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Bob Coyne GM Nameplate
By Bob Coyne | Sep 19, 2017
GMN will help guide the design and manufacturability of your product.

GM Nameplate’s (GMN) design support capabilities spread across a variety of technologies to meet the needs of a variety of industries. As a custom manufacturer, GMN has to be ready to accommodate a vast array of needs a customer has. Our specialties lie in graphic, industrial, mechanical, and electrical design support, providing design considerations for manufacturability, and managing projects in a coordinated and efficient manner to meet the agreed requirements of a project.

When supporting a customer’s design, GMN brings forth many departments to help provide input. These in-house experts make up our product development team which includes product line managers, the rapid prototyping group, graphic designers, design engineers, and the process engineering group. GMN can provide design support for all customers, and the extent of that support varies based on the customer’s specific requirements and information given to GMN on the project. 

In addition to developing a product, we construct the manufacturing process for the product as well. To produce a custom part, there must be a manufacturing process in place that is efficient, reliable, and repeatable and in alignment with the project requirements. The process begins by obtaining requirements from the customer with sufficient detail and specification (thermal management, moisture ingress, UV, chemical, or corrosion resistance, etc.). Then a development plan is created with assigned roles and timelines. Next, validation parts are built, parts are tested, revisions are made and updated, and then the production process for that specific part begins. Once that process is developed, it is tested and validated before starting production.

GMN is a vertically integrated manufacturer that offers a wide range of value-added capabilities and services under one roof. To continue to simplify the supply chain, GMN sources high quality materials from its extensive network of strategic partners and suppliers to ensure that we provide our customers with the best product possible.

Quality is key in manufacturing, and GMN is compliant to internationally recognized quality standards across several industries including aerospace and medical. Although quality standards are specific to each GMN facility, a few certifications maintained by GMN include: ISO 9001, ISO 13485, AS 9100, ISO 14001, China ISO/TS 16949, China ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001. To learn more about our certifications, check out our quality and compliance page.

Our company has several facilities throughout the US and Asia. We are headquartered at our Seattle, WA Division, and other GMN divisions include: Monroe, NC Division, San Jose, CA Division, Beaverton, OR Division, China Division, and Singapore Division. Although many of our facilities share similar capabilities, each one also possesses unique capabilities specific to that plant.

If you would like more information about our processes and development capabilities for your company’s next product, please click here to request a consultation with one of our in-house technical experts.

By Rachel Wienckoski | May 18, 2017
Polyester and polycarbonate are both popular overlay materials.

Have you ever walked up to an ATM machine or gas pump and noticed the cracking, fading numbers on the keypad? This is a prime example of why material selection is vital for graphic overlays. At GMN, the two most common materials used for graphic overlays are polyester and polycarbonate. Depending on the application, there are advantages and disadvantages for both materials.

When evaluating overlay materials, one of the most important factors to consider is durability. Polyester and polycarbonate are both extremely durable materials, but polyester is generally known as the more durable option. Polyester has a longer actuation life (over 1 million actuations vs. 200,000 actuations), meaning that it can endure more switch actuations before the overlay will start to crack or deform. As a result, polyester is a great choice for membrane switches and overlay designs that include embossed buttons. Polycarbonate has a wider thickness range, and increasing the thickness of an overlay can help make it more durable. However, polycarbonate is best suited for applications with minimal flex requirements because continual flexing can cause stress fractures over time. Therefore, in the scenario above, polycarbonate was likely chosen for those overlays, when polyester would’ve been a better choice.

In addition, polyester is resistant to abrasion and significantly more resistant to acids and chemicals, making it an ideal substrate for the medical, industrial, and appliance industries. Polycarbonate is flame retardant while polyester is flammable, making polycarbonate perfect for industries in which safety is of high importance, such as the aerospace industry. Alternatively, hard-coating can be used to significantly improve the durability of either material.

While polyester has an edge in terms of durability, polycarbonate has some cosmetic advantages over polyester. Polycarbonate offers a wider range of textures and finishes, which can be attractive when design is the most important factor. It also has very high clarity and color brilliance. If an overlay is being used purely for appearances and won’t be exposed to frequent use, polycarbonate may be the most appropriate substrate choice.

In terms of production, polycarbonate tends to process easier than polyester. It’s very easy to cleanly print on polycarbonate of all thicknesses. Polycarbonate is also easier to die-cut and emboss, which can help to reduce cost.

The cost difference between the two types of materials is minimal, so the application and use considerations are typically the main factors to consider. However overall, polyester is slightly more expensive than polycarbonate.

Polyester and polycarbonate are both excellent material choices for overlays. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on the overlay’s design requirements and environmental conditions. For more information on how polyester and polycarbonate compare, visit GMN’s graphic overlays page.