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Siemens is looking for disruptive manufacturing ideas to streamline production processes (Photo: Siemens)

Siemens PLM and the German engineering group's Technology to Business (TTB) division are expanding a manufacturing partnership program to include robotics startups.

Until now the so-called "Frontier Partner Program" made available Siemens PLM software to startups keen to develop 3D printing innovations. Now, however, entrepreneurs with a focus on robotics technologies can also qualify for the program.

Frontier provides companies with access to PLM software, a technology partner program and other development aids. Siemens TTB is a California-based unit established specifically to nurture partnerships with startups.

Siemens said the Frontier program wants to foster technologies that "will harness the power of data and accelerate the development and manufacturing of tomorrow's innovative products." It said in a press release that it hoped the program would help create for industrial software the same amount of excitement and creativity witnessed in consumer-focused apps.

“The startups accepted into this program demonstrate excellence in developing unique and innovative technologies," Siemens TTB General Manager Chenyang Xu said. "Partnering with Siemens can bring the scale and scope necessary to help their business succeed.”

Several partners have already been chosen, mostly because they focused on solving industrial challenges encountered with the use of 3D printing technologies. The companies include Authentise, which develop software to securely stream 3D designs to printers; Avante Technology, a maker of software that repairs and prepares 3D files and several other startups.