Farsoon, the China-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of large platform 3D printers, announced that the company has entered into a distribution deal with Indurate Alloys Ltd, a Canadian coatings company. Through the partnership, Indurate Alloys will sell Farsoon additive manufacturing (AM) hardware to Canadian customers.
Founded in 2011, Indurate Alloys, based in Alberta (Canadian oil country), was specifically started to serve Western Canadian thermal spray and hardfacing customers. Thus, its customer base is primarily composed of businesses in the oil & gas, petrochemical, and mining industries.
Hardfacing is any form of metal or plastic coating applied to a surface, usually to improve its resistance to corrosion and other wear. Thermal spray is one method for applying hardfacing — others including arc welding and laser cladding — which involves spraying heated powder.
Farsoon’s major customer base is in heavy industry, as well, although it seems to be mainly focused thus far on selling its laser powder bed fusion (LBPF) machines to aerospace companies. One advantage to the partnership for the company, then, is that Indurate Alloys enhances the diversity of Farsoon’s market presence. Down the line, perhaps, if the partnership is successful, Farsoon would presumably do the same for Indurate Alloys’ lines of metal materials.
It is relevant, too, that Farsoon has a US headquarters, in addition to offices in China and Germany. By partnering with another company in Canada, the company is taking advantage of its US office to expand into other markets in North America, without the investment and overhead required in enlarging one’s brick and mortar footprint.
The most intriguing aspect of the partnership, though, is the oil & gas and mining connection of both Indurate Alloys and Western Canada. 3DPrint.com editor-in-chief Michael Molitch-Hou and I argued in an article last year that Canada’s oil & gas and mineral wealth is the main factor that makes the country such a viable candidate for cultivating a thriving AM market. (The sparseness of its population and and technologically advanced economy also make it an ideal place for 3D printing.)
But as oil & gas and mining sectors look to shrink their own carbon footprints, digitization centered around AM will be increasingly important to those sectors, as technologies with proven potential to aid carbon emission reductions at scale. The case for growth potential there is also supported by the fact that oil & gas and mining companies in Alberta have been raking in record earnings, and are facing constant pressure by the Canadian government to reinvest profits in decarbonization.
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