The laser machine market trends show a promising uptick. Despite COVID 19 thumping things down, the fight by the market is not over. As a matter of fact, businesses are weathering out this storm, and various market projections show the numbers to grow. However, the slowing down of businesses around the world has its impacts that one cannot overlook. So the gradient is not as steep as businesses will like but the inherent importance of the technology shows it is not going anywhere. Moreover, once this scenario is all done and over with, we might see rapid expansion.
From market research analysis conducted early in 2019, the overall laser machine market was expected to grow from USD 2.1 billion in 2018 to USD 3.0 billion by 2024. A CAGR of 6.0% during the forecast period was shared.
COVID Impact on Laser Machine Market Trends
China produces about 20% of intermediate goods that trade in the global supply chain. If one is to consider the global value chain of the laser engraving machinery industry, Chinese products form an important part. For this reason, the impeding effects of COVID-19 affecting China alone are expected to translate into the economy of many other countries around the world.
The EU laser engraving machinery industry is forecast to lose around US$ 1.2 billion. All of this will be a result of a 2% decline in China’s exports of intermediate inputs. As the European chemical and automotive industry face the brunt of this pandemic, consequential activities will affect the laser engraving machine market.
However, there are some important developments since late March. Most significantly, the decline in equipment use seems to have become stable. This is largely due to the re-tooling of the laser engraving machine and the response of manufacturers. The re-tooling process is to cater to the demand for the manufacturing of life-saving equipment. There is a relative decrease of 17 percent, or 5 percent, in utilization during the month of March, from 30 percent to 25 percent. It appears as if stabilization is in place since 28 March.
Laser Machine Market Trends: Is The Future Bleak?
Increasing adoption of laser machinery across end-user verticals and enhanced performance of laser equipment over traditional techniques are the key factors driving the growth of this market. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to form the largest portion of the laser machine market in the future. Countries such as China, India, South Korea, and Japan are the major contributors to the growth. They are ahead in terms of the adoption of laser marking products and solutions compared to other regions. Furthermore, the region’s increasing R&D investments, huge population, and growing manufacturing and electronics sectors will drive the market growth.
Moreover, industry 4.0 is also impacting the global demand for laser machines. The increase in demand for precision, high speed, and automation from various industries, such as food, automotive, and packaging, is a major cause of the adoption of this technology.
To top it off, the laser-based machine market is establishing new market growth. It is doing so for apparel, fabric, digital and retail signage, gadgets, and sports equipment industries. Similarly, metal works, wood carving, and jewelry markings are encouraging this market to develop.
On the diversification of usage, the laser welding machine market is to grow by $246.5 million during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of 3% during the forecast period. Laser welding is a process where a weld forms to join together metals or thermoplastics using a laser beam. Acting as a heat source, in thin materials, laser welding offers high welding speeds of several meters per minute. In thicker materials, it produces narrow, deep welds between square-edged parts.
There are two different modes in which laser welding operates: conduction limited welding and keyhole welding. The mode depends on the power density of the beam striking the surface.
Similarly, the laser cutting machine market size has the potential to grow by USD 1.02 billion during 2020-2024, and the market’s growth momentum will accelerate during the forecast period.
Laser cutting is a technology that uses lasers to cut materials and is capable to cut materials ranging from steel to plastic with absolute precision. It is an important tool in use by industries to manufacture components with complex geometry. Examples of such industries include the machine tool industry, automotive industry, consumer electronics, and other manufacturing industries.
Over time, the laser cutting machine industry has shown improvements in terms of quality, material thickness handling, power, and efficiency. This allows laser cutting machines to have higher cutting speed, cutting quality, the ability to cut various thickness materials, and the ability to use one machine for various material types.
Laser etching machines, marking machines, or engraving machines allow for engraving or making permanent marks on various types of surfaces. Its diversity of applications is facilitating its spread across multiple industries and it is comparable to other methods in terms of speed and reliability. The industries in developing economies hold the most potential for the adoption and growth of laser marking machines.
Considering this, the Asia-Pacific region is to be the largest market for the growth of laser marking machines. North America and Europe’s laser marking machine markets are to witness growth as well, as per analysts. U.S. and Canada are the major countries demanding laser marking machines due to stringent regulatory requirements set by respective governments. As producers of medical equipment, surgical devices, and other similar equipment in use by sensitive fields, traceability, and data recording are critical for operations. As per market analyst forecasts, the global laser marking machine market is set to grow at a CAGR of 4.93% over a forecast period of 2017-2030.
If put in categories, the global Laser Machine Market is as follows:
- CO2 Laser Machine
- Fiber Laser Machine
- Diode Laser Machine
CO2 Laser Machine Market Trends
For a broad range of non-metallic materials including plastics, textiles, glass, acrylic, wood, and stone, CO2 laser marking is ideal. The pharmaceutical and food packaging industries along with PVC pipes, building materials, electrical appliances, integrated circuits, and electronic components related industries depend upon CO2 laser technology. For cutting of thicker materials, CO2 lasers are the best option. With faster initial piercing times, CO2 lasers are better at straight-line cutting and give a smoother surface finish when handling a thickness above 5 mm. One concern of CO2 lasers is that they use significantly more power than fiber lasers. This results in a higher cost of operation.
