Fiber laser sales are on track to pass $240 million this year, a growth of 39% over 2006, with robust growth continuing through 2011 at a rate of 26%, which will more than double the 2007 sales value. The industrial laser market in which fiber lasers play will grow at nearly 10% per year over the same period. This is one of the conclusions of a new report from Strategies Unlimited, a leading market research firm covering optoelectronics markets.
While much of the gain of fiber lasers come at the expense of suppliers of solid-state lasers, suppliers of the other laser types will see steady growth as well, amounting to about 7% per year through the period. The strongest gains for fiber lasers will be in high-power metals processing and in micro materials processing, a diverse set of mid-power and pulsed applications.
This year several prominent laser suppliers announced fiber laser products, including GSI, Newport, Rofin-Sinar, and TRUMPF. These announcements add credibility to the new technology, which is currently dominated in the market by IPG Photonics. Discussions have now moved from open skepticism to more nuanced specifics. Many key questions remain, however. In particular, how fast and how much market share can kilowatt fiber lasers gain from carbon dioxide lasers in sheet metal cutting? And, how much vertical integration is necessary to success in the fiber laser market?
"Over the last year we had the opportunity to examine more closely the many applications where fiber lasers may play, and we have been able to fine-tune our estimates," says Tom Hausken, director of components research at Strategies Unlimited. "There are many applications where a fiber laser is not a good solution, and many where fiber lasers are already doing well. What remains are the many applications where the questions are still unresolved."
Fiber Laser Market Review and Forecast--2007, available now, reviews the technology, applications, key trends, markets, and suppliers of fiber lasers. It presents forecasts by application and laser type, including unit sales and price projections, along with estimates of revenues and market shares of key suppliers. For more information, visit www.strategies-u.com.