As we reach the end of 2017 and investors look for ways to diversify their portfolios in the coming year, one area to seriously consider is the laser cutting market. As a whole, the trend for the industry is growth, and many experts predict significant growth between now and the middle of the next decade. If you are considering looking at an investment in this area, consider these five trends for 2018 and beyond.
1. Laser cutting industry to reach unprecedented levels
According to multiple industry reports, the laser cutting industry is expected to reach unprecedented levels of growth in 2018, with estimates putting the industry value at about $3.77 billion by the end of the year, and $6.72 billion by 2024. This is nearly 100 percent growth since 2012. Much of that growth is driven by the fact that many industries are investing in laser cutters to replace older technologies, and that many industries and regulatory bodies have increased their support for laser cutting in recent years. Growth is also driven by new FDA and FAA requirements to laser engrave information on parts and equipment.
2. The fiber laser market will grow significantly
Not all laser cutters are the same, and one area that is poised to see significant growth in 2018 is the fiber laser market. While not quite as adept at cutting thicker materials in terms of speed or smoothness as CO2 lasers, fiber lasers do have some advantages for certain applications. They tend to be less expensive to maintain, easier to use, and faster and more efficient when cutting thin materials, so many companies are investing in them to complement their CO2 lasers for specific tasks. According to Transparency Market Research Firm, the fiber laser market is poised for a growth rate of 4.6 percent per year between now and 2026.
3. Automation demands lasers
In several industries, including shipbuilding, aviation, and automotive manufacturing, lasers have become a vital part of the automation process. One shipbuilding company noted that incorporating laser cutting into its manufacturing process, when combined with robots, help increase productivity while simultaneously reducing overtime and increasing the safety of the plant. Laser cutters are also being used to create and repair replacement parts, reducing the time required to make repairs. As laser cutters become more common in these industries, expect that to contribute to overall growth in the industry,
4. The education market grows
As more school implement “maker spaces” as a part of STEM education programs, the laser cutter market continues to grow as well. In fact, one industry expert noted that the education market, from simple maker spaces in high schools to university training programs in engineering, art, and architecture, is one of the biggest purchasers of laser cutters, and will continue to be so into the near future. In fact, these cutters and maker spaces in general are becoming key aspects of college recruitment, so expect significant growth in this area to continue.
5. Demand for quality driving laser cutting growth
One trend across the entire manufacturing sector is the increased demand for production processes that are not only fast and cost-effective but also high quality. Today’s high-tech products and competitive environments require parts cut with exacting precision, something that laser cutting can easily deliver. In fact, experts note that the right cutting tools can make all the difference in the quality of manufactured products, creating an ideal environment for laser cutters to take center stage.
By nature, laser cuts are more accurate, especially for 3M materials, since laser cutters require less involvement on the part of operators than other types of cutters. This all but eliminates human error in the cutting process — while simultaneously decreasing the amount of time required to cut materials using a more conventional process. This increased demand is expected to be a major driver of growth in the laser cutting industry next year, making it a safe investment.
As laser cutters improve and become more affordable, the industry as a whole should see significant growth and development, and investors should see positive gains in their portfolios. If you are looking to diversify, don’t overlook this growing and exciting industry that has a great deal of potential for the next decade.
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