By Steve Baker Jan 12, 2016
Capacitive touch for user interfaces

Tactile feedback in user interfaces is undergoing significant change as people become accustomed to the touchscreen surfaces of smartphone and tablet devices. Technology has adapted over the years from keyboards to membrane switches to touch screens.

When electronic keyboards were first introduced, they were designed to provide the same tactile feedback as a typewriter with the click and stroke of the keys known as full travel technology. As users became more accustomed to keyboards, the “click” was no longer as important and quieter keyboards entered the market.

After keyboards, the next evolution was membrane switches. These were originally seen as “cheap” alternatives because they didn’t provide the same tactile feedback as keyboards. Once metal domes were added into the product stack-up, membrane switches gained greater popularity due to the improved tactile feedback of the buttons. Now membrane switches are very common and can be seen on everything from consumer to medical devices.

Recently, touch screens have become the most sought after technology for user interface devices. As customers become accustomed to non-tactile touch technology, they expect it in a wider range of the products they use. With this shift, businesses are looking towards capacitive switch technology as a solution.

The benefits of capacitive switch technology compared to these more mature technologies are numerous. First and foremost, there are no moving parts in a capacitive switch stack-up. This means that these parts are higher quality and will have a longer life. Parts using this technology are also easier to clean without the crevices between buttons. Capacitive switch technology uses dedicated switch locations for the points of user contact and the circuit tail is connected to the motherboard of a printed assembly circuit board.

Within capacitive switch technology there are multiples types available including mutual and self. These will be examined along with the benefits of each in our next blog article.

Samantha Quamma, GMN
By Samantha Quamma Jan 06, 2016
Dan Thurmond

Dan Thurmond, President of GMN Plastics, has been working in the plastics industry for his entire career and at GMN Plastics for the past 30 years beginning when he started the business. Dan’s plastic experience began in high school when he took a plastics course and continued after graduation at the LA Trade Technical College where he studied plastics manufacturing. During this time he was involved with The Society of Plastic Engineers, a group he is still a member of today, and had his first apprenticeship with an affiliate company in 1969.

How did Dan go from an apprenticeship to starting his own business? He worked his way up through the plastics industry and eventually started two different plastics manufacturing companies. Dan started his first business, T&T Plastic Molding, in California and built it up before selling it four years later. He then moved to the Pacific Northwest where he began working at View-Master, the producer of stereoscopic children’s toys, where he gained experience running the molding, painting, and tooling operations there.

In 1985, Dan started Danegon Plastics with Egon Steinborn in Oregon. As the business grew, they eventually began working with GM Nameplate (GMN). GMN had been looking for a plastic injection molder as it transitioned from all sheet stock materials to injection molded nameplates that would snap into housing components. After a year and a half working as a subcontractor, GMN bought Danegon Plastics in 1995. From there, Danegon Plastics became GMN Oregon and was eventually rebranded as GMN Plastics, the name it currently holds today. While Dan stayed at the company, Egon Steinborn decided to sell his share of the company and went on to own a tool shop that continues to work with Elite Plastics today.

Dan agreed to stay at GMN Plastics for three years to ensure that the company was up and running. After working with GMN, he decided that there was, and still is, no better place to work and has been here ever since. 

Chris Passanante, GMN’s product line manager of plastics, explains that, “Dan is a wonderful person, his compassion and family values carry over to relationships with his employees.  He has a wealth of industry knowledge and experience, always open to suggestions and values all of his teams input.  I have been very fortunate to be part of Dan’s team for the last 14 years; he has been a great mentor and friend.”

Dan Thurmond is a huge contributor to the success of GMN Plastics and GMN as a whole. He has grown the business as technologies have evolved over time and brings a positive experience to everyone who has the opportunity to work with him. We want to thank Dan for 30 years of commitment to GMN Plastics. 

Teresa Synakowski, GMN
By Teresa Synakowski Jan 06, 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.

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Chris Passanante, GMN
By Chris Passanante Jan 04, 2016
GMN Plastics - exterior view

This January we celebrate 20 years since GM Nameplate (GMN) acquired its plastic division. In 1995, GMN bought Danegon Plastics, which became GMN Oregon and was eventually rebranded as GMN Plastics, the current business name.

Danegon Plastics was started in 1985 by Dan Thurmond, current GMN Plastics president, and Egon Steinborn. Before GMN bought Danegon Plastics, the business was run inside of a barn, two horse stalls, and two storage containers with a makeshift roof built in between. When this space had grown too small for the business, Thurmond purchased a large army tent to expand into. As the business grew, Danegon Plastics began to supply GMN with injection molded nameplates as a plastic injection molder. GMN bought Danegon Plastics 10 years after the business was started, in 1995, after working with the company for a year and a half. When GMN bought the business it was moved into a new facility where GMN Plastics currently resides today.

Danegon Plastics had been producing its own line of standard plastic lids for a variety of customers. As the marketplace changed to custom products Danegon Plastics needed to shift with the trend. Dan knew that Danegon Plastics had grown as much as it could on its own and by joining GMN, the business was able to expand to all that it is now. As Dan says, “a business can’t stay at the same level, it needs to grow and for us, GMN was the next big growth opportunity. It took us in a whole new direction. We had previously focused on plastic screw lids, and with GMN we began to focus on nameplates and branding.”

GMN had the resources that Danegon Plastics needed including a wide range of nameplate capabilities and key contacts in large US companies. Danegon Plastics had the plastic molding capabilities that GMN needed as well. By coming together, the two companies were able to grow together with complementary technologies. This shift helped GMN Plastics expand into other areas of plastic injection molding including plastic decorating, thermoforming, welding, and much more.

