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Clark Mehan
By Clark Mehan | Oct 4, 2018
A guide to die-cut components

The world of design engineering and manufacturing is gradually changing. Cumbersome liquid adhesives are being substituted with pressure-sensitive adhesives. Bulky metal housings are being traded for flexible EMI shielding foils and fabrics. Very high bond (VHB) tapes are taking the place of classic O-rings. By replacing and improving these traditional practices, die-cut components are prompting us to address design challenges in a more effective and efficient manner.

If die-cut components spark your curiosity, we have the perfect thing for you. We have created a free guide that sheds light on some of the most widely employed die-cuts solutions. It walks you through the various areas where die-cuts components can enhance the functionality and longevity of your product including thermal management, EMI/RFI shielding, and vibration dampening. It also dives deeper into the unique advantages, characteristics, and properties of die-cut components, and equips you with few design considerations for your next product.

To download the free guide, click here.

By Jim Badders | Mar 7, 2018
Printing on flexible substrates for smart wearables

GM Nameplate (GMN) is excited to announce the opening of an additional bonding operation in Taiwan. This operation will consist of liquid optically bonding (LOCA) and integrating displays, touch screens, and decorative cover glass components with exceptional efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

By establishing an international bonding option in addition to our front panel integration services at our Seattle, WA Division, GMN can offer a larger breadth of integration solutions, enabling us to accommodate a wider range of customers and projects, and increasing our ability to meet our customer’s exact needs.

Advantages to global bonding operation

With this new bonding facility, customers will benefit from simplified logistics, shortened lead times, and a noticeable reduction in freight and labor costs. Most display and touch screen components are manufactured in Asia. Therefore, now manufacturing, bonding, and even assembly will all take place in the same vicinity, which will substantially reduce the current freight time and costs that exist between process stages, especially when leveraging an Asian-based assembly of the final product. This streamlined efficiency and reduction in costs will also residually lead to reduction in component costs and allow for customers to achieve faster time-to-market. 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.

Partnering for success

GMN pursues the best solutions for our clients’ global manufacturing needs, which sometimes involves getting creative to deliver the greatest overall value. In this case, GMN teamed up with Mildex Optical, a trusted, long-term touch screen partner. To create this well-rounded bonding operation, Mildex is supplying their world-class facility and highly-skilled workforce, while GMN is providing its state-of-the-art equipment and extensive technical know-how and engineering oversight. GMN will oversee the entire bonding process for its customers to ensure that every aspect is executed to best fit the needs of the application.

Same standard of quality and service

This bonding facility in Taiwan will provide the same level of quality and service that customers experience domestically. We hold decades of experience working with display integration and bonding technologies and applications for industries spanning from medical, to agriculture, to aerospace.

Working 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 through the addition of our new bonding and assembly operation in Taiwan.

For additional information about this new display integration and bonding facility, check out our press release.

Clark Mehan
By Clark Mehan | Sep 6, 2017
Die-cut adhesives

Mechanical fasteners and liquid adhesives have been used to fasten and hold two materials together for centuries. However, this does not mean that they are the best or most cost-effective option out there. These traditional practices are quickly being replaced by a superior alternative: die-cut adhesives. In this blog, we will help you understand how strong double-sided tapes and VHB (very high bond tapes) can be, and how they can save your manufacturing process time and money.

Two of the most common examples of die-cut adhesives are double-coated tapes and VHB. Both are products offered by companies such as 3M and can be die-cut and converted by GM Nameplate (GMN).

Problems with mechanical fasteners

Mechanical fasteners such as screws, nuts, bolts, and rivets, are often visible and distracting on a device and prevent it from having a smooth, sleek appearance.

Mechanical fasteners require holes to be drilled in your product. The holes made for these fasteners can accelerate corrosion, and therefore decrease the life of the product. When fasteners are under stress or vibration, they can loosen or slide, which exposes unattractive unpainted areas and speeds up the corrosion process even further.

In addition, if the product is used outdoors and subject to rain or other forms of moisture, the fastening holes can also cause leaking. Leaking can allow moisture and other unwanted materials to enter into your product and cause damage.

Problems with liquid adhesives

During the application process, liquid adhesives can be irritating to the eyes and skin, and produce nauseous fumes. In environments like this, respirators and gloves are often needed during the manufacturing process which can be cumbersome.  

When applying two substrates together with a liquid adhesive, such as metals, the bond line thickness can be inconsistent; this can weaken the strength of the bond, as well as alter the true dimension of the part. Push out or “squeeze out” of adhesive can occur, which creates a mess and adds extra time for unnecessary clean up. Liquid adhesives also need time to dry, which holds up the manufacturing process and causes bottlenecks. Lastly, equipment for dispensing liquid adhesives is very expensive and adds extra manufacturing costs.

Solution: Die-cut adhesives

GMN and 3M provide die-cut solutions that can replace mechanical fasteners and liquid adhesives in many scenarios. VHB and double-coated tapes are generally water-resistant and can provide solutions for gap-filling, bonding irregular surfaces, cushioning and dampening vibration, sealing, attaching and hanging lightweight objects, and providing long-term durable bonds. The viscoelastic properties of the adhesives can help to reduce stress, squeaks, rattles, and noise vibrations as well. These adhesives are a great fit for small electronic devices, metal skins, bonding decorative metals, and assembly of devices such as computers, tablets and cell phones.

