Created along with Strategies Limitless, with input from Industrial Laser Solutions magazine, Laser Focus World’s annual review and forecast for that industry, presents exciting trends, challenges, along with a bird’s eye consider the laser landscape, concentrating on emerging industrial and consumer innovations in the market. Based on one insider, in the same manner that steam fomented the commercial revolution, and oil drove the nascent automobile industry, photons are going to end up being the new ‘fuel’ from the twenty-first century. This really is due in no small part due to the greater efficiencies in materials processing they support. Laser innovations have the effect of medical and materials science breakthroughs that aren’t only making the laser industry but auxiliary industries more competitive and lucrative.
For instance, by 2008, many had showed up in the apparent conclusion that femtosecond lasers were a far greater choice for industrial and surgical processes, because of their capability to outshine Ho:YAG, DPSS equivalents, along with other lasers. The outcome of photonics on a range of industries brought one insider to calculate that by 2050 photonics companies will be the largest companies on the planet, especially, to laud fiber lasers for his or her role in assisting revitalize and invigorate the renaissance of yankee manufacturing.
When Laser Focus World checked their very ball this past year, they predicted that new applications would create new inroads that will let the industry to attain double-digit development in some laser sectors (Source: “Laser Marketplace 2014: Lasers forge twenty-first century innovations”, LaserFocusWorld). Not even close to hyperbole, in 2013 worldwide laser sales hit $8.806 billion dollars (growing by 1.7% from the year before) and it is expected that sales will achieve $9.334 billion dollars in 2014.
The 2014 forecast and also the forecasted market figures to 2017 incorporated within the Strategies Limitless quantitative laser market report should please laser manufacturers playing in certain emerging sectors.
Material Innovation through Lasers
Single industrial laser systems can process a multitude of materials, that is particularly helpful because of the rapid growth and development of new materials in manufacturing. Just before 2013, high-strength steel and aluminum, for aircraft assemblies and autos were the up-and-coming materials. Now it’s carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), half the load of steel and 30% lighter than aluminum, that has just as much or even more strength than its predecessors. The only real drawback with CFRP is the fact that, for that present, it’s more costly than aluminum and-strength steel. Research groups will work, however, to lessen the expense of CFRP in mass production. Many of the timely, considering that McKinsey Global Institute predicts that CFRP demand increases by 20% through 2030.
Based on Magnus Bengtsson, director of proper marketing at Coherent, lasers can shield manufacturers from a few of the costs of mechanical processes and implements, for example drills and knives, as they do not exhibit exactly the same deterioration they are doing. This leads to “greater yields and much more foreseeable processes”. Emerging materials, for example organic films, ultrathin glasses, and a few semiconductor materials, are optimally processed by lasers.
Achieving a preferred power-per-area parameter can be done in almost any materials-processing laser, either by fiber, DPSS-based, or any other custom beam-delivery optics, which helps lasers to satisfy customers in their optimal cost point. Therefore, industrial processes and materials distinctively suitable for lasers should still propel laser sales.
Lasers in Manufacturing: Fact versus Fiction
For many years CO2 lasers have dominated many laser-supported manufacturing processes. However, lately, fiber lasers have started to usurp other manufacturing applications, e.g., mechanical cutting, surface texturing, and welding, because of offering a competent, low-cost, and reliable alternative. There’s been lots of hype around laser-only manufacturing applications, for example 3D printing, however the hype reaches odds with reality. While $1000 to $3000 3D printers have joined the marketplace, they are mostly student or small-business grade. Professional (and much more costly) 3D printers, able to produce additive manufacturing processes, are highly unlikely to get open to the typical consumer as well as broad commercial deployment will be based upon a considerable decrease in parts production costs.
Nonetheless, although it distorts the current reality, within the lengthy-run the hype around 3D printing will almost always benefit laser manufacturers by getting greater acceptance – which is wished – innovation and economization for this industry.