Strategically Blogging

GE Plans to Stop CFL Business

02/01/2016

Since the bans on inefficient light bulbs have been happening around the globe (including in the US starting in 2012), it has made sense that lighting manufacturers have been slowing down on the production of incandescent and halogen bulbs – the least efficient types of bulbs. CFLs were the replacement bulb of choice across many markets, with LEDs making a slow start due to much higher prices. Now, however, we’re beginning to see the shift away from CFLs as well. 

The 2016 Smart Lighting Market

Shonika Vijay 01/27/2016

The hype of the connected lighting or smart lighting or networked lighting or even IoT of lighting has spread throughout the lighting industry as well as the network and technology companies. Nontraditional lighting companies such as SAP, Google, Cisco, Apple, and Microsoft are targeting the lighting landscape through network infrastructure familiar to them and are also partnering with existing lighting players such as Acuity, Philips, Osram and etc. who are familiar with the end-users and regulatory demands of the market.

In the Year of Light, Lasers Started To Really Shine

Allen Nogee 01/19/2016

As everyone is aware, Strategies Unlimited is the leader in both laser research and LED lighting research, and rarely do the applications of these two widely different light “sources” usually overlap. Lasers can be used for illumination tasks such as semiconductor inspection where a laser illuminates a semiconductor wafer when one looks for defects, but when it comes to general illumination of white light used by us humans for vision, this task almost has always been the domain of LEDs, or at least it has until very recently.

Laser Outlook For 2016

Allen Nogee 12/16/2015

There is some fair debate going on now as to whether our worldwide economy is on an upswing or a downswing. But does this really matter to the laser market?  

When Economic Justification of Connected Lighting Becomes Difficult

Shonika Vijay 12/08/2015

Making decisions to change the lighting system of a business are currently conducted by evaluating the listed economic metrics and then deciding if the business will reap tangible benefits for implementing the changes... While connected lighting has been proven to add tangible benefits such as reduced energy consumption there are other nontangible benefits that may be onerous to prove through current economic parameters. 

Laser Munich--Bottoming out, fiber lasers, and a family reunion fueled by beer

By Tom Hausken
Who can be gloomy at a show where the beer starts flowing before noon and booth parties start before closing? If booth traffic is slow, at least the halls are bright and cheery and everyone is there. It’s the closest thing to a family reunion in the laser business, and it only happens once every two years.

The number of exhibitors at Laser Munich last week was almost exactly the same as in 2007, but spread out in four halls instead of three. Considering the laser industry is in its deepest trough ever, people were in a great mood.

One factor would be that there is now a general feeling that the industry, and the economy at large, has more or less hit bottom. One comment that sums it up is that now “there are finally more new orders than cancellations.” It’s kind of like how you feel when you stop beating your head against the wall.

The bright colors may have helped too. Trumpf was touting the Blue Laser, which I was told referred to blue sky, earth as seen from space, earth-friendly, and something about cozying up to Mercedes. Its new-ish acquisition, SPI Lasers, featured its redENERGY and redPOWER lasers--really more infrared than red, but close enough. Coherent, meanwhile, went yellow and featured a more industrial look, evoking images of robots, Caterpillar tractors, and guys with hardhats.

The best coverage of the show, including video coverage, is by Industrial Laser Solutions magazine (look for articles in the June 15 to 19 timeframe). But, since everyone seemed to ask, "What's new at the show"? here's my general take.

Fiber lasers were once again the big thing at Laser Munich. At Munich 2007 we saw several early fiber laser products from players who had been on the sidelines, most notably Trumpf, Rofin, and GSI. This year those companies stepped up their fiber laser offerings. In addition, Coherent showed a fiber laser prototype based on bar pumping that will be out next year. Newport quietly relaunched a 100W CW fiber laser for industrial applications. nLight featured its fiber laser products from its OptoTools acquisition. And even LASAG, well known for its lamp-pumped YAG lasers but not wanting to be identified only as such, had a fiber laser in its booth.

Never one to be outdone, IPG showed a 10 kW single mode fiber laser. Even 3 kW was remarkable just a couple years ago, now they are at 10 kW. Its main application is for military customers developing directed energy weapons, a good business for IPG these days.

Direct diode lasers also had some buzz. For the most part, there were the usual players, Laserline being a leader, but acceptance is growing for processes like brazing and welding. Trumpf was the most notable new player . Lumics was able to boast about its "three digit" unit order for 200+ W fiber-coupled diode systems--a nice win in a tough economy.

Overall, the booth traffic may have been on the light side, but I wonder if Laser Munich may steal some market share from competing events. Even with companies tight on travel budgets, everyone still wants to be at Laser Munich, to be part of the family reunion.

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