Category Archives: Advanced Engineering Analysis

Make it Better and Improve Performance!

Dymax Corporation, located in Torrington, CT, is a leading manufacturer of advanced light-curable adhesives, coatings, oligomers, light-curing equipment, and fluid dispensing systems that work together to optimize manufacturing assembly processes.  Dymax came to Sigma Design Company to improve their WIDECURE® conveyor system. WIDECURE is a 25″ wide UV curing system with 700 mW/cm² of curing power. This system is typically used in industrial plants for the curing of adhesives during the assembly of aerospace, electronic and automotive components.  Dymax Corporation is well known for making manufactures more efficient and need to update the design of the WIDECURE with additional safety and performance features. Dymax presented Sigma with a solid and dependable machine, but a machine that lacked the features needed by its industrial customers and users. Learn more about Dymax here.

Sigma took their original prototypes and examined every single nut and bolt to do a complete redesign of the original machine. Aside from adding a number of safety and performance features to the system, Sigma greatly improved the user interface of the unit and overall quality and reliability of the system. The WIDECURE is aesthetically more pleasing and a truly gorgeous machine. Operators will be very pleased with its new ergonomic design and low level machine noise. Sigma’s new design also includes provisions for lifting and transporting the machine in a safer manner. WATCH VIDEO HERE!

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Dymax WIDECURE conveyor system at Sigma Design Company facility.

Sigma engineered several important features, making the new WIDECURE system a real state of the art unit. The control scheme of the machine was redesigned to be category 3 safety compliant.  Our engineers added an Allen Bradley PLC and HMI (Programmable Logic Controller and Human Machine Interface), and an open loop stepper system to smoothly lift and lower the UV lamp assembly.  Sigma turned a dependable machine into a world class system allowing the customer to better meet the needs of the industrial marketplace.

Contact Sigma Design Company about how we can improve your designs! 

Full “STEAM” Ahead

We are all familiar with STEM but what is STEAM?  “STEAM” takes the standard STEM formulation (science, technology, engineering, and math) and adds an A for arts. The movement, led by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) encourages the integration of Art + Design in K-20 education.

It is not about teaching art as a separate discipline but exploring where art naturally fits. Proponents of STEAM suggest we can be better engineers by learning how to think creatively through challenging design projects, like this one.   

Our design team at SIGMA became part of a RISD graduate’s studio in a recent fabrication project combining art and engineering. Rebecca Manson, an artist specializing in ceramics, was creating an eight foot diameter sphere made of thousands of small porcelain parts. Ms. Manson describes the piece as…”a look underneath our skin at the enduring structure that all humans share”. By recalling what is known as the ‘Overview Effect’;.. “the principal that when one sees the earth from space, feelings of deep love and concern for the planet reportedly wash over them…” the sphere represents a memorial to the planet earth. This stunning ‘union of bones’ created with paint over glaze over pigmented clay results in layers of color that change with light, angle and personal perspective. Only a very talented engineering and fabrication team would be able to make this project a reality.

Fortunately, the artist found SIGMA Design.

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Howard Mikuylak working on the sphere

The giant, extremely fragile sphere had to be constructed in a mold, one half at a time.  SIGMA’s challenge was to construct the internal structural framework, which would support and align the sphere to rotate about its vertical axis.  Solid knowledge of geometry, strength of materials, and adhesives was required. Testing was done on the materials and their flexibility under various conditions and temperatures. Too much rigidity in the structure or adhesives would have caused the structure to break.

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Sigma Design’s Max Burns and Bruce Knapp working on the 1/2 sphere

When the first half was delivered in its ‘nest’ a rope ladder was constructed to allow work on the internal structure without stepping on the delicate ceramic shell. When the internal structure was done and secured into the shell, it was time to release the shell from the ‘nest’.

If you have ever tried to turn a warm cake out of a pan, hoping it would come out in one piece without breaking, you might understand our anxiety as we carefully turned over the nest. Would this giant sculpture come crashing out destroying months of work on the ceramic pieces? Would it require a bit of coaxing, tapping, and gravity, like that cake? 

We held our breaths, turned it over, and, well- it was stuck! Twelve hours later we had the sculpture safely out of the nested mold, which then returned to the artist’s studio for the creation of the second half.

Rebecca’s team got to work and weeks later we had the second half back in our shop. Upon delivery of the ‘northern hemisphere’, SIGMA got to work on joining the halves, and installing the pedestal.

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The finished product! (Sphere #2, 2016)

Throughout the project, SIGMA’s ability to support the artist’s vision while working within the realities of math and physics was a unique challenge. The idea that STEAM education might make these types of collaborations happen more often is very exciting to us.

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Rebecca Manson & the Sigma Design Team

Advanced Engineering & Machine Automation

Sigma Design is proud to have recently joined the Rockwell Automation OEM Program, which is part of the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork™ .

As we further develop this relationship we see opportunities to:

* Serve new market sectors.

