Laser Beam Welding can be defined as a joining technique of two or more similar materials by the utilization of heat generated by highly concentrated laser beams. Metals are the most common materials used in this welding techniques, however, plastic materials have also found application in the laser beam welding process. Laser beam welding is highly beneficial in welding small parts as it can weld such materials with minimal residue and thermal distortion. Laser beam welding is being adopted for various industrial applications as it can be completely automated achieving high welding speeds.
Laser beam welding is one of the most complex welding process of all, requiring considerable setup time, programming and maintenance, hence, very few number of manufacturers are involved in the production of laser beam welding equipment. Organised players with a history of welding equipment manufacturing, such as arc welding equipment and oxy-fuel welding equipment, among others, take up a majority of the market share in the global level.
The laser beam welding process is being steadily adopted in the automotive industry wherein around 20% of the welding operations are performed through laser beam welding equipment, this percentage is expected to rise even further in the upcoming years due to improvements observed in the overall productivity, quality and weld strength. Automotive parts, such as engine components, solenoids, alternators, fuel filters and injectors, among others, have been increasingly manufactured through the laser beam welding process.
Another factor influencing the growth of laser beam welding equipment market is its increasing utilization in the manufacture of wind turbines. The growing momentum towards the generation of energy through renewable sources bodes well for the growth of the said market in the future. The electronics industry also utilizes this process as the manufacturers within this industry constantly deal with the fabrication of minute electronic components, such as circuit boards, transistors and integrated circuits.
Laser beam welding equipment are capital intensive devices that require precise planning, technical know-how, high power requirement and automation before it can be put to a operation. This factor can act as a restraint to the growth of the laser beam equipment market as end users can opt for low-cost alternatives due to steep costs involved. There are numerous welding processes that compete directly with laser beam welding, such as electron beam welding, oxy-fuel welding, and resistance welding, among others, and also have the potential to grow in the market hence, influencing the market share of laser beam welding process and thereby restraining the growth of the laser beam equipment market.
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The growth opportunities for laser beam welding equipment market is high in the regions where the automotive industry has flourished. Regions such as North America, Western Europe, Japan and Asia Pacific can be expected to hold very high potential for the laser beam welding equipment market in the upcoming years. The Mexican automotive industry is also on the rise with numerous manufacturers setting up their base in the country owing to high FDI returns biding well for the growth of the market in the Latin America.