PIL&M Inc.

Category: Blog

Are you looking for a laser welding service company where you can build your proof of concept samples prior to investing a huge sum of money on a laser? Let PIL&M Inc., laser welding engineering consulting services help you with your project. We have over 25 years of engineering consulting services and we can help provide solutions to all your laser welding or laser cutting requirements. Many of our current clients are from the biotech industry so we are accustomed to welding small parts as small as .0.025″ OD to whatever size your parts may need. We don’t charge an upfront fee for your first article feasibility samples and we guarantee all our work, satisfaction guaranteed if you are not happy with our work we will re do it for you. 

There are different types of laser depending on the types of materials you are trying to weld, thickness, surface finish, weld width, pattern and much more. Let PIL&M Inc., help explore the most suitable option for your application and provide all the samples you need for your development. And as you’re ready to transfer into production you can use our developed processes to set up your line. We also provide technology transfer service where we will provide all the know-how to help keep your line running including process validation of your line.

Laser and traditional welding are still competing

With much faster processing speeds and higher quality, you might think laser welding would quickly take over the field. But traditional welding hangs on. And depending on who you ask and what applications you consider, it may never go away. So what are the pros and cons of each method that continue to result in a mixed market?


Trumpf’s Fusion Line features a laser assisted with wire to introduce more mass into the weld, bridging gaps up to 1 mm wide.

Traditional methods of welding remain popular. Broadly speaking, three types of traditional welding used in industry are MIG (metal inert gas), TIG (tungsten inert gas), and resistance spot. In resistance spot welding, two electrodes press the parts to be joined between them, large current is forced through that spot, and the electrical resistance of the part material generates the heat that welds the pieces


There is significant competition in the market between different cutting technologies, whether they are intended for sheet metal, tubes or profiles. There are those that use methods of mechanical cutting by abrasion and others that prefer thermal methods.

Waterjet, Oxycut, Plasma or Laser, Which Cutting Technology Should I Use?

Article from | lantek Sheet Metal Solutions

However, with recent breakthroughs in the laser world of fiber cutting technology, there is technological competition taking place between high definition plasma, CO2 laser, and the aforementioned fiber laser.

Which is the most economical? The most accurate? For what kind of thickness? How about material? In this post we will explain the characteristics of each, so that we are best able to choose the one that best suits our needs.



This is an interesting technology for all those materials that might be affected by heat when performing cold cutting, such as plastics, coatings or cement panels. To increase the power of the cut, an abrasive material may be used that is suitable for working with steel measuring greater than 300 mm. It can be very useful in this manner for hard materials such as ceramics, stone or glass.



Although laser has gained popularity over punching machines for certain types of cuts, there is still a place for it due to the fact that the cost of the machine is much lower, as well as its speed and its ability to perform form tool and tapping operations that are not possible with laser technology.



This technology is the most suitable for carbon steel of greater thicknesses (75mm). However, it is not effective for stainless steel and aluminum. It offers a high degree of portability, since it does not require a special electrical connection, and initial investment is low.



High-definition plasma is close to laser in quality for greater thicknesses, but with a lower purchase cost. It is the most suitable from 5mm, and is practically unbeatable from 30mm, where the laser is not able to reach, with the capacity to reach up to 90mm in thickness in carbon steel, and 160mm in stainless steel. Without a doubt, it is a good option for bevel cutting. It can be used with ferrous and non-ferrous, as well as oxidized, painted, or grid materials.


CO2 Laser

Generally speaking, the laser offers a more precise cutting capability. This is especially the case with lesser thicknesses and when machining small holes. CO2 is suitable for thicknesses between 5mm and 30mm.