Assembly is made quick and easy by just peeling off a few release liners, and attaching the two substrates together. These tapes are highly effective in hot, cold, and even humid conditions. Being U.V. resistant, die-cut adhesives can maintain strength and withstand all outdoor conditions for up to 35 years.

Tapes can also be easily placed in areas where it’s difficult to utilize mechanical fasteners. An example of this is in the placement of a small cooling fan in an electrical device. It is easier and more efficient to use small die-cut pieces of tape such as VHB to fasten the cooling fan in place. This can also help dampen the noise from the fan. 

GMN is a preferred converter for 3M products. Contact GMN to discuss how die-cuts can replace your mechanical fasteners, thus reducing your manufacturing costs, bonding issues, and improving the appearance of your product. 

By Bronson Berry | Aug 29, 2017
The iViz is a portable ultrasound device that is used from hospitals to remote locations

After working with GM Nameplate (GMN) several times in the past on front panel integration projects, Fujifilm SonoSite came to us for help with manufacturing their new portable ultrasound device, the iViz. The device needed to be lightweight and thin to maximize portability, but also needed to be tough and durable if accidentally dropped. GMN successfully achieved both of these goals through careful material selection and by utilizing a new technology during the bonding process: vacuum lamination.

To learn more about how GMN supported Fujifilm, read our case study.

To learn more about the vacuum laminator that was secured for this project, read our press release.

By Steve Baker | Oct 2, 2015
Vacuum laminator for bonding

Today GMN presents the final article in a three part blog series focused on GMN bonding capabilities. The team here is very excited about this third bonding technology, the rigid-to-rigid optically clear adhesive (OCA) bonding, which is the newest of GMN’s bonding processes.

Rigid-to-rigid vacuum OCA bonding is a cutting edge technology that allows GMN to provide thinner bond lines and as a result, thinner overall stack ups. Rigid-to-rigid OCA bonding is a process in which a vacuum chamber removes all air from the part and allows components to be applied together with optimum optical clarity and without bubbles. This OCA is a dry film pressure sensitive adhesive.

The main advantage of this bonding technology is the thinner bond line. Whereas liquid optically clear adhesive (LOCA) bonding can achieve a bond line between .015” to .030,” OCA bonding can get even smaller, to achieve a .005” to a .008” bond line. This bonding capability is well suited for thin components including cover glass, touchscreens, and frameless LCDs.

Another advantage of the rigid-to-rigid OCA bonding is that no curing is needed. Whereas the LOCA bonding requires curing liquid through a printed border, this isn’t an issue for OCA bonding because a sheet adhesive is used instead. Using a sheet adhesive also allows the OCA bonding to provide a tighter tolerance and as a result, a consistent and flat bond line.

Consequently, with the added benefits of OCA bonding, come a few challenges. One of the most impactful difficulties is that the bonded adhesive is not re-workable. Despite this difficulty, OCA bonding is highly regarded as one of the best bonding solutions available.

GMN is very excited to offer rigid-to-rigid OCA bonding, alongside our other bonding technologies, to offer a wide variety of options to meet every project need.

Read our other blogs in the bonding series:

Bonding technologies: air gap bonding (part 1 of 3)

Bonding technologies: liquid optically clear adhesive (part 2 of 3)

By Steve Baker | Sep 28, 2015
Front panel integration assembly

Displays and touchscreen performance are becoming critical components of devices. The typical display is composed of many layers that are combined to help a display function properly under its intended condition. GMN offers front panel integration and bonding to help customers develop the construction and stack up of display components.

As a front panel integrator, GMN is proud to offer bonding capabilities to adhere display components together. Common display components may include a stack-up of a layer of cover glass, a touch panel, and an LCD. GMN combines these separate pieces together by using high-grade adhesives and bonding technologies.

GMN offers three bonding technologies including air gap/framed adhesive, rigid-to-rigid liquid optically clear adhesive (LOCA), and rigid-to-rigid optically clear adhesive (OCA) bonding. These bonding solutions serve a wide range of industries including medical, military, automotive, instrumentation and industrial controllers. We will discuss the three bonding technologies, including both the benefits and challenges of each, in this blog series.

To begin, air gap bonding will be discussed as it is the original GMN bonding capability. With 20 years of experience providing air gap bonding technology, GMN is an expert and a trusted industry bonder. Air gap bonding uses a framed adhesive with a gasket that leaves behind a small air bubble in the part stack up. This is a popular bonding capability for devices because it is lower in cost than other bonding options.

While lower cost is a benefit, it also presents challenges in product design. When the layers are integrated with a gasket and an air gap is formed, it can be difficult to read the screen in bright light and causes the product to be more susceptible to moisture damage and breakage. Next we will present another bonding option, rigid-to-rigid liquid optically clear adhesive bonding.

Read our other blogs in the bonding series:

Bonding technologies: liquid optically clear adhesive (LOCA) (part 2 of 3)

Bonding technologies: rigid-to-rigid optically clear adhesive (OCA) (part 3 of 3)