In March, The Boeing Company celebrated the production of its 10,000th 737 aircraft. This incredible milestone was commemorated at Boeing’s Renton, WA facility, which is also where the airplane was manufactured. A 737 Max 8, the 10,000th 737 was destined for Southwest Airlines, which was extremely fitting as Southwest is the leading customer for and top operator of the 737.
This monumental feat set a new Guinness World Record title for the “Most produced commercial jet aircraft model,” meaning that Boeing had topped itself, as this was a title that the company had already secured in 2006. In production for over 5 decades, the 737 airplane is the best-selling commercial passenger airplane of all time. Even with the remarkable number of planes delivered, over 4,600 737s still remain on order for Boeing, and this year, Boeing increased their 737 production from 47 to 52 airplanes per month.
With a partnership lasting over 20 years, GMN Aerospace has continually worked alongside Boeing to maintain our alignment with cost-down initiatives and production increases, as well as ensure on-time delivery with unparalleled quality and speed. Over the past two years, GMN Aerospace has provided the 737 program with several thousands of orders at over 99% quality.
Therefore, GMN Aerospace was honored when Boeing asked us to produce a commemorative placard for this event. This custom stainless steel placard was placed within the historic aircraft to immortalize this accomplishment.
A spin finish, also known as spotting or engine turning, is a mechanical metal decoration technique that creates visually-striking and repetitive circular patterns. The unique interplay of light as it reflects off the finished metal surface adds movement and enhances the aesthetic appeal of the part. Rising to popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, spin finish was frequently seen in the automotive industry, especially on dashboards and instrumentation panels. However, in recent times, this decorative finish has expanded its reach to include a broad range of industries such as aerospace, appliance, electronics, and more.
Our video below provides a look into the spin finish process accomplished at GM Nameplate’s (GMN) Monroe, NC Division. Primarily performed on aluminum or stainless steel, a mechanical spin finish is always applied on a flat sheet of raw metal. The metal sheet is first lubricated with oil to facilitate uniform spinning and prevent burning of the metal when the abrasive pad is applied. The abrasive pads are mounted on single or multiple spindles that descend on the flat surface to skin the metal in a circular, overlapping pattern. The extent to which the patterns overlap each other can be easily adjusted and altered. There are two types of spin finishes that can be applied:
- Drag spin - Once the spindle(s) descends on the metal, it literally drags across the surface while continuously blading the metal and creating overlapping swirls.
- Spot spin - Once the spindle(s) descends, it blades the metal from a targeted spot, ascends, and then descends again on a spot next to it, creating overlapping or isolated patterns.
The computer numerical control (CNC) spin finish machines at GMN can hold up to seven spindles at a time, and the diameter of each spindle can vary from a minimum of 0.5” to a maximum of 20”. The distance between each spindle and the speed at which they travel across the metal surface can be tailored to achieve different looks. Depending on the design intent, the swirling pattern can range from fine, to heavy, to coarse. Spin finishes can also be applied overall or selectively. For selective finishes, a resin is screen-printed on the metal, which protects the desired areas from the abrasive pad, thus creating contrasting looks within the design. Offering a range of sizes, depths, and pattern intensities, the cosmetic variations that spin finish can produce is truly vast.
Once the spin finish is applied, the metal sheet is run through a washing line to remove the oil from its surface. The sheet is cleaned, dried, and a clear or tinted coating is applied to the surface of the metal. As a subtractive process, spin finish takes away the inherent protective layer from the surface of the metal and hence adding a top coat is extremely crucial to seal the exposed metal for performance considerations. The sheets are visually inspected and then are ready to be formed into the desired shape. Decorative accents such as lithographic, screen, digital, and/or pad printing, along with embossed or debossed graphics, are often added to spin finished parts to further accentuate their beauty and allure.
With decades of custom manufacturing experience and printing capabilities under its belt, GMN has worked with several leading companies including Dell, Ford, Callaway, General Motors, Keurig, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), and Vaio to create stunning spin-finished nameplates and components. Watch the video below to see the spin finish process in action.
