Welcome to our annual ritual of self-examination within the laser
industry. 1990 is a ntonentous year in a number of senses - it's the
opening of a new decade, one with great portent, particularly in West-
em and Eastern Europe, it marks approximately thirty years since the
initial development of laser technology. About twenty-five years
since the first practical industrial application took place. About
twenty-five years of chronicling the events and developments of the
industry in our publication, which is about the tinie frante, a quarter
century or so, in the life-time of this industry. I think one of the
most noteworthy things we can say about the industry is that in that
quarter century, as we look at our economic forecast for the next
year, we will have grown somewhat like the computer and serai-conductor
industries into a billion dollar industry very likely sometime in
1990. (Figure 1) That's in terms of dollars for units of lasers sold,
that does not include systems.
I'm here to give you a different cut through the laser field.
I'm going to look at it from a technology point of view and essentially
not mention dollars and cents at all. The talk is entitled the
Top 10 Emerging Laser Technologies. I'm highlighting "emerging" to
emphasize that I'm not talking about the lasers that necessarily are
doing the best on the marketplace right now or are going to do the
best next year. And I'm not necessarily talking about lasers that
have the most interesting technical developments right now. For ex
ample, over the past two to four years there have been some very in-
teresting things going on in the ion laser area: a great ixaproveraent
in power output in the UV and increases in tube lifetimes and active
stabilization of the lasers for user friendliness. But in no way can
you consider ion lasers an emerging technology right now, so I'm not
going to be talking about them. And there are other examples like
that too. For example, the ultrafast dye laser area is also very exciting
technology but does not fall under this rubric of emerging
Introduction: Gary Forrest
This year, because of the interest in solid state lasers in particular
and its potential impact on dye lasers, we asked Peter Moulton
of Schwartz Electro-Optics if he would address a combination of market
and technology issues in this area. One of the fundamental questions
is: Will the overall market increase for both dye lasers and the newer
tunable solid state lasers that can be used in many applications?
There are trade offs even now in terms of performance. It's those
kinds of fundarriental issues that we've asked Peter to address.
What I'd like to do today is discuss, from a qualitative, technological perspective, the effect that solid state lasers are going to have on the gas and dye laser narkets. I'm planning to review existing devices and then I will discuss some of the recent additions in areas of solid state. I'll also discuss what I think are some near term systexas that will appear soon as raarketable products, and then go further into the future with systeras that niay appear in the next five years. I'll get to the punchline at the end of the talk in terms of irapact, but this will all be very qualitative. I'nt not planning to discuss numbers or how I think the market dollar value and unit volume will change -- instead, I'll be focusing just on the technological impact.
In the tradition of Laser Focus World seminars, I'd like to
present a section on medical lasers. The iaost adventurous thing I do
each year is try and qualify the market. Knowing my limitations on
that and how fictitious that can be, I usually limit that to about one
page. (Figure 1) I've made an estimate based on some numbers from
Laser Focus World, but they're not the same numbers that you'll see in
the magazine, because I've adjusted them according to my view of
reality. Therefore, they may be lower or higher on either end, but
they're what I feel comfortable with this year.
Introduction: Gary Forrest
As with medical, we have a specific individual, Dave Belforte,
who, in addition to writing for Laser Focus, publishes with Laser
Focus the Industrial Laser Review. Again, this is an area that has
some really unique aspects to it which is why we have a specialist at
the magazine who tracks this as well as having his own business interests.
I just have one quick example. One of the things that I've
noticed and I've put this in your handout is it's always interesting
to me to see why how the lasers actually impact on finished goods that
people buy. So I just clipped out one recent article that mentions
some of the different areas when lasers are used in automotive production.
There's an ad for the Infinity car of course they've had a
strange ad program anyway, but the latest version is "Look at the
paint." It's a super high gloss paint. I know in Japan, what I would
call laser priming, the use of laser in surface preparation of the
metal to obtain a super high gloss is something that's become popular.
Now I don't know whether the Infinity is using that or not but it's
another example as Moe Levitt indicated earlier lasers have moved into
the industrial segment maybe not in the volume that people would like
but in a quality sense that is definitely starting to have an impact
on the people who are buying those finished products.
