No coal in laser stockings

Contrary to the current situation in manufacturing, the laser picture remains bright as this industry continues to grow.

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The stockings that hung on the fireplace mantel are empty, all the presents have been opened, the holiday feast is only a memory, and all the family and friends have departed. In the otherwise-barren week between Christmas and the New Year, I have time for uninterrupted contemplation of the year past and the one to come.

When you read My View in the January/February issue and the Annual Economic Review, you'll note my concerns for the state of global manufacturing. As an interested observer, I have had to set aside personal feelings as I lay out the magazine's view of the industrial laser industry.

Contrary to the current situation in manufacturing, the laser picture remains bright as this industry continues to grow, responding to the needs and wants of key industrial sectors that, themselves, run counter to current issues.

I have been privileged to be a part of the industrial laser community for a long time, during which I have witnessed growth year on year, with the exception of three declining periods long forgotten. It's only when I look at the statistics and see an 11.7% CAGR since 1970 (the date ILS uses as the start of the industrial laser market) do I realize what a vibrant industry this is.

And, not to let the cat out of the bag before my Annual Economic Review hits the Internet, I'll share only a tidbit or two—a teaser, if you will. Total 2016 revenues will be up 10%+, with fiber lasers topping the $1.3-billion mark (up 12%) and metal cutting lasers also topping the billion-dollar level (up only 3.5% in a tighter market). The big news will be OLED laser annealing, with numbers that will skew the microprocessing and total revenue numbers for the next two years.

Want more? Sorry, if you're not already an ILS subscriber, you'll have to sign up now (it's free).

I wish all a Happy New Year.

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