Category Archives: R&D

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

SIGMA Upgrades National Ohmsett Testing Facility in Leonardo, NJ

SIGMA Upgrades National Ohmsett Testing Facility in Leonardo, NJ

Oil spills in waterways or the Gulf of Mexico are serious business and call for innovative water cleaning technologies. To test emerging technologies for oil spill clean up, many turn to the Ohmsett National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility, located in Leonardo, New Jersey – right on the Raritan Bay about one hour south of New York City.  Sigma Design Company of Middlesex New Jersey (SIGMA) was awarded a contract to lead the upgrade of the Ohmsett Test Facility.

Ohmsett Test Platform - Delivery

Ohmsett Test Platform – Delivery

The Ohmsett National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility is the largest outdoor saltwater wave/tow tank facility in North America. This is the only facility where full-scale oil spill response equipment testing, research, and training can be conducted in a marine environment with oil under controlled environmental conditions (waves and oil types).  The Ohmsett Test Facility is maintained and operated by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Recently the Ohmsett Test Facility served as the test site of more than seven different systems that competed for a first prize of $1.4 million in the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE for highly effective oil spill cleanup methods. The facility also has the mission as a research and testing venue for wave energy conversion devices.

Ohmsett Test Platform - Placement

Ohmsett Test Platform – Placement

With such increased levels of activity, the 50 year old Ohmsett Test Facility needed an upgrade and critical components needed improvement, especially the test platform – which is affectionately called the Aux Bridge.

Unique in many ways, the Ohmsett test platform is a hybrid bridge/test platform – that is 70 feet long and weighs 35,000 lbs. Test systems are towed through the seawater tank, which is 650 feet long, 65 feet wide and 12 feet deep. The lab can also create 2 to 3 foot waves to better simulate open water challenges in firefighting and oil spill clean up.

After a competitive bidding process, SIGMA was awarded an engineering contract to design and manage the construction, as the owner’s representative, of a new test platform for Ohmsett. The major design challenges were to develop a larger test structure that was safer, easier to use allowing quicker operational set ups while reducing the overall weight, and increasing operational test load capacity.

Ohmsett Test Platform - Installation

Ohmsett Test Platform – Installation

SIGMA analyzed, designed and managed every part of the new testing system by using 3D design software, FEA structural analysis methods and mechanical engineering competencies. The platform was validated by:                1) alignment testing – to ensure “she” rolls straight when pulled 6 knots; 2) load testing- with over 80,000 lbs; and finally 3) operational testing – while being pulled 6 knots through seawater tank.

With the completed installation and acceptance of the new test platform in January 2012, the Ohmsett Test Facility is ready to serve oil spill clean up and wave energy technology testing needs for many years to come.

Sigma Design Company – Solution Analysis, Design and Construction/Installation Management 

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