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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.

By Chris Doyle | Jun 28, 2017
Example of a Metalphoto nameplate

Are you in need of a highly durable and high-end looking nameplate? Look no further than Metalphoto. This incredibly dependable and innovative material is gaining recognition in its uses for nameplates, placards, serial plates, and asset tags.

What is Metalphoto?

Metalphoto is a specialized type of anodized aluminum used to make nameplates, labels and control panels. Developed for the US Navy in 1950 and specified by most major OEMs, it is one of the most durable identification materials available.

Metalphoto’s construction begins with pure 1100 alloy aluminum. The aluminum is then anodized, which creates a glass-like layer that is sapphire-hard on top of the metal. Next, the anodized layer is impregnated with an inorganic photosensitive compound. Using a computerized imaging machine, the artwork is then projected into the aluminum itself, rather than being printed on top of the metal. The graphics are exposed and developed like a true photograph inside of the anodized aluminum, which causes it to become a part of the nameplate. This is what makes Metalphoto so durable and extremely resistant to corrosion, sunlight/UV degradation, abrasion, high temperatures and chemical exposure. Finally, the parts are placed in a sealing tank to close and encase the graphics underneath the anodic layer.

Metalphoto comes in four different finishes: matte, satin, gloss, and a #4 brushed finish that resembles stainless steel. It ranges from 0.003” (.076mm) to 0.125” (3.175mm) in thickness.

Metalphoto images and text are primarily in black. Additional colors can be added, however there is only a set pallet of colors and they cannot be color matched.

The benefits of Metalphoto

Using Metalphoto rather than etched steel or printed stainless steel has many benefits. Metalphoto has unmatched durability and resistance properties. It can sustain an outdoor life of 20+ years, is resistant to over 7,000 cycles of abrasion, can withstand temperatures in excess of 750°F, and is specifically designed to be salt spray and chemical resistant.

In addition, the resolution of graphics on Metalphoto is significantly clearer than on etched steel. The method of using a projected image makes any letters, numbers, symbols and pictures extremely legible and appear as crisp and clean as a photograph.

Metalphoto is also less expensive than stainless steel in lower quantities, especially for variable data/runs. Unlike steel or other nameplates, it does not require individual engraving, punching, or laser marking for variability in images or information. Using the computerized imaging process also makes Metalphoto perfect for serialization, as it does not affect the process or price to make each Metalphoto plate different in image or serial number.

Examples of Metalphoto products

Inovus Solar asked GMN to create a high quality, high resolution nameplate that could last outdoors on their solar-powered street lights. This nameplate needed to be durable in all weather conditions and pliable enough to wrap around the light post, while still sustaining a clear image. Therefore, a thin Metalphoto nameplate was the perfect solution to meet the needs of Inovus Solar.

Another example is a nameplate solution GMN produced for Starbucks. Instead of withstanding extreme weather conditions, Starbucks wanted a high-end nameplate with higher resolution graphics for their coffee machines. The nameplate needed to project clear images while being able to withstand chemical corrosion from cleaning materials. Starbucks went with a Metalphoto nameplate to meet their high quality specifications.

Metalphoto’s durability and resolution makes for a great nameplate, placard, serial plate or asset tag for your product. Metalphoto nameplates are crisp, clear, and are easy to produce in high quantities with variable images/data.

GMN is a certified converter of Metalphoto and has been providing Metalphoto solutions for over 40 years. 

Teresa Synakowski, GMN
By Teresa Synakowski | Jan 6, 2016
Perfume nameplate or label

GMN worked on a project for a supplier to Victoria’s Secret, manufacturing a nameplate for the popular “Love is Heavenly” fragrance. This nameplate was roll coated gold and screen printed with bright pink ink to match the company’s vibrantly colored branding.

When manufacturing this piece, one major challenge was the registration because the part is so small. Designers wanted this nameplate to have a tactile feel on the copy so GMN needed to ensure that it matched up with the emboss perfectly. GMN overcame this challenge by adjusting the art in such a way that the registration would be precise and tight, as well as employing expert press operators to ensure that each aluminum sheet was aligned perfectly during the blanking process.

GMN has been producing this part for the Victoria’s Secret perfume for a few years now and is proud to provide them with a custom branded nameplate that draws attention to this bottle.