* Improve technical competency in automation.

Sigma and Rockwell will review and perfect best practice architecture and control design for our new machines using Rockwell Automation components and consultation support services.

Pneumatic actuated, PLC controlled mechanisms can help manufacturers significantly reduce cycle times.

We are working on two such systems right now and are ready to get started on your project!  

www.sigmadesign.net

Prototypes with a Twist

An inventor needed a customized auger for an unusual application. The problem was that it could not be produced using traditional  CNC machine methods or as an injection molded plastic part. So, a few hours spent with a product development expert at Sigma resulted in the complex blade geometry needed for the auger in a process that could be readily manufactured.

 With our Rapid Prototyping FDM machines we can take your design concepts and grow ABS plastic parts. Used as a quick, proof of concept development tool, parts can usually be created, manufactured and shipped in just two (2) days.

Sigma Design is ready to:
*Take your geometry and produce prototypes.
*Design new geometry and produce prototypes.
*Develop and manufacture prototype devices, specialty production equipment and controls with testing capabilities in-house.

Winning the Rat Race

The term ‘rat race’ has been described as a “seemingly pointless or endless pursuit”.   The work of today’s research scientist is hardly pointless but one aspect of the work, while not endless, was a tedious pursuit.  We are describing the work of researchers charged with the task of  observing and documenting the behavior of mice in lab settings. The job was to watch and score lengthy video recordings of the creature’s every move.  That was until Jessie Brodkin came up with an idea that he has described as “thinking inside the box”.  

Brodkin’s creation is The Behavioral Spectrometer (http://behavioralinstruments.com), a humane device that captures everything your mouse does without having to watch and score hours of video recordings.  Brodkin found SigmaDesign Company and its team of mechanical design engineers for the job.  Sigma designed, tested and now manufactures this ‘mouse house’, The Behavioral Spectrometer, right here in NJ.  The job required advanced engineering analysis and skills to incorporate LED lighting, vibrations sensors, and isolation dampers. It has the capability of using advanced video and vibration analysis to record the most detailed description of mouse behavior ever.      

Brodkin’s ‘made in NJ’ product has met with huge success in the research and pharmaceutical world. The Behavioral Spectrometer is used by Rutgers University’s Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Pfizer, and other global R&D laboratories for the development of new treatments and drugs. The latest 4 systems were just shipped to a R&D laboratory in Austria. To read customer articles and references: http://behavioralinstruments.com/references

This is another success story showing Sigma Design Company’s ability to provide manufacturing engineering and product development services to people like you.Sigma Design is your single source engineering and manufacturing resource for new products and specialty machinery. 

Please contact us about your next project!  

Global Manufacturer of Engine Filters Saves 3 Months and Thousands of Dollars in Cyclic Fatigue Testing Program

A globally known filter manufacturer had a fast-paced program and needed help to reduce their test program time.

A non-linear plastic simulation analysis.

A non-linear plastic simulation analysis.

Starting with a first-pass iteration of a filter canister design, Sigma engineers used non-linear plastic simulation analysis to determine whether long-term cyclic loading would be likely to cause permanent deformation, and worse yet, failure.

After further simulation review we found that there were certain areas in the molded housing that were suspect to failure. As often found in these analyses, the defects were less than obvious.

The software and Sigma’s engineering analytical skills uncovered these areas, which saved the client needed time and money. The client modified the design and went to physical testing, saving 2 to 3 weeks of iterations. This insight got their program back on track and on budget.

Sigma’s engineering experience helps product launches stay on schedule by removing the unforeseen obstacles that delay new product development progress. Our team is capable of performing Linear Stress, Non-Linear Plastic Deformation, Computational Fluid Analysis, as well as other specialized engineering software.

Sigma Not Chicken To Take On Complex FEA Project

How much heat does it take to keep food safe for consumption? Sigma used its advanced engineering skills to answer this question. A New Jersey-based company asked Sigma to analyze their warming tray prototype by preforming a heat power analysis and thermal FEA on the heater element and control circuit.

This model was created to show the surface temperature of the warming plate.

This model was created to show the surface temperature of the warming plate.

The tray is designed to keep rotisserie chickens at a safe internal temperature of 140°F and breakfast sandwiches at a slightly lower temperature. This will be determined by a high and low setting that is set by an operator’s switch.

The first step was to determine the steady state heat power requirements to keep the chicken at temperature by using hand calculations. Then a simplified FEA was run to verify that it matched the
hand calculations.

The next step was to source heater elements that match the power requirements found in the hand and FEA calculations from the previous steps. The final step was to determine a control circuit to keep the surface temperature of the plate as constant as possible, meeting the FDA requirements for safe holding temperatures.

Want Sigma to turn up the heat on one of your projects? Contact us today and find out how Sigma Design Company can make your product a reality.

SIGMA Design Company- Turning Smart Ideas into Product Solutions