GMN recently opened a new, cutting-edge bonding and integration operation in Taiwan. Located in the Kaohsiung Science Park, this 322,000-square-foot facility offers liquid optical bonding (LOCA) and integration for any display, touch screen, or decorative cover glass component, with exceptional efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
We pursued this expansion of GMN’s global services to better align our supply chain with our customer’s bonding and integration needs. To bring this well-rounded and highly-skilled operation into existence, GMN teamed up with Mildex Optical, a long-term touch screen partner. On top of GMN’s existing domestic front panel integration services in Seattle, WA, the addition of this international bonding option allows us to deliver an even more diverse spectrum of solutions for projects that are best suited for bonding in Asia. As a result, we can accommodate a wider range of customers and projects, and better cater to the exact needs of our customers.
Advantages to GMN’s international bonding operation
Since most display and touch screen components are manufactured in Asia, this Taiwan operation allows for manufacturing, bonding, and even assembly to all take place within a close vicinity. Through GMN’s new bonding and integration facility, our customers can take advantage of several benefits including:
- Simplified logistics
- Shortened lead times
- Reduced freight, labor, and component costs
- Accelerated time-to-market
- High-volume production
- Supply chain optimization
GMN pursues the best solutions for our clients’ global manufacturing needs, which involves driving affordability within the supply chain. In addition, by eradicating the need for multiple shipments of materials internationally, this new operation will help to reduce carbon emissions and lower the carbon footprint of a project.
Unwavering quality and service
GMN is fiercely dedicated to providing superior quality and service to our customers, and at this new Taiwan facility, our customers can expect the same level of quality as they experience domestically. For decades we have worked with display integration and bonding technologies for applications in industries spanning from medical, to agriculture, to aerospace. Additionally, as a licensed converter of DuPont’s Vertak® bonding technology, GMN can supply customers with the latest in LOCA display enhancements.
This new venture enables GMN to offer customers the convenience of local service, with the worldwide access to custom solutions. We will work with our customers to select and integrate the most fitting touch screen, display, or decorative cover glass for their application. GMN continually strives to go above and beyond to meet the needs of our customers, which we will continue to do with the addition of our new bonding and assembly operation in Taiwan.
For more information on our front panel integration and bonding capabilities, click here.
Over-molding is a manufacturing process that combines two different types of plastic together to create a single part. Typically, this involves the use of a hard plastic and a softer plastic (often rubberized). Alternatively, this method can be used to bind two hard plastics together that are different colors. Overall, this is a process that takes various materials with different properties and combines them into a single molded component.
The over-molding process is accomplished through the use of two separate injection molds. To begin, the substrate, which is the first shot (and usually a rigid plastic), is made using the first injection tool. The rigid part is then removed and placed into a separate injection mold tool where the second shot, or over-mold, is molded over the first part. In most cases, mechanical bonds are designed into the part to allow the over-mold to stick to the substrate. These mechanical bonds are formed by creating areas in the substrate (first shot) where the second shot (over-mold) would flow into during the over-molding process.
Over-molding is a value-added technology that is used to provide additional functionality and decoration to parts. It is most often used for its durability for the creation of ruggedized products. It can also be utilized for decoration to provide benefits such as increased aesthetics and functionality. Over-molding can give a product a soft, rubberized feel, making it much more comfortable to handle compared to hard plastic. It also allows for hard edges to be smoothed over and rounded. The main functionality benefit of over-molding is the ruggedized and non-slip surface that it creates, which keeps products safe in extreme environments. Additional benefits include the reduction of unwanted vibrations or noise, increased protection against liquids, and additional brand identity opportunities.
As a technology utilized throughout a variety of industries, such as aerospace, over-molding is an excellent option for customers who are interested in soft-touch handles, grips, etc., or multi-colored buttons, switches, or knobs for their products. Additionally, this process is a great option for sealing or gaskets on parts. Over-molding a gasket on a plastic substrate bonds the gasket material to the substrate, which helps to prevent moisture ingression, as opposed to using a rubber or die-cut gasket that is pressed/held together by screws
Common applications for over-molding within the aerospace industry include aircraft seating, lavatories, stowage bin latches, handles, and user interface switches. Instead of having to create two different parts that then require additional assembly to fasten them together, over-molding allows for multiple parts to be formed into a single part at once. Since the second shot is molded over the first substrate, the bond created between the two is much stronger and more durable, as well as results in a clean design. The key advantages that aerospace applications take away from over-molding include:
- Decreased weight
- Increased strength and durability
- Enhanced industrial design
- Elimination of additional manufacturing and assembly steps
- Reduced manufacturing and assembly time
Since this process involves the use of two separate tools, it is a great method for lower volume programs, but is inefficient for high-volume projects. If you’re looking for a high-volume over-molded part, a better technology to employ would be two-shot molding, which uses a single two-shot mold.
