repeat of 2014 in terms of market growth, which is reflected
in our projection of a 5% increase over 2014 revenues. This is
consistent with many expert economic analysts’ forecasts for a
slowing international economy with lowering GDP for most of
the advanced, expanding, and newly industrialized economies.
This growth will be led, again, by fiber lasers, but at a slight-
ly lower rate than that of 2014. Fiber lasers are expected to
continue eroding the market share of all CO2 and long-pulse
solid-state lasers. Ultrafast pulse solid-state lasers should experience significant sales increases led by micromachining applications including AM. High-power laser applications in metal cutting will settle at a more consistent single-digit growth
rate, but those lasers used for welding are expected to see dou-ble-digit growth beyond 2015.
Medical and aesthetic
Medical laser volume applications of significance are indicated
by the following 2014 announcements: a milestone shipment
of 2000 MxL series lasers (with wavelengths from 405 to 671
nm) by Changchun New Industries (CNI Laser; Changchun,
China) for optogenetics applications; Coherent shipped its
2000th Chameleon-series laser for multiphoton microscopy
applications; and Fianium (Southampton, England) shipped
its 1000th supercontinuum laser with continually improving specifications optimized for use in ultrafast spectroscopy,
near-field imaging, and microscopy.
“We will finish our fiscal year with 30% revenue growth in
medical laser systems now that biomedical system integrators
and pharmaceutical companies are looking for complete la-
ser solutions rather than designing and building up from the
component level,” says Petteri Uusimaa, president and CEO
of Modulight (Tampere, Finland). “By offering an end-to-end
solution, we have signed several multiyear contracts and dou-
bled our life science business in 2014.”
In 2014, surgical, ophthalmic, and cosmetic laser sales surged
13%, 9%, and 8%, respectively, bringing medical and aesthet-
ic laser sales in 2014 to $745 million and are forecast to in-
crease more than 9% to $815 million by 2015.
And although dental laser sales only increased 1% in 2014,
ultrafast lasers could change that equation. “Energies are too
high and laser-tissue interaction times are too long for today’s
Er:YAG and CO2 microsecond and short nanosecond pulsed
dental lasers to provide both the thermal and stress confine-
ment necessary to prevent microcracks, pre- and post-oper-
ative pain, and/or induction of cancer by ionization of water
molecules in dental applications,” says Anton Kasenbacher, a
practicing dentist in Traunstein, Germany. “Ultrashort pulsed
picosecond lasers achieve high ablation rates at high scan
speeds with autofocus feedback, reducing the need, as an ex-
ample, for intraoral suction and allowing therapy and diag-
nostic applications—theranostics—using a single system that
delivers controlled biosafe nonlinear absorption of photons.”
In the laser aesthetics segment, Cynosure’s (Westford, MA)
Q3 2014 revenue was up 18% year-over-year to $71.5 million.
While European revenue was up just 17% and U.S. revenue in-
creased 17%, the largest increase came in at 46% from the Asia-
Pacific region. The sales boost was primarily attributed to FDA
and other governments’ approval of Cynosure’s PicoSure prod-
uct for benign lesion, acne scarring, tattoo, and wrinkle removal.
Cutera’s (Brisbane, CA) Q3 2014 revenue increased 11% to
$18.7 million; Lumenis (Yokneam, Israel) reached Q3 2014
revenue of $74.2 million— 9.4% higher than the same period
last year; and Syneron-Candela’s (Yokneam, Israel) Q3 2014
revenues were up 8.3% to $60.3 million. In all cases, the companies attributed the increases to FDA approval and strong
market acceptance of laser-based therapies across the board.
Beyond 2014, many of the companies are adding fat-removal
laser technologies to their arsenal—a smart move that should
solidify profitability in the laser aesthetics sector for years to
come considering that an ABC News report estimates that the
Medical & aesthetic
Includes all lasers used for ophthalmology (including refractive
surgery and photocoagulation), surgical, dental, therapeutic, skin,
hair, and other cosmetic applications.
The pressure on the medical profession to cut costs and improve
outcomes will benefit the use of lasers in the long term, but the
high costs of lasers have posed a short-term problem. Still, 2014
was a strong year for most medical lasers, with the exception of
lasers used for dental applications. Ophthalmic and cosmetic
lasers make up the majority of the medical laser revenue, and
both grew in revenue in excess of 8% in 2014.
While medical lasers have long played an important role in the
developed world, a fast-growing middle class in the developing
world accounts for a large and growing portion of total medical
laser revenues. In fact, in some areas, medical lasers in
developing countries are used for a wider range of medical
applications than in developed countries due to the peculiarly
long and expensive approval process (and export limitations) that
developed countries place on laser technology.
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Year