Laser industry 2022: development and challenges

VDMA presents survey results at Lasys press conference

24.06.2022 - Board members of the laser working group discuss thematic development priorities, electromobility, and potentials of blue diode lasers.

Sven Breitung, managing director of the working group lasers and laser systems for material processing gave an overview of the market situation of the laser industry from the point of view of the members participating in the survey. These include on the one hand the leading manufacturing companies of laser beam sources and laser processing systems and on the other hand producers of optical components as well as other equipment for laser technology.

84% of the members who participated in the survey stated that the order intake of 2021 had increased compared to 2020. Values of 6 – 20 % were predominantly cited regarding the level of increase in order intake from 2021 compared to 2020.  

The development of incoming orders abroad from 2021 compared to 2020 was even more positive. 94 % of the members stated that this had increased by 11 – 20 % or even more.   

Also asked in the survey was the development of sales from 2021 compared to 2020 and the companies participating in the survey indicated that sales had increased for 82 % of the companies and 18 % of the companies indicated a decrease. 

The amount of the increase varied widely, according to the companies participating in the survey. 15 % indicated that sales increased by 0 – 5 % and 46 % indicated that the increase was between 6 – 15 %. 15 % indicated that the increase was 16 – 20 % and 23 % even indicated an increase of over 20 %. 

Expectations for 2022 versus 2021 for domestic and international order intake also showed a positive trend, with 88 % of the companies participating in the survey expecting an increase and only 12 % expecting a decrease.

The majority of companies (54 %) expect an increase in incoming orders from Germany of between 6% and 15 %. Members are even more optimistic about incoming orders from abroad. Half of the companies expect an increase in incoming orders from abroad of more than 16 %. 

When it comes to expectations for sales in 2022 compared with 2021, VDMA members of the working group are unanimous: all companies expect an increase. More than two thirds of the companies expect double-digit increases in sales. 

The markets supporting the expected strong increase in order intake were identified in countries such as the USA, Germany, Asia and there especially China. Also named were various application markets such as medical, mobility, and consumer and household electronics, which support the increase in order intake. Countries such as China, Europe and Russia were cited as particularly difficult markets but also the commoditization of lasers and supply chain issues.

The problems in the supply chain and there especially the supply of electronic components, will not be solved until 2023 or later, according to two-thirds of the members. One-third is more optimistic and expects relief in the supply of electronic components as early as the second half of 2022.  

The survey asked about the current challenges facing the laser industry. It revealed that supply chains and the associated price increases for raw materials and precursors are the biggest problem. Companies are also significantly affected by the zero-covid policy in China with the current lockdowns and the associated production and supply bottlenecks, as well as the shortage of skilled workers. Other challenges include rising energy prices and pressure on their own delivery times. The laser industry is only slightly affected by export controls, reduced research funding and international trade policy as well as military conflicts. 

Despite the many challenges, such as the international crises and the pandemic, which the laser industry is currently facing, the industry is looking positively into the future. A significant increase in incoming orders from both Germany and abroad and an increase in sales are expected for this year compared to the previous year. However, the further intensification of supply bottlenecks and the increase in energy and raw material prices are currently causing considerable concern.

Further reading: New board of directors at VDMA group "Lasers and Laser Systems for Material Processing"VDMA significantly reduces production forecast for 2022


VDMA Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbauer e.V.

Lyoner Str. 18
60528 Frankfurt

+49 69 6603 0
+49 69 6603 1511

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