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Dean Karousos, GMN
By Dean Karousos | Oct 24, 2017
GMN created a metal nameplate for WFLIII Drums using diamond carving and embossing.

WFLIII Drums came to GM Nameplate (GMN) to develop an original nameplate intended to be the company keystone for their high-quality signature snare drum. Recently, WFLIII asked GMN to provide design modification considerations to help them redesign this nameplate.

The original design of the WFLIII nameplate utilized an ElectraGraphic process on stainless steel. With ElectraGraphic nameplates, even though the nameplate is flat, the letters and designs appear to be raised. But this time around, WFLIII wanted to create a truly embossed (raised) badge with a diamond carved finish.

WFLIII Drums decided to go with a black aluminum nameplate that would be embossed and diamond carved on the upper half of the badge. Diamond carving is when lines are brushed deeply into embossed metal to give it a textured look. The diamond carving for this nameplate was applied diagonally and had more than the typical spread in between each engraving.

The nameplate had a lot of detail on its lower half, which presented a challenge because fine details are hard to achieve through embossing and diamond carving. So GMN had to find a solution to make sure the fine details of the badge would stand out as well.

Therefore, GMN decided to “reverse out” the details on the lower half of the badge. This meant that the designs would be made by printing the black ink around the letters and drum image, making the details stand out with a metallic shine against the dark background.

WFLIII Drums worked closely with GMN’s sales representatives and the Monroe, NC Division to create this new and improved badge. GMN was able to provide a solution for WFLIII Drums to create a nameplate that met their specific needs. 

Anna Minzel, GMN
By Anna Minzel | Jul 26, 2017
Magni-lens doming can increase the life of a nameplate tenfold

GM Nameplate (GMN) worked with Elkhart Plastics to create a nameplate for one of their products: Kong Coolers. After several months of back-and-forth communication, GMN and Elkhart Plastics went from a rough design of the logo to the finished part that is now being manufactured and placed on all Kong Coolers.

Elkhart Plastics had a list of things they wanted for their part, but some ideas were too intricate to manufacture and wouldn’t fit their budget. However, GMN’s knowledgeable team knew how to achieve the desired look the client wanted. GMN’s wide set of capabilities allowed for all of the different processes required to make this nameplate to be done under one roof: embossing the base layer, screen printing the various logo colors, and affixing the urethane dome (Magni-lens).

Kong Coolers are positioned as one of the most durable coolers in the market and are built for harsh environments. That being said, the nameplate required for this cooler also needed to be durable. The initial design had an aluminum base to achieve a metallic look. However, there was concern for the first design of the nameplate: the adhesive on the embossed regions of the nameplates wasn’t touching the cooler, which left a little amount of surface area to adhere to the cooler.

GMN solved this issue by using silver Mylar instead of aluminum. Silver Mylar is a much more flexible material, so the embossed regions were able to make contact with the cooler. Silver Mylar still gave the logo a metallic look, but was a less expensive option that already came with an aggressive adhesive on the back.

To increase the logo’s durability, GMN applied a Magni-lens layer to the nameplate. Magni-lens is a clear urethane dome that is capable of tremendous impact resistance, while still maintaining a modern look. With the stronger adhesive and the domed urethane cover, this nameplate can survive anything Kong Coolers can survive.

GMN helps customers with design considerations for manufacturability to create superior products. With years of experience, our team knows the best processes to accomplish desired aesthetics while producing the part as economical as possible. In addition, we are able to get samples out quickly for testing to ensure they have the highest degree of quality before going into full production.

For another example of a Magni-lens cooler nameplate, check out this previous blog.

Dan Swanson, GMN
By Dan Swanson | May 9, 2017
Rapid prototype of a nameplate.

Substantial planning and thought go into manufacturing a custom nameplate – development, sourcing material, setting up the build plan, scheduling, and full-scale production. Therefore, companies typically find themselves in a tough position if they need last minute nameplates to show off at a meeting or tradeshow in the near future. In time sensitive situations, rapid prototyping services are extremely effective in providing quick-turn proof-of-concept solutions.

