Photonics now a key technology, trade show delegates told

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Photonics has moved from being a niche sector to a key enabling technology, according to a joint study of the industry.

Research by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the industrial associations VDMA, Spectaris and ZVEI, show that, despite the financial crisis, there has been solid growth in the photonics sector since 2005.

The research shows that measurement and automated vision technologies have grown at a similar rate as the overall photonics sector, comprising 8 per cent of the global photonics market in both 2005 and 2011.

'Photonics has changed from a niche existence to a worldwide, accepted key enabling technology, which is a driver for innovation and plays a decisive role for many end users,' Thilo Brodtmann, from the German Engineering Federation VDMA told delegates at Laser World of Photonics in Munich, Germany, where the Photonics Industry Report 2013 was presented for the first time.

The worldwide photonics market totalled about €350 billion in 2011, compared to €228 billion in 2005. Eight per cent of these figures comprised automated vision, according to the report. The average real growth of the photonics industry was about 6.5 per cent per annum, exceeded the growth of worldwide GDP by a factor of more than two. By 2010/2011, the photonics industry had managed to recover to its pre-crisis level of 2008.

The German photonics market totalled €27 billion in 2011, with automated vision particularly strong accounting for 19 per cent of that value.

The report predicts photonics to become a €615 billion market globally by 2020, with automated vision accounting for 9 per cent of the sector.