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关键词:材料加工 激光市场


Will materials processing drive global laser markets again in 2018?
In the last blog, we covered how a few of the laser segments that did great in 2017 were performing so far in 2018. One was vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL) which gained popularity when Apple incorporated these lasers into its Face ID system, but to date, other companies have been slow to master the technology and include them in their phones, but Apple has stayed committed to Face ID. Apple’s use of OLED screens in the iPhone X also initially drove increased demand for excimer lasers in 2017. These lasers, which Coherent produces for the annealing of OLED screens, gained a very high profile in 2017, but since then, the high cost of the OLED screens has scared off Chinese phone manufacturers, and rumor is, even Apple might be retreating from OLED screens in hopes of containing costs. (Another rumor says Apple will use OLED screens for even more new iPhones this year, so go figure.)
在上一篇文章,我们谈到了一些在2017表现惊艳的部分激光在2018年目前的市场表现。一个是在被苹果引入其Face ID系统而大受关注的垂直腔面发射激光器(VCSEL),虽然到目前为止其他公司也慢慢掌握了这项技术并将其应用到他们的手机中,但苹果是铁了心要发展它的Face ID。同样,苹果去年一开始将OLED引入iPhone X时也提升准分子激光器的需求。这些由相干公司生产,用于OLED屏幕退火的激光器在2017年也一度十分引人注目,但从那以后,OLED 屏幕高昂的成本劝退了中国的手机制造商们,而且据坊间传闻,苹果为了控制成本或许也将弃用OLED 屏幕。(另一个传言称苹果今年将用OLED 屏幕生产更多的新款iPhone,所以这些消息看看就行了。)

A third segment that performed incredibly well in 2017 was materials processing, specifically high-powered lasers for materials processing produced by companies such as nLight, IPG, Lumentum, Wuhan Raycus, and Coherent. This segment of lasers will be the topic of what is being discussed today. For reference, in 2017, total revenue for the macro (1KW+) materials processing laser segment was $2.30 billion dollars, which was a 54% increase over 2016 laser revenue in the same segment. Keep in mind, a typical yearly increase in high-power materials processing averages about 5%-7% yearly, so 2017 was an exceptional year for this segment, but the question is, can this growth continue in 2018?
在2017年表现出色的激光市场的第三个部分是材料加工,特别是由恩耐、IPG、Lumentum、锐科激光、以及相干公司生产的用于材料加工的高功率激光器。作为参考,2017年宏观材料加工激光器(1KW+)的总体营收是23亿美元,相比2016年增长了54%。记住,高功率材料加工一般的年增长的平均水平在5% - 7%每年,因此2017的增长是不可思议的,但值得疑问的是,2018年还能保持这种增长水平吗?
If you look at where the growth in KW+ lasers we experienced in 2017, most of it came from Asia (especially China) and Europe, with North America being relatively flat during the period. In Europe and Asia, the majority of laser gains in KW+ laser revenue can be attributed to three factors; 1) increases in laser usage due to laser tools displacing non-laser forms of manufacturing, 2) increases in large manufacturing projects requiring laser tools, and finally, 3) a fear of future laser price increases due to trade restrictions and tariffs. Which of these three factors that had the greatest influence has been the cause for debate, but without question, all played some part. Laser tools are rapidly replacing non-laser tools, a good economy is fueling many projects, and the fear of trade restrictions causing pre-emptive buying.
Because the threat of tariffs and trade restrictions may have played a part in KW+ laser growth in 2017, let’s take a look at what has actually materialized in 2018. On June 15th, President Trump approved a 25% tariff on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese imports including laser machine tools, optical products, and lasers other than laser diodes. In response, China has published its own list of the U.S. products it plans to place either a 15% tariff or 25% tariff on, and this list is mainly composed of fruits, meats, and types of steel tubing, but not lasers.
U.S. laser imports from China are generally limited to low-power laser workstations used for marking applications. U.S. laser manufacturers also make similar marking stations, but at higher prices, and some U.S. manufacturers have already exited this business because of Chinese low-priced competition. As for exports of laser from the U.S., more U.S. high-power lasers are exported to China than any other country, but it appears, at least currently, Chinese tariffs will not apply to lasers. In fact, if the Chinese were to impose tariffs on U.S. laser imports, this would likely negatively impact Chinese companies more than U.S. laser companies, because in many cases, U.S. lasers are the only models available at the highest power levels. So to summarize, at least for the time-being, it doesn’t look like tariffs between China and the U.S. are going to have much effect on laser imports or laser exports, but this could change at anytime.
Finally, taking all of the above in-mind, how are high-power laser revenues looking in 2018 compared to 2017 levels? They are growing, but at a much slower growth-rate than what we saw in 2017. This really shouldn’t be surprising, because the rate of growth we saw in 2017 was just not sustainable over longer periods. Currently high-power laser revenue growth looks to be around an annual growth-rate of 12% – 15% for 2018, certainly above average, but much below what we witnessed in 2017. However, the year is not even half over yet, so it is still quite early. After an incredible 2017, my guess is that we might see 2018 high-power laser revenues continue to slow a bit from current levels, still putting 2018 above-average overall. A few negative indicators are being displayed, but nothing to stop the jubilant times of 2017 from spilling over a bit in 2018. Overall, we expect 2018 to be a good year overall, just quite not at the growth-rates we saw in 2017.