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Frost report predicts modest growth

11 Jun 2003

The world market for laser systems will reach USD 6.4 bn by 2009, says a Frost & Sullivan study.

A market report from US analyst Frost & Sullivan says that the world market for laser systems will grow at 6.2% per year over the next seven years.

According to the report the current market, which excludes medical and military systems, is worth USD 4.21 bn. This will swell to USD 6.42 bn in 2009, it predicts.

Acknowledging a “crisis of confidence” in the telecom industry, the report says that medical device production, life sciences and next-generation semiconductor manufacture will drive future growth.

It also says that industry-wide consolidation will continue for the next couple of years. Growth is then expected to pick up as the US economy recovers, but the high ownership cost of high-power systems for material processing is said to be hindering their market penetration.

“The laser industry will have to find technological solutions to raise the price-performance ratio, and significantly reduce manufacturing costs. When this happens, the laser will truly be acknowledged as a universal tool for manufacturing,” warns the report.

The relatively modest forecast (Frost & Sullivan’s 1999 report on the same market predicted 11.3% annual growth and a market size of USD8 bn by 2005) unsurprisingly suggests that the diode laser systems market will enjoy the fastest growth, at 7.2% per annum.

This will give diode systems a market share of 53% by 2009. Carbon dioxide and solid-state systems will both hold a 19% share – a slight decrease on the current figure.

Frost & Sullivan broke down the market into six categories: high-power carbon dioxide; low-power carbon dioxide; diode; high-power solid-state; low-power solid-state; and others. Others included excimer, ion, helium-neon, helium-cadmium, metal-vapor and dye laser systems.

The market for carbon dioxide lasers will continue to be dominated by high-power systems, although that of low-power systems will grow more quickly thanks to engraving and marking applications.

The reverse is true for solid-state laser systems, where low-power sources have the greater market share currently, but faster growth is predicted for high-power systems.

In the “others” category, the report notes that systems based on excimer and deep-ultraviolet sources will be the only ones to enjoy substantial growth over the next few years.

Author
Michael Hatcher is technology editor of Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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