Blog

Lauren Rowles, GMN
By Lauren Rowles Jul 26, 2018
Liquid Optical Bonding

GMN recently opened a new, cutting-edge bonding and integration operation in Taiwan. Located in the Kaohsiung Science Park, this 322,000-square-foot facility offers liquid optical bonding (LOCA) and integration for any display, touch screen, or decorative cover glass component, with exceptional efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

GMN-Mildex Taiwan Bonding FacilityWe pursued this expansion of GMN’s global services to better align our supply chain with our customer’s bonding and integration needs. To bring this well-rounded and highly-skilled operation into existence, GMN teamed up with Mildex Optical, a long-term touch screen partner. On top of GMN’s existing domestic front panel integration services in Seattle, WA, the addition of this international bonding option allows us to deliver an even more diverse spectrum of solutions for projects that are best suited for bonding in Asia. As a result, we can accommodate a wider range of customers and projects, and better cater to the exact needs of our customers.

Advantages to GMN’s international bonding operation

Since most display and touch screen components are manufactured in Asia, this Taiwan operation allows for manufacturing, bonding, and even assembly to all take place within a close vicinity. Through GMN’s new bonding and integration facility, our customers can take advantage of several benefits including:

  • Simplified logistics
  • Shortened lead times
  • Reduced freight, labor, and component costs
  • Accelerated time-to-market
  • High-volume production
  • Supply chain optimization

GMN pursues the best solutions for our clients’ global manufacturing needs, which involves driving affordability within the supply chain. In addition, by eradicating the need for multiple shipments of materials internationally, this new operation will help to reduce carbon emissions and lower the carbon footprint of a project.

Unwavering quality and service

GMN is fiercely dedicated to providing superior quality and service to our customers, and at this new Taiwan facility, our customers can expect the same level of quality as they experience domestically. For decades we have worked with display integration and bonding technologies for applications in industries spanning from medical, to agriculture, to aerospace. Additionally, as a licensed converter of DuPont’s Vertak® bonding technology, GMN can supply customers with the latest in LOCA display enhancements.

This new venture enables GMN to offer customers the convenience of local service, with the worldwide access to custom solutions. We will work with our customers to select and integrate the most fitting touch screen, display, or decorative cover glass for their application. GMN continually strives to go above and beyond to meet the needs of our customers, which we will continue to do with the addition of our new bonding and assembly operation in Taiwan.

For more information on our front panel integration and bonding capabilities, click here.

By Neha Toshniwal Jul 25, 2018
GMN awarded the John Deere 2017 Partner-level supplier

We are delighted to announce that GMN recently earned recognition as a Partner-level supplier for 2017 in the John Deere Achieving Excellence Program. The Partner-level status is Deere’s highest supplier rating and by receiving the honor for the fifth consecutive time, GMN has proudly entered the “Hall of fame”.

Every year, the John Deere Achieving Excellence Program puts a spotlight on suppliers who demonstrate unparalleled performance in key areas such as cost, quality, and delivery to name a few. GMN has been supporting the dynamic needs of John Deere by bringing together our varied capabilities including front panel integration, optical bonding, membrane switches, and more.  

A celebratory moment for all of us at GMN, the “Hall of Fame” status drives our spirit towards continuously providing exceptional service and exceeding customer expectations every single time. To learn more about this award, please read our press release here.

By Sandy Dick Jul 12, 2018
Value-added assembly for iSolved's time clock

iSolved, a US-based company providing scalable solution to human capital management needs, was developing a series of backlit time clock devices. However, they quickly ran into problems with LED hotspots and approached GMN to develop a graphic overlay prototype to get rid of the lighting issue.

Developing a product with multiple suppliers and manufacturing facilities can be a time-consuming and expensive ordeal. But, GMN’s holistic approach to building devices and its reputation as a one-call, one-stop-manufacturer allowed iSolved to bring substantial cost and time savings to the project, while meeting all of their functional and cosmetic requirements.

GMN not only manufactured a scratch-resistant overlay to mask the hotspots, but also streamlined the project using its varied capabilities including capacitive touch circuit, backlighting, die-cutting, LCD display, and touchscreen.

To learn more about how GMN delivered a value-added, cost-effective solution, download our case study here.