Fiber Laser

Fiber laser is proving itself to be a technology that offers the speed and quality of traditional CO2 laser cutting, but for thicknesses less than 5 mm. In addition, it is more economical and efficient in terms of energy usage. As a result, investment, maintenance and operation costs are lower. In addition, the gradual decrease in the price of the machine has been significantly reducing differentiating factors in comparison to plasma. Due to this, an increasing number of manufacturers have begun to embark on the adventure of marketing and manufacturing this type of technology. This technique also offers better performance with reflective materials, including copper and brass. In short, the fiber laser is becoming a leading technology, with an added ecological advantage.

So then, what can we do when we are carrying out production in thickness ranges where several technologies might be suitable? How should our software systems be configured in order to obtain the best performance in these situations? The first thing we must do is to have several machining options depending on the technology used. The same part will require a specific type of machining that ensures the best use of resources, depending on the technology of the machine where it will be processed, thus achieving the desired cutting quality.

There will be times when a part can only be executed using one of the technologies. Therefore, we will require a system that uses advanced logic to determine the specific manufacturing route. This logic considers factors such as the material, the thickness, the desired quality, or the diameters of the internal holes, analyzes the part that we want to manufacture, including both its physical and geometric properties, and deduces which is the most suitable machine to produce it.

Once the machine has been selected, we may encounter overload situations that prevent production moving forward. Software that features load management systems and allocation to work queues would have the capacity to choose a second machining type or a second compatible technology to process the part with another machine that is in a better situation and that allows manufacturing in time. It may even allow for work to be subcontracted, in the event that there is no excess capacity. That is, it will avoid idle periods and will make manufacturing more efficient.

As we can see, the cutting specialization and the use of different cutting technologies for each particular case also involves having CAD/CAM software that is able to address the use and combination of these machines within a single system. In addition, it must include the possibility of assigning and managing the ideal machine, combining both technology and the workload situation. It should also always allow us to manufacture with the quality that is needed, in the most economical manner possible, and respecting delivery times.

Evolution of the need for Expeditionary Manufacturing

There is a demand signal to produce a machine capable of Metal printing on the front lines. Phillips has developed a Hybrid technology that adds a Wire fed Direct Energy Deposition head to a Haas machine.

Evolution of the Need for Expeditionary Manufacturing| Phillips Federal


Additive Manufacturing (AM) has the potential to rewrite the economics of production. It offers the ability to create more complex geometries and structures than is possible with traditional methods, enables greater efficiencies and performance.

Lack of Automation is Holding Additive Back

Anthony Graves, Head of Software Product and Strategy, Digital Manufacturing, HP | Dyndrite

So why hasn’t AM really delivered on its potential?

It’s not a question about whether these advances are possible. NASA has re-engineered a fuel injector and was able to reduce the number of parts in an assembly from 115 subcomponents to just two. A manufacturer of laboratory equipment was able to reduce the time to manufacture wax turbine molds by almost 90%, from 170 hours down to only 18, by using additive manufacturing. (Deloitte.) These are proven advancements with measurable economic impact. But as impressive as these gains are, they are too infrequent in production scenarios. While additive manufacturing is used regularly to produce concept models and functional prototypes, and gaining traction for low volume parts production, use within high volume production environments, where the financial impact would be significant, is growing much more slowly.

As a finished product design winds its way through the manual 3D printing build preparation process of positioning, nesting, creating support structures and slicing before finally being transferred to the printer, these costly devices often sit idle, underutilized, and waiting for input. Time Lost equals Potential Lost. It equals Money Lost. And if new or different parts need to be added to the build, the hours-long process begins again. Manual steps add time and they create opportunities for variance. Neither is acceptable at Cobra MOTO, where the pandemic’s focus on outdoor, individualized sports, has spurred record growth in mini motocross bikes. Its 3D printers need to be fully engaged and utilized, and their parts uniform and reliable.

Wirelessly rechargeable soft brain implant controls brain cells

Researchers have invented a smartphone-controlled soft brain implant that can be recharged wirelessly from outside the body

Researchers have invented a smartphone-controlled soft brain implant that can be recharged wirelessly from outside the body. It enables long-term neural circuit manipulation without the need for periodic disruptive surgeries to replace the battery of the implant. Scientists believe this technology can help uncover and treat psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases such as addiction, depression, and Parkinson’s.


