Consequently, DDLs and HPDDLs are emerging as major global trends in industrial manufacturing. In order to enhance their position in high-growth DDL/HPDDL markets, key player companies are making strategic acquisitions and investing into production capacity expansion. For example, Panasonic (Japan) acquired the laser company TeraDiode (USA) for their expertise in HPDDLs that generate high quality beams via a patented optical process. Overall, the technology advances outlined above provide excellent business growth opportunities. IDTechEx Research forecast the global market for laser diodes and direct diode lasers to reach a size of $14 billion by 2029, where direct diode lasers account for $2 billion.
Welding and 3D printing copper
A particularly important trend is the development of blue direct diode lasers for applications like welding and 3D printing copper, with Laserline launching a 1 kW product in 2019. Blue laser light is faster and more efficient at processing metals that are poor absorbers of the 1 micron infrared radiation produced by most industrial laser systems. In 2018, Shimadzu (Japan) commercialised the Blue Impact diode laser, which produces 100 W of power at high brightness. This product was developed in collaboration with Osaka University (Japan) as part of a Japanese national project.