Category Archives: SIGMA Capabilities

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! 

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

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/

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.

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

Made in New Jersey

Sigma is committed to the future of NJ manufacturing and is featured on the blog of marine engineering firm, Martin Ottoway: http://www.martinottaway.com/blog/rik-van-hemmen/new-jersey-makes-world-takes

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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.

University and 3D Printing Industry Collaboration Featured on PBS

Lafayette College seniors Jake Hyatt and Max Bergelson visited Sigma’s 20,000 square-foot Technology Commercialization and New Product Manufacturing Center to film a project for their Political Economy course.

Lafayette College students Max Bergelson, left, and Jake Hyatt interview Sigma President Jerry Lynch about 3D printing.

Lafayette College students Max Bergelson, left, and Jake Hyatt interview Sigma President Jerry Lynch about 3D printing.

The college produced a public affairs program in partnership with PBS, which featured Sigma’s 3D rapid prototyping and manufacturing services.

According to Lafayette professor and executive producer Mark Crain, Lafayette College constantly wrestles with ways to bridge academics and real world developments. “The opportunity for Max and Jake to visit Sigma Design Company and see first hand how 3D printing is transforming business and society is an amazing opportunity.  They’ll learn even more as they produce our broadcast that illuminates this innovative, complex technology for PBS39 viewers,” he said.

The program was broadcast to approximately  2.6 million households in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The program is available on the PBS39 YouTube site and the Lafayette College homepage.

Sigma’s 3D Rapid Prototyping FDM Machine can take your design concept and create a working prototype in three days. To learn more about our 3D Rapid Prototyping services or to submit a file and receive a quote, please visit: http://www.sigmadesign.net/3d_rapid.php

SIGMA Design Company- Turning Smart Ideas into Product Solutions