Tag Archives: design optimization

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!  

Our POV: Design Determines 90% of Product Cost

In the New Product Development (NPD) process, 90% of the cost of a product is fixed by the end of the design phase, By this time in the process the direct material, direct labor and product specific capital equipment costs are set in place, whether we fully realize it or not. The ability to control cost is greatest during the concept development stage. Getting manufacturing and suppliers involved early and clearly understanding customer needs from the start are key to managing product costs.

Ways to implement such approach involves careful selection and early collaboration with suppliers for help in making design tradeoffs for customer requirements, functionality, and cost. What is needed is great communication across the design and supplier network that is responsive to customer requests and priority requirements. This effort will reap great dividends for a more salable and profitable product.

Of course, it is important to first probe deeply into customer requests. Is a functional capability a must have, need to have or nice to have? Clarifying and prioritizing of customer requirements provides design engineers with the maximum range of options, and allows them to make informed trade off decisions when handling competing performance and cost goals in the design process. Finally, be sure to evaluate usability to deliver a user-centric design, which is critical for total design success.

With these practices of understanding customer needs and usability and by collaborating with the supplier base during the concept development phase, designers will be in the best position to deliver an optimal design – and to maximize their impact on 90% of product cost from the start.

Sigma Design Company – Turning Smart Ideas into Product Solutions

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