Through rapid prototyping, a physical representation of a product concept is brought to life. The prototype will essentially have the same form and fit of the desired product, but may not include complete intended functionality. Customers can explore innovative ideas and multiple design considerations with accelerated leads times and reduced costs compared to full production parts. Prototypes of functional products, including membrane switches and functional overlays, can be made as well. Prototyping services not only provide quick-turn solutions, but also offer design support to help customers develop a path towards production.

Kenworth, a heavy-duty truck manufacturer, came to GM Nameplate (GMN) in need of a prototype for an upcoming tradeshow. They wanted to be able to showcase an example of a new nameplate for their limited edition ICON 900 truck. GMN’s rapid prototyping team worked closely with Kenworth to leverage production processes to manufacture the part. The nameplate was selectively chrome plated, which gave the part a modern, high-end automotive look. Then a urethane dome and an aggressive adhesive were placed on the nameplate for added durability.

In addition, GMN’s rapid prototyping team also provides pre-production services as well. Pre-production is best suited for customers who need low volume, quick-turn parts that are more representative of complete functional production parts for purposes such as qualification and testing. This process utilizes all of the production equipment and processes that would be used during the full-scale production of a program, but still involves the development of new products.

To learn more about GMN’s rapid prototyping capabilities, visit our rapid prototyping page.

To request prototypes, fill out our request prototypes form.

Dan Swanson, GMN
By Dan Swanson | Sep 26, 2016
Thin aluminum drum badges for Monarch and RBH.

When determining the look and design for a custom nameplate or drum badge, a manufacturer must support the design as well as the manufacturing process.

These GMN manufactured Monarch and RBH drum badges are fabricated from thin aluminum and embossed to emphasize the edges and lettering to bring added dimension and pop to the nameplate. However, the challenge with embossing these printed aluminum drum badges was the ink’s tendency to crack.

GMN carefully reviewed this project and selected an appropriate ink system to avoid damaging the ink. Two ink systems are commonly used, UV and solvent-based. With solvent-based ink, the alcohol or solvent is baked out during the curing process, leaving a hard resin. For UV-based ink systems, the printing is subjected to ultraviolet light, catalyzing the ink and creating a robust and durable seal. UV and solvent-curing dries and hardens the printing in a controlled environment, maintaining the consistency and integrity of the final deliverable.

Tight registration is paramount when embossing and fabricating a nameplate. Loose registration can cause misalignment between the embossed features and the ink, creating a cosmetically unacceptable part. Without tight registration, the edges of the drum badges would bleed onto the blue or maroon color of the center and the lettering may appear fuzzy and out-of-focus. Consistent registration targets maintain precise alignment during printing, embossing and fabrication processes to ensure a beautiful product with very little waste.

To learn more about how GMN can work with a rough concept to create professional, high-value branding, check out our nameplate capabilities page.

Dean Karousos, GMN
By Dean Karousos | Jul 21, 2016
SOVARO cooler nameplate

With 60 years of experience in manufacturing nameplates, GM Nameplate (GMN) has developed a highly comprehensive set of capabilities in this area. In a recent project, we produced a Magni-Lens domed graphic for the new SOVARO cooler that highlights one of the many nameplate solutions we offer. This cooler was created by Suncast, a company from Batavia, Illinois known for their products and accessories that help organize backyards and gardens. The SOVARO cooler is a stylish, high quality product made to bring people a high-class cooler experience. This product exhibits sleek and elegant aesthetics for which Suncast needed an equivalent nameplate solution. When it came to finding a nameplate, Suncast was looking for a way to add a 3D profile to their letters.

Initially, GMN wasn’t the only company in the running for this project and multiple decorative processes were being considered. In an effort to find the best process to suit the customer’s requirements, we tested options such as 3D Electroform, plastic injection-molding, Magni-Form, and Magni-Lens (to learn more about our nameplate capabilities, please visit our nameplate page). In the end, Suncast felt confident in both the Magni-Lens technology and GMN to get the job done. Magni-Lens is a domed metal nameplate solution that enhances design and protects against a variety of indoor and outdoor conditions.

