AMS Spring 2023

Farsoon & Prodways Terminate 3D Printing Partnership

Inkbit

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Over five years ago, AM company Farsoon Technologies signed an agreement with French 3D printer Prodways, in which Prodways would distribute Farsoon’s plastic machines and powders. Both companies saw several benefits from their collaboration in an ever-growing market, but as the poet Robert Frost once noted, nothing gold can stay. The distribution agreement between the two AM companies expired as of December 31st, 2020, and both of the parties decided that they would not extend their partnership beyond that date.

Founded in 2009 by laser sintering expert Dr. Xu Xiaoshu, Farsoon supplies and manufactures both industrial polymer and metal laser sintering 3D printing systems. Back in 2015, the company made a deal with the Chinese government to build and manage the country’s first national 3D printing lab, with an initial goal of achieving major breakthroughs in at least 20 key AM technologies, and created Farsoon Americas the very next year, in order to offer direct-to-consumer sales of their full line of metal AM solutions to customers in North America.

Farsoon FS271M metal laser sintering system

The company has been keeping busy ever since, with continued growth in the international market thanks to numerous partnerships and developing its own AM innovations, such as the industrial plastic laser sintering eForm system, metal laser sintering FS271M solution, and this year’s high-temperature Flight 252 3D printing platform. In 2018, Farsoon announced partnerships with Oerlikon and AMT, and also set up its Farsoon Europe GmbH subsidiary in Stuttgart, Germany to expand direct operations in Europe. The company partnered with Airbus in order to develop high-performance polymers, and agreed to continue the partnership it had previously established with BASF to advance high-temperature 3D printing solutions, but not with Prodways.

The two signed their agreement all the way back in 2015 for the purposes of developing a 3D printer product range focusing on plastic and metals. So why did they decide to terminate their distribution agreement and not extend it? Perhaps because Prodways, which reported an 11% decrease in total revenue from Q1 2019 to Q1 2020, has been increasing its focus on dental AM applications. But it could also be because Farsoon, which unexpectedly doubled its revenue growth in China for the first three quarters of 2020, is already able to offer plenty of support to its local customers without help from Prodways.

In the last few years, Farsoon set up its own legal entities in the US, Germany, and Russia, in addition to growing its technical support organization in China, and as previously mentioned, has been partnering up with plenty of other companies in the industry. It’s reporting record orders from its manufacturing, molding, and aerospace companies, and plans to expand its production facilities later this year, while also focusing on developing more materials and post-processing equipment. As the company has been working hard to shore up its global sales channels, technical support, and direct overseas offices, it’s likely that its partnership with Prodways has just naturally run its course.

“We thereby aim to give our customers the best mix of local, regional and advanced support,” Farsoon stated in a press release. “Our established global sales & support network covers a range of counties including Russia, Mexico, Korea, India, Singapore, Thailand, China Taiwan, and exclusive Sales Agents in Italy, Poland and Spain/Portugal.

“Farsoon thanks Prodways team very much for the great partnership, and wishes Prodways a prosperous future.”

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