Laser welding has a niche in the automotive industry, but opportunities exist elsewhere for its expansion, according to the “European Laser Welding Equipment Markets” report released earlier this year by Frost & Sullivan of London.The study includes data on industry trends and existing and future market opportunities. Details were obtained through interviews with market participants in 2004. Although the report notes that the automotive industry continues to be the dominant market for laser welding, it lists other markets that use it for metal processing, including the light industrial, aerospace and heavy industrial, electronics and medical equipment, research institute and subcontractor sectors.The European laser welding equipment market was dominated by German companies Trumpf and Rofin-Sinar in 2004, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan.Geographically, Germany represented 67.3 percent of the laser welding equipment market in 2004, with France and Italy trailing at 8.8 and 7.9 percent, respectively. The analysts speculate that Germany’s position is largely due to its strong automotive manufacturing market and the resulting proliferation of laser source manufacturers, end users, systems integrators and research institutes.Not surprisingly, a list of key industry participants is headed by two German companies, which together account for four-fifths of the total market share. Trumpf GmbH + Co. KG of Ditzingen held more than 50 percent of the market in 2004, while Rofin-Sinar Laser GmbH of Hamburg held nearly one-third.The report indicates that the Nd:YAG laser source prevailed in the European laser welding market, generating a 56.5 percent share of the revenues in 2004. The CO2 laser held 37.7 percent of the revenues, and diode, fiber, disk and other lasers accounted for the remaining 5.8 percent. Forecasting beyond 2004, the report suggests that the major growth areas will be in heavy and light industrial manufacturing, where there will be a demand for CO2 lasers, and in the electronics and medical sectors, where there will be a need for low-power Nd:YAG laser welding equipment. Report analysts predict that, as new opportunities are realized, revenues in the European laser welding equipment market will rise from $542.8 million in 2004 to $802.2 million in 2011.The study is part of the Welding Subscription Service, which encompasses research in the Italian, Russian and Ukrainian laser welding equipment and consumables markets. For more information, contact Magdalena Oberland by e-mail, email@example.com, at Frost & Sullivan.