The laser processing market is projected to attain USD 16.1 billion by 2020. It was valued more than USD 9.5 billion in 2014. The market would witness significant growth on account of laser usage in manufacturing processes and materials. Technological advances in power, low operating costs, and improved quality cutting speeds will open future avenues for laser processing. Expensive lasers are deployed for drilling purposes in oil & gas exploration. Additionally, laser processing is used for manufacturing silicon solar cells.
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Gas, solid-state, and fiber lasers are the products in the laser processing market. Gas lasers comprise carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, copper, argon-ion, nitrogen, and helium-neon lasers. Solid-state lasers are further segmented into small diode-pumped Nd (non-diode), Q-switched Nd, large lasers in side-pumped & end-pumped systems, and single-frequency operations. Solid-state had 20% share in 2014. Rofin-Sinar, a firm, offers lasers in the range of 3 – 1,000 watts for scribing, welding, drilling, & cutting.
Laser processing is employed for material processing, micro processing, and marking & engraving. Material processing occupied over 70% of the market in 2014. Ultra-short lasers are utilized for marking & engraving, welding, cutting, and drilling. Water jet cutting uses smooth surface and narrow cuts to improve process efficiency.
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Applications of the laser processing market comprise automotives, electronics & microelectronics, aerospace, medical treatment devices, packaging, and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Automotives commanded 15% demand in 2014. Lasers are employed in this sector to cut lightweight and ultra-high-strength steel (UHSS) to make automobiles more secure.
Medical treatment devices will be a lucrative application, growing at 9% CAGR from 2014 to 2020. Lasers are employed in this sector to cut miniaturized parts like pacemakers & other implantable devices. Demand from oil & gas and electronics industries is also anticipated to drive the laser processing market.
Asia Pacific dominated the market in 2014 and accounted for 40% of the overall revenues. This could be attributed to electronics and automotive companies in the region. It was followed by North America. North America commanded 20% share in 2014. Prominent companies of the worldwide laser processing market include LaserStar Technologies Corporation, Newport Corporation, Rofin-Sinar Technologies, Coherent Inc., and IPG Photonics Corporation.
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