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Video: In-mold decorating process
By Kenny Pravitz Jan 30, 2018
IMD allows different graphic overlays to be used in the same molded shape, giving  you customization.

Many industries require the decorative elements of plastic to be highly durable. For example, the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries have many high-wear applications that require strong, durable parts where printed icons won’t scratch off or fade away. Products that are decorated using first-surface decorating processes, where graphics are placed on the outermost layer (such as pad printing, screen printing, or hot stamping), wear out over time and aren’t suitable for these industries. Depending on the materials and processes used, the inks on plastic pieces can fade out over time, making it difficult or impossible to read indicators on those pieces.

In-mold decorating (IMD) is a plastic decorating method that ensures the durability of the graphic overlays and allows for multiple design options for the overlays. In brief, IMD is a process where a graphic overlay is physically fused to injection molded plastic to form one piece. Molten resin is injected either in front or behind the graphic overlay to form a bond between the two. Unlike pad printing, screen printing, or hot stamping – where inks and overlays are exposed to the user that can deteriorate over time – IMD parts have a layer of plastic that encapsulates the ink, protecting it from users and the outside environment.

GM Nameplate’s (GMN) plastics division in Beaverton, OR, Elite Plastics, recently created a video that demonstrates the IMD process. In the video, we see an end-of-arm tool pick up a graphic overlay and place it in the injection mold using a vacuum system, while simultaneously removing a part that was just molded. Both of these functions are completed in one cycle, allowing for faster and more efficient production. Locating pins in both the end-of-arm tool and injection mold itself allow for consistent placement of the overlay in the tool, which is critical for functional parts in regulated industries. If the overlays are not correctly and consistently placed in the mold, some portions of the overlay may not be fully encapsulated by plastic during the molding process.

IMD is ideal for higher volume projects that have stringent durability requirements, as there is more design engineering required up front than with a standard injection molded part. However, one advantage is that once the graphic overlay and molded part is designed, printed graphics on the overlay can be changed at any time to allow for customization and unlimited design options.

To learn more about what the IMD process is, read this blog.

To watch the IMD process, click play on the video below. 

Lauren Rowles, GMN
The benefits of Metalphoto in the aerospace industry
By Lauren Rowles Dec 21, 2017
Aerospace Metalphoto

Are you in need of an extremely durable and high-resolution nameplate? Look no further than Metalphoto. This incredibly dependable and innovative material and process is gaining recognition in its uses for nameplates, placards, serial plates, asset tags, and more. GMN Aerospace has been supplying Metalphoto parts to our customers in the aerospace industry for decades. Metalphoto nameplates are crisp, clear, and easy to produce in high quantities with variable images/data.

What is Metalphoto?

Metalphoto is a specialized type of anodized aluminum used to make nameplates, labels and control panels. Originally developed for the US Navy in 1950 and now specified by most major OEMs, it is one of the most durable identification materials available.

Metalphoto’s construction begins with pure 1100 alloy aluminum. The aluminum is then anodized, which creates a glass-like layer on top of the metal that is sapphire-hard. Next, the anodized layer is impregnated with an inorganic photosensitive compound. Using a computerized imaging machine (or Computer to Plate (CTP) machine), the artwork is then projected into the aluminum itself, rather than being printed on top of the metal. The graphics are exposed and developed like a true photograph inside of the anodized aluminum, which causes it to become a part of the nameplate. This is what makes Metalphoto so durable and extremely resistant to corrosion, sunlight/UV degradation, abrasion, high temperatures and chemical exposure. Finally, the parts are placed in a sealing tank to close and encase the graphics underneath the anodic layer.

Metalphoto comes in four different finishes: matte, satin, gloss, and a #4 brushed finish that resembles stainless steel. It ranges from 0.003” (.076mm) to 0.125” (3.175mm) in thickness.

Metalphoto images and text are primarily in black. Additional colors can be added, however there is only a set pallet of colors and they cannot be color matched.