We created pre-spaced Magni-Lens letters in gold, silver, and chrome. The clear urethane dome of Magni-Lens helps to enhance 3D figures, which was exactly what Suncast desired. The flexibility of the Magni-Lens letters to conform to slightly irregular surfaces that don’t match one another was also a huge advantage because the coolers come in three different sizes, which means varying curved surfaces during application. Additionally, this solution comes at an attractive price with low tooling cost. It is durable and scratch resistant, which is crucial for the product’s outdoor environment.

GMN was the top contender for the job for a number of reasons including:

  • Extremely accurate color matching
  • The ability to “combo-run” the three letter colors simultaneously for a low cost
  • Accurate die-cutting of a premask liner that enabled Suncast operators to place the pre-spaced letters on the coolers with perfect registration
  • The right nameplate solution: Magni-Lens is a low cost, durable solution that enhances 3D figures
Dan Swanson, GMN
By Dan Swanson | Apr 28, 2016
Beeworks’ custom ElectraGraphic nameplate by GMN

BeeWorks, a Seattle based technology company that produces equipment for filmmakers, was looking for a branded nameplate to identify their gear. When looking for a nameplate, the company knew that they wanted a professional high-end look and were originally drawn to the chrome look of ElectraGraphic nameplates, a technology that includes the processes of plating and printing.

The customer ultimately selected a bright aluminum nameplate that offered the high-quality look they wanted with a simpler and more cost-efficient manufacturing process. The BeeWorks nameplate is constructed from thin aluminum and is screen-printed with black ink. To emphasize the graphics, the image of the bee, the company name, and the border outline were embossed. To add further sophistication to the part, a gloss topcoat was utilized for a smooth finish before adhesive was applied. The nameplates were provided to BeeWorks on a kiss-cut sheet to ensure that the pieces could be easily removed and applied to the camera equipment.

Not only did the chosen process save the customer both time and money, it is a repeatable and controlled process that ensures high quality and very consistent parts. By using this method, BeeWorks’ requirement of a chrome metallic look was achieved through an efficient process solution that also provided cost savings and high quality.

By Chris Doyle | Jan 21, 2016
Custom nameplate samples

For over 60 years GM Nameplate has been providing custom nameplates and we continually strive to possess the newest technologies in the industry. In order to provide a nameplate for every application, we are equipped with a wide range of decorating options guaranteed to make any nameplate pop. These options include traditional doming, Lensclad doming, diamond carve finishes, spin finishes, brush finishes, and plating.

Domed nameplates are a popular option to give parts a 3 dimensional clear decorative lens over a printed or embossed part. Traditional doming refers to the process of applying liquid urethane that flows out to the edge of a part. This process can be applied to a variety of materials and is very durable. Another option used to create a domed nameplate is Lensclad technology. Lensclad parts are very durable as well, both inside and outdoors, and are typically done for higher volumes of 10,000 parts or more. Different from traditional doming, Lensclad only applies a very thin layer of resin roughly .006-.008” thick.  A Lensclad part can be embossed as well, either before or after the application depending on project requirements.

There are many finishing capabilities at GMN that offer a huge variety of custom options. One of the most commonly used finishes at GMN is diamond carving, also known as copy carve. In this process lines are brushed deeply onto embossed metal nameplates to give the piece a textured look. These brush lines can go in different directions with the ability to create crisscross patterns. GMN is also able to provide spin finishes to metal nameplates with unique patterns created from a selective spin technology. There are also many brush finishes available that give nameplates a brushed metal look and GMN has the capabilities to brush metal in house at different levels from heavy to fine.

Plating technology is used for both ElectraGraphic and electroform nameplates. For ElectraGraphic, plating is done on stainless steel to create a raised or recessed image. When it comes to electroform technology, GMN can provide both 3 dimensional and 2 dimensional nameplates. For 2 dimensional nameplates, nickel and chrome are used to create a low profile freestanding nameplate. For 3 dimensional nameplates, nickel and chrome plating is used to create an image through textures, brush and spin finishes.

By offering a wide variety of decorating options, GMN is able to meet the nameplate needs of any industry application. 

