Industry Partners Innovation: SBB Inc. – Partnering for Research and Design

When SBB Inc. was looking to convert a sterilization chamber door from stainless steel to glass, the company turned to the SyracuseCoE Analysis and Design Center. The center is a NYSERDA-funded resource created to help companies in Central New York’s thermal and environmental control cluster with product design challenges. For small firms like SBB, it’s an invaluable tool.

“Research is very expensive. We don’t work on simple things,” says SBB chief engineer and co-founder Vince Bongio. “The Analysis and Design Center supplies engineering and research talent that I couldn’t otherwise access cost-effectively.”

The center, located at SyracuseCoE headquarters, provides companies working in advanced manufacturing in thermal and environmental controls (AM-TEC) with assistance on design problems from graduate students and faculty from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. SBB has used the Analysis and Design Center on a range of projects, from analyzing fluid dynamics in a small sterilization chamber system, to adapting the same technology on a room system, to analyzing a structural walking tile used in its clean-room ceiling grid system.

“Students get to do some real-life application work on difficult problems that ties to their education and has tangible outcomes,” says Bongio.
SBB, in East Syracuse, was founded by Bongio and two partners in 2000 and soon partnered with the SyracuseCoE. An AM-TEC Research and Development Award from the SyracuseCoE funded development of high-technology environmental control systems that reduced energy in refrigeration systems.

Through SyracuseCoE, SBB has also participated with SU’s Mechanical Engineering Capstone Project, resulting in the development of a latent phase change heat recovery heat exchanger. In addition to the hands-on research and design assistance, Bongio says networking opportunities through the SyracuseCoE have been extremely beneficial, particularly the annual SyracuseCoE Symposium. “I always learn about new technology I otherwise would be unaware of,” he says.

“Information is power, and the proper use of information is where the real power is,” says Bongio. “You just can’t discover these things without being active with forward-thinking entities like the SyracuseCoE.”