The benefits of Metalphoto                                                                                                                     

Using Metalphoto rather than etched steel or printed stainless steel has many benefits. Metalphoto products have unmatched durability and resistance properties, including:

  • Sustains an outdoor life of 20+ years
  • Resistant to over 7,000 cycles of abrasion
  • Withstands temperatures in excess of 750°F
  • Specifically designed to be salt spray and chemical resistant

In addition, the resolution of images on Metalphoto is significantly clearer than on etched steel. The method of using a projected image makes letters, numbers, symbols and pictures extremely legible, detailed, and appear as crisp and clean as a photograph.

Metalphoto is also less expensive than stainless steel in lower quantities, especially for variable data/runs. Unlike steel or other materials, Metalphoto doesn’t require individual engraving, punching, or laser marking for variability in images or information. Using the computerized imaging process also makes Metalphoto perfect for serialization, as it does not affect the process or price to make each Metalphoto plate different in image or serial number.

Metalphoto in aerospace

Metalphoto is perfectly suited for use in the aerospace industry for reliable equipment and identification items. Ideal for both interior and exterior applications, Metalphoto parts can be seen throughout the typical aircraft in the form of barcode labels, nameplates/data plates, placards, maintenance schematics, machine control panels, and other identification products. Metalphoto is also specified by numerous global aerospace and defense leaders such as The Boeing Company.

Aerospace equipment is repeatedly subjected to abusive conditions such as moisture, extreme temperatures, abrasion, corrosion, UV exposure, and more. These destructive environmental surroundings can easily diminish the quality and legibility of a nameplate, placard, or other identification item.

With Metalphoto, the photosensitive anodized aluminum is one of the most durable identification materials available, making it extremely fitting for environments that are prone to extreme wear. Metalphoto also offers an excellent solution to meet the increasing demand for variability and detail within aerospace nameplates and placards. The photographic resolution of the images ensures that important information – such as technical specifications, serial numbers, etc. – will be accessible and clear when it is needed.

GMN Aerospace is a certified converter of Metalphoto and has been providing Metalphoto solutions to our customers for over 40 years.   

Lauren Rowles, GMN
2017 Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast
By Lauren Rowles Dec 12, 2017
Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast

On Thursday, December 7th, the Red Cross held their annual Real Heroes Breakfast for the Snohomish, WA County chapter. At this event, several awards are given out to recognize the extraordinary actions taken by everyday people. These local heroes are people who have saved a life, done something to make the community a safer place, or gone above and beyond to help someone in need. This event was emceed by Mark Wright from King 5 News.

At GMN, we are so proud to support our amazing employees in their efforts to give back to the community. Since 2011, April O’Donahue, a GMN Aerospace senior new programs manager, has been volunteering her time as the official event photographer for this award ceremony.

There were many extraordinary people and programs recognized at this event. To mention a few, one award winner was a 7-year-old child named Annberly Sills. The mother had taught her some basic first aid practices using one of her dolls, which she later was able to use to save her not-yet 2-year-old little brother when he was choking. Another award was given to the Gibson family, who lost their son in a house fire in 2016, where no operational smoke detector was present in his room. In response, the Gibson family founded a non-profit known as Gibby Home Fire Prevention to try to reduce fire deaths and injuries. This program installs sealed smoke alarms equipped with 10-year lithium batteries in every bedroom of homes in need, for free. The Red Cross adopted this program on a national level, and so far, they have been able to install 10 million fire alarms nationwide, 4,000 in Washington state, and 1,500 in Snohomish County. (Read more about this story here:

To learn more about the inspiring people recognized at this event, visit

All the responders from the Red Cross are volunteers who donate their personal time to helping others in a broad range of situations. The Red Cross will take any time a person is willing to donate, and will work around their schedule. For the hours that a volunteer does commit to donating, they are on call to respond to any issue that may arise. Therefore, this meant that all the Red Cross volunteers in attendance at this event were still on call as well. This year, a call came in during the middle of the event, and a few volunteers put on their red vests and left the event to respond to the call. That is just another example of the wonderful things this organization and the people in it are doing to help those in need.

We would like to thank April for all the time she has donated and her continued support to this organization and the community!

Photos taken by April O’Donahue, a long-time Red Cross volunteer and GMN Aerospace senior new programs manager.
Photos taken by April O’Donahue, a long-time Red Cross volunteer and GMN Aerospace senior new programs manager.