SEATTLE, Washington (May 16, 2018) – GMN Aerospace announced today that it has received the 2017 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. The Boeing Company issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance. GMN Aerospace maintained a Silver composite performance rating for each month of the 12-month performance period, from October 2016 to September 2017.
Recipients of the award must attain a certain fixed level of quality and delivery over the course of the year. GMN Aerospace maintained 99% quality and on-time delivery ratings across the 1.6 million parts shipped to Boeing in 2017. Furthermore, approximately 25 percent of GMN Aerospace’s work for Boeing is short flow or aircraft on ground (AOG) requirements, and 100 percent of those parts have been delivered on time, as requested.
This latest award marks the tenth consecutive Boeing Performance Excellence Award that GMN Aerospace has received in the past ten years. This achievement represents not only GMN Aerospace’s dependable quality and delivery standards and consistent fulfillment of customer needs over the past decade, but also the company’s dedication to its customers overall. GMN Aerospace has proven their success in understanding what is important to a customer and then making it a priority to effectively execute on those commitments.
Previous awards that GMN Aerospace has earned from Boeing include Supplier of the Year (2009, 2010, 2011, 2016) and the Excellence in Advocacy Award (2015, 2016). GMN Aerospace supports all programs within the over 40 Boeing global locations for Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA), Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS), and Boeing Global Services (BGS). In addition to the 80K active Boeing part numbers for mandatory markers and placards, the company provides Boeing with a variety of products including injection-molded plastics, die-cut components, electronic components, value-added assemblies, and more. Throughout the years, GMN has worked alongside Boeing as more than a supplier, but as a partner, to continuously improve GMN’s processes and deliverables in order to comply with Boeing’s cost-down initiatives and to meet quick-turn delivery requirements.
“At GMN Aerospace, we operate 24/7 in an environment where meeting increased efficiencies and customer’s cost objectives are front and center,” said Paul Michaels, Director of GMN Aerospace. “We truly celebrate this ‘Decade of Excellence’ as a united team – with a culture focused on continuous improvements and passionate about customer engagement. To be recognized with this amazing award for ten consecutive years is a testament to not only the commitment of everyone on the team, but to our strong collaboration with The Boeing Company.”
About GMN Aerospace
For more than 50 years, GMN has been serving the Aerospace industry with mandatory markings and placards, and other custom components. Today, GMN is equipped with AS9100D certification and has expanded its capabilities to include front panel display integration, switch technologies, plastics, large format graphics, and more. Through the years GMN has received numerous accolades, including winning the coveted Supplier of the Year award from The Boeing Company four times. To learn more about why GMN is the trusted supplier of leading aerospace and aircraft manufacturers, visit our website www.gmnameplate.com/aerospace.
GM Nameplate’s (GMN) aerospace group, GMN Aerospace, was recognized with the 2017 Boeing Performance Excellence Award by The Boeing Company. This latest honor instills a great sense of pride within GMN because it marks the tenth consecutive year that we have received this award. This achievement represents the high standards GMN has operated at and maintained over the past decade in order to consistently align with our customer’s needs and adhere to strict quality and delivery requirements.
To learn more, read our full press release GMN Aerospace receives tenth consecutive Boeing Performance Excellence Award
The Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) held in Hamburg, Germany is the premier local for cabin interiors, where the latest in technologies and innovations are launched for the aerospace industry. This year was no disappointment on what’s next for passenger experience, most notably in aircraft seating. Aircraft seating is a space in which GMN Aerospace has been quite successful in supporting its customers, from design support for manufacturability of plastic injection molded parts to integrating capacitive touch technology in passenger control units for business class seats. At AIX this year, GMN Aerospace displayed products in several seats of industry leaders at the show.
Notable events at the show included the success of German seat manufacturer RECARO, who continues to lead the market in delivering over 100,000 PAX places (seats) annually, and Jamco’s announcement of their launch customer for the new Venture seat, designed to complement the 787 (similar to the Lift by EnCore Tourist Class seat that is continuing to make waves in both 787 & 737 for economy class). Adient also launched its joint venture with The Boeing Company. GMN Aerospace was invited alongside Boeing to view the new suites launched at the show.
