Fiber optic sensor market to see 18% growth through 2018
In a recent report, the market analysis firm ElectroniCast Consultants forecasts an 18% per year growth rate for global consumption of fiber optic point sensors and continuous distributed fiber optics sensor systems, raising annual sales from $1.89 billion in 2013 to $4.33 billion in 2018.
Continuous distributed fiber optic sensor systems are optical fiber with the sensors embedded with the fiber. ElectroniCast counts each point fiber optic sensor as one unit; however, the volume of distributed continuous fiber optic sensors is based on a complete optical fiber line and associated components, which are defined as a system. An earlier report by the Photonic Sensor Consortium on just the distributed fiber-optic sensors estimated the market to be $586 million in 2013 and projected it to be $1.1 billion in 2016, with 70% associated with the oil and gas segments.
The use of distributed continuous fiber optic sensors in the military/aerospace/security application category maintains the lead in 2014, followed by the petrochemical/ energy sector. The civil engineering/construction sector, which includes continuous fiber sensors used in structural health monitoring as well as other applications in buildings, bridges, tunnels, and towers is also forecast for strong growth. Inspection and quality control frequently constitute the largest portion of production costs for many industries.
According to Stephen Montgomery, one of the analysts, “There is a growing need for improved measurement solutions, which offer higher precision, speed, and accuracy and provide better in-process measurement of moving objects, resulting in lower costs for better products. Relatively speaking, the manufacturing/ factory segment tends to favor point sensors instead of distributed fiber systems.”
“The biomedical/ science sector is a relatively minor user of distributed continuous fiber optic sensors, in terms of consumption value, since the length of optical fiber is (very) short versus the other applications; therefore, the average selling prices for the distributed continuous fiber optic sensor systems are low compared to the larger (longer length of optical fiber) distributed continuous fiber optic sensor systems used in other applications. The consumption value of distributed continuous fiber optic sensor systems is forecast to grow at 23% per year from $1.099 billion in 2013 to $3.096 billion in the year 2018,” Montgomery added.