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Business, not engineering, is the challenge says Photonics industry report

New markets for European-made photonics components are getting harder to find and the challenges have more to do with issues such as standardisation rather than product manufacture, according to an industry backed report.

Photonics manufacturing in Europe is an industry producing €9.3 billion worth of components that has been growing by seven per cent a year. One sector that will drive this growth is photonics integrated circuits. Expected to be a €1.5 billion market by 2020, its products are predicted to have higher profit margins for manufacturers. Other sectors focused on by the report are optics and sensing and imaging and projection.

Produced by Salisbury-based technology business development consultancy Harlin, in conjunction with the European Photonics Industry Consortium, the report’s executive summary said, ‘The hurdles and opportunities lie in up-front processes, such as market development and design, or back-end processes, such as packaging, measurement and standardisation.’

The report goes on to explain that the European Union’s (EU) Commission and EU national governments are increasingly focused on helping to bridge the gap between innovation and the market but at the same time the industry is faced with more red tape from new hazardous chemicals regulations.

In its sober assessment the report also adds that, ‘Overall it is clear there is still plenty of scope to grow photonics component manufacturing in Europe and the rest of the world, with high returns for those willing to tackle the hardest problems. However, as photonics is maturing there are not necessarily any quick wins.’

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