By Richard Smylie Jun 28, 2018
Brush finished sill plate

Looking to add a subtle, yet eye-catching decorative element to your metal component? Look no further than brush finish! GM Nameplate (GMN) specializes in metal decoration, and one attribute we commonly add to metal is a mechanical brush finish. Performed at the front-end of the manufacturing process, a brush finish consists of many unidirectional lines creating a clean, consistent blanket over the surface of the metal. Applied to either stainless steel or aluminum, brush finishes are often combined with other decoration enhancements such as ElectraGraphics, embossing, and Lensclad, to name a few. Used in a wide range of products, brush finish is particularly prevalent in the electronics, home appliances, and automotive industries.

GMN recently created a video to demonstrate the brush finish process and give you a glimpse into the various looks that can be achieved. The video features our brushing line that’s operated at our Monroe, NC Division.

As you can see in the video, sheets of raw metal are fed into a machine having a large abrasive brushing wheel over it. The brush creates many fine linear abrasions on the sheet, reflecting light in a unique way. There are many design options to consider as well, including selecting a brush texture ranging from fine to heavy, or applying the finish to the metal overall or selectively. For selective finishes, a resist ink is screen-printed onto the metal sheets before the metal is brushed. The resist protects the desired area from being brushed, thus creating an interesting contrast within the design. The contrasting look results solely from the difference in the textures and the way light reflects off of the surface.

After brushing, the metal sheet is washed and dried to remove any residue or oil, and then an operator quickly inspects the sheet for any apparent defects as it continues down the line. A roll-coater can also be set up to apply a tinted or clear coating in-line onto the metal to enhance its durability or appearance. In the video, a tinted coating is applied to the aluminum to make it look slightly grayer. Since stainless steel can be more costly at times, this is a cost-effective way to make aluminum mimic the appearance of stainless steel. 

Finally, the sheets go through an oven, and are again visually examined for any imperfections. This final inspection marks the completion of applying the brush finish, and the metal is now ready to move onto the next process.

To see the brush finishing process, click on the video below.

 

Nick Schmidt
By Nick Schmidt Jun 21, 2018
Plastic Overmolding for Aerospace Industry

Over-molding is a manufacturing process that combines two different types of plastic together to create a single part. Typically, this involves the use of a hard plastic and a softer plastic (often rubberized). Alternatively, this method can be used to bind two hard plastics together that are different colors. Overall, this is a process that takes various materials with different properties and combines them into a single molded component.

The over-molding process is accomplished through the use of two separate injection molds. To begin, the substrate, which is the first shot (and usually a rigid plastic), is made using the first injection tool. The rigid part is then removed and placed into a separate injection mold tool where the second shot, or over-mold, is molded over the first part. In most cases, mechanical bonds are designed into the part to allow the over-mold to stick to the substrate. These mechanical bonds are formed by creating areas in the substrate (first shot) where the second shot (over-mold) would flow into during the over-molding process.

Over-molding is a value-added technology that is used to provide additional functionality and decoration to parts. It is most often used for its durability for the creation of ruggedized products. It can also be utilized for decoration to provide benefits such as increased aesthetics and functionality. Over-molding can give a product a soft, rubberized feel, making it much more comfortable to handle compared to hard plastic. It also allows for hard edges to be smoothed over and rounded. The main functionality benefit of over-molding is the ruggedized and non-slip surface that it creates, which keeps products safe in extreme environments. Additional benefits include the reduction of unwanted vibrations or noise, increased protection against liquids, and additional brand identity opportunities.

As a technology utilized throughout a variety of industries, such as aerospace, over-molding is an excellent option for customers who are interested in soft-touch handles, grips, etc., or multi-colored buttons, switches, or knobs for their products. Additionally, this process is a great option for sealing or gaskets on parts. Over-molding a gasket on a plastic substrate bonds the gasket material to the substrate, which helps to prevent moisture ingression, as opposed to using a rubber or die-cut gasket that is pressed/held together by screws

Common applications for over-molding within the aerospace industry include aircraft seating, lavatories, stowage bin latches, handles, and user interface switches. Instead of having to create two different parts that then require additional assembly to fasten them together, over-molding allows for multiple parts to be formed into a single part at once. Since the second shot is molded over the first substrate, the bond created between the two is much stronger and more durable, as well as results in a clean design. The key advantages that aerospace applications take away from over-molding include:

  • Decreased weight
  • Increased strength and durability
  • Enhanced industrial design
  • Elimination of additional manufacturing and assembly steps
  • Reduced manufacturing and assembly time

Since this process involves the use of two separate tools, it is a great method for lower volume programs, but is inefficient for high-volume projects. If you’re looking for a high-volume over-molded part, a better technology to employ would be two-shot molding, which uses a single two-shot mold.

