Fibre lasers have continued to gain market share as an industrial tool, reaching 37 per cent of the global laser market for materials processing, up from 30 per cent in 2014. The data is from a new report from Optech Consulting.
The global laser market for materials processing grew two per cent in 2015 to $3.2 billion (€2.9 billion), according to the study, while fibre laser sales accounted for $1.16 billion.
The growth in fibre lasers has been explosive; only ten years earlier, in 2005, the market share of fibre lasers in materials processing was just four per cent.
Other solid-state lasers accounted for a 26 per cent share of the market in 2015. This includes diode-pumped solid-state lasers of various wavelengths, ultrafast solid-state lasers, disk lasers, flashlamp-pumped lasers, as well as direct-diode lasers.
The gas laser segment, accounting for a 37 per cent share, comprises excimer lasers and CO2 lasers. CO2 lasers have been a major target for replacement by fibre lasers. However, this situation is expected to change, according to Optech Consulting. While high power CO2 lasers in cutting and welding have already been replaced to a large extent by fibre lasers, low power CO2 lasers are not an easy target for replacement, the market research firm concluded.
CO2 lasers are also preferred in EUV microlithography because of the wavelength they operate at. Consequently, fibre laser manufacturers are now focusing their efforts more on competing with solid-state and diode lasers, Optech Consulting feels.
Fibre laser manufacturers are also targeting new applications such as additive manufacturing, besides pushing sales in cutting and marking by lower laser prices.
For 2016, Optech Consulting expects a sideward trending global market for industrial lasers. The expectation follows the presently available data indicating a subdued trend of the laser systems market at the beginning of the year, combined with weakening demand in China.
A report from MarketsandMarkets estimates the laser processing market to reach $9.75 billion by 2022.