PTC heaters: the GMN advantage
By Jason Herndon Oct 20, 2017
The GMN advantage of PTC heaters

This blog is the last in our series on Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heaters. In the previous blogs, we answered all your crucial questions - the what, why and where of PTC heaters. Today, we will be illustrating how GM Nameplate (GMN) can help you overcome all of your heating challenges and tailor these heaters specific to your needs.

As a vertically integrated custom-manufacturer of flexible electronic circuits, GMN has vast experience in printing conductive inks. Our PTC competencies encapsulate everything from heater design solutions, reel-to-reel printing, application engineering, to final testing. But why should you put your trust in GMN?

Experience + expertise - GMN brings together 60 years of custom-manufacturing experience across a wide array of industries including medical, aerospace and automotive. More than just experience, GMN has the state-of the-art equipment and technology to tailor unique solutions for all of your heating needs.

Our PTC experts not only have decades of first-hand experience with printed electronics, but also hold several patents in the PTC technology field. Their core strength lies in the knowledge and understanding of HOW to integrate the PTC technology into your product. This extensive application engineering experience is what results in a better performing heater.

Robust quality system - As an ISO 9001-certified company, our strict processes and quality controls allow us to produce PTC heaters with more uniformity and tighter temperature tolerances than the ones available today. Thanks to our on-site thermal analysis capabilities and environmental testing equipment, the PTC heaters rolling out of GMN factories are stable and uniform.

Customized solutions - Our PTC heaters are customized to meet your specific requirements in terms of shapes, sizes and heating configurations. One of our core strengths is translating concepts into concrete solutions. The GMN team provides support throughout the development process to convert your designs from a napkin-sketch through final production. Our process engineers will help you determine the feasibility of specific design elements, identify appropriate materials and processes, achieve performance requirements and optimize the workflow. With our in-house roll-to-roll screen printing equipment, GMN is ideally suited for high-volume production of PTC heaters.

No matter what your PTC needs are, GMN has the solution. We are a one-stop-shop that delivers a seamless development process, thereby streamlining your operations and boosting efficiency. It is the perfect synergy between expertise, experience and engineering that sets GMN apart from the rest and delivers a more stable and uniform heater product.

If you need to discuss your PTC needs or challenges, click here to request a consultation with our technical experts. Learn more about these self-regulating heaters by reading our previous blogs here:

Frances Newman
Injection molded flammability placards
By Frances Newman Oct 13, 2017
Injection Molded Flammability Placard

As GMN Aerospace continues to pursue plastic opportunities within the aerospace sector, we have become increasingly more involved with the upfront support efforts for a variety of testing applications. Our latest effort has been in response to a frequent request we receive from our customers: to provide molded placards that support Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR 25.853 and 25.856) flammability testing and requirements. Most common tests include heat release, smoke density, insulation flame propagation, and smoke toxicity. These are all regulations that are strictly enforced for aerospace interior applications.

FAR 25.853 is a safety measure that was implemented to ensure fire protection for compartment interiors, and FAR 25.856 was put in place to improve flammability standards for thermal/acoustic insulation materials. All aerospace interior products must pass the FAR ratings for products over three inches.

What does this mean to GMN Aerospace? Currently, we engage in continuous collaboration with our internal dedicated plastics facility and external AS9100 suppliers in order to provide molded plastic placards directly to our customers in a timely fashion. As a result of the large amount of activity and involvement this requires, we have taken the initiative to build our own injection mold that will now produce a 12.00x3.00x0.080” placard. These placards are molded to the specified Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) size requirement for flammability testing in approved labs. Owning our own tooling will allow our team to meet the expeditious timeframes that come along with existing opportunities and open the door for new prospects. We can now offer our customers flammability placards at a much more attractive price and lead time.

In addition, GMN Aerospace was recently invited by a large and local OEM to participate in the procurement of an alternative aerospace resin, which could open the door for additional opportunities. Without the addition of our new tooling, GMN Aerospace would not have been able to take part in this program.