By Kenny Pravitz Jun 12, 2018
Plastic decorating options at GMN

What makes plastic decoration at GMN unique? Along with dedicated engineers to support your projects from concept to creation, state-of-the-art equipment, a robust quality system, and complementary capabilities to plastic injection molding like value-added assembly, GMN provides all the decorating options for plastics under a single roof.

To determine the most appropriate plastic decoration technique for any application, there are multiple factors that go into consideration, including the plastic type, environmental requirements (exposure to fluctuating temperatures, humidity, and moisture), component dimensions, cosmetic requirements, regulatory requirements, and production volume. In this blog, we will be skimming over all the plastic decorating options available at GMN to understand their core advantages and pitfalls.

1) Pad printing - In this printing process, the image is engraved on a plate which is then coated with ink and transferred to the desired surface via a silicone pad.

Advantages:

    • Same set-up for multi-color
    • Can accommodate fine artwork and detailed graphics

Disadvantages:

    • Difficult to print on heavy textures or surface finishes
    • Cannot pad print on swooping or curved surfaces
    • Cannot use metallic inks
    • Size restrictions

 

2) Screen printing - In this method, the artwork is transferred on to the plastic surface using a mesh screen and a squeegee.   

Advantages:

    • Quick set-up time
    • Can accommodate larger artwork
    • Ideal for high-volume production

Disadvantages:

    • Can only be performed on flat surfaces
    • Needs different screens for different colors
    • Longer curing times
    • Challenging to achieve finely detailed graphics

 

3) Hot stamping - This dry printing technique utilizes heat and pressure to transfer colored foil onto the plastic surface.     

Advantages:

    • No ink-mixing or curing of part required
    • Can accommodate metallic colors

Disadvantages:

    • Ribbon can be expensive due to the minimum order of quantity (MOQ)
    • Raised surfaces only
    • Size restrictions

 

4) Laser etching - As the name indicates, this technique employs a laser beam to etch a design on the plastic surface which would have otherwise been difficult to mark mechanically.

Advantages:

    • Details are permanently etched into the surface of the part
    • Ideal for products with barcodes, lot numbers, backlighting, or intricate artwork

Disadvantages:

    • Longer cycle times depending on size and detail of the image
    • Size restrictions

 

5) Spray painting - Often used in conjunction with laser etching, spray painting utilizes either an automated robotic spray or manual hand-spray method to apply the ink on the desired parts. 

Advantages:

    • Can hide flaws on the plastic surface
    • Can utilize the manual method for low-volume to mid-volume production and utilize the automated method for high-volume production
    • Can accommodate multiple colors and materials

Disadvantages:

    • Detailed masking may be required, making the process labor intensive
    • Requires a clean environment
    • Requires longer lead time

 

6) In-mold decoration (IMD) - This advanced technique allows for the printing of highly durable and complex three-dimensional shapes.  

Advantages:

    • Can achieve compound curves and complex 3D forms
    • Well suited for designs incorporating small windows or backlighting  
    • Offers versatile decoration options
    • Ideal for high-wear applications

Disadvantages:

    • Development phase can be long depending on the design
    • Automation can be expensive
Lauren Rowles, GMN
By Lauren Rowles May 16, 2018
BPEA Decade of Excellence

SEATTLE, Washington (May 16, 2018) – GMN Aerospace announced today that it has received the 2017 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. The Boeing Company issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance. GMN Aerospace maintained a Silver composite performance rating for each month of the 12-month performance period, from October 2016 to September 2017.

Recipients of the award must attain a certain fixed level of quality and delivery over the course of the year. GMN Aerospace maintained 99% quality and on-time delivery ratings across the 1.6 million parts shipped to Boeing in 2017. Furthermore, approximately 25 percent of GMN Aerospace’s work for Boeing is short flow or aircraft on ground (AOG) requirements, and 100 percent of those parts have been delivered on time, as requested.

This latest award marks the tenth consecutive Boeing Performance Excellence Award that GMN Aerospace has received in the past ten years. This achievement represents not only GMN Aerospace’s dependable quality and delivery standards and consistent fulfillment of customer needs over the past decade, but also the company’s dedication to its customers overall. GMN Aerospace has proven their success in understanding what is important to a customer and then making it a priority to effectively execute on those commitments.