Considering the global CO2 laser market on the basis of laser type, end-use industry, and geography, the following is technology’s current status. The CO2 laser market has the following segments: flowing CO2 gas lasers, sealed off CO2 laser, and transverse flow CO2 gas lasers among others. The flowing CO2 gas lasers segment is showing the highest promise of developing at a high CAGR rate. For the end-use industry, the CO2 laser market is primarily driven by automotive, military & defense, manufacturing, and healthcare among others.
However, in the coming years, the healthcare segment is going to grow at the highest CAGR rate. Considering how COVID has exposed infrastructural gaps in this domain and contrarily, with technological leaps towards new devices, the market will be an active one.
Geographically, North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle- East, and Africa, and South America hold major segments of market growth. The increase in demand for automotive and manufacturing welding and cutting is majorly being driven by the Asia Pacific.
The cost of CO2 lasers is less than their fiber laser counterparts. Again, the power (which usually ranges between 20 W to 150 W) will influence the cost.
Fiber Laser Machine Market Trends
High-contrast markings that include annealing, etching, and engraving are best done by Fiber Laser Machines. These lasers have an extremely small focal diameter enabling them to be an apt tool for marking data such as serial numbers, barcodes, and data matrix on metals. Fiber lasers are mostly in use for direct part marking to enable product traceability and similar identification requirements.
A significant benefit of fiber lasers is that they are maintenance-free machines. Also, they tend to have a long service life. Furthermore, they have a smaller footprint than CO2 lasers, their primary technological rivals. Fiber lasers are more efficient in power usage and consume much less power than CO2 counterparts. This means major cost savings for cutting applications.
Fiber lasers are also seeing a growing demand for cleaning applications. Industries are carrying out tasks involving the removal of rust, oxides, paint, and contaminants on metals using laser cleaning machines. The cost of a fiber laser system will greatly vary depending on its end-use. Industrial fiber lasers systems for demanding environments and high-power laser cutting machines have high price-points. The power, usually ranging from 20 W to 6,000 W, will have the largest impact on price. If one is to carry out a regional assessment, the market drivers remain pretty much the same. Developed nations such as North America and Europe will show a consistent demand. The Asia Pacific, Middle- East and Africa, and South America, however, have major room for growth.
As per pre-COVID analyses, the global fiber laser marking machine market is to showcase a CAGR of 10.9% for 2017-2024. This projection, may not be directly applicable due to the slowing down of the global economy. But with the reduction in the severity of the COVID crisis, this assessment is a good trend estimator.–
Diode Laser Machine Market Trends
Every laser pointer uses diode technology hence it will not be an understatement to say that this laser technology is very common. At its core, it is similar to light-emitting diodes. Initially, getting diode lasers to give enough power to cut metal was impractical. However, advances in manufacturing techniques and the optics industry has led to a change in the game.
A Direct Diode Laser (DDL) machine, also known as an injection laser, takes light from multiple diodes and combines them into a single beam. It then directs it right at the surface of interest. These diode lasers produce coherent radiation in the visible or infrared spectrum. With the removal of the fiber system, these lasers are far more efficient if one carries out a laser power to input power comparison. This assessment is obviously against their fiber equivalents. Diode lasers also eliminate reflection sensitivity. This means they can process shiny surfaces such as aluminum and copper.
Furthermore, a high beam quality allows for cutting speeds approximately 10 – 20% faster on most metals than their fiber laser counterparts. There is one material exception to this though: aluminum. Since a direct diode laser’s wavelength is more easily absorbed by aluminum, metal cutting speeds are 100% higher! Furthermore, there is also an advantage that the beam offers better edge quality when handling thicker materials. — Consequently, direct diode lasers outperform fiber lasers in processing speed for many material types, aluminum in particular. Moreover, they now have the cutting quality for handling thicker materials.
Recent interest in using direct-diode lasers rather than fiber or CO2 lasers is largely due to the improvements in performance. However, cost, business feasibility, and end-use mean the CO2 and fiber laser are not growing away. Atleast not any time soon. This is owing to technological advancements in the laser domain, in general. Furthermore, external factors are also playing a role in their success. Higher wall plug power handling capacity and an improvement in reliability as well as ease of servicing, are making direct diode lasers the epitome of laser materials processing companies. It contributes tremendously to the lower cost of manufacturing.
Consequently, the diode laser type is likely to grow at the highest CAGR during the upcoming times. The market growth for this laser type is due to its application in ablation marking, day/night marking, and heat-affect zone marking. There are other technologies at play as well.
Hopefully, this article helps out its readers in navigating the domain of fiber lasers laser machine market trends currently dominating the globe. Head on over to HeatSign to discover products serving the market today.