Mary Corrales
GMN Aerospace Garmin workshop and team building at GMN Plastics
By Mary Corrales Sep 20, 2017
Garmin Co-Divisional Workshop

Throughout the past 15 years, GMN Aerospace and GMN’s dedicated plastics facility in Beaverton, OR have worked together to support many different product lines for Garmin, a technology company that supplies GPS navigation and wearable technology to several industries, including aerospace.

Since both divisions put a great deal of effort into building these parts, a Garmin workshop was planned to take place at Elite Plastics. At this workshop, our partners at Elite Plastics were able to take a close look at the molding processes manufactured at the Seattle, WA Division. Leveraging lessons learned from similar focused workshops in the past, the GMN Aerospace team decided to travel down to the Beaverton, OR Division to take part in two days of the workshop. This provided another great opportunity for our two divisions to work closely and effectively towards the same common goal.

During GMN Aerospace’s visit, the entire team went on a factory tour. We had the honor of being toured by Dan Thurmond, President of Elite Plastics. Dan gave us an in-depth overview of their fascinating plant, the equipment, their capabilities, and the way the facility runs. Our team was even able to help put printed inlays into the injection molding tool. The opportunity to work with the machine operators closely really gave us a better understanding on how the processes work and various challenges can occur.

This workshop provided both educational and team-building opportunities for the GMN Aerospace team and our Beaverton, OR Division. We are proud to strengthen our intercompany relationships in order to continue to enhance our ability to work together effectively and efficiently.

Pictured above (from left to right): Aruna Raghuraman, Fran Newman, Reich Baltazar, Dave Hauskins, Paul Michaels, Mary Corrales, Jeff Root, Todd Boedecker, Chris Passanante, Jess Kriegel

Dave Klinkman
GMN Aerospace team receives recognition from The Boeing Company for quick-turn solutions
By Dave Klinkman Aug 09, 2017
Boeing Recognition Event

On July 18th, the GMN Aerospace team attended a Boeing recognition event at The Boeing Company’s Everett Delivery Center (EDC). The EDC is where Boeing makes its final deliveries of commercial airplanes to customers. The facility opened in 2013 to enable Boeing to meet growing customer demands, increase operational efficiencies, and provide enhanced customer experiences.

At this event, GMN Aerospace was recognized for the quick-turn work we provide to meet Boeing’s production delivery milestones and commitments to airline customers. Over the years, GMN Aerospace has been able to provide accelerated solutions for emergent part needs to ensure that airplanes get finished and delivered on time.

Boeing senior leadership members were in attendance, as well as a variety of GMN Aerospace team members ranging from leadership, to production, to quality, and more. This provided a special opportunity to create a direct connection between Boeing and the GMN Aerospace employees who actually work on the parts being recognized.

In the past 12 months, GMN Aerospace has delivered over 1.6 million parts to Boeing. Of those parts, approximately 20% per year consist of short-flow parts, meaning that they are manufactured and shipped to Boeing in five days or less.

The GMN Aerospace team is committed to doing whatever it takes to produce high-quality parts that are delivered on time, even with last-minute necessities arise such as when parts go missing or get damaged right before a ticket or delivery event. Airplane production rates are higher than ever before, and Boeing relies on their suppliers to adapt to increasing demands. As a partner of Boeing, GMN Aerospace has worked to consistently meet all volume and delivery requirements throughout the years.

Pictured above (from left to right): Fitzgerald Olivarez (Metal Photo), Roland Gayo (Thermal Printing), Sinh Vilaysom (Aerospace Customer Relations), Carlo Mears (VP of Aerospace), Sam Im (Aerospace Fabrication), Flora Maurera (Aerospace Account Manager), Pepito Abigania (Aerospace Quality Inspector), Dave Klinkman (Aerospace Special Project Manager).

Lauren Rowles, GMN
GMN Aerospace receives Boeing Excellence in Advocacy Award
By Lauren Rowles May 26, 2017
Boeing Advocacy Award

SEATTLE, Washington (May 26, 2017) – GMN Aerospace announced today that it has received a Boeing Excellence in Advocacy Award for 2016. The Boeing Company issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance in government outreach activities to help government policymakers better understand aerospace issues and promote legislation that support aerospace companies.

Boeing suppliers are uniquely qualified to speak on behalf of key business issues that strengthen awareness among community leaders, elected officials and decision-makers. 

