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Micro materials processing, big opportunities

27 Jul 2009

Disruption in the micro materials processing market opens up opportunities for laser suppliers.

Sales of low-power lasers for micro materials processing will fall by 40% this year, but growth will recover in 2010 to exceed $460 million by 2013. That's the headline conclusion of a new study from Strategies Unlimited, a US consultancy that specializes in optoelectronics and compound-semiconductor technologies.

"While the market appears at first to be merely scaling to the world economy," says the report, "the downturn is also likely to disrupt market share in many segments, in a game of musical chairs. The strongest growth will be in fibre lasers, diode lasers, green lasers, mode-locked (ultrafast) lasers, and lasers for manufacturing solar cells."

Strategies Unlimited says that all segments of the micro material processing market will see some growth beginning in 2010, but there will be more shuffling of technologies and suppliers than is first apparent.

Coherent, Rofin-Sinar and GSI Group (including the revenues for Excel Technology for all of 2008) are at the top of the list, with over 50% of last year’s market share. These companies have strong shares in more than one laser technology in this low-power category, while many companies are highly concentrated in just one category, or their sales are split across other application areas not counted in this study.

Lasers for Micro Materials Processing - 2009 includes all materials processing applications up to 1 kW, but excludes marking and decorative engraving. The report covers over 120 applications and the wide range of technology solutions in the highly fragmented low-power category.

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