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Nick Schmidt
GMN Aerospace attends 2018 Aircraft Interiors Expo
By Nick Schmidt May 02, 2018
Aircraft Interiors Expo

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.

Autumn Santa Ana, Director of Corporate Quality & Regulations
What does it mean to be AS9100D:2016 certified?
By Autumn Santa Ana Apr 26, 2018
GMN upgrades to AS9100D:2016 certification

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.

Lauren Rowles, GMN
Paul Michaels speaks at 2018 annual PNAA Aerospace Conference
By Lauren Rowles Feb 22, 2018
PNAA Aerospace Conference

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

Lauren Rowles, GMN
Exciting things to come in 2018
By Lauren Rowles Feb 07, 2018
New Year at GMN Aerospace

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!

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