As in the overall laboratory NIR market, agriculture and food applications are by far the largest area of application for handheld NIR instruments. Their portable nature allows their use for characterizing the ripeness of crops such as grapes on the vine while they are still growing. In contrast to the larger laboratory NIR market, however, the use of handheld and portable NIR in the polymers and plastics industry is sizable and growing rapidly because of several recent instrument introductions that are being sold primarily to the carpet recycling industry. The high price of petroleum is now making the carpet recycling industry much more economically viable. Another major area of application for handheld and portable NIR is in the pharmaceutical industry for incoming raw materials inspection on the dock, which eliminates the time needed to send samples to the laboratory.
The overall market for handheld and portable NIR spectroscopy was worth approximately $12 million worldwide in 2006, representing only a small fraction of the more than $200 million laboratory NIR market. However, the handheld and portable market is expected to see on the order of 20% growth in 2007, and should see solid double-digit growth for a number of years to come.The foregoing data were based on SDi's market analysis and perspectives report entitled Edition Global Assessment Report, 9th Edition: The Laboratory Life Science and Analytical Instrument Industry, September 2006. For more information, contact Stuart Press, Senior Consultant, Strategic Directions International, Inc., 6242 Westchester Parkway, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90045, (310) 641-4982, fax: (310) 641-8851, http://www.strategic-directions.com/.