Californian market research firm Strategies Unlimited has recently published a report, Lasers for Micro Materials Processing - 2009, which details the state of the market for micro materials processing. According to the company's predictions, sales of low-power lasers for micro-materials processing will fall by 40 per cent in 2009, but growth will recover in 2010 to exceed $460m by 2013. While the market appears at first to be merely scaling to the world economy, the downturn is also likely to disrupt market share in many segments, in what the report calls 'a game of musical chairs'.
The report predicts that the strongest growth will be in sectors of fibre lasers, diode lasers, green lasers, mode-locked (ultrafast) lasers, and lasers for manufacturing solar cells. All segments will see some growth beginning in 2010, but there will be more shuffling of technologies and suppliers than is first apparent, given the evolving situation in these segments.
Coherent, Rofin-Sinar, and GSI Group (including the revenues for Excel Technology for all of 2008) are at the top of the list with more than 50 per cent of last year's market share. This, according to the report, is because of the highly fragmented nature of the market. These companies have strong shares in more than one laser technology in this low-power category, while many companies are highly concentrated in just one category, or their sales are split across other application areas not counted in this study.