The partnership would enable the two firms to emerge as a domestic leader in China’s 3D printing sector.

Chinese steel giant, HBIS Group Co. has recently inked a strategic cooperation agreement with leading automation & digitalization firm, Siemens to focus on research and development (R&D) of global industrial applications and to become a domestic leader in 3D printing.

According to a statement, Li Yiren, Head of the Strategic Planning Department, HBIS, said that the move would help HBIS to emerge as the first iron and steel enterprise in China to develop substantial cooperation with Siemens on additive manufacturing (AM).

Sources close to the collaboration claim that Siemens, as part of the strategic agreement, will be centered around consulting to offer the Chinese steel giant with strategic direction, competitive advantages, market positioning and application scenarios of AM.

Moreover, the two companies will be creating a joint additive manufacturing lab, while Siemens will offer insights on building R&D systems, mapping of new, innovative technology and planning for equipment and production processes as they advance.

For the record, HBIS has worked with Siemens, in 2016, to include the development of digital factories, smart manufacturing, and upgrading of metal technology. Furthermore, the company is currently China’s largest steel supplier for the residential construction sector and the country’s second-largest steel provider for automotive companies, nuclear power companies, and for both marine engineering and bridges & construction.

Sources suggest that HBIS could make for a strong collaboration with Siemens, which is often associated with 3D printing technology. For instance, Siemens has contributed educational offerings in STEM learning for students and teachers, and recently has created a 3D printed gas turbine component to help reduce CO emissions. Moreover, the company further owns a long history of collaborations in the 3D printing sector.