Micromachining: the growth engine for industrial lasers

June 1, 2001
On the occasion of LASER 2001 in Munich, Germany, (June 18-22), the world's largest trade fair showcasing the latest in laser technology, it is appropriate to look at those applications that will contribute to the growth of industrial laser technology.
Click here to enlarge image

On the occasion of LASER 2001 in Munich, Germany, (June 18-22), the world's largest trade fair showcasing the latest in laser technology, it is appropriate to look at those applications that will contribute to the growth of industrial laser technology. With that in mind, Laser Focus World is publishing this special supplement consisting of a collection of articles related to micromachining, all of which were originally published in its sister publication, Industrial Laser Solutions (ILS).

Click here to enlarge image

In its January 2001 Economic Review, ILS reported that cutting and marking applications accounted for 62% of the laser systems installed in 2000 and these applications are expected to grow at only a modest pace over the next few years, with adjustments for world economic situations. Growth of other application areas, therefore, must accelerate if the industrial laser industry is to sustain an annual double-digit growth rate. Micro-processing could be the engine that sustains a nominal 10% to 15% growth rate in the industrial laser industry through the first half of this decade, according to many experts in the field of industrial laser material processing.

Recognizing increased activity on a micro scale, ILS assigned more editorial space to applications that are in the advanced development stages and could therefore represent market opportunities that will affect total industry growth. Over the past months, articles covering applications in microprocessing such as micro-via drilling, surface ablation, and microdrilling have appeared in the magazine.

Adding to the excitement of these new applications is the development of new industrial lasers. Excimer lasers, although not actually new, have matured into more reliable, lower cost solutions to several of these applications. And a new class of lasers, ultrafast systems, appears to be the long-sought non-thermal solutions required in many micro-processing applications.

David A. Belforte
Publisher/Editor-In-Chief
Industrial Laser Solutions

*Cover: Photo of micromachined flexible circuit courtesy of Resonetics, Nashua, NH.

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