GMN Plastics has come a long way since it operated out of a storage facility in the 1980’s. Today, GMN Plastics is recognized as a leader in servicing highly regulated industries with comprehensive injection and compression molded products, sub-assemblies, highly decorated parts, and plastic machining. With a 60,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, GMN Plastics serves the medical, automotive, aerospace, and industrial industries. After 20 years, we have grown to 150 employees and continue to expand year after year. At GMN Plastics we are proud of our history and continued growth.

Dan Klein
By Dan Klein Dec 23, 2015
Ultrasonic welding process at GMN Plastics

Two new ultrasonic welding machines have been added to the equipment list in the GMN Plastics facility. Ultrasonic welding is a process in which sound vibration is used to adhere an insert to plastic or plastic to plastic. This technology has many advantages over other processes and is typically chosen because it is more precise, has faster cycle times, is easier to set-up for production, the tooling involved is less expensive, the machines are smaller, and it can be done either as a standalone operation or at the molding machine during the molding process.

Because ultrasonic welding is used for a wide variety of applications, there are many variables to consider when determining whether this technology should be chosen. To decide whether ultrasonic welding is the right option for a project, the team at GMN Plastics looks at factors of the part design including part function, material, cosmetic requirements, and part size.

A good example of the advanced capabilities of ultrasonic welding can be seen through a plastic bezel that GMN Plastics manufactured for a large medical technology corporation. This complex piece used four different inserting operations, each with different heights and locations. Ultrasonic welding was able to meet the customer’s project requirements with reduced set-up times, reduced handling and movement, one piece flow operation (also known as lean manufacturing), and better quality.

Cynthia Schulte, GMN
By Cynthia Schulte Dec 15, 2015
AS9100C certification

BEAVERTON, Oregon (December 15, 2015) – GM Nameplate’s Beaverton, Oregon Division has achieved renewal of the AS9100C quality system certification. The AS9100C certification is the quality standard for aerospace applications and is essential for supplying to the industry. As a part of GMN, this certification means that GMN Aerospace applies a quality management system for manufacturing plastic parts and value added assemblies for aerospace applications that meets industry approval.

Bruce Wold, engineering manager of GMN’s Beaverton Division, said of the certification, “With AS9100C certification, we are better able to serve the aerospace industry with improved manufacturing processes. We are proud to have renewed this quality system in order to meet the stringent requirements necessary of producing aerospace parts.”

GMN is committed to providing the highest quality parts and this certification shows a continued commitment to the aerospace industry.

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’s plastic division 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.

April O'Donahue
By April O'Donahue Dec 12, 2015
Red Cross Breakfast

At GM Nameplate, we love to recognize and support our employee’s efforts to give back to the community. On December 10, 2015, the Snohomish, Washington Chap­ter of the Red Cross held their annual Real Heroes Breakfast to celebrate local people who have gone above and beyond to show courage and compassion. For the past five years, our own April O’Donahue, a GMN Aerospace senior new programs manager, has been volunteering for the event as their official photog­rapher.

But this was not GM Nameplate’s first run-in with this organization. In 2014, GM Nameplate donated to the Red Cross relief fund for the Oso landslide in Washington that claimed 43 lives, including 2 students from Darrington Elementary School. The landslide left students grieving with loss, PTSD, no home, and more without a school counselor available to come to their aid. With help from the American Red Cross fund, the school was able to hire a counselor to help these students express and process their feelings through a program called “Art with Heart”.

Thank you to April O’Donahue and the rest of the GM Nameplate team for volunteering your time and helping to support this cause!

Samantha Quamma, GMN
By Samantha Quamma Dec 11, 2015
Dan Thurmond and Egon Steinborn

Tonight Dan Thurmond, president of GMN Plastics, won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) of the Columbia River section. This award is presented to individuals who have gone above and beyond to support and contribute to the plastics community. Beginning in 1996, the Lifetime Achievement Award has honored many members of the industry from injection molders to key suppliers. The SPE, the largest plastics professional society in the world, aims to spread scientific and engineering knowledge of the plastics industry.  

For his entire career, Dan Thurmond has been working in the plastics industry. In 1985, Dan and his business partner, Egon Steinborn, started a plastic injection molding company called Danegon and 10 years later, the business was purchased by GM Nameplate (GMN). While Dan stayed on to run GMN’s new plastic division, Egon Steinborn decided to focus on his tooling business instead and continues to do business with GMN Plastics today. Along with Dan, Egon Steinborn, was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bruce Cleckley, CEO of GMN, said of the award, “We are so happy the Columbia River SPE is recognizing Dan’s contribution in acknowledgement of his decades of work in the plastics industry. Dan is an outstanding example of executive leadership and an invaluable member of our team. This Lifetime Achievement award is well deserved. We are pleased the association has noticed what we experience from Dan each day.”

Dan Thurmond is an irreplaceable member of GMN and his contributions to the plastics industry throughout his career have been countless.

Edward Laffert, GMN
By Edward Lafferty Dec 09, 2015
Injection molding machine

In the past year, GMN Plastics has added three new injection molding machines to its equipment list in Beaverton, Oregon. As a plastic molder, this new equipment is essential to provide our customers with the capabilities needed to manufacture their parts. These new machines, one 55 ton machine and two 220 ton machines, are upgraded with new technology and are equipped with tighter tolerances to produce more consistent parts.

This equipment was ordered to specifically meet GMN Plastics specifications so that we can continue to serve our customers to our best ability. Injection molding is a core capability of GMN Plastics and leveraging new state-of-the-art machinery allows us to provide greater precision and better parts.

As our business grows, GMN Plastics is building on our current capabilities to offer more advanced technologies. Plans are in motion to invest in over four new machines in the next year to continue evolving our processes and updating machinery to meet customer project needs.