After a strong downturn in 2012 and 2013 due to the collapse of the military market, the uncooled IR imaging industry came back into a growth phase in 2014 and 2015. Today, the infrared business is still driven by commercial markets, which will continue to expand quickly, with shipments growing at 16.8% CAGR to account for 92% of the overall market by 2021. The commercial market is divided into three major sub-segments:
- Thermography, which will account for 521,000 units in 2021. In 2015, thermography was still by far the main commercial market in terms of both value and shipments. “Since 2013, Fluke and FLIR have introduced several new products with lower pricing, which has boosted sales,” comments Dr Mounier. The trend towards lower-end thermography cameras has also prompted the introduction of low-resolution technologies such as pyroelectric sensors, thermopiles, and thermodiodes.
- From its side, the automotive market segment will account for 284,000 units by 2021, according to Yole’s analysts. Automotive market shipments grew 15% in 2015, although the growth rate was down from 30% in 2014. Total automotive sales, including OEM and aftermarket, accounted for less than 100,000 units in 2015, generating US$61 million, which reflects strong price erosion.
- Ultimately, surveillance and security applications will account for 248,000 units in 2021. Surveillance market shipments grew 32% in 2015 due to price erosion and the growing number of suppliers.