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By Jim Badders | Mar 7, 2017
A display with a printed glass solution.

GM Nameplate (GMN) produces custom printed glass solutions for a wide variety of industries. Whether you need a border to hide mounting hardware or want to include a logo or other backlit icon, GMN can support any printed glass solution from development through value-added assembly. With a growing amount of printed glass options available, there are many considerations to keep in mind that will help to ensure program success.

A variety of graphic features can be printed on the backside of the cover glass, including decorative borders, company names or logos, and symbols. Most printed glass solutions are predominantly done in black, but can incorporate multiple custom colors as well.

Indicator windows are also commonly requested for ambient light sensors, power indicators, or IR sensing. Dead-front indicator windows can be used to help disguise the port windows, making the windows less obvious to the user and hiding the component behind the window.

It is essential to understand how different ink colors are printed to be able to create a clean and polished look. Inks need to be printed thick enough to reach a sufficient level of opacity in order to prevent light from showing through the background and along the edges of the screen. As a result, light colored inks require an additional ink layer for opacity. The buildup of extra layers increases the ink’s thickness, but can also lead to processing difficulties later on if the ink becomes too thick.

When printing light colors – especially with precise color matches – the manufacturer must also consider the inherent tint or hue of the glass being utilized. Some types of glass, such as soda-lime, have a slight green tint that will alter the finished color of the ink when looking through the glass. To counteract this issue, colors have to be adjusted to account for the tint. If there are persisting color-matching difficulties, the customer may need to switch to a low iron soda-lime or borosilicate glass, which has a more water-clear/blue tint.

During the bonding or lamination of flexible sensor films or touchscreens to printed glass, micro air bubbles can form along the window border if the ink is too thick. To prevent the formation of these micro bubbles, the edges of the ink can be gradually pulled back. This creates a stair step effect so that the ink gradually increases and decreases in thickness, which helps the adhesive to flow.

To learn more about GMN’s printed glass and front panel integration capabilities, visit our front panel integration page. 

By Jim Badders | Mar 16, 2016
Cover glass construction front panel integration

As a front panel integrator, one of the layers that GMN adheres to a display is a piece of cover glass. When designing the integration of a display, it is very important to consider the different aspects of cover glass construction including material type, glass strengthening, glass thickness, and surface finishes.

There are many different types of glass used in the display bonding market including soda-lime, alumina-silicate, borosilicate, ceramic, and fused silica/quartz glass. These types of glass are used in various formulations to create cover glass and each combination has its benefits and challenges depending on the particular application.

When combined with raw glass, any of the common glass types can come in both strengthened and non-strengthened forms depending on the intended application and environment. Strengthening is conducted by chemical or heat tempering and is normally determined based upon the thickness of the glass and shatter requirements.

Another major aspect of cover glass construction is the material thickness because it affects impact resistance. While numerous thickness levels are available, the standard levels that are typically stocked from most glass suppliers include 0.7 mm, 1.1 mm, 2.0 mm and 3.0 mm.

Because surface finishes have a big impact on the perceived and quantified display image, they are another major aspect of cover glass design. A few of the most commonly used surface finishes include gloss, anti-glare (AG), and anti-reflective (AR) finishes. An anti-glare etch on the surface of the glass is perhaps the most widely used surface finish after plain gloss finishes.  An anti-reflective finish is used alone or on top of an anti-glare to provide the best optical performance for high brightness, or direct sunlight, usage. Surface finishes can also affect the display image contrast and luminance. In order to ensure the correct cover glass combination, specialized equipment can be used to ensure that the design is sound and that precise measurements can be made to characterize the results for duplication.

Other types of finishes, also known as specialty coatings, include infrared (IR) blocking, anti-smudge or anti-fingerprint/oleophobic, and anti-fog. Because of cost, these are not as widely used.

A growing trend in cover glass construction is printing on the backside of the glass. This is done for many reasons including printing a border to hide mounting hardware or including a logo or other backlit icons. Printing on the backside of the glass is predominately done in black, but can be done in custom colors as well. For white or light colored borders, the glass will need to be a low iron type so that it doesn’t tint the color. For example, the soda-lime glass has a green tint that will show on lighter colored borders. While there are many different types of ink and processing methods available, UV cured and epoxy inks are common. For demanding applications, a frit type process (during which batch material is fused with other materials and ground into powder) is best because the ink is fused onto the glass surface making it almost indestructible. 

Additional features including holes, or slots and notches in the glass can be done to provide a unique and custom look and feel.

The glass offerings used in mobile and fixed displays have evolved recently and play a big part in the overall appearance and performance of cover glass.  In order to achieve the optimum cover glass design, it is important to work with a display solution provider to determine the best fit for product design.

By Steve Baker | Mar 8, 2016
Value-added assembly for SonoSite ultrasound

SonoSite, a medical device manufacturer, needed a branded solution for the monitor of their X-Porte Ultrasound System. GM Nameplate became involved in the program by providing custom glass decoration to showcase the SonoSite logo. As the program progressed, GMN was able to offer additional components of the device including both functional and cosmetic pieces. You can learn more about this program in GMN's case study.

