Good results for German laser industry


laserGerman laser industry shows encouraging results. According to data compiled by the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), Laser and Laser Systems division, companies in Germany produce laser-based manufacturing systems which exceed the billion Euro mark.

In 2014 association members produced about EUR 852 million of laser-based machines, corresponding to an 11% growth compared with the reference year 2013 (then +8%). The global consolidation, i. e. the output following allowances for the added value created by internationally acting groups, records EUR 1.01 billion, a 10% growth over the previous year’s figures (+9% in 2013). Both analysis, i. e. the restriction to locations in Germany and the said consolidation, underscore a dynamic trend that is considerably greater for the systems equipped with solid-state lasers.

The global market 2014 for laser material processing systems, according to evaluation by Optech Consulting in Switzerland, has grown by strong 8% achieving EUR 8.7 billion. The 2013 increase of 4% in incoming order volume, decidedly more moderat than in production, soared in 2014 by 20% (!) to an outstanding EUR 1.04 billion, mainly driven by foreign demand.

Also the realized laser system exports proved highly pleasing in 2014, growing by a healthy 16% to a value EUR 664 million and underlining extraordinary competitiveness of German suppliers in the world markets. The share compared to production value rose to a present 78%. Against the 2013 structure – in terms of the contributions made by destination regions and countries to the overall result – renewed growth was recorded by Western European destinations, with particularly powerful contributions from the USA, China and Japan, plus only a slight growth for “Other Asian countries” like India, Korea, Taiwan or Southeast Asia.

EUR 502 million of production volume generated in Germany (+9%) compare well with orders amounting to a strong EUR 519 million (+17%!). The global consolidation of production volume, i. e. after the inclusion of added values represented by internationally operating companies, yields a performance level that is considerably more meaningful, namely EUR 668 million or about a third greater than the result in German itself, as well as a 5% rate of increase. These records are comprising CO2-lasers, solid-state lasers and complete diode lasers for direct application.

This is joined by production volumes contributed by association members for laser diodes in the pre-production stage and for excimer lasers, both forming a joint value of about EUR 238 million (+10%). Excimer lasers are a preferred choice for manufacturing microstructures and in laboratory and medical engineering.

The 2014 exports of laser beam sources recorded a value of EUR 302 million, or a 15% growth. The share compared to production value rose to a present healthy 61%. Against the 2013 structure expressed as destination region and country shares, the Western European and Asian destinations showed marked growth, with Central / Eastern Europe following in moderation. In the USA, the reference year experienced a strong growth caused by punctual large orders. Owing to this base effect, the current US-share proved considerably lower.