Forecast Builds Hope for Automated Assembly Market
Daniel C. McCarthy
Despite dropping $293 million last year, global revenues for fiber optic assembly and test equipment will grow to a $1.71 billion market by 2005, according to a report published by ElectroniCast in San Mateo, Calif., titled Automated Assembly & Test of Fiber Optic Components Equipment. That's roughly a billion more than the 2000 market generated, the report states.
Within that time span, ElectroniCast predicts the hottest growth in semiautomated equipment. Manual assembly products held a 28 percent market share in 2000, including nominally manual products integrated into semiautomated equipment. However, that share will dwindle, according to the report, as manufacturers increase their level of automation.
Fully automated manufacturing systems will expand their fraction of the market from 2 percent in 2000 to 7 percent by 2005. But the real activity will be in semiautomated equipment, which ElectroniCast predicts will control 74 percent, or $1.27 billion, of the market. In 2000, this section's slice represented 69 percent of the pie and totaled $498 million.
Fiber alignment and fiber attachment applications led automated equipment consumption in 2000, fueling 29 percent of all purchases. Equipment for testing, verifying and recording performance parameters for components was the next-largest application, but it is growing slightly faster than fiber alignment. The report also predicts impressive growth for pick-and-place and machine vision equipment used in automated assembly of fiber optic components.
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