Last week we discussed the parts we manufacture for Garmin Aerospace – in-mold decorated (IMD) overlay assemblies and over-molded adjustment knob assemblies. We produce various types of both parts, which can be found in the cockpit of smaller aircrafts. In this post we will discuss the process and benefits of both types of parts.
IMD assembly technology is relatively new to aerospace injection molded product categories. However, utilizing IMD parts in aerospace interior applications offers many benefits including, improved resistance to abrasion, solvents, temperature changes and UV degradation. The increased durability is due to printed graphics residing on the internal, yet visible portion of the parts. While the advanced design of IMD components provides excellent durability, however process development requires considerable collaboration between customer engineers and GMN Plastics engineers.
The IMD process begins by first screen printing specified graphics onto the smooth or molded side of a clear polycarbonate film. The printed films are then cured as require and cut to the specified design. The process requires the use of high temperature stabled inks specifically designed for the IMD process. The ink printed side of the printed film has to withstand very hot molten plastic being molded to it without melting or discoloring.
Over-molded adjustment knob assemblies are also interesting parts that we produce for Garmin. The manufacturing process of these parts begins by molding a polycarbonate rigid core. The cores of the parts provide structure and stiffness to the finished part. They are then placed into a secondary mold to “over-mold” the back urethane grip.
Both the IMD overlay assemblies and over-molded adjustment knob assemblies are great examples of GMN Plastic capabilities in the Aerospace industry. Although these parts are specifically found in the cockpit, other Aerospace parts that we produce can be found throughout the aircraft – from interiors, exterior graphics and more!