Laser Technology Continues to Burn New Ground

Greater precision and speed, combined with lower energy requirements, give lasers a meaningful advantage over other manufacturing tools—and a long growth trajectory for laser equipment companies.

Key Takeaways


  • Since their invention in 1960, lasers have become a powerful force of disruption across industries, including retail (barcode scanners), consumer electronics (CD drives, laser printers), and manufacturing (laser drills, cutters, welders).
  • Recent breakthroughs that greatly enhance the power and precision of lasers have accelerated their adoption by manufacturers, leading to the displacement of older equipment such as mechanical cutters and drills, arc welders, and chemical etchers.
  • Heavy industries such as auto, aerospace, and energy are replacing older tools, including CO2 laser technology, with more powerful fiber lasers that can cut and weld thick metal with greater speed and precision.
  • Demand for laser equipment is also increasing as the components of consumer and industrial devices shrink. For example, high-end smartphone manufacturers now rely on laser tools to differentiate the “look and feel” and feature sets of their products. Low-end manufacturers will likely face pressure to incorporate laser technology into their production lines to keep up with customer expectations.
  • Laser companies such as Han’s Laser, IPG Photonics, and Coherent are in a strong competitive position as they have developed specialized knowledge through heavy R&D investment, creating high barriers to entry for would-be competitors.



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