By Jim Badders | Feb 10, 2016

We are excited to announce the release of a new video showcasing GMN’s display characterization testing capabilities. In GMN’s Light Lab, where display testing occurs, our technical experts are able to measure the optical characteristics and functionality of displays. Click below for a behind-the-scenes look at our Light Lab and the range of testing services available for your display. You can learn more about GMN's testing capabilities here.  

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 30, 2015
Vacuum laminator for bonding

In this second article of a three part bonding blog series, we will focus on the most widely used bonding capability at GMN, liquid optically clear adhesive (LOCA) bonding. This process, primarily used when bonding two rigid materials, is typically chosen for its increased impact resistance, sunlight readability, and optical clarity.

GMN Engineers developed the custom fixturing and a program that contains the proper amount of adhesive, a dispensing pattern, and requisite sealing and dam applications. Highly precise metering equipment dispenses a consistent amount of liquid adhesive on each assembly. Components are bonded in a class 10,000 clean room and then the adhesive is UV-cured. GMN then employs a series of sophisticated test and inspection methods to ensure quality control. 

LOCA bonding is a robust technology that GMN has been providing for more than 6 years. This technology is highly regarded due to its strong overall performance and ability to increase impact resistance. To see the strength of this resistance for yourself, watch our ball drop test comparing LOCA bonding to air gap bonding. Another major benefit of LOCA bonding is the optical clarity. This is achieved by using a liquid adhesive that doesn’t allow air gaps to form in the stack up. GMN leverages proprietary processes and adhesives to provide the best bonding solutions to our customers. 

LOCA bonding is also a popular solution because it is a re-workable process. If needed, the components can be salvaged and re-used, increasing overall manufacturing yields. Coming up in our final bonding blog article, we will discuss the third bonding capability at GMN, the rigid-to-rigid optically clear adhesive bonding.

Read our other blogs in the bonding series:

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

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

By Steve Baker | Apr 24, 2015

The GM Nameplate staff is getting ready to exhibit at a number of upcoming industry tradeshows. Our staff will be on hand at the upcoming shows to talk about our latest technologies and projects.

Del Mar Electronics & Design Show (DMEDS) – Booth 662: May 6 – 7, 2015 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, San Diego, CA

Visit GMN at the DMEDS to learn the latest trends in the electronics manufacturing industry. Members of GMN will be on hand to share our latest samples and capabilities.

AMC Engineering Conference – Booth 25: May 5 – 7, 2015 at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center, Waterloo, IA

GMN’s front panel integration staff will be exhibiting our latest front panel integration capabilities at the AMC Engineering Conference. The show is geared toward agricultural and off-highway engineers in the Midwest region.

SID Display Week – Booth 1723: June 2 – 4, 2015 at the San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA

Front panel integration is one of GMN’s fastest growing capabilities today. At the Society of Information Display’s “Display Week”, the GMN team will show its latest projects and share manufacturing trends and new technologies.

MD&M East – Booth 2044: June 9 – 11, 2015 at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, NY

The Medical Design and Manufacturing East expo is the largest east coast medical device show. GMN product line managers will be exhibiting GMN’s newest medical device products and capabilities.

You can keep up with all of the tradeshows GMN exhibits at on the tradeshow section of our website, under GMN updates. All dates, locations, booth numbers and tradeshow information are all listed there for reference.  

By Jim Badders | Dec 2, 2014
Decorating, bonding, nameplates, and labels for an ultrasound

One of the growing capabilities at GM Nameplate is front panel integration. We currently provide the front panel integration for many customers across nearly every industry. Recently, we provided ultrasound device manufacturer, Fujifilm SonoSite with front panel integration for their X-Porte ultrasound kiosk device.

For the X-Porte device, we provided the decorative cover glass and bonded the cover glass to the display. The manufacturing process involved printing specialty ink and Sonosite’s reflective chrome logo. Once decorated, the cover glass was integrated to the display using our liquid optically clear adhesive (LOCA) bonding process.

Before going into production, significant time was spent developing the inks and process to ensure that the liquid adhesive to cure. Once everything was set, the production team faced various challenges in assuring the best quality display. Due to the design, there were extremely tight tolerances in both the printing and bonding process

The end result? A beautifully bonded front panel display assembly, with added durability and sunlight readability benefits!

By admin | Jul 15, 2014
Book pile

The GMN Automotive website went live last month and I have heard great feedback about the case studies.  I wanted to share the links here.

Key Fob Jewel Case Study

Learn how GMN’s approach to a new program increased efficiency, decreased costs and helped provide stability in the supply chain. 

Lensclad Nameplate Case Study

Discover how Lensclad was developed to improve the durability of a nameplate and to protect a logo or image from damage. 

Plastic Nameplate Case Study

Read how custom textures and colors were created to make a plastic nameplate appear metallic. 

Optical Bonding Case Study

Learn how optical bonding, a strategy for front panel integration, has increased the durability and readability of displays.