I’ve been looking at the most recent fiscal year quarterly reports from companies in the Industrial Laser Solutions financial database because I was curious to see if a statement I have made a number of times is correct. The statement refers to companies pushing every last order out the door on the last day of their fiscal year so that annual sales were shown most favorably.
I averaged out the published results from a dozen leading suppliers of industrial lasers, laser systems, and related products and found two interesting facts: one related to the statement and the other confirming that the economy in the industrial laser sector was greatly improved.
On average the surveyed companies showed a modest single digit growth in revenues in the first quarter of FY11 compared to the last quarter of the previous fiscal year. Not surprising I guess, confirming my statement. I also noted that the last quarter of FY10 easily outperformed the previous three quarters.
At first I was a little disappointed in the numbers for the start of the new fiscal year, until I considered that fourth quarter FY10 was for many companies a record quarter, with some companies enjoying a 50% growth in revenues over the year coming out of the recession. Thus, a modest single digit growth on top of record revenues meant that FY11 was starting off with a bang.
On another matter, the Laser Institute of America's Northeast Regional meeting, held last week in Nashua, NH, focused on ultra-fast laser processing of industrial material. With a modest promotion, this event drew a record attendance with more than 80 members and non-members showing up, including some from the West Coast, who arranged their travel to include this event.
What drew this audience? For starters, four speakers form the laser supplier industry presented their products in a wide range of material processing applications, much to the surprise of many in the audience who were unaware of the rapid strides being made in the UFP technology. Led by the organizer and moderator Ron Schaeffer (Photomachining Inc.), presenters Bill Clark (Clark MXR), Mike Armas (Raydiance), Sid Wright (RPMC Lasers), and Paul Graham (TRUMPF) made a strong case for impressive sales growth over the coming years.
Even those familiar with this progress were impressed by the inroads these lasers are making into the industrial marketplace. And those of us who are always looking for the next big market push may have found it in the new applications that had, until now, not been laser capable.