Previous awards that GMN Aerospace has earned from Boeing include Supplier of the Year (2009, 2010, 2011, 2016) and the Excellence in Advocacy Award (2015, 2016). GMN Aerospace supports all programs within the over 40 Boeing global locations for Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA), Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS), and Boeing Global Services (BGS). In addition to the 80K active Boeing part numbers for mandatory markers and placards, the company provides Boeing with a variety of products including injection-molded plastics, die-cut components, electronic components, value-added assemblies, and more. Throughout the years, GMN has worked alongside Boeing as more than a supplier, but as a partner, to continuously improve GMN’s processes and deliverables in order to comply with Boeing’s cost-down initiatives and to meet quick-turn delivery requirements.

“At GMN Aerospace, we operate 24/7 in an environment where meeting increased efficiencies and customer’s cost objectives are front and center,” said Paul Michaels, Director of GMN Aerospace. “We truly celebrate this ‘Decade of Excellence’ as a united team – with a culture focused on continuous improvements and passionate about customer engagement. To be recognized with this amazing award for ten consecutive years is a testament to not only the commitment of everyone on the team, but to our strong collaboration with The Boeing Company.”

About GMN Aerospace

For more than 50 years, GMN has been serving the Aerospace industry with mandatory markings and placards, and other custom components. Today, GMN is equipped with AS9100D certification and has expanded its capabilities to include front panel display integration, switch technologies, plastics, large format graphics, and more. Through the years GMN has received numerous accolades, including winning the coveted Supplier of the Year award from The Boeing Company four times. To learn more about why GMN is the trusted supplier of leading aerospace and aircraft manufacturers, visit our website www.gmnameplate.com/aerospace.  

Lauren Rowles, GMN
By Lauren Rowles May 16, 2018
2017 Boeing Performance Excellence Award

GM Nameplate’s (GMN) aerospace group, GMN Aerospace, was recognized with the 2017 Boeing Performance Excellence Award by The Boeing Company. This latest honor instills a great sense of pride within GMN because it marks the tenth consecutive year that we have received this award. This achievement represents the high standards GMN has operated at and maintained over the past decade in order to consistently align with our customer’s needs and adhere to strict quality and delivery requirements.

To learn more, read our full press release GMN Aerospace receives tenth consecutive Boeing Performance Excellence Award

Clark Mehan
By Clark Mehan May 11, 2018
Faraday electric bike

Faraday Bicycles is a manufacturer of premium-quality electric bikes, or e-bikes. Located below the seat of each Faraday bike is an electronic component box that assists riders with pedaling. With these components being very important to the bike’s core functionality, Faraday needed to make sure the box was properly sealed and protected, which was where GM Nameplate (GMN) came in. The seal had to be waterproof so the bike could be rideable in various weather conditions, such as the rain. It also had to be strong enough so no one could access or tamper with the components inside the box. Finally, vibration had to be minimized within the box so the components wouldn’t be damaged. Therefore, with GMN’s extensive knowledge on adhesive materials and years of experience in producing die-cut components, Faraday asked GMN to help them find the optimal solution for their application.

To learn more about how GMN supported Faraday, read our new case study.

By Jim Badders May 08, 2018
GMN exhibits at Display Week 2018 show

GMN, in collaboration with Mildex Optical, will be exhibiting at the Society of Information Display’s Display Week 2018 show in booth #404. The event will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 22nd to May 24th.

Display Week provides a great opportunity to showcase GMN’s recent developments and technologies in display integration. Some of the unique capabilities that will be featured in the booth this year include:

    • Touch screen technologies
    • Liquid optically clear adhesive (LOCA) bonding
    • Optically clear adhesive (OCA) bonding
    • Display bezels and enclosures
    • Value-added assembly

GMN’s work in front panel integration has been recognized by John Deere with the Partner-level Supplier status for the last five years. GMN has also recently entered into a partnership with Mildex Optical to open doors to a new optical bonding facility in Taiwan. With an emphasis on simplified logistics, reduced lead times, and cost effectiveness, this expansion of our global services will allow us to offer worldwide access to custom bonding solutions.

We are happy to set up meetings during the show or schedule lunch-&-learn sessions to share with you our latest bonding, front panel integration, and value-added assembly solutions. If you are curious to learn how the new partnership with Mildex can benefit you, or would like to discuss your upcoming manufacturing needs, reach out to us directly at info@gmnameplate.com to schedule a meeting with our technical experts.