Global Ultrafast Lasers Market - Growth, Trend and Forecast (2018 - 2023)
The Global Ultrafast Lasers Market was valued at USD 2.69 billion in 2017, and is expected to reach a value of USD 10.27 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 24.96%, during the forecast period (2018 - 2023). The report scope includes insights on the solutions offered by major players including providers of hardware, professional services, and associated solutions. The regions included in the study are North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The study emphasizes on various user-based applications, such as material processing, science & research, biomedical field, spectroscopy & imaging, consumer electronics, automotive, etc. The study also offers insights on the market segmented on laser types as diode-pumped lasers, mode-locked diode lasers, titanium-sapphire lasers, fiber lasers, and others.
Automotive Industry is an Important Innovation Initiator in Ultrafast Lasers Market
The automotive industry has been a driving force behind the innovations in high-powered laser applications for past two decades. Ultrafast lasers have potential to satisfy many requirements in the automotive industry, including quality, product miniaturization, high precision, smaller lots, and applicability to diverse materials, and cost-effectiveness. Automakers all around the world are under immense pressure to meet the targets, and strict rules imposed by the government, to increase the mileage and reduce the CO2emissions. Automobile manufacturers are turning towards technological innovations in lasers as one of the solutions, to squeeze more mileage out of existing fossil fuel engine designs.
The Ultrafast lasers are increasingly used to perform micro-structuring in the automotive industry. One such technique is making an array of small pits on the surface of a part. These small pits hold oil because of the surface tension and prevent direct metal-to-metal contact, thus significantly reducing the friction between the moving parts. These ultrafast lasers are most useful for micro-structuring on parts that have an intricate shape, as it can be used to rapidly process even the most complex surface geometries. One example of this kind of micro-structuring is turbocharger turbine wheel shafts. These parts are subjected to large forces and rotate at high speeds. In order to reduce the friction, increase operating efficiency, and improve product life, ultrafast lasers can be used to produce small pits of size around 40-100 μm in length and 10-20 μm in width on the shafts.
It has been found that, better control of the droplet size and spray pattern from GDIs (Gas Direct Injectors), which is controlled by spray-hole shape and interior wall roughness, can have a dramatic effect on the overall efficiency of the engine, increasing the performance by, as much as, 30%. It is infuriatingly difficult to achieve this level of precision needed for nozzles that can inject fuel flow to required specification with traditional laser drilling or electrical discharge machining. However, ultrafast lasers can fill the role and are turning out to be a huge opportunity for manufacturers. The average roughness (Ra) for the spray-hole sidewalls achieved by traditional methods cannot be better than 0.5 μm and 3% hole-to-hole diameter variation, whereas ultrafast laser drilling can achieve up to 0.1 am Ra and <1% hole-to-hole variation. This advantage is making the leading suppliers in the automotive industry to adopt femtosecond laser solutions for the production of GDI nozzles driving the market for ultrafast lasers.
Europe is the Manufacturing Hub for Laser Material Processing Equipment
Europe plays a major role in both, the manufacture of laser materials processing equipment, and its use. A number of major global companies either are based out of Europe or have major facilities in Europe. The key future technologies are expected to be high beam quality diode lasers, high power single mode fiber lasers, and kilowatt class ultrafast lasers. Europe currently has a strong position in the global lasers industry, which is based on its historic leading position in the industry, and its continuing strong industrial and research base. Most of the world’s major laser companies have their headquarters in Europe. There are, however, concerns that Europe’s high-cost base may affect its position in far eastern markets that will lead, over time, to a weaker position in Europe, particularly if the far eastern companies actively seek to expand their own production of lasers for materials processing.
It is expected that Europe will retain its current strong market position during the forecast period, provided it can successfully reach the far eastern markets. This is expected to provide additional employment; however, the levels could not be quantified. Economic benefits will be offered to user sectors through lower materials, operational, and maintenance costs. There are various new technologies under development to extend the potential applications of ultrafast lasers, and Europe is in a strong position to exploit it, given its current position in the market.
Key Developments in the Market