http://localhost:4503/content/lfw/en/blogs/opto-insider-blog.html2017-01-10T11:22:35.103ZOptoIQ - The Opto Insider BlogOptoIQ - The Opto Insider BlogAdobe Experience Manager2011 is a record year for laser salesnoemail@noemail.orgTom HauskenHere's some good news as we weather the winter storms: 2011 was a record year for the laser industry, finishing over $7 billion for the first time ever. That's coming off the deep recession in 2009 and a remarkable recovery in 2010. The previous record was in 2007, just before the recession. This is just out in our<a href=""> new market report on the worldwide laser market</a>. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="154" src="" width="320" /></a></div>Who would have thought? I fully admit, it surprised me, as it did my colleague David Belforte of Industrial Laser Solutions magazine. I expected the recovery to track the recovery in employment. After all, lasers go largely into capital equipment, often to make even bigger capital equipment. When you are short of cash, you cut back on capital spending and payroll, at the least. <br /><br />In fact, companies did buy capital equipment. There are the usual reasons, but particularly improving productivity and competitiveness. For example, the auto industry, which was so badly hit by the recession, spent heavily on retooling. Another big factor was China, which has been spending heavily on equipment. Growth in sales of smartphones and tablet computers helped. And some segments just keep rolling along, like biomedical instruments, military, and R&amp;D lasers.<br /><br />As a result, companies improved productivity, earnings are up, and even dividends have been good. What they didn't do as much was to hire workers back. Everyone is working harder. But even so, manufacturing has improved more than, say, service industries.<br /><br />I'm expecting that 2012 will be flat with 2011. The global economy is cooling. The laser industry is soft too, but the fundamentals are good. I'm expecting that things will turn around in a quarter or two, and 2012 will end up being a wash.<br /><br />Longer term, the industry is on track to exceed $9 billion by 2015, and that's only around 7% compounded annual growth from this year. But it's remarkable enough for a market of its type. And anyway, it's still a record!<br /><br />By the way, the numbers are reviewed in the January issues of <a href="">Laser Focus World</a> and <a href="">Industrial Laser Solutions</a>, and in more detail in the <a href="">Laser Focus Marketplace Seminar</a> at Photonics West. But the gritty detail (units, prices, revenues by type and segment)--more than you could ever want--is in the market report.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='' alt='' /></div>, the U.S. wired Internet infrastructure weak? Revisited.noemail@noemail.orgTom Hausken<div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">It’s time to weigh in on a pet peeve of mine.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>The topic is the state of high-speed Internet in the <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">U.S.</place></country-region>, in a <a href=""><span style="color: purple;">December 4 essay in the New York Times</span></a>.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>My peeve is that once again the <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">U.S.</place></country-region> wireline infrastructure is portrayed as somehow way behind, whereas a reasonable analysis presents a very different picture.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>For a large country, the <a href=";sq=bringing%20high%20speed%20internet%20to%20all&amp;st=cse"><span style="color: purple;">U.S. actually has a very strong and affordable infrastructure</span></a>.</div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">It’s the author has a point.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>There is a digital divide in the <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">U.S.</place></country-region> and in the world.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>It’s increasingly important to treat broadband access as a necessary service for all citizens.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>National averages overlook that large groups people are left out.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">The problem is how the point gets twisted along the way. The way the author explains it is like fingernails on a blackboard to me. I've complained in this blog before (<a href=""><span style="color: purple;">here</span></a> and <a href=""><span style="color: purple;">here</span></a>) and I can't let this one go too.</div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">For example, the <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">U.S.</place></country-region> is portrayed as 12<sup>th</sup> in the OECD economies.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>That's per capita. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"></span><country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Iceland</place></country-region> is number 5.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>It has 110,000 people.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>You get the idea.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>The OECD aggregates across the whole <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">U.S.</place></country-region>, while smaller countries will almost certainly show up in the wings of the distribution.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>We should compare tiny <country-region w:st="on">Iceland</country-region> with, say, a successful regional provider in the <country-region w:st="on">U.S.</country-region>, not the entire <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">U.S.</place></country-region> In fact, larger countries like <a href=""><span style="color: purple;">Germany and France are passing us up.</span></a> That is important. Let's say it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">The author points out that even <country-region w:st="on">Portugal</country-region> and <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Russia</place></country-region> are upgrading to optical fiber.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>That’s because their infrastructures were so bad in the first place. The <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">U.S.</place></country-region> is rewiring with fiber, but it’s a big country, DSL is working pretty well, and someone has to pay for upgrading to fiber.