Industrial laser reports proliferate

Promotions for fee-based industrial laser market reports are popping up daily in my incoming e-mails.

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I know it's spring because just like flowers sending up shoots after the winter rest period, promotions for fee-based industrial laser market reports are popping up daily in my incoming e-mails. As of April 1st, I have received 53 different offerings about the global markets for lasers: cutting (13), welding (12), marking/engraving (8), drilling (2), general laser processing (12), and other laser-related processes (6). All cover the 2017-2020 period, while most extend to 2024.

Naturally, as editor-in-chief of Industrial Laser Solutions, I am interested in other views of the market since we publish, and freely distribute, an industrial laser market report every January, and have done so since 1986 when we were first to define the burgeoning market for this technology. Not to sound my own horn, but my early efforts to expand the market for industrial laser material processing earned me the sobriquets "Mister Industrial Laser" from Japanese equipment suppliers (when that country introduced and dominated the laser metal cutting industry), the "Laser Pope" (when Germany replaced Japan as the world leader in industrial laser material processing development), and the "Father of Chinese Laser Job Shops" (as that country leapt to be the single largest industrial laser market).

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So with these credentials, you can understand my interest in what others report on the market that I have been immersed in for these many years. The ILS budget precludes purchase on all or even one of these "for-profit reports," but one can extract some useful information from the summaries that some offer.

Even though the details would be of interest for comparison to ILS numbers, I am not an investor in the market, so another opinion of growth prospects would only have cursory value. (For example, what to think of reported CAGRs for laser cutting that range from 5.5% to 10.3% and all laser processing from 7.7% to 11.6%.)

Out of curiosity about these reports' authenticity, I agreed to be interviewed for one—only if I was sent an executive summary when the report was published. It will be interesting to see if my comments influenced the researcher.

Why the preponderance of laser material processing reports at this point in time? The final reports from industry leaders for the past year become available in February of the next year. Why do more than two dozen market research companies find the industrial laser market of such interest? Good question! Last year, it was a $3.2 billion laser and $12.5 billion system market growing at a 6.6% CAGR since its inception in 1970. That's pretty good stuff compared to machine tools at 2.07% in the same period. It's not apples to apples, but does serve as an indicator why these for-profit market research companies like the technology.

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