Sigma & Cooperative Education

When was the last time you were truly ‘off’ for the summer? Even during college more and more students spend summers working and learning in an internship opportunity.  At Sigma Design Company we are proud of our affiliation with several NJ universities and their cooperative education programs. Working with interns is a mutually beneficial experience because when we ‘teach we learn again’ and teaching an intern is just one way to recharge and revitalize.   It is a special partnership that brings great rewards to all involved. The ‘excellent intern’ brings the latest engineering theories to life in an applied setting. Our most recent intern, Dustin Heitner described his work at Sigma Design…

26a0291c-7e16-4ff5-acfa-f004bc2db98a“From learning how to conduct yourself in a working environment, to carrying out tasks relevant to your area of study, an internship exposes a student to everything they are studying for.  The value behind producing work for a customer, rather than producing work for a grade is substantially greater.  An internship gives a student the opportunity to realize what they are studying for; it can even give them incentive to work harder back in the classroom to allow them to develop their skills as a better employee.  Internships are a necessary tool in shaping a student and preparing them for the career that they hope to pursue.”

Dustin especially enjoyed refining his skills using SolidWorks on real projects (  Sigma Design uses SolidWorks in the design of new products and for simulation projects. To read about a project click here!

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.

Thermal Analysis using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

Complex engineering solutions are, well, ‘complex’.  That accurately describes the challenge of recent job for a global metal manufacturing firm.  In this job Sigma was to reverse engineer and model a heat exchanger that is used in a foundry for creating alloy steel bars. In this application, hot metal flows in from one side, at 2800 °F, and is cooled by water that enters in from the other side. When the metal exits, it will be solidified to 1700 °F. The water and metal never touch, and because of the high heat, the heat exchanger itself had some very complex geometry and materials. Sigma was tasked with this project because of their engineering and design experience. The client’s heat exchanger had very poor engineering documentation (no drawings or specifications), and was largely untouched for many years. As a result, the orientation of a few components was unknown, and it became critical to understand which way the heat exchanger should be assembled.

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A SolidWorks Simulation CFD was run to determine the fluid flow profile. By running the simulation with different configurations of the heat exchanger, we could see which configuration provided better flow and therefore better system temperature control. We created areas where the flow rate could be measured, and used that data to determine the proper orientation of the components. Basically, the larger the flow rate near the hottest point in the assembly the better, because that will lead to greater convection, and essentially better heat removal.  Problem solved!

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 (, 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:

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!  


The Engineers Brew Club (EBC), which launched last summer, has already produced over 65 gallons of beer.  We spend our evenings talking a lot about how a good beer is about both brewer skill and system efficiency.  While certain characteristics of the beer can be predicted by the formula, it is the beer maker’s ability to control the process variables that affect the outcome.  At EBC we are working to not only make good beer but to create an efficient system– as we do with all Sigma projects.

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The group met this month to carefully prepare two sixtels ( for the 6th annual Chili Cook-Off and Home Brewing Contest in Hoboken on March 1st (

 In our six months we’ve brewed a Session Ale, a Baltic Porter, and the George Washington Porter.  In our opinion, our best beer to date was the Baltic Porter so that will be our entry for the event.  Our exclusive, all grain formulauses six types of malt and two types of hops.  It is currently in its three step lagering process to develop its distinctive flavor. 

 The term lagering refers to the process of temperature controlled fermentation and aging that beer undergoes at cold temperatures.  How long to lager is subject to debate, depending on the beer style.  In five+ weeks the beer will be kegged and carbonated, just in time to submit our samples to the judges on February 14th!  Wish us luck!

NJTC TechNews Corner Office Interview

Sigma Design Company President Jerry Lynch was interviewed for the New Jersey Technology Council’s (NJTC) TechNews publication.TNaug2014-1

The article discusses the secret behind true innovation, changes in industrial design, Sigma’s recent projects, and a passion for “Made in NJ.”

TechNews is published 8 times per year and covers the business behind Information Technology, Life Sciences, Electronics and Advanced Manufacturing, Energy, Environment and Engineering, Communications and Media.

Read the interview here:


Engineers’ Brewing Club at Sigma Design

Making beer: four ingredients, easy right? Like a beautifully crafted artisan loaf, beer making is both an art and a science.

While the basic formula remains the same, it’s the careful process and handling of each ingredient that creates the most memorable brews.

At Sigma Design, where we approach our design work with the same care and attention to detail, we have decided to make beer brewing our next venture.

The Engineers’ Brewing Club will brew its first batch under the direction of Sigma Design Mechanical Engineers Mike Collins and Bruce Knapp.

Bruce won the silver medal in the homebrew Witbier category at the New Jersey State Fair last year.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for upcoming events!

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