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>A too-rapid deployment would recreate something on the scale of the Telecom Bubble of the late 1990s.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>We know how that turned out.</div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Broadband is also portrayed as a monopoly, yet residential users can choose from the wireline provider, cable provider, and even wireless providers.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>Competition is good, but we’ve come a long way.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">The author says the providers should sell access to their networks to competitors, to reduce prices.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>But the problem is that everyone wants the high-end customers.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>There’s a reason that underserved neighborhoods are underserved.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>There’s less profit there.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Having worked in telecom policy in <state w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Washington</place></state>, it is an ongoing process to improve broadband access to underserved groups.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span>It’s messy, because there is the FCC and Congress, 50 state regulators, municipal governments, and the courts. And it’s “inside baseball”; pretty boring stuff if you’re not a lawyer.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">The author is right, we should be striving for broader broadband access.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"></span>I guess it’s just something about how she said it.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> </span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"><br /></div><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='' alt='' /></div>, Top 10 laser suppliers: some tight races but a good year for allnoemail@noemail.orgTom HauskenNow that 2011 is coming to a close we can estimate who are the leading laser suppliers for the year. Once again it looks like <a href="">Trumpf</a> and <a href="">Coherent</a> are neck and neck for Number 1, with over $800 million each. <a href="">Rofin</a> and <a href="">Cymer</a> are in a close race for 3rd and 4th places, with nearly $600 million each.&nbsp; <a href="">IPG </a>will roll in 5th, but this year with over $450 million in fiber laser sales. IPG's 2011 revenues would have put it at #1 as recently as 2009.<br /><br />These players are familiar names. Cymer dropped out of the short list in the recession, but is back again. The order changes depending on the exposure of companies to different sectors. Trumpf and Rofin are highly exposed to heavy manufacturing, while Coherent is more diversified. Cymer is basically a one-product company. <br /><br />I can't really know how the year will end up, of course. But three quarters are finished, and so far it looks like the fourth quarter is behaving as expected. Only the floods in Thailand have created surprises, but that's confined to telecom components, hard drive manufacturers, and the like.<br /><br />I also can't really know what Trumpf is up to. And a lot of revenues for a company like Rofin-Sinar are really system sales, revenues that would not be counted if it were a company like Trumpf or Newport. <br /><br />And then there are the telecom transceiver manufacturers. <a href="">Finisar</a>, <a href="">JDS Uniphase</a>, <a href="">Oclaro</a>, and others are all very strong in that segment, and Finisar is closing in on $800 million itself. With the companies above, and a couple others, that rounds out a list of the top 10.<br /><br />It's also interesting that the Top 10 make up over 50% of all laser sales worldwide. <br /><br />But I don't want to give too much away. There will be more on 2011 and 2012 at January's <a href="">Laser Focus World Marketplace Seminar</a> and our <a href="">upcoming market report</a>.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='' alt='' /></div>, U.S. manufacturing growing or shrinking?noemail@noemail.orgTom HauskenHere’s a little known fact: U.S. manufacturing has actually been growing as an economic output in the U.S. for at least 60 years. Here’s another: China is now the largest manufacturing nation. So there you are: U.S. manufacturing has been growing, but China is now #1. <br /><br />If you don’t believe me, <a href=";sq=manufacturings%20share%20of%20gdp&amp;st=cse">here are two charts</a>, published in the New York Times (Sept. 11, 2011). The chart on the right shows overall output, growing steadily over decades with only brief setbacks. Whether the trend will continue upward, or represents the end of an era, depends on whether you’re an <a href="">optimist</a> or a <a href="">pessimist</a>. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" hda="true" height="129" src="" width="320" /></a></div><br />We’re used to hearing that U.S. manufacturing is declining, but the chart on the left shows that it’s only declining as a share of overall economic output. Other sectors are simply growing more quickly. The U.S. is producing more output in information-intensive industries (such as finance) and less in labor-intensive industries (such as manufacturing). Even the manufacturing tends to be more information-intensive. The U.S. is strong in things like jet engines and pharmaceuticals, whereas for sneakers you think of Asia. <br /><br /><a href=";scp=2&amp;sq=manufacturings%20share%20of%20gdp&amp;st=cse">There are issues</a>, to be sure. Most importantly, growth in output does not necessarily mean growth in jobs, and a country needs jobs for its people. Also, China’s manufacturing output is growing much faster than the U.S. Much of that was done by making the pie bigger, but some was done by taking share from other countries. The gains in share are not just in sneakers, but in things like laptop computers (Lenovo) and telecom switches (Huawei). <br /><br />This is obviously a complex topic--just ask anyone at your next cocktail party or Occupy Wall Street event. And to be precise, manufacturing output did decline during the down years of recessions, when the whole economy slowed. <br /><br />Just the same, it might cheer some of you as we enter the winter to know that U.S. manufacturing has been growing for nearly all of the last 60 years, and more.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='' alt='' /></div>, 500

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