An international research team has developed a simple but robust blood test from Chinese patient data for early detection and screening of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with an accuracy level of over 96%


Engineers find imaging technique could become treatment for deep vein thrombosis

Researchers set out to develop technology capable of localizing and imaging blood clots in deep veins. Turns out their work may not only identify blood clots, but it may also be able to treat them.

Penn State

Laser and traditional welding are still competing

With much faster processing speeds and higher quality, you might think laser welding would quickly take over the field. But traditional welding hangs on. And depending on who you ask and what applications you consider, it may never go away. So what are the pros and cons of each method that continue to result in a mixed market?

Trumpf’s Fusion Line features a laser assisted with wire to introduce more mass into the weld, bridging gaps up to 1 mm wide.

Traditional methods of welding remain popular. Broadly speaking, three types of traditional welding used in industry are MIG (metal inert gas), TIG (tungsten inert gas), and resistance spot. In resistance spot welding, two electrodes press the parts to be joined between them, large current is forced through that spot, and the electrical resistance of the part material generates the heat that welds the pieces


Mechatronics and industrial automation are two fields that overlap to some extent. But they have their differences, too. Here’s a definition of each, plus how they benefit the manufacturing sector.

How Are Mechatronics and Industrial Automation Different?

How Are Mechatronics and Industrial Automation Different?

Megan Ray Nichols | Schooled by Science

What Is Mechatronics?

Mechatronics is the convergence of mechanical engineering with electronics and electrical circuits, plus control and software engineering. Some people also add telecommunications to the fields that mechatronics encompasses.

Jim Devaprasad, a professor in the engineering and technology school at Lake Superior State University, broadened his mechatronics definition to include a manufacturing element. He also pointed out that mechatronics is what people once termed “systems engineering.”

Although mechatronics began as the study of mechanical and electrical interactions, it has since changed. Mechatronics now involves studying how those electromechanical happenings affect other equipment. Some of that equipment relates to industrial automation, such as robots.

Professionals who study mechatronics often build the automated systems that manufacturing plants increasingly use. But a mechatronics system is not necessarily specific to industrial automation. For example, if a digital thermostat has a feedback sensor and a microprocessor, it’s a mechatronics system. But that thermostat may not have any automated elements — and digital thermostats are not solely associated with industrial automation.

During the design process of a system or product, mechatronics professionals prioritize system-based thinking and interdisciplinary problem-solving. System-based thinking means that a person takes a holistic view to understand how each part relates to another and affects the system as a whole. The interdisciplinary aspect indicates that people who specialize in mechatronics can anticipate working with people from different fields to collaborate for the best results

The Benefits of Mechatronics for Manufacturing

Mechatronics design takes customer or project specifications into account. It also looks for cross-functional issues that could crop up unless dealt with in the early stages. Moreover, mechatronics seeks to optimize high functionality and efficiency, two qualities that promote progress in manufacturing as well as other industries.

A partnership between Siemens and Festo Didactic aims to directly address the manufacturing skills shortage with mechatronics training. Students receive training in a simulated smart factory environment, which equips them for advanced manufacturing careers after they get certified through the program.

What Is Industrial Automation?

Industrial automation focuses on using technology to achieve tasks with minimal human intervention. People often bring up a four-tier hierarchy when discussing the topic.

At the bottom is the field level, which is comprised of sensors and actuators. The sensors collect data on things like temperature and speed. Conversely, the actuators receive electrical or pneumatic signals and convert them into actions.

The second segment is the control level, which contains various automation controls. Programmable logic controllers receive frequent usage in industrial settings and are examples of the kinds of controls found at this level. The controls allow operators to program a machine to perform certain functions and automate how it operates.

The third tier is the supervisory level. It contains equipment such as human-machine interfaces and gadgets that can set production targets or trigger startup and shutdown commands.

