and has relatives working at the Gigafactory there, indicated the day after Christmas that Tesla was producing 4 Semi trucks in Nevada.
…cold weather testing. The source does not know if Nevada or Texas will be the location of assembly line. My best guess is Texas.
— Carsonight (@carsonight) December 27, 2020
As you can see there, this person also indicates the kind of batteries will be used in the Semi. “There are 4 Tesla semis being built at [Giga Nevada]. They will use the new higher density 2170 L cells from [Giga Nevada], not the 4680s. There will be three packs in a row, each half as long as a Model S. There will be 2 for road testing, 1 for durability testing, and 1 for Alaska cold weather testing.”
Note that despite the information above, it’s not certain yet where Tesla will focus on scaling up Semi production — at Giga Nevada or Giga Texas.
Tesla Semi Production Jobs at Giga Nevada
Here’s more information on the Semi-related roles from Tesla’s Careers page (the job description pages where you can start an application are linked on the screenshots):
A process engineer will implement, develop, and optimize production methodologies in the manufacturing operations of Tesla. This engineer will be responsible for optimizing product flow though the factory though process optimization that may include tool /fixture selection, line layouts, ergonomic study, material presentation, and other relevant factors. He/She will interface with design, test, and quality engineering to solve problems, improve manufacturability, and implement continual improvement. He/She will sustain products with cost reduction and yield improvements. In addition, the process engineer will work with quality to compile and evaluate data to determine appropriate limits and variables for process or material specifications.
- Develop expertise in manufacturing processes. Understand process capabilities through critical data analysis and in depth understanding of the product. Develop and modify line layouts, including material flow, waste reduction, and ergonomics, utilizing Lean Manufacturing best practices. Participate in the transition of a product from concept to pilot line production and into mass manufacturing.
- Analyze and optimize production processes to ensure safety while maximizing Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) in cost effective means while driving to achieve world-class quality levels. Champion continuous improvement projects (CIP) to maximize yield, capacity, and capability.
- Responsible for diagnosing issues found during the part manufacturing process and drive corrective action back to source, resulting in root cause identification and elimination. Utilize structured problem solving techniques such as DMAIC, Ishikawa, Five Why (5W) and Eight Disciplines (8D).
- Analyze data from various sources to identify trends in build quality and efficiency. Develop robust and clear data collection, visualization, and analysis tools. Enable data driven operational and financial decisions through predictive insights into tool and process performance, including integration of factory data systems and use of software such as MySQL, Python, R, JMP, Minitab, Tableau and Ignition.
- Perform supporting activities for engineering and manufacturing including 5S and Lean manufacturing activities, material handling improvements, production line configuration, and safety procedures.
- Monitor and reduce process variation using techniques such as Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA). Monitor and audit manufacturing processes to ensure product specifications and standards are achieved. Participate in the development and maintenance of FMEAs and Control Plans. Analyze, develop, process, and implement Engineering Change Orders.
- Create and maintain Manufacturing Instructions, routings, and associated processes. Develop and train sustaining technicians, assist in the training of operators as needed. Manage activities for process sustaining technicians to support day to day coverage of production line, including developing and documenting appropriate rework procedures.
- This production line will help define how Semis are manufactured in Tesla. As such this will require a great deal of hands-on development and troubleshooting and flexibility.
- BS degree in engineering, mathematics, physical science or other applicable degree (advanced degree preferred)
- Experience developing and improving Process. Have a demonstrated track record of Overall Equipment Effectiveness improvement activities.
- Good understanding of Bill of Materials, Manufacturing Execution System, Specification Management, Change Point Management
- Data collection and analysis experience. Ability to develop data driven root cause analyses and solutions.
- Strong problem solving skills and an aptitude for learning systems quickly. Able to utilize structured problem solving techniques such as DMAIC, Ishikawa, Five Why (5W) or Eight Disciplines (8D). Able to resolve high level performance issues into addressable actions.
- Knowledge of Statistical Process Control and its application
- Exceptional capacity for managing simultaneous activities, competing priorities and challenges.
- Strong ability to work and communicate effectively with team and peers within a manufacturing and engineering organization. This includes excellent communication skills: written and verbal.
- Creative capacity for developing new ways to do things better, cheaper, faster in alignment with the Tesla approach to revolutionary product development.
- Passion for making fantastic new products and using testing as a means to enable an engineering organization to achieve outstanding quality, reliability and excellence.
