Alexa

President envisions global role for Taiwan's Laser Valley

President envisions global role for Taiwan's Laser Valley

Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) Encouraged by signs of the laser industry's rise in Taiwan, President Ma Ying-jeou expressed hope Wednesday that the sector's production value to quintuple in four years to make Taiwan's Laser Valley a key player in the global market. Such a jump would represent an annual output increase from the current NT$4 billion (US$136 million) to NT$20 billion, Ma said at the opening of the first Laser Expo in Taiwan. Ma explained that the value of Taiwan's production of laser processing equipment reached between NT$3 billion and NT$4 billion in 2012, citing statistics compiled by the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). However, domestic demand for such products has been assessed at between NT$30 billion and NT$35 billion per year, which means there is ample room for the sector to grow, he said. In addition, Ma said there are great trade opportunities that could be derived from factories that make electronic parts and components, semiconductors, flat panels and metal products, all of which use laser processing equipment. Because of this, he went on, his administration began promoting the establishment of a "Laser Valley" at the ITRI's South Campus in the southern city of Tainan, taking the success in the field in Germany and the United States as references and using the ITRI's research and development strength. He expressed hope that the laser facilities and the R&D development momentum in the "South Laser Valley Incubation and Pilot Factory" will help push the transformation of Taiwan's existing manufacturing industries and create new ones. Further, the project will help bring together up-, mid- and downstream industries to form an industrial cluster, the president said. Ma said the Laser Valley will help upgrade Taiwan's optomechatronic, material and automation equipment manufacturing technologies and make Taiwan into a global laser industry supply center. According to the ITRI, the Laser Valley project began in July with the ITRI's assistance to relevant businesses in the R&D and trial manufacturing of products such as laser sources, laser application modules, femtosecond laser applications and products in the field of additive manufacturing. More than 70 local and foreign businesses and research institutes have set up 170 booths at the 2013 Laser Expo Taiwan, which is being held at the Nangang Exhibition Hall, showcasing lasers in the fields of high power industry applications, micro processing, bio-materials, consumer lasers, key components, laser sources and additive manufacturing. The expo will run through Oct. 25. (By Wei Shu and Elizabeth Hsu)