Taegerwilen, Switzerland -- According to a survey by Optech Consulting, the global laser material processing systems market reached US$10.0 billion in 2011, up 28% over 2010 and 90% above its size in the crisis year of 2009.
East Asia reports the highest growth rates, with steeply growing demand for laser systems in China, Korea, and Taiwan. Laser system demand also accelerated in other countries such as India and Brazil. This market comprises laser systems for cutting, welding and marking, worth about $7 billion, and laser systems for the production of semiconductors, flat-panel displays, printed circuit boards, and solar cells, worth about $3 billion.
High-power solid-state, fiber, and disk lasers for macro processing presently set the trend with surging market share in laser cutting, the largest application segment in laser materials processing, while solid state lasers have advantages mainly for cutting of thin metal sheets, One major reason for this is the low power consumption of these lasers. While high-power CO2 lasers, the established workhorse, have an electrical efficiency of less than 10%, the power consumption of fiber and disk lasers is about five times lower. Trumpf, one of the market leaders, already equips more than 10% of its sheet metal cutting machines with disk lasers. A similar percentage is estimated for the average of the other manufacturers of sheet metal cutting systems, which mainly use fiber lasers.
In the semiconductor and printed circuit board industries, lasers take a crucial role for the continued decrease of feature sizes, by direct ablative structuring and by the exposure of photoresist. Lasers are also increasingly used for the production of flat panel displays, including high-resolution screens for smartphones and tablet computers, as well as large LCD and OLED displays for television sets. Another growing application field for laser microprocessing is the production of solar cells where laser structuring helps to increase cell efficiency.
Founded in 1992, Switzerland based Optech Consulting is a leader in laser and photonics market research and business consulting.
Global market for laser materials processing systems, in US $B. (Source: Optech Consulting)