As 2016 comes to a close, it’s understandable that manufacturers would want to predict potential trends in the laser industry for 2017. However, in order to forecast the future as accurately as possible, it is imperative that we also examine the present.
That being said, before we discuss our predictions for laser marking trends to look out for in 2017, we will also share the most noteworthy trends to come out of 2016.
Notable Laser Trends of 2016 and Predictions for 2017:
2016 Trend #1: AMOLED Phone Display Screens
2016 saw a slower year for cell phone sales, due to current market saturation. However, an integration of AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) display screens on the latest models of popular smartphones brought a new “wow” factor to companies such as Apple and Samsung.
These screens are produced with excimer lasers which can deliver the non-contact, high-quality production of smartphones at a quicker pace than other technologies.
2017 Prediction: AMOLED Expansion Beyond Phones
- Given the fact that AMOLED display screens have expanded primarily from Androids to both Androids and iPhones, we predict that Apple will integrate these screens to more than just their latest smartphones. It would not be surprising to see these screens being used in their iPads, smart televisions, laptops, etc.
- This may create a drive for the increased production of select excimer lasers, which are proving to be a valuable tool for efficient smartphone production.
2016 Trend #2: Presence of Laser Lighting in IMAX Theatres
The end of 2015 and all of 2016 saw a major win for IMAX theatres around the world, who integrated lasers into their theatres as the primary light sources. This has caused a switch from traditional xenon bulbs to RGB diode lasers, which deliver brighter lighting while also eliminating bulb replacements.
This in turn also provides a more enjoyable movie theatre experience for customers, who are now frequently choosing to stream movies and television from their homes instead of visiting an IMAX theatre.
2017 Prediction: IMAX Theatre Expansion, New Global Markets
- As more and more theatres strive to improve customer experience with tactics such as reclining seats, we predict that these theatres will also look to laser lighting.
- This new integration has already been seen around the world in countries such as Canada and Japan. Moving forward, we only see the number of countries switching to this lighting system going up.
2016 Trend #3: Remote Laser Welding Proved Beneficial
In 2016, remote laser welding was seen as feasible and proven to be successful among 2D and 3D scanners. This process includes mounting a scanner in a fixed location and placing the un-welded objects within the scanning field.
From there, the welding process is conducted via the scanner optics.
An example of this application involves the assemblage of lithium batteries, where each individual battery cell requires welding. Lasers can be used during assembly, as they are ideal for materials such as copper and aluminum.
2017 Prediction: Remote Laser Technology Will Advance, Speed Up Welding Production
- As laser scanners continue to become state-of-the-art pieces of technology, we predict that their applications will extend to a variety of high-volume components.
- OCT (optical coherence tomography) is expected to be implemented in the coming months, which is a measurement that gathers data of the welding processes in various machines. This data can help manufacturers assess the remote laser process and make the process more efficient.
2016 Trend #4: Technology Advances for Medical Lasers
The market for medical laser systems has increased in recent years, as procedures such as tattoo removal, skin treatments and teeth whitening continue to grow in popularity.
Additionally, wrinkle treatments and eye disease treatments for the elderly have increased in popularity as well. In total, these techniques have helped to contribute to a rise in medical industry laser procedures during 2016.
2017 Prediction: Medical Laser Treatments Will Expand Beyond America
- America is currently home to the largest amount of medical laser procedures in the world. However, we predict that these procedures will expand globally, with European and Asian countries being likely adopters.
- A few factors that we believe will cause this shift include:
- Rising economies in developing countries such as China
- An increase in elderly populations
- An increase in demand for laser treatments
- An increase in prevalent eye diseases
Be On the Lookout for Laser Marking Advances in 2017
As 2016 comes to a close, we cannot ignore the many new trends it brought to the laser marking world. From medical lasers to AMOLED smartphone screens, lasers are being used for a plethora of practical applications each and every day.
Only time will tell what direction this market will head in 2017, and we’re excited to find out!
To learn more about our laser marking products, be sure to contact us today because we can help optimize your company’s manufacturing processes.