I am going to open the meeting this morning by presenting an overview of the industry and future trends. As you know, I am not only editor of Industrial Laser Review, but I am also the co-editor of the Industrial Laser Annual Handbook, which is the only international publication annually updating the technology, the industry and the supplier base. Each year we put together a mailing to people who tell us they participate in the industrial segment. We send each a questionnaire asking them to fill out the details of their company and what they do. We also ask them to take the time to tell us what they see the trends are going to be. What do things look like for this year and the future. We sent out, for the 1989 edition, well over a thousand questionnaires. Believe it or not, gentlemen, there are more than a thousand companies in the world who are gaining their livelihood selling goods and services in the industrial laser seg-ment. Admittedly, two-thirds of those are in the job shop segment. Our computer databank at the present moment has 1200 company names on them. We have currently received approximately a 30% response to our questionnaires. Of that 30%, a large number of them, (approximately 60%), are job shops. We do not ask the job shops to predict trends for us. We ask the suppliers, the people producing the products, to talk about trends. When I show you the viewgraphs which you have copies of, you will notice that these are all trends which would have come from marketing people in the supplier industry.
The way I would like to handle this morning is first, to give you an overview before I put anything up in terms of slides. An overview of the study that we produced a couple of months ago. It is entitled "Industrial Materials Processing Laser Markets", and if you want information on that particular study, then you can speak with me at the coffee break.
The topic of my talk is the European Laser Market. There are a lot of talks on the laser oscillator market, and as we are here at a machine tool show, I'm going to focus mainly on the laser systems market in Europe. But before going into the details, I would like to introduce briefly what my company is, and what the basis of our market data is.
I've been a contributing editor to Laser Focus for a dozen years and each year it is my problem to try and sort out things in the industrial world for the annual economic issue. We have had very little luck in getting good, reliable, hard data from Japan. It has always bothered us because we know the numbers are significant, and they do affect the total world numbers. They also have impact on what could be happening, so we feel that it is important to try and present the best information we can.
It is a pleasure to be able to come here and talk about the Industrial YAG Market. Doubly so when the numbers are out of the way. And whilst I think we are hearing, in some of the things that Dave mentioned, that all of the numbers are not out of the way. It is not my intention to take issue with any of the numbers that we've seen so far. In some cases, as you will see in some of our percentages of market, we have some differences in the way that this industry is serving its customers. I think that percentages by process and by applications are something different in our presentation, but we are going to talk about industrial YAG lasers. By definition, our interests in this market is largely in the greater than 150 watt area. And I am going to be talking specifically about the U.S.A. market.
It gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce our final speaker of this morning's session for two reasons: First of all, his company has been very much in the news not only in our own community but in the pages of Wall Street Journal and in the world economic press. And, secondly, we would like to welcome him to our shores. He is a temporary resident of the United States, for a few months, forsaking his home in Germany to come here and help with the start up of a new company which we believe, probably, ranks #1 as the world supplier of CO2 lasers now, through the combination of former Spectra Physics Industrial Laser Division and Rofin-Sinar GMBH. Samuel Simonsson is the Chairman of the Board of Rofin-Sinar, Inc., here in the U.S. and managing director of Rofin-Sinar GMBH. It is a pleasure to welcome him.
I always feel a little bit strange coming to these meetings because low-powered lasers, at least as I have been associated with them, which is sort of historically in the 20 to 50 watt range, or even less than 20 watt lasers, aren't seen to be really industrial type devices. Specifically for many markets they are not. For example, none of them can even start to approach doing cutting metal, even sub millimeter thick. But by the same token, they do have their place and I think that a case can be made that that place is going to expand in the future ... if you wish hard enough and you have a lot of faith.
I guess we are last among the laser manufacturers, because we are least, at least at this point in time, but I hope that is not going to be the case forever. I would like to thank the organizers for having us here and putting excimer lasers on the agenda. At least that bodes well that there is some recognition that excimer lasers are becoming the third class of lasers to join the ranks of industrial lasers. And if you don't believe that, I hope by the end of my talk today that I convince you that they are, or they very soon will be.
The information that I am going to present here today is not just my information, it is not biased my way or anyone else's way. This is a consensus that was arrived at when I polled some of the major people, the major players, in the marking business. We wanted to try and find out what we've done, what we are doing, what we think we are going to do. Everybody views marking as a potential that is virtually limitless. And I agree, having been in it for a number of years now. But I have never seen the growth that I have expected to see based on the number of potential applications that come into my company's applications labs, etc. There are a tremendous amount of opportunities out there, but they just don't seem to grow as quickly as we want them to grow.
First of all, let me apologize for my voice. I'm going to try to go a little slow. I have been in the booth for the last three days, and for those of you who have been on the floor of the show, the term "zoo" is probably a reasonable description.
Good afternoon. A little background first. I'm with Zygo Corporation, we are out of Middlefield, Connecticut. We are a small company with about $20 million sales, about 300 employees. I feel like a stepchild after hearing about a kilowatt lasers. We operate with a milliwatt, a million times less.
The material that I will be presenting to you today is actually based on a study that was commissioned by Laserfare, with Richard Walker, Laser Consulting Services in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mr. Walker has been in the industry for about 15 years. Fortunately enough for my sake, I see that just about every presenter has concurred with a lot of the facts that he has found about the industry itself. So I feel quite comfortable in being up here to speak with you today.