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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 Steve Baker | Sep 11, 2017
Technical printing projects are common in highly regulated industries

This blog is the second in our series on technical printing. In our first blog we gave an in-depth description of what technical printing is. In this blog, we will talk about how technical printing projects go from development to production.

How are technical printing projects started? At GM Nameplate (GMN), technical printing projects start in our development department. Here the design is scrutinized, reviewed, and tested. The goal is to produce development part designs and find out quickly whether the part is manufacturable or not. This department will provide design considerations and test reports until a conclusion is drawn. Once a batch of parts has a high yield per volume and a high success rate, the project can move onto full production.

There are five phases that technical printing projects go through during development before it can move on to full-scale production, each one with specific operations. These phases are particular to technical printing projects only because of the high level of scrutiny required in development.

Phase 1: Ideation

Ideation is an ongoing conversation between the customer and GMN to identify the areas of highest design risk. This allows both parties to define steps to test design assumptions and evaluate potential design and material solutions to help build confidence about the known challenges.

Phase 2: Risk mitigation

This phase is used to validate material stability and printability, explore material handling and registration options, review curing processes, and establish a planned production approach. Defining the risks and challenges that are likely to occur allows for a plan to be made accordingly. All challenges must be addressed with extreme scrutiny because technical printed parts require much tighter tolerances.

Phase 3: Low volume functional prototyping

Low-volume prototyping is used to create functional printed parts using the materials and preliminary product design planned for use during full volume production. This could take several rounds of prototype layouts and testing, and repeating this process until a high yield success rate is achieved. With technical printing, projects in this phase become more device-specific and are outside of typical production, development, and industry standards.

Phase 4: Production development prototyping

With a suitable design identified, GMN will work on transitioning into production manufacturing development. Larger quantities of parts will be printed and evaluated, with the goal of meeting customer specifications. The parameter window for meeting the customer’s specifications is very small in technical printing, and is why technically printed parts are evaluated so thoroughly.

Phase 5: Production validation

Once the parts have passed the previous phase, the project is handed to a production team and design engineer to apply to production volume quantities.

GMN’s expertise and strict quality systems allow us to work in these highly regulated spaces and gives our clients confidence in the parts we produce for them.

For an overview of technical printing, read our previous blog in this series.

By Sandy Dick | Nov 4, 2016
Adaptive Interfaces overlay produced by GM Nameplate.

Adaptive Interfaces came to GM Nameplate (GMN) to manufacture six different overlays for instruments used in aircraft cockpits. The six overlays had the same shape and colors, but varied in text according to the overlay’s purpose. GMN manufactured overlays for the decoder, encoder, electrical status, oil status, engine temperature, and engine performance monitors.

With GMN’s rapid prototyping capabilities, Adaptive Interfaces was able to receive prototypes quickly to use as a visual for board meetings and discussions. The prototypes were digitally printed using a textured substrate, allowing for fast delivery.

For the production run, the overlay was screen printed. The overlay’s graphics were printed with translucent ink for illumination in dim lighting, and the windows were printed using transparent ink so that the display behind the overlay could readily show through. The adhesive was laser cut and later lined up and adhered to the overlay before fabrication with a steel rule die. The lettering was backprinted and an anti-glare finish was applied the entire overlay.

At GMN, we provide design solutions to help customers navigate through any hurdles to ensure the production of high quality products. 

Lauren Rowles, GMN
By Lauren Rowles | Feb 8, 2016
Cub Cadet nameplate for Milsco seat

When Milsco ran into complications with the Cub Cadet seat branding, GM Nameplate had the resources to straighten things out. Milsco, a seat manufacturer, was in need of an flexible PVC nameplate to affix to the operator’s seat they were making for a Cub Cadet riding lawnmower. Due to the application process of the nameplate to the seat, the nameplates also needed to be able to remain extremely flat without curling at the ends for long periods of time. 

Milsco was searching for a nameplate process that is not very common or widely available. However, we were able to provide Milsco with the solution they desired. Our strong relationship with strategic partners in Asia also allowed us to meet Milsco’s requested price point.

More importantly, we are most proud of the level of quality achieved with this part. GM Nameplate not only met, but exceeded Milsco’s quality parameters with our final product. Milsco needed the nameplates to stay flat while shipping from our facility in China to Milsco’s facility in Jackson, Michigan. Then the nameplates would need to withstand sitting in inventory for several weeks to months without curling at the ends. Only parts that were perfectly flat could be used for the application process, so any deviation resulted in delays and increased costs. Ultimately, GM Nameplate was able to provide better parts than competitors that were substantially flatter and were a closer color match at a better price.