GMN Aerospace continues to invest in helping its customers successfully bring their parts from prototypes to certified products, with on-time delivery and world-class consistency of quality. We enjoy attending premium industry events such as AIX to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies that are emerging in the aerospace realm.
GM Nameplate (GMN) is thrilled to have received AS9100D:2016 certification in April 2018. This latest certification, applies to a multi-site certificate for three GMN facilities including the Seattle, WA Division, San Jose, CA Division, and Beaverton, OR Division. It symbolizes GMN’s dedication to continuous improvement and the desire to exceed customer quality expectations.
What is AS9100?
AS9100 is an aerospace Quality Management System (QMS) standard. It is based on the international QMS standard ISO 9001, and provides additional requirements specific to the aerospace industry. In a sector governed by federal aviation, space and defense regulations, a AS9100 QMS helps businesses to adapt to the evolving needs and requirements of the aerospace industry. It not only provides a framework for businesses to operate, but also provides customers with confidence about the quality and reliability of the products they receive.
What is AS9100 Rev D?
The international QMS standards are regularly updated to stay relevant to industry needs and adapt to emerging trends. The latest update from AS9100 Rev C to Rev D was released in September 2016 and companies have until September 2018 to transition to the new standard. The revision also aligns the AS9100 standard to the newest revision of ISO 9001 which was released in 2015. AS9100 Rev D puts the spotlight on creating value for customers by integrating QMS requirements into the company’s business processes. During this latest update, significant areas of revision pertain to product safety, counterfeit prevention, risk management, human factors, and configuration management.
GMN’s commitment to quality
GMN first added AS9100 certification to its list of quality certifications in 2007 to support the dynamic needs of the aerospace industry and the customers we serve, like The Boeing Company. GMN underwent an extensive eight-day upgrade audit at its multiple manufacturing sites to obtain the AS9100 Rev D certification. Advancing to the new revision represents our compliance with the most current set of requirements of the rigorous aerospace standards. Conformance to these standards ensures that GMN maintains the highest level of product quality and process control in its manufacturing facilities. After all, quality is an ongoing process.
At this year’s 17th annual Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) Conference, Paul Michaels, GMN Aerospace’s Corporate Director, was asked to share his insights on the importance of striving for excellence within the aerospace industry. As a past recipient of PNAA’s Aerospace Executive of the Year Award, Michaels also had the honor of recognizing previous award winners in the audience during the event’s banquet dinner.
This event took place from February 12-15th, and there were over 600 attendees, representing more than 350 companies from over 10 countries. The theme for the 2018 conference was “Leading Through Change – Managing Transformation”. The focus was to recognize the transformation of how airplanes are currently being designed, developed, and manufactured within the industry.
“We operate in an environment where cost reductions and increased efficiencies are front and center,” said Michaels. “At GMN Aerospace, our passion is embracing advanced manufacturing techniques by a performance-based culture, focused on continuous improvements. I’m always honored to share our story while recognizing the achievements of our peers in the industry.”
Photo by April O’Donahue
As we reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to 2018, GMN Aerospace would like to take a moment to express our gratitude to our customers and our excitement for what is on the horizon. 2017 gave GMN Aerospace a lot to celebrate, including being awarded with our fourth Boeing Supplier of the Year Award. Now, in the birth of a new year, it’s time for us to set new goals, carve out an execution plan, and get to work.
Above all during this transitionary period, we are reminded of how thankful we are for our extraordinary customers who have put their trust in us to provide them with high-quality products and services. Maintaining our over 99% quality and on-time delivery ratings throughout the past year, GMN Aerospace has worked relentlessly to ensure that our customer’s needs are met time after time.
In the upcoming months, the GMN Aerospace team has much to look forward to. We are confident in the knowledge, experience, and strong culture shared between our motivated team members to continue to sustain our consistent performance record. As a company that provides a wide array of capabilities that adhere to the most stringent quality standards, GMN Aerospace is excited to continue to broaden our scope within the aerospace industry in areas such as plastic injection molding, lighting solutions, and electronic assemblies. In addition, our support for these new initiatives and all of our projects will be improved as we ramp up our engineering solutions. Our team is looking forward to bringing these new advances and more to our customers this year.
Here's to an exceptional 2018!