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Rich Smylie, GMN
By Richard Smylie | Jan 28, 2016
GMN Automotive metal insert molding

When a part needs to hold up against heavy wear and tear, a basic nameplate may not meet demanding project requirements. In these cases one of the technologies that GMN utilizes is metal insert-molding, a process in which both metal and plastic are used together. This capability is especially popular in the automotive industry because it creates pieces that are robust enough to withstand both external and internal environments.

Metal insert molding can replace traditional methods for combining metal and plastic together, including adhesive bonding or crimping. While both of these methods offer adequate bonding for flat surfaces, the advantages of metal insert molding far outweigh those of adhesive bonding and the crimping method.

The metal insert-molding process is an alternative method that overcomes the many difficulties found when combining metal and plastic. The first step of metal insert-molding is decorating the metal with mechanical and chemical finishes for cosmetic requirements. Next, heat activated adhesive is applied to the back of the metal. The part is then trimmed and the metal is formed into the desired shape. The metal piece is inserted into the mold before the plastic is then injected. Finally, the part is cooled and trimmed again if needed.

Metal is chosen for many reasons. First, mechanical finishes can be applied that give the appearance of movement on the part from reflecting light. These finishes include spin, brush, strip and coin graphic patterns. Metal is also used because it’s a strong material that holds its shape and many projects require the feel and weight of authentic metal. While metal provides both cosmetic and functional purposes, plastic is used predominately as a lightweight material that can support the piece as a structural component used to attach the part to its final application.

The advantages of metal insert-molding are broad. This technology allows for a line to line fit between the metal and plastic to create an absolute bond and complete support on the back of the part. The strength of the metal allows for a thicker section of plastic tabs or clips on the back of the part without the risk of heat sink through the top surface of the metal. The combined metal and plastic components can also be machined for a cleaner fit without compromising on the look of the part. The plastic material also traps and covers the raw edge that is created when the parts are cut out.

Metal insert molding is a popular technology that offers both functional and cosmetic benefits for decorated trim components.

Samantha Quamma, GMN
By Samantha Quamma | Dec 14, 2015
Toyota gear shift indicator

When Toyota and their tier one supplier needed a gear shift indicator to match the sleek interior of their Camry line of vehicles, GMN stepped in. It was decided that the piece would be a glossy shade of piano black with a backlighting solution. A difficult combination to achieve, GMN Plastics was able to provide Toyota with an ideal solution through an extensive painting system and laser etching technology.

Learn more about this ongoing program for Toyota in our case study here.

To watch how this part was made, click play on the video below.

Rich Smylie, GMN
By Richard Smylie | Nov 30, 2015
Automotive fuel label

Producing automotive parts requires meeting exceedingly difficult quality and durability standards, especially for exterior vehicle components. These parts not only have to meet mandated safety, design, and industry performance standards, but also must withstand exposure to some of the world's most challenging environments. Despite these challenges, GMN Automotive has the process capabilities and knowledge required to meet and exceed tough external environments.

One of the major challenges facing metal components utilized in automotive exterior applications is galvanic corrosion. Galvanic corrosion results when two different metals come in electrical contact with one another in the presence of an electrolyte (for example a salt water solution) because it causes an electromechanical process in which one metal corrodes preferentially to another. Over time this causes the metal to deteriorate, compromising the component’s visual and functional intent. The metals that are typically affected by galvanic corrosion include aluminum, zinc, and magnesium.

This reaction presents many challenges when producing various metal exterior automotive components, especially wheel badges. Many exterior wheel badges are constructed to include a decorative aluminum or stainless steel center cap that is adhered into a chrome plated overlay. Due to exposure to the elements and the nature of the two differing metals, the more active metal, which would be the center cap, tends to corrode. Galvanic corrosion is one of the main failure modes for wheel badges and center caps, especially in colder climates where roads are dusted with salt (an electrolyte) to prevent ice in the winter months.

Our solution to overcome this challenge? GMN Automotive has developed proprietary corrosion resistant coatings and pre-treatments that are utilized with two other GMN Automotive capabilities, insert and over molding. These capabilities create a construction that encapsulates the raw edge of the center cap and thus eliminates the possibility of the two differing metals from coming in contact with one another. This means that galvanic corrosion is prevented from occurring and parts can better withstand external environments.