World’s First Hyperloop Factory Now Open
By Bruce Upbin
From down the street the building looks like any other nondescript strip-mall-surrounded industrial warehouse. The giant steel tubes in the parking lot start to yield some clues what’s inside. Say hello to our not-so-little friend: Hyperloop One Metalworks, a soon-to-be buzzing, job-creation machine shop for transportation’s future.
Hyperloop One Metalworks is a tooling and fabrication site the size of two football fields under one roof in North Las Vegas, Nev. It will house the engineers, technicians, machinists and welders who will build and test many of the components going into Devloop, the full-system Hyperloop prototype set to begin trial runs early next year, and the production systems we plan to begin buiding in the years to come. The Hyperloop, in case you didn’t know, is a new mode of on-demand transportation that moves people and cargo through near-vacuum tubes at airline speeds using electric propulsion over a non-contact levitation track. We’re the only company in the world building a complete system right now — and Metalworks is a big next move along the plan.
“The facility is essential as we continue testing and is an incredible asset as we continue on the path towards making Hyperloop a reality,” says Josh Giegel, cofounder and president of engineering at Hyperloop One. “The equipment housed at Metalworks gives us the flexibility and freedom to build rapidly and develop the Hyperloop in real-time.”
Metalworks is a maker playground, with brand new CNC mills, lathes, welding machines and tables, and a state-of-the-art metrology room for accurately measurement in a controlled environment of the key materials and subcomponents of our Hyperloop system. A purchase sure to be a team favorite are the Flow waterjet cutters that blast water at extremely high-pressures to cut virtually any shape in any material at speeds of up to 36 meters per minute with an accuracy of up to one-thousandth of a square inch.
Having a world-class machine shop allows us to move more of our production and manufacturing R&D in-house so we can learn at maximum speed how to drive down the cost of delivering Hyperloop One technology. Metalworks is where we’ll be producing custom equipment and components that requires high precision and care, such as the thyristors and stators used in our propulsion system. Other parts we plan to produce here include tube aligning systems, stiffener rings, and the joints between tubes and their supporting columns.
We’re proud to be generating new manufacturing jobs in the U.S., and are grateful for the help we’ve gotten from the city of North Las Vegas and the state of Nevada in doing so. We’re lucky to work with officials who stand for innovation and see the potential of Hyperloop as the next mode of transportation.
Let the Metalworks begin.