Victoria's Secret Branded Nameplate for Perfume Close up

Teresa Synakowski, GMN
By Teresa Synakowski | Nov 18, 2015
Label or applique for perfume bottle

As a manufacturer for the cosmetics industry, GMN partnered with a supplier to Victoria’s Secret to create a branded nameplate for the Victoria Eau de Parfum scent. This fragrance won the 2014 Package & Fragrance of the Year award and the team here at GMN is very excited to have worked on such a well-received part.

Now out of production, we want to look back at the manufacturing processes involved in creating such a complicated part. The nameplate produced by GMN is the silver circular piece that reads “VS” within the center of the decorative bow.

The manufacturing challenges associated with producing this beautiful nameplate include registration and adhesion. Because the nameplate is so small, about the size of a pinky fingernail, lining up the blind embossing with the design was difficult. To solve this, high quality precision tooling was used to provide the intricate design desired on such a small surface size.

Another important consideration before manufacturing a piece is deciding how it will be assembled with the product packaging later on.  This VS miniature plaque has a laminated heat activated adhesive and was then blanked on tape for ease of assembly.  The adhesive is heated when the part is ready to be applied to the package and makes the process a lot faster and cleaner. The benefits of heat activated adhesive don’t end there; it is also clear (without yellowing) so that it can’t be seen through a glass bottle or clear surlyn cap.

GMN is very proud to have been a supplier for an award winning cosmetic package with such unique design requirements.


Anna Minzel, GMN
By Anna Minzel | Oct 29, 2015
Overlay for the Fluke Corporation

GM Nameplate has had a long history of working with Fluke Corporation, a producer of electronic test and measurement tools. GMN began supplying to Fluke from the company’s beginning and the two have been working together ever since. Over the years, GMN has produced overlays for many of Fluke’s measuring devices.

Creating an overlay for Fluke’s 5730A High Performance Multifunction Calibrator was one of the most challenging projects in the partnership’s history. Multiple overlays were manufactured by GMN for this product, including the thin gray strip on the top of the device as well as the overlay behind the cord plug-ins. The latter overlay was difficult to produce because it has so many different holes, making accurate registration really important. In order to ensure that the registration was done correctly and that the overlay would fit on correctly, a laser was used rather than a steel rule die. The laser has the tight tolerance levels that the overlay needed for accuracy, but isn’t as expensive as class A tooling can be. These overlays were made in GMN’s North Carolina division.

GMN was able to meet Fluke’s cost requirements and project requirements by offering a variety of overlay material and shearing solutions. After many years as a supplier, GMN and Fluke Corporation continue to partner together on both old and new projects.

Bob Welch, GMN
By Bob Welch | Aug 11, 2015
Craftsman metal invitation

When planning an exclusive seminar for Craftsman distributors, a one-of-a-kind invitation was needed to draw attention to the event. Designers came with a plan in mind and asked GMN to step in to provide both the design support and the technological know-how needed for this piece.

As an industrial tool builder, it was first decided that the invitation would match the industry so a stainless steel was chosen as the material. Next, an acid etch process was used to lower part of the surface below the original height of the piece. This was one of the processes used to create verbiage on the part and these etched areas were either filled with ink or left to the natural stainless steel. In order to get text onto the un-etched areas, another process was used: screen printing. Then, a laser cutter was used to cut out the pieces of text from the middle of the part. Finally, the part was sheared to size with a machine similar to a heavy duty paper cutter. Because this piece is a multi-level nameplate, it went through multiple processes before the final product was complete.

As an added touch of personalization, customized individual’s names were etched onto each invitation. This is a unique process that GMN was also able to do in-house. Along with the invitation, GMN also created another piece, a giveaway for event guests. The piece is a handy tool that serves as a bottle opener, tiny wrench, drill index, built-in ruler and comes customized with guest’s names as well. GMN was very excited about this project and the invitations were well-received by Craftsman guests.

By Gerry Gallagher | May 20, 2015
Thin domed Lensclad badging and ornamentation

GM Nameplate has had the opportunity to work with one of the oldest luxury four wheel drive vehicles in the automotive industry. The iconic brand, Land Rover, is in the process of making great strides into the Chinese automotive industry and the team at GMN’s China facility is helping bring their badge to life by manufacturing their steering wheel ornamentation.

The steering when badge utilizes lensclad thin doming, a manufacturing process that adds a protective urethane coating over the top of the part.  Due to the complexity of manufacturing thin domed parts, Land Rover China had been importing their nameplate badges from a European supplier.  Through collaboration with GMN China, a domestic manufacturing solution was possible, without the high cost of sourcing overseas. This has dramatically simplified Land Rover’s supply chain for vehicles in the Chinese market.

