MCLEAN, VA—At $97.1 million, second-quarter 2003 shipments of industrial laser equipment and systems for North America and U.S. exports were down 25% from year earlier levels, according to the Laser Systems Product Group (LSPG) of the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). Industrial Laser equipment and systems shipments within North America by the 41 companies who participated totaled $73.1 million, while exports amounted to $24.1 million.

The report shows that shipments of CO2 laser systems decreased about 20% and Nd:YAG lasers were down 40% compared with the previous year. The report also shows cutting applications as the largest source of industrial laser activity in the second quarter, accounting for roughly 65% of all shipments. In addition, nearly 70% of industrial lasers shipped for the quarter were of the CO2 variety, and more than 80% of total shipments were configured as a laser system (laser source and workstation).

“It is critical to understand that the decline in laser shipments reflects the rate of capacity utilization, which is near 70% among key customers,” says Dave Plourde, LSPG’s chairman and vice president—metals group, Preco Laser Systems. “The figure may not seem low, but productivity increases cannot justify demand for machines when this much spare capacity exists.”