Energy sector a key driver for laser processing

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The oil and gas industry will be one of the key drivers for the industrial laser sector between 2014 and 2020. Laser processing and laser drilling are both set to gain from increasing adoption in the oil and gas field according to two separate reports focused on the laser disciplines.

The first report from Transparency Market Research stated that there is ongoing research to see if laser drilling can be used as a high precision drilling technique. The researchers have found that lasers can penetrate the rock with high precision and at a fast rate, while causing minimal environmental degradation.

However, it warns that high capital investment and the heat produced by the systems are major restraints to the laser drilling market. While the feasibility is still in question, the report said that the application of laser drilling in oil and gas could be diverse and open up multiple avenues for utilisation.

The second report released by Grand View Research also observed the increasing focus on laser drilling from the oil and gas industry. It said that increasing use of laser drilling in oil and gas exploration fields is expected to replace conventional techniques. This would reduce the cost of drilling and make previously economically unviable oil reservoirs obtainable.

The report continues, explaining that as well as processing for the oil and gas industry, material processing for the medical industry, defence, and manufacturing are all expected to help growth of the laser processing market through the forecast period.

Gas lasers are expected to remain dominant until 2020 having held 50 per cent of the market in 2013. However, the fibre laser sector is expected to grow significantly due to increasing production capacity and emergence of eco-friendly technologies. More frequent use in the electronics, manufacturing, and in particular the automotive industries are expected to fuel the fibre lasers demand.

Regionally, the automotive industry is expected to provide favourable market growth for Europe and parts of Asia. The report summary also observes that strict laser marking regulations in the USA is expected to increase demand of laser systems.

OEMs accounted for a considerable percentage of the market share in 2013; they are expected to continue being the leading segment over the next six years. Strategic investment in development of next-generation photonics, energy efficient optics and ultrafast lasers are expected to help OEMs to retain their position in the market.

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