In 2016, GMN Aerospace mentored and developed over 12 new minority business enterprises in sharing best practices on how to do business with Boeing, proactively aligned with PFS 2.0, and was an early adapter of the Citi Finance Supply Chain Strategy. In addition, GMN Aerospace demonstrated communication practices with BCA, BDS, CAS, and the Boeing Communications Department by being actively involved in state and national politics of the Export-Import Bank. Tim Keating, Boeing’s Senior Vice President of Government Operations, recognized GMN Aerospace as a true partner and advocate for all interest of success for Boeing.

“The spirit of collaboration between GMN Aerospace and The Boeing Company is one of the foundations of our long standing relationship,” said Paul Michaels, Corporate Director of GMN Aerospace. “This recognition is a testament to our team’s commitment to being an advocate not only for our customers, but for the constantly growing aerospace industry. We’re honored to be the recipient, and look forward to our shared success for many years to come.”

The influence of suppliers by engaging with policy makers can foster awareness that provides multiple benefits.

“Our supplier network is one of Boeing’s greatest competitive advantages when it comes to advocating for our shared interests,” said Kent Fisher, Boeing’s leader for enterprise Supplier Management. “Suppliers like GMN Aerospace represent a critical business voice to help decision makers understand the incredible impact that the aerospace industry has on their economies, employment and communities.

The Boeing Company and its supplier network encourage policy awareness in support of the aerospace industry and manufacturing businesses across the U.S. 

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 AS9100C 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  

Lauren Rowles, GMN
Paul Michaels speaks at 2017 PNAA Conference
By Lauren Rowles May 11, 2017
PNAA Speech

At this year’s Annual Aerospace Conference hosted by the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance, Paul Michaels, GMN Aerospace’s Corporate Director, was asked to speak about his experience receiving the Aerospace Executive of the Year Award last year, as well as present the award to this year’s recipient.

Michaels was honored to share how being recognized as the Aerospace Executive of the Year impacted GMN Aerospace. Michaels attributed his success to the contributions of the entire GMN Aerospace team, which made the award was a source of pride for everyone in the group.

“This recognition was a result of our team’s commitment to customer engagement and collaboration, and a dedication to fostering a culture of excellence,” said Michaels.

Click below to watch some highlights from Michaels’ speech and learn more about GMN Aerospace’s journey to creating a “culture of excellence.”

Lauren Rowles, GMN
GMN Aerospace Receives “Supplier of the Year” from Boeing
By Lauren Rowles Apr 13, 2017
Boeing Supplier of the Year

SEATTLE, Washington (April 13, 2017) GMN Aerospace has been recognized as Supplier of the Year in the Alliance category by The Boeing Company. GMN Aerospace was one of 13 companies honored last night for distinguished performance in working with Boeing.

In January, GMN Aerospace was notified that it was one of 480 companies to receive the Boeing Performance Excellence Award, which rewards performance excellence. Achieving the Supplier of the Year designation further acknowledges superior performance and labels this class of winners as the best of the best.

This year’s recipients represent an elite group among more than 11,000 active Boeing suppliers in nearly 52 countries around the world. This selection was based on stringent performance criteria for quality performance, delivery performance, cost, environmental initiatives, customer service and technical expertise.

GMN Aerospace provides Boeing with interior and exterior mandatory markers and placards, and injection molded plastic components.

This is GMN Aerospace’s fourth time receiving the Supplier of the Year recognition from Boeing. In addition, this is the ninth time GMN Aerospace has received the Boeing Performance Excellence Award. These achievements reflect and reinforce GMN Aerospace’s continual commitment to quality, excellence, and customer service.

“Aerospace is a global community, which means it requires global solutions and collaboration from all of us to continue to thrive, said Paul Michaels, Corporate Director of GMN Aerospace, “The GMN Aerospace team is honored and humbled to receive this recognition, as we work tirelessly in our persistent pursuit of affordability, quality, and world-class customer service and support to The Boeing Company. This partnership is something we are all incredibly proud of at GMN Aerospace. On behalf of our entire organization, thank you!”

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 AS9100C 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