Roboze Announces Unusual Partnership
Roboze announced a partnership with an IT management company.
Roboze is an Italian manufacturer of very high-temperature 3D printers, typically used by industry to produce production or prototype parts. Their equipment includes several unique features that allow the machines to operate successfully at high temperatures.
They’ve announced a partnership with (also) Italy-based Elmec, a reasonably-sized provider of managed information technology services. The company provides managed infrastructure, networking, workspace and printing services to clients. Management of such complex services can sometimes be beyond the capabilities of small and even medium-sized businesses, so companies like Elmec step in and do it for the companies as an outsourced service.
You might be wondering how this partnership could work: Roboze makes industrial machines, and Elmec manages IT for smaller companies. How do these intersect?
This move diverges from typical partnerships we see in the 3D printing world. Usually a 3D printer manufacturer partners with a reseller of large scope in order to dramatically increase their sales area. This is not that kind of arrangement, although it may indirectly lead to such later on.
What seems to be happening is that Roboze is installing a pair of their high-end industrial 3D printers at Elmec’s 3D Lab in northern Italy. Evidently “Elmec 3D” is a subsidiary of Elmec that provides additive manufacturing services for clients. This fits into their philosophy of providing complex solutions to clients that are unable to manage such technologies on their own.
Elmec 3D thus appears as a 3D print service bureau, like many others. Currently they operate HP 3D printing equipment, but now they are adding Roboze equipment to handle high-temperature requests from clients.
Why is this different from the straightforward news of a service bureau buying some equipment? I think there is an interesting connection between Elmec 3D and its parent company that could come into play.
Recall that Elmec provides “managed printing” to clients. Normally, this means maintaining a fleet of operating 2D paper printers with associated supplies, to a negotiated service level. But printing as a concept could be extended to 3D printing for their clients.
While many of Elmec’s IT clients would have little interest in 3D printing, it’s possible that a good portion do, or might if exposed to the concept. Some may even be workshops seeking ways to expand their offerings, and Elmec is now positioned to address that need with their existing clients.
Sales people know that the easiest sales are those made to previous clients, and this situation could be the same: Elmec could deliver new 3D printing business to Roboze through their new service offering.
And eventually it is even possible that users of Elmec’s Roboze service may grow their activity to such size that they could justify purchasing their own Roboze equipment.
In addition, the presence of a big 3D printing site using Roboze equipment could be another way for Roboze to demonstrate their equipment’s operation to regional clients as a kind of outsourced demonstration center.
This is a very unusual arrangement that seems to benefit both parties significantly.