Category Archives: Engineering

Engineers Without Borders

Sigma Design Company has been working on water products and systems for almost 20 years. Whether it is Ballast Water Treatment Testing or the design of Complex Marine Systems, Sigma has emerged as the ‘go-to’ expert on all types of water-related systems. Sigma has provided technical engineering support to Catholic Relief Service (CRS) for 15 years, with clean water projects in Guatemala, Kenya, and the Philippines.

When Fordham University’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB)was looking for

 technical mentors, it was Sigma’s expertise in navigating water projects around the globe that made us a good fit. “Engineers Without Borders USA believes in the power of engineering to change lives. Clean water. Reliable energy. Safe access. These are gifts that truly keep on giving.” To learn more please visit the EWB website.

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Three years into our involvement with this impressive group of students, we have been surprised that many industry professionals do not know about EWB. There are nearly 300 chapters throughout the U.S., with each group committed to using their technical skills to improve the lives of others. The projects have been described by the students as ‘life changing’ and have made for some very interesting job interviews.

At a recent meeting at Fordham, graduates who started the EWB program returned to share their stories about how prospective employers were impressed by their involvement in this challenging venture. Check out the Fordham chapter here.

The Fordham EWB project was to design and develop a cooperative fish pond for a community in Uganda. This project is student-driven, with the mentors’ input as advisors in the design process.  After getting EWB approval for the project, the team visited thirty-four fish farming sites in the surrounding area to assess the successes and failures of each venture. Land surveys and assessments of water supply were conducted to determine a suitable site for the first fish pond. Take a look!

The team is preparing for its third working trip in 2018.

Our collaboration as technical mentors has been extremely rewarding and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with EWB!  

 

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! 

Where’d You Earn Your Stripes?

It’s hard to talk about going down to New Orleans without mentioning oysters, po’boys and beignets. But food had to take a back seat during a recent trip to the Big Easy where over 40 McDermott International employees gathered for a reunion. A street car to the Garden District brought us to Bruno’s Tavern to meet with the men who designed, fabricated, and constructed some of the largest marine equipment in the world during the 80’s & 90’s. These projects sent us to Singapore, Spain, Dubai, and our favorite assignment, the south of France. A typical project would require 18 hour days with an occasional day off with this new ‘family’ of expats. The work required supervising large groups of machinists, welders, riggers, and electricians with the task of building monstrous-sized cranes, installing deep sea platforms, and laying hundreds of miles of deep sea gas and crude pipelines.McDermott DB 101The bonds formed living and working together years ago were evident as each person shared stories from then and now. A recurring theme heard throughout the day was about the novice sent into the field, some as young as 22, without any real experience or preparation for the work and responsibility for which they were hired.   They credited McDermott International, originally headquartered in New Orleans, for hiring the right people, giving you a job to do and the tools that were needed to do it, and then just leaving you alone.   You were hired for your ability to work smartly and independently.

These experiences, particularly the offshore projects created the foundation that makes Sigma Design Company able to handle today’s challenging engineering projects. What an adventure it was! It was so great to see everyone! Thanks to Mike McIntosh, Rich Lockwood and Richard Smith for bringing so many of us together.

 

Contact Us With Your Project Needs!

sigmapicSince 1999, we have been trusted by hundreds of manufacturing firms for our engineering and manufacturing services and would love to transform your smart ideas into successful products and machinery. Please give us a call or e-mail us about the projects you are currently working on!  http://www.sigmadesign.net/contact/

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.

Hydraulic Power Test System Development for the United States Navy

Ken DeGraw, Sigma Design Company’s northern NJ rep recently brought in a very interesting project. We are working on a NAVSEA research program to design and build a large Hydraulic Power supply for the US Navy’s weapon testing system.CIMG3348

Sigma is very excited to work on a project with the US Navy. Talk about a project in ‘our wheelhouse’ as they say. Jerry Lynch, a ‘tin can sailor’ who served as a destroyer GMG2 gunner was thrilled to have the opportunity to work on this special project supporting shipboard defense systems for Navy operations.
Michael Collins, the lead engineer on the NAVSEA project worked for the US Navy in Philadelphia before coming to Sigma. This project requires the creative design of safety features while providing 50% more power through their
Hydraulic Power Supply system. With operating pressures in excess of 3000psi the pressure compensation and hydraulic shock suppression systems were key features in the new design. This system joins the growing roster of Sigma’s manufactured in NJ products- designed and built in NJ. Sigma is proud to have the opportunity to work with the Navy to improve operational shipboard defense systems used around the globe but made in NJ.

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!  

Prevention Invention

Anyone with a gas stove has probably had the scary experience of realizing that they have left the stove burner on. Unlike today’s refrigerators that call you back to the room when you have left the door ajar, most gas burners provide no indication that they are still on. A simple mistake could lead to a deadly fire in your home. Burner Disc

Matthew Porraro came to Sigma Design with a solution to prevent kitchen fires. Porraro invented a plastic disc that attaches to each knob on the stove, which illuminates when the burner is on. Sigma Design took his initial design and prototype and improved it, integrating a light circuit and an audible alarm.

BurnerAlert™ is the only reminder and timer product on the market that will retrofit on gas and electric stoves.

This is just one example of the projects that come to the Sigma Design team. Like BurnerAlert™, let us take your smart idea and turn it into a viable product!

University Collaboration

At universities all over the country, scientists are churning out the research that can potentially lead to innovative new products. But many of these great ideas get stuck in academic labs because university scientists lack the business experience to develop a commercial product. Today’s universities are supporting these products further and assist in the commercialization process.

Max Perhach, Sigma certified in-house welder, works on the Ultrasonic Water Treatment System

Max Perhach, Sigma certified in-house welder, works on the Ultrasonic Water Treatment System.

Montclair State University (MSU) had just such a project; a design for an ultrasonic water treatment system. The system was  designed, fabricated and assembled in-house by Sigma Design. Then the system was tested for electronic and water processing at Sigma’s 20,000 sq. ft. facility.

For innovators in academia, Sigma Design provides the bridge to the business world with the experience to build the most challenging technical devices and then guide them to market. Sigma Design can assist with prototypes, manufacturing, product testing, packing & transport, and even insurance.

Dr. Meiyin Wu, a professor at MSU and the lead scientist on this venture, described her experience working with Sigma Design as an extremely pleasant and productive experience. “Sigma’s staff are highly professional with exceptional skills. Collaboration between MSU/higher education and Sigma is an example of the future of innovation,” Dr. Wu said.

The Ultrasonic Water Treatment System

The Ultrasonic Water Treatment System

A Great Time to Finally Turn Your Smart Ideas Into Product Solutions

Many of us set New Year’s resolutions, but how many of us actually keep them? Have you had an idea, but don’t have the engineering and design tools? Start your new year off by letting Sigma Design refine your idea.

For the fee of $500 you will be able to sit down with a Sigma engineer for 4 hours and help you through the product development process. Sigma Design believes that manufacturing is critical to the health of the country and the state of New Jersey.

Most inventors don’t realize the extent of what it takes to develop a product from start to finish. The process is costly and complex. Contact us today and find out how Sigma can make your idea into a reality.