According to the Laser and Laser Systems for Machine Processing working group within the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), the German laser industry can look back on a successful 2018. The member companies in Germany produced laser manufacturing systems based on CO2, solid state, and diode lasers to the value of EUR 1.06 billion; worldwide, the production value was EUR 1.4 billion. That equates to a growth rate of 14 percent. The growth was driven especially by processing systems with solid state lasers: Production of these increased by a fifth compared to 2017. According to the VDMA, new orders stabilized at the outstanding level of the previous year (+ 0.1 percent).
The market for laser beam sources was more difficult. After an eight percent growth the previous year, manufacturers reported a 5.5 percent drop in production value. On top of this, the value of new orders for CO2, solid state, and diode laser beam sources fell by twelve percent to EUR 418 million, although this must be seen in relation to the very high number of new orders in the previous year.
In its market outlook, the VDMA working group describes a “continuing technology push” for short pulse applications, highly flexible laser systems, and an increasing variety of beam sources. They see potential in the maturing additive manufacturing industry. As in biophotonics and medicine, electric mobility and quantum technology, there is an emerging growth market for laser systems and laser beam sources in this area.