In addition to high cosmetic standards, the part needed to pass stringent automotive specification requirements. Land Rover needed to ensure that their branding would stand up to heavy use and look just as good after years of use as it did when it rolled out of the factory. To do so, GMN’s parts were tested to the highest performance standards. The badging from GMN stood up to extreme conditions including resistance to scuffing, scraping, and moisture. 

The Land Rover badging is created from a mirror finish aluminum that is screen printed with Land Rover’s corporate color “British Racing Green.” Below the thin doming, there is a subtle emboss on the perimeter of the font. Together with the mirror finish, it gives off an understated luxury, which is in line with Land Rover’s design language and identity.

The customer is delighted with the quality of the airbag ornamentation and our ability to distinguish them from the rest of the competition. This is a prime example of GMN’s total solution to successfully integrate out various processes to create a unique look for our customer.

While GMN’s North American automotive team, GMN Automotive, has been manufacturing automotive badging and ornamentation for years, this was GMN China’s first foray into the product category. While the project required a relatively short time from the development to manufacturing, it was a resounding success. GMN is the first supplier in China that is able to produce a thin doming nameplate that can pass Land Rover’s stringent testing.

Rich Smylie, GMN
By Richard Smylie | Feb 11, 2015
Close up of black car

Last month during the Detroit Auto Show, NPR discussed the evolution of our cars over the past ten years – including everything from designs and aesthetics, to technology and functional changes. The crux of this discussion concerned the average car’s life on the road today being 10 years old. During the recession car sales understandably decreased, but sales are increasing as the economic climate has improved. 

As far as changes in the past ten years, the same holds true for GMN Automotive’ s capabilities and trends within our product lines. New vehicles today look different from their previous models in numerous ways. The complexities of designs and quality requirements have both increased significantly, while also being subject to greater price sensitivity. To meet this challenge GMN Automotive has focused on improving our existing and expanding capabilities.

Within our exterior capabilities, GMN has developed higher performing base coats and top coats for our badging products.  Regarding exterior badges, by using thin lensclad and urethane topcoats we’ve improved the performance and durability of our construction. In addition, we’ve developed solutions to address galvanic corrosion for exterior parts. For all of our parts there is an increased focus on durability and quality (we will discuss this in an upcoming blog!).

Improvements can also be seen within our interior offerings. Recently we’ve expanded our backlit capabilities with new material offerings including stainless steel, added metal insert molding, metal over-molding, and additional nameplate capabilities, such as 2D and 3D electroform. Our improvements to these capabilities allow for better durability and appearance. GMN Automotive has made equipment investments that allow us to offer parts for larger applications, selective finishes, and durable metal coatings.

One of the major changes we are seeing across the automotive industry is the penetration of touchscreens in center stack displays – controlling everything from the radio and temperature, to GPS and other entertainment features. For a number of years, GMN has offered front panel integration and bonding to its customers. Our liquid optically clear adhesive construction offers performance benefits to the automotive industry, including better durability and visual clarity. 

The biggest change seen across GMN and the automotive industry in general is the demand for better quality products. Our current goal for all customer shipments is to reflect a 0 PPM rating.  Our quality manual and quality system certifications provide the tools for GMN to achieve this goal through continuous improvement methods – allowing our shipments to meet your expectations the first and every time!  

There have been many changes to quality standards, technology, and aesthetics in the automotive industry over the past 10 years. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be exciting to witness the changes to come in the next 10 years!

By Chris Doyle | Dec 10, 2014
Custom metal nameplates for SonoSite

We recently posted about the front panel integration we provide for ultrasound device manufacturer SonoSite. In addition to providing the front panel integration for SonoSite’s X-Porte device, we also provided various badging, die cut components, and labels for their other ultrasound units. One of the most interesting nameplates that we provide can be found on the back of the monitor housing of the X-Porte Kiosk unit.

The nameplate features reflective chrome electroform and custom color matching. Using a specialty adhesive, the nameplate is adhered to the back of the monitor.

The team at GMN collaborated with SonoSite to achieve the most cost effective design that met all the aesthetic and technical requirements. We also created two other badges for SonoSite’s units.

Our work with SonoSite is a great example of how our diverse capabilities can fulfill the needs of our customers in many areas.