According to a new study from Frost & Sullivan, the European laser cutting equipment market is currently experiencing low but steady growth, with much of the demand arising from end users' growing focus on incorporating greater automation into their production facilities and providing high-quality products. This is leading them to choose more reliable and flexible laser cutting solutions that can be adapted to automation to address quality and production issues.
The report, European Laser Cutting Equipment Market (ref M0C2-10), reveals that this market earned revenues of $344.8million in 2006 and estimates this to reach $577.6million in 2013.
Karthik Parthasarathy, a Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst, comments: "A growing number of end users are concentrating on enhancing the quality of their output and are starting to realise the value of using technically advanced equipment to carry this out. Consumer demand for quality leads to growth in demand for equally sophisticated equipment to meet these requirements."
Equipment manufacturers are attempting to meet end-user demand with more flexible and adaptable cutting systems rather than providing standalone machines. Despite the high initial investment required to purchase these systems, customers are beginning to purchase them, as their higher efficiency could lead to significant future savings.
Perhaps the biggest driver of this market is the immense potential of the eastern European region. This region is fast becoming a manufacturing hub due to the increase in investment from outside the region, combined with government funding. Attracted by the many subsidies on offer, a growing number of companies are setting up manufacturing facilities in eastern Europe, and this augurs well for the adoption of advanced equipment such as laser cutting systems.
However, several factors are holding back investment at present, including perceived high prices, lack of awareness about the compelling advantages of using alternative technology, concerns about product design and its ability to meet the varied needs of different end-user applications. Manufacturers face the challenge of educating end users on the new technical developments taking place to promote the long-term potential of these systems.
Parthasarathy says: "Many large multinational companies have started imparting product knowledge to end users through demonstrations, seminars and in-house product launch events. Companies are also taking steps to maintain end-user interest in laser cutting with improvements in product design and wider applications."