Strong growth set for German and global photonics industry, says report

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By 2020, the global photonics market is expected to reach €615 billion, according to a new report from the German Engineering Association VDMA. The report particuarly points to the strong growth of the German photonics industry, which is predicted to reach €44 billion by 2020.

In 2012, the total market value for the German Photonics sector had grown by three per cent to approximately €28 billion, with a high level of growth witnessed particularly in the investment goods sector. The growth rate for 2013 was likewise approximately three per cent, reflecting involvement in global trading. VDMA anticipates that a turnover of €44 billion predicted by the sector last year will be reached by 2020.

According to the report, the growth of the photonics industry in Germany has been boosted by the increase in manufacturing technology such as laser machining, lithography, image processing, and measuring technology and instrumentation. These sectors have caused Germany’s share of the global market to grow to 20 per cent, which can be attributed to Germany’s high export ratio, which last year averaged 66 per cent. VDMA also expects that expanding exports to Asia could more than offset the drop in exports that have been observed inside of Europe.

The VDMA predicts that in 2014 there will be a three to eight per cent increase in industries that directly incorporate or use photonics technology. This is due to a high percentage of product innovations in these lines of industry, which include machine building, the automotive industry, electrical systems and electronics, telecommunications, and medical engineering.

To realise synergies and combine existing competences, VDMA has joined seven of its professional sectors relating to photonics to form a VDMA Photonics Forum. The network of the forum includes more than 500 companies and research institutions along the entire value chain – of which, some 400 members are active primarily in the field of photonics. The photonic technologies represented within the VDMA stand for a combined turnover of nearly €14 billion and some 56,000 employees.

In December last year, the VDMA appointed an industrial steering committee for photonics, to integrate the photonics industry more directly into the activities of the forum. High-ranking industry representatives from the various photonics sectors of the VDMA will work to enhance intra-association awareness and promote the key technology’s strong position in business and scientific policy, especially in terms of its general public awareness.

The VDMA has also embarked on a new Working Group ‘Additive Manufacturing’ to cover specialised fields that are making use of photonics, such as laser-assisted sintering and melting.