Learn more about GMN decorating options here: Tooling for embossed nameplates

By Chris Doyle | Jan 20, 2016
Embossed nameplate

As a nameplate manufacturer, GM Nameplate provides a wide range of decorative texture options. One component of building nameplates is embossing; the process of adding raised features to a part for either aesthetic or functional purposes. Cosmetically, embossing can add a 3 dimensional look and feel to the part. Functionally, this process can also add structure and texture to the nameplate. In order to emboss a part, the piece must be tooled and GMN offers three types of tooling to meet a variety of project needs. These three types include etch die tooling, cut die tooling, and coin embossing. Throughout this article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each process.

To begin, an etch die is a chemical or laser etch done on metal, typically brass, magnesium or steel. This is a common method of tooling at GMN because it is fairly inexpensive, typically costing under $1000 for the tooling equipment. It also has a relatively quick lead time and isn’t limited in the amount of characters that can be embossed on the part. This means that it can handle a wide variety of project requirements. On the other hand, the etch die is limited in how high it can emboss characters. It is also 2 dimensional, meaning that all embossed features will be the same height, and is limited to thinner materials and smaller runs of 10,000 parts or less.

Next, the cut die is typically CNC cut or a pantograph on heat-treated steel, which is also known as class A or steel tooling. The advantages of cut die tooling include 3 dimensional capabilities and the technology to emboss smaller features with sharper radiuses. This method also allows for a long production life of over one million parts. With these advantages come a higher cost and longer tooling lead times depending on part complexity. The cut die can also cause the part material and top coat to stretch which can potentially create sharp embossed edges.

The third method of tooling is known as coin embossing, a process in which only one half of a tool has the part design and is used with a high-tonnage press. The advantages of this process include a lower tooling cost and the ability to use normal PSA adhesives because the part back is solid. This process is typically used for very specific applications because it is limited in decorative options.

Embossing is an important technology when building nameplates to add both texture and structure. Because our business was founded on the creation of nameplates, GMN is proud to provide a variety of embossing options. Stay tuned for another article featuring different nameplate finishing options to enhance part aesthetics.

Learn more in our next blog article: Nameplate decorating options

Teresa Synakowski, GMN
By Teresa Synakowski | Aug 19, 2015
Makeup nameplate

This nameplate piece was made for Elizabeth Arden, a cosmetics company founded in New York City in 1910. To honor founder Elizabeth Arden’s iconic Red Door salons, the company has continued to incorporate her legacy into products with this red door theme. To set off the packaging of this classic foundation product, Elizabeth Arden management wanted a stand-out piece. To meet their need, GMN created a small nameplate that was both screen printed and embossed to achieve a vibrant red and gold design. For a part this small, lining up the embossing to the printed pattern is difficult, but GMN employees were up to the challenge after going through an extensive training program to do ensure that production is done correctly. For a successful part, both the printing and the embossing needs to be done properly to ensure that each line up together correctly.

When building this part, a blank-on-tape process was used, meaning that the piece was applied on a roll with heat activated adhesive. Because of this technique, assembly of the red door part to the product package was much more time efficient and mess-free. The blank-on-tape process is especially good for small pieces like this Red Door nameplate. In the end, GMN was able to provide Elizabeth Arden with a bold piece to make their product pop, while also creating efficiencies for them when assembling the product.

Duncan Carswell, GMN
By Duncan Carswell | Mar 23, 2015
Ford Explorer platinum badge

Get a sneak peak of the Ford Explorer’s new, limited edition badging on the vehicle’s Facebook page. The Ford emblem, which is done in soft metallic silver, is designed to commemorate the icon brand’s anniversary as part of their Platinum series.

For the new Ford Platinum, GMN’s automotive group worked to develop a number of nameplate prototypes with varied tone and texture. The photo shows a few of the options that were provided. In the end, Ford selected a lightly textured, domed nameplate in a dark brushed gray with contrasting bright chrome. 

According to Ford, the Explorer Platinum will be available this summer, when you can see the new badging for yourself. To see Ford’s final badge selection, visit the Ford Facebook post. You can also learn more from Ford’s news page.