A dynamic new partnership is in the making for additive manufacturing practices in the future as Chinese steel titan HBIS Group Co. and Siemens, a leader in automation and digitalization, come together to focus on further research and development of global industrial applications. The two companies have just signed a ‘strategic cooperation agreement’ with the goal of working together to become a domestic leader in 3D printing.
“HBIS is the first iron and steel enterprise in the country to develop substantial cooperation with Siemens on AM,” said Li Yiren, head of the strategic planning department at HBIS.
- Strategic direction
- Market positioning
- Competitive advantages
- Application scenarios of AM
The two companies will be creating a joint additive manufacturing lab, and Siemens will give input on building research and development systems, ‘road mapping’ of new technology and planning for equipment and production processes as they move forward. With an exclusive supply of steel at their fingertips, it will be interesting to see what innovations the two companies produce—especially with 3D printing in metal, which is becoming more and more popular, and especially within big industrial companies with vast resources. Metal 3D printing offers the ability to create strong and durable parts that are often much more lightweight than components printed through conventional practices, along with being more affordable and faster to make.
According to a recent press release, HBIS will also be accelerating work on their industrial service platform. They worked with Siemens previously (2016) on some substantial endeavors, to include the creation of digital factories, smart manufacturing, and streamlining of metal technology. Known as one of the largest producers of steel in the world, a variety of industries rely on HBIS to provide them with steel and related solutions. Currently they are the biggest supplier in China for steel used to make home appliances, as well as second in their country for providing steel to automotive companies, nuclear power companies, and both marine engineering and bridges and construction.
While HBIS will be more of a newcomer in the AM scene, their access to metals like steel and their expertise in processing such materials should make for a strong collaboration with Siemens, often featured in connection with 3D printing lately; for instance, they have contributed educational offerings in STEM learning for teachers and students, and also recently created a 3D printed gas turbine component to help lower CO emissions. Siemens also has a long history of powerful collaborations in 3D printing. The list of other companies they have worked with is extensive, to include HP (a long-time partner), Inert, Alstom Rail, and Solukon.
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