The enterprise level is the top part of the hierarchy. It manages the entire automation system but relates more to the commercial aspects, like sales and orders, than the technical things going on in the background.

The Benefits of Industrial Automation for Manufacturing

Industrial automation machines frequently have mechanical and electrical components working together. This is where the lines between mechatronics and industrial automation blur somewhat. However, as clarified earlier, some mechatronic devices have no automated components. Some schools offer courses that expose students to both mechatronics and industrial automation.

Industrial automation is a primary component of the fourth industrial revolution. Advancements center on combining computers with physical equipment to achieve the ideal results. Thus, the companies that invest in industrial automation often seek benefits such as increased output and improved scalability.

Since industrial automation minimizes or eliminates human involvement, it can cut down on issues related to fatigue or user error. Some systems can respond to changes and self-adjust as necessary. Others let operators avoid downtime by alerting people of the need for maintenance.

As the demands on manufacturing plants rise, industrial automation will enjoy a growing relevance. Moreover, it will evolve as technologies improve or get tweaked for better suitability in manufacturing

Two Concepts With Significant Overlap

As this overview shows, there are not always clear-cut distinctions between mechatronics and industrial automation. Mechatronics specialists often work on projects related to industrial automation but tackle other projects, too. And while mechatronics is an umbrella term covering many disciplines, industrial automation is more tightly focused. It seeks to let machines perform tasks that began as solely manual duties.

However, despite the differences between these fields, both of them can positively impact manufacturing. As the sector gets ever more advanced and dependent on specialized machines, the contributions of mechatronics and industrial automation experts will remain indispensable for the foreseeable future.

We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘like a kid in a candy store’. Visiting automation trade shows can leave even the calmest visitors eager to get their hands on some automation action. Before parting with your cash.

How long is the warranty?

Sounds obvious, right?  Under the intense lighting of a trade show venue however, asking about warranty can easily be forgotten. Take the time to establish how long the warranty covers your new product for, and what actually counts as a warranty claim. Take a six-axis robot as an example. Does the warranty cover the detachable parts, should as the grip pads or nozzles? 

Remember, even reconditioned parts should come with a 12-month warranty. Once this formality is established — and confirmed in writing — you can rest assured you won’t be left in a warranty war should the equipment break down. 

Is the part compatible with existing machinery?

Buying a new machine without any consideration for integration is like buying a pet goat and expecting it to get on with your cats. It’s not impossible, but it’s unlikely. Factories are an intricate ecosystem, and one incompatible part will have a knock-on effect on other machines downstream. 

By the time you’re signing on the dotted line for a new robot, you should already know which part of production it will be used for. What equipment will it interact with? Perhaps it’s a pick-and-place robot for use alongside a conveyor. In this case, you will need to ensure the line’s machine vision is compatible with both pieces of equipment. 

You should also consider whether your production line will enable equipment to work to its full potential. Existing machinery may mean the robot cannot deliver the 0.4 second cycle time it can achieve, as the conveyor cannot accommodate this speed.  As a result, a bottleneck scenario is created. 

In cases like this, it could be argued you haven’t targeted the best pain point in production. Ask these questions first, and you will avoid disappointment later.


Will it fit?

Have you considered the layout of your shop floor? Before making a purchase, there are factory floor layout simulators available to see what your reorganised floor would look like with a new part. When simulating this, you shouldn’t forget the peripheral equipment that may be required for your new part. For instance, buying a robot may require safety fencing, adding a few extra metres to the machine’s footprint. 

If your part requires fencing, you might also require additional safety automation that needs to be purchased. Mat guards and industrial light curtains are both examples of necessary, but sometimes forgotten costs. Does the budget allow for these extras?

Visiting a trade show this year? Stop, think and breathe. There’s a lot of candy up for grabs, but you need to unwrap a few truths before parting with your cash.

Manufacturing Tomorrow

Claudia Jarrett | EU Automation

The 3 Step Guide to Buying Automation

Follow by Email