The use of lasers to process metal and non-metal materials and develop new industrial products is accelerating around the world. Laser cutting machines are used to cut materials such as plastic, fabric, wood, acrylic, and many other non-metallic materials. These devices are used in various industrial applications in order to increase the efficiency of the industrial products and consistently provide a quick turnaround without compromising on the quality of the output.
The laser cutting machines market is expected to reach US$4.37 billion by 2020, from US$2.16 billion in 2013. Mainly used for improving the efficiency of work and reducing costs during industrial operations, the demand for laser cutting machines is expected to grow rapidly across the globe. In the next five years, the market is set to expand at a CAGR of 10.3% between 2014 and 2020.
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The main driver that is stimulating the laser cutting machines market is the growth of the global automotive industry. The automotive industry has been a pioneer in adopting laser technology in the manufacturing process. The expansion in vehicle production and demand for laser-welded auto parts is boosting the overall laser cutting machines market.
Advances in Laser Technology are Widely Adopted by Automakers
The automotive industry is a lucrative area for industrial laser processing methods. The field is incorporating new solid-state laser technologies evolving at a rapid pace across the globe. Since the early 80s, demand from the automotive industry has been one of the significant driving forces behind innovative high-power laser applications.
Automotive manufacturers utilize the advantages of laser cutting machines such as the low heat input into the material, high quality achieved while cutting edges, as well as the high processing speeds when working with a range of auto parts. The use of lasers to weld gear parts, produce airbag components, and weld essential engine components in a vehicle highlights the need for advanced laser cutting machines. These devices offer good possibility of automation, thereby improving the work piece geometries and reducing the complexities regarding the cutting of the edges.
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Besides high flexibility and rapidness, laser cutting machines are also known for their user-friendliness and precision. These devices provide accurate, clean, and damage-free operations, and are thus widely used by automakers worldwide.
Automotive is a growing industry and thus holds promise for industrial laser processing, especially high-power fiber/disk lasers. Currently, IPG Photonics is the leading market player in the global market for laser cutting machines. Their laser cutting machines offer speed of up to 8 kW, which is needed for most laser cutting and welding operations.
The ability to cut fast and enhance the quality of cutting during the operation is the major factor fuelling the market for laser cutting machines. This growth is expected to continue in the automotive industry as well as other areas of application, such as defense and aerospace, industrial, and others, in the coming years.