- As a full time Tesla employee you will receive full benefits from day 1 for you and your dependents.
- Kaiser and UnitedHealthcare PPO and HSA plans (including infertility coverage)
- 3 medical plan choices with $0 paycheck contribution
- Vision & dental plans (including orthodontic coverage)
- Company paid Life, AD&D, short-term and long-term disability
- 401(k), Employee Stock Purchase Plans, and other financial benefits
- Employee Assistance Program, Paid Time Off, and Paid Holidays
- Back-up childcare and employee discounts
The Process Engineering Technician performs process sustaining tasks for the manufacturing line on a variety of mechanical and chemical processes including response to out-of-control process, work on yield improvement projects, disposition of special case non-conforming materials that come from the manufacturing line, qualifying new equipment and processes that are being introduced into the manufacturing line. Perform supporting activities for engineering and manufacturing including 5S and Lean manufacturing activities, yield improvement, scrap reduction, production line configuration, and safety procedures.
- Support Engineering and Manufacturing in improving and writing manufacturing instructions, including rework procedures, and ensuring qualification schedules are always available and current
- Train associates on new or updated manufacturing instructions
- Provide daily coverage/of production line processes to ensure smooth and effective operations, including a rapid response to out-of-control processes to minimize cost and maximize productivity
- Investigate and implement countermeasures to improve process Cpk and product yield
- Execute experiments and analyze data under the direction of process engineers including but not limited to DOE, GR&R
- Lead special case disposition of non-conformance materials produced by the production line and escalate to the production engineering team as needed
- Maintain and help develop up-to-date maintenance and calibration procedures and schedules
- Support Lean Manufacturing and 5S initiatives
- Responsible for parts and tools inventory
- Manage repairs/troubleshooting exactly to instructed process
- Manage workload with a positive attitude and proactively help co-workers
- Gigafactory 1 manufacturing experience strongly preferred.
- Associate’s Degree on Electronic or some technical certificate or equivalent experience in a manufacturing/industrial environment
- Strong proficiency in common workplace software (MS Word, Excel, Visio, Access, etc)
- Ability to troubleshoot electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic systems
- Proven ability to draw accurate conclusions from test data, malfunctions, or deviations, and assist with corrections to the existing process
- Skilled with the use of a variety of hand and portable tools
- Ability to read and interpret basic mechanical drawings and electrical schematic
- Proven ability to handle multiple priorities with minimal direction contributing to a positive, team-oriented work environment
- Demonstrates adherence to EHS regulations and standards and leads by example
- Strong organization and record-keeping skills with strong attention to detail
Anyone ready to apply?
Both of those jobs were posted on December 28, 2020.
Although they do not mention the Semi program, 4 more Giga Nevada manufacturing jobs were posted on the same day that I assume are related: a drive unit process engineer job, a manufacturing equipment engineering job, an associate manufacturing equipment engineer job, and an Associate Materials Manager for Production Control position.
Tesla Battery Production in North Carolina
The job opening in North Carolina makes it pretty clear that Tesla is planning to work on some aspect of battery production there (more on that in a minute). Here’s the link and full description:
The Cell Manufacturing Engineering team at Tesla is looking for a highly-motivated Manufacturing Engineer to contribute to manufacturing equipment and processes for our cutting-edge Tesla Energy Batteries. The Battery is one of the most complex and challenging components designed and manufactured at Tesla. This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to Tesla’s world class manufacturing facilities. Tesla is a demanding and fast-paced environment where you will work on a critical subsystem of an incredibly exciting product. In addition to developing manufacturing equipment, the Manufacturing Engineer works with cross-functional teams to test, validate, and roll-out equipment to production. The ideal candidate takes pride in his/her hands-on work, analytical ability, organizational skills and attention to detail. He/She appreciates an environment where superior work is encouraged, noticed and rewarded and where individuals carry tremendous responsibility. He/She looks forward to learning an incredible amount on the job.
- Drive ramp of exciting new line by characterizing baseline performance and capability of each system and drive actions to maintain or improve performance as measured by product quality and tool availability.
- Development of the manufacturing process to use the equipment and ensure that all equipment, processes and methodologies comply with applicable standards, company policy and all Health and Safety Laws, Acts, Regulations and Codes.
- Generate and maintain documentation including machine and process specification, drawing, BOM, spare part, PFMEA, control plan, process flow chart
- Develop manufacturing metrics and key performance indices and implement metrology to measure all critical quality and safety related process items and capture in data base system
- Design layout of the production workstations for product flow, ergonomics, and efficiency.