So I'll give you Dave for the details.
The answer is yes, the Infinity has a body which has been
processed in what is called laser texturizing process. In Japan, it's
known as a mirror finish, and it's not actually applied to the steel
of the car. It's a texturizing process on the rolls that reduce the
steel down to body thickness. They emboss on that steel a regular
pattern which tends to trap radiated light and reflect it back to your
eye in a much more intense pattern to give you what appears to be
brighter paint. But that was not developed in Japan. It was
developed in Belgium actually.
In view of the fact that in the earlier part of this meeting
worldwide markets and units have been explored to some extent, I felt
it would be more appropriate to focus very specifically on the North
American market. Where the trends differ internationally, and in
specific regional segments, I'll certainly come back to them.
I thought it would also be appropriate to mention what the
methodology of today's presentation is going to be. To begin with, we
have identified the significant market segments. We have gone on to
determine what the specific industry characteristics within these seg-
ments turn out to be. Then gone into the number crunching details of
what the market size and growth trends appear to be. Next, look into
the technology, the technical aspects of what really is happening,
where are the processes really coming from, and finally, draw conclusions
on what the trends will portend in terms of them being either
evolutionary or areas where actual revolutions may be occurring.
The way the last part of this seminar was structured was
originally as a panel. And based on your survey results that you're
all going to turn in when you leave, we tried to estimate what are the
areas that you really want to know more about. And they change.
Two years ago, Rich Bravman from Symbol Technologies came and he
was one of the top ranked people for the day as far as the interest
level, the way the material was presented. And we watched that market
carefully. When you start to see laser diode based bar code scanners
in the market, we decided that was a good time to come back.
ESI is a phenomenal success in the diode pumped YAG market in
electronics. Just unbelievable success with a brand new product, hit
the market at exactly the right time for memory repair, and thirdly
there's a lot of concern about the cost of laser diodes.
Good afternoon. And thanks, Gary very much again for giving ne a
chance to come and spend some time with you. Again, ray name is
Richard Bravman, vice president of marketing with Symbol Technologies.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the bar coding market,
I'll give just a brief word on Symbol. Symbol is today, we find our
selves the leader in that business. Our original activity in bar
coding went all the way back to the business of creating the film
images that are the genesis point for the placement of bar codes on
all the consumer items. That was what we did back in mid l970s, moved
through several stages, in 1980, we made a significant breakthrough
inventing the first laser based bar code scanning device that was
portable enough that you could hold it in your hand. That development
proved to be the engine of some very significant growth over the last
eight or nine years. During the period of the last six years, we've
had our compound average growth for our company at something in the
range of 80% or so. So we've been fortunate enough to have seen some
real growth. Today our businesses included bar code scanning, and as
a result of an acquisition we did last year, portable data capture
devices, which are handheld computers that are specifically used for
remote data capture.
I've come here today to share with you the experiences of an
emerging company that has its hands around an emerging technology, and
an interesting approach. And I'd like to make a few conmients today
from a business aspect about the iaarketplace as they relate to our
formulation of our market or business strategy. I'll share with you
the direction on what the business strategy is and then trace with you
some of the technical developments that are occurring at Laser Diode
Products in St. Louis as they all relate directly to a customer requirernent.
First of all let rae clarify a couple terms for you. When we talk
about the microelectronics industry that will include everything from
crude wiring boards to VLSI. Also, we're going to talk about the
spectral. This fits hand in glove, it's no accident Gary planned it
this way, you'll see a number of applications where we will need a new
generation of laser to move the technology forward. In one case we'll
show you where we're currently using in volume production diode pumped
Another couple of terms I'd like to have you just think about. I
have dubbed it no man's lithography. Basically in the printed wiring
board and the hybrids and in the other packaging arenas, the present
photo tools are out of gas. And I'm calling that no man's lithography.
You get below 5 microns and the IC technology takes over, you
get down to again on a PC board industry thinks of mils you get down
much higher than 8 mils lines and spaces, and all of a sudden you're
out of gas. That arena between the 5 microns and 8 mils is where we
think there's a tremendous opening for lasers.