Anne L. Fischer, Senior Editor
According to “Industry Report 2005: The Optical, Medical and Mechatronical Industry in Germany,” released by Spectaris eV of Berlin, approximately 55 percent of business conducted in these sectors in 2004 was driven by photonics and precision engineering. Total growth was just over 9 percent, with domestic sales increasing by about 4 percent.
The measuring technology and sensor segment constituted 26 percent of the industry. It was up more than 10 percent from 2003, with exports accounting for more than half of sales.
The laser and optical components segment accounted for 12 percent of the industry and was 12 percent higher than the previous year. Again, exports led the way at nearly 67 percent of the market, although domestic sales increased by nearly 7 percent from the previous year. A little more than half of exports went to the European Union, followed by nearly 15 percent to North America and almost 14 percent to Asia.
The high growth in exports was due in part to increasing demand from new markets in Asia, especially China, said Harald Hartmann, project manager at Spectaris. Other markets, such as the US, are increasing as well. Exports of lasers and optics to North America, for example, rose by 15.5 percent from 2003 to 2004.
Imports to the laser and optical components industry in Germany came predominantly from Asia (32 percent), the European Union (26.5 percent) and North America (25 percent). Manufacturers in this industry expect further growth, especially in exports.
Almost 16 percent of created jobs in industrial production in Germany are associated with optical technologies. Innovation in this sector is the result of research and development, with such efforts representing 11 percent of sales.