- Electrical and pneumatic component selection and schematic drafting – AutoCAD electrical preferred
- Generate machine qualification checklist and manage to install, commission and start-up equipment balancing speed and safety.
- Create manufacturing introduction and deliver training to operations and maintenance technicians to ensure and seamless handover of new equipment.
- Support to schedule production, maintenance and schedule to enhance throughput, efficiency and safety
- Maintain tool and spare part BOMs and ensure proper part availability.
- Analyze production with statistical software (JMP or R preferred) to understand manufacturing uptime, availability and reliability metrics-yield, OEE, cycle time, quality and investigate bottlenecks to identify root cause and countermeasure to maximize throughput
- Actively use tool data sources (e.g. MES reports, MySQL) to quantitatively evaluate and track tool performance and create programs to improve relevant metrics.
- Implementation of product traceability and work-in-process tracking to identify upstream and downstream potential issue.
- Coordinate continuous improvement measures to ensure that project lessons learnt are captured and knowledge is transferred across the team and organization.
- Identify and drive continuous improvement and cost reduction programs.
- Drive process control and process development, specifically in the areas of quality, equipment capability and safety.
- Work independently and with vendors to understand root cause of failures, propose design or component changes, and implement and validate equipment modifications.
- Collaborate with Design and Quality teams on metrology equipment and define process and product specification.
- Statistical methods such as sensitivity analysis, process capability characterization, GRR (gauge repeatability and reproducibility), design of experiments, and sampling plans
- Communicate with quality team to specify quality spec and control process input and output
- Drive other projects as needed by management or as business needs change.
- Either a BS with 5+ years’ relevant experience or an MS in mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, or equivalent.
- A passion to implement and work on ramping a manufacturing line including experience with mechanical automation equipment, robots, design of electromechanical systems, PLCs, motion controls
- Position will offer unique and complex engineering challenges that require persistence, innovative thinking and a positive attitude
- Must be able to work in a fast paced environment, occasionally requiring extended hours.
- Proven ability to operate under pressure while managing multiple priorities simultaneously.
- Experience with semi-automated / automated manufacturing equipment a plus.
- Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
- Aptitude to learn and incorporate new technologies
- Experience in high volume manufacturing involving one or more of these areas is highly desired:
- Roll to roll coating, winding/rewinding, calender, lamination
- Dry powder mixing, bulk handling, and processing
- Industrial chemical processing
- Battery manufacturing (li-ion, electrode, cathode, anode or other similar chemistries)
- Industrial laser processing
So, the interesting thing to me is that this is the state where Tesla is likely to get lithium from Piedmont Lithium. Tesla and Piedmont just signed a 5-year agreement a couple of months ago, and Piedmont’s lithium mine it is building is in North Carolina.
Is Tesla looking to grow into more aspects of the EV battery production process (for example, cathode production or lithium hydroxide production)? Elon Musk indicated during Tesla Battery Day that the company would probably vertically integrate more on the battery production side of things, and that certainly does seem to be his habit. Will some new upstream battery production processes occur in North Carolina? That would be sensible if that’s where Tesla will be getting its lithium. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open for more clues. Let us know if you notice any.
The person who spotted these job openings and shared them on Twitter, Ryan Alvarez, had some thoughts on the possibilities as well.
But it should be noted that I was unable to find any Tesla construction jobs in that area either, so it’s more likely that this a Kato road class micro-giga factory, the Kato road facility is absolutely tiny (we walked around it on battery day) compared to its production capacity
— 🔋 Ryan Alvarez 🔋 (@Ryan_Alvarez116) December 31, 2020
It also should be noted that Tesla has battery r&d hubs in San Diego (formerly maxwell), where they work on DBE and in Louisville Colorado (formerly Silion) where they work on anodes. they mainly focus on developing new technologies and as far as we know not in production.
— 🔋 Ryan Alvarez 🔋 (@Ryan_Alvarez116) January 2, 2021
- Digging Into Less Conventional Lithium Mining Options
- Tesla’s Lithium & Nickel Sourcing — Australia? Bolivia? China?
- The Battery & Mining Catch-22 Threatening The EV Revolution
- Lithium & Nickel & Tesla, Oh My!
- Voodoo Economics & Lithium — Lithium Supply = 15% of 2023 Global EV Sales Target
- Tesla’s Piedmont Lithium Deal Stimulates More Investment