German photonics production increased by 4 per cent in 2014 to €30 billion, according to a report from the Photonics Market Research Work Group, which represents the industry associations Spectaris, VDMA and ZVEI.
Increases are expected to continue in 2015, with laser systems, photonics medical instrumentation and LED technology to be key growth areas. The VDMA − the German engineering association − presented market trends during Laser World of Photonics in Munich, which took place from 22 to 25 June.
Applications mentioned in the report with particularly strong growth in 2014 were laser systems and laser sources, and measurement engineering, and lithography. Other core areas, such as medical technology, optical components and systems, and the light industry, reported substantial gains in 2014 above the level of growth in 2013.
Gerhard Hein, managing director of the VDMA Laser and Laser Systems for Material Processing working committee, commented during Laser World of Photonics that German-based laser system manufacturers grew 11 per cent in 2014 reaching €852 million. This is higher than the growth rate of the global market, which Optech Consulting estimates to be about 8 per cent.
Hein also stated that laser system exports from Germany grew by 16 per cent in 2014 to €664 million.
Laser sources grew by 5 per cent to €668 million, not quite reaching the 2011 record level of €697 million. The export share rose to 61 per cent of the value of production, with distinctive growth recorded in Western Europe and Asia.
The German medical technology industry increased its sales by 2.3 per cent in 2014, according to Spectaris, the German industry association for the high-tech medium-sized business sector. A slump in the Russian business and a rather weak trend in the US and China were the reasons for the comparably low result. In recent years, the annual growth rates were between 5 and 6 per cent on average.
However, Spectaris is expecting significantly higher growth in the area of optical medical technology in 2014. Studies are forecasting annual increases in the order of 6 to 9 per cent on average for endoscopy, in-vitro diagnostics, and medical lasers and laser sources. These high growth rates are continually driven by the demand for non-invasive examination techniques, as well as the benefits associated with cost and efficiency.
According to Spectaris, analytical, bio and laboratory technologies, where many methods are based on optical techniques such as spectroscopy, microscopy, or fluorescence scanners, recorded a gain of about 6.2 per cent in 2014. The association is expecting a similar result for 2015.
The light industry in Germany grew by 3.2 per cent, as reported by the light trade association of the ZVEI. In 2014, LEDs grew by about 8.2 per cent in Germany.
ZVEI sees intelligent light control as a future key growth driver of LED technology. As has been the case already when the LED was introduced, this will have a substantial influence on business models and the depth of integration of the manufacturers and dealers.
However, the association also commented that a stronger focus on light efficiency and light quality instead of just on service life and lumen per watt might contribute to boosting growth further also in the broad consumer sector.