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more precise manufacturing in the micro-sector, such as in the processing of circuit boards. ‘Short pulsed and ultra short pulsed lasers are opening up an entirely new field of applications in the micro-sector − that is a real asset,’ Hein noted.

‘When I said one of the drivers of the laser sector is the fibre laser, the same is true for this field of application in the micro-sector,’ Hein said, adding that these micro-applications further concrete the need for companies to invest heavily in R&D. I also see a lot of potential for laser sintering and laser melting processes under the headline of laser additive manufacturing.’ Trumpf’s Leibinger also anticipates that ultrashort pulse lasers are showing a high potential for the future: ‘Short pulse lasers will become easier to use, less expensive, and will have higher power − which will lead to more applications,’ he noted. ‘Based on this, the short pulse laser could become a mainstream tool in the coming years.’ One trend that is not expected to continue is the considerable drop in the cost of pump diode lasers that has been apparent over the last few years. ‘I think the massive price reductions that

we have seen over the last five years will not continue at that speed, because they were driven by cost reductions of laser diodes themselves,’ explained Leibinger. Currently, from many of the large companies in the market today, diode lasers can be purchased for as little as $3 per Watt of pump power, which has decreased from around $20 per Watt six years ago. Further decreases in cost of the diode would not significantly affect the cost of the complete system, Leibinger added: ‘Today, the cost of the system infrastructure is much higher than the cost of the pump diodes. Therefore, if we further reduce the cost for

pump diodes, it is not going to have a major impact on the system price.’ However, Leibinger does not feel as though this will impact the continued trend the industry is seeing in the adoption of solid-state systems: ‘We will see a continuation of the implementation of solid-state lasers for cutting applications,’ he said.

The Lasys trade show in Stuttgart will cover all sectors of material processing, and Hein

believes that unlike other international laser shows that feature this field as an addition, the concentration solely on laser processing gives companies a good interactive environment: ‘Lasys is the first show that is focusing uniquely on manufacturing technologies with the use of high power lasers, and I think this makes the difference’ he said.

One trend not

expected to continue is the considerable drop in the cost of pump diode lasers

‘Of course, we have bigger shows for optoelectronics, such as Laser World of Photonics in Munich, but all these shows are focusing on laser manufacturing as an addition compared to the degree of the other products displayed.

‘Also, Lasys is comprising very focused events with scientific support by high-class research institutes like the Stuttgart Laser Technology Forum and the Lasers in Action Forum,’ Hein continued.

‘Another additional asset is the fact that there

are about five automotive-oriented shows taking place in parallel to Lasys, which offer a lot of synergy by attracting potential customers for laser processing technology,’ Hein concluded.l

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