GMN blog

Keyword Search

Filter by category

Popular tags

ECG
GMN
IMD
ISO
LED
OCA
RBH
Tag
Chris Passanante, GMN
By Chris Passanante | Jun 23, 2017
ISO 13485

Due to our ongoing commitment to the medical device industry and growing demand, GM Nameplate’s (GMN) Beaverton, OR Division attained ISO 13485:2003 certification. The Beaverton, OR Division, GMN’s dedicated plastics facility, received this certification after auditing and approval by the Orion Registrar on May 9, 2017. This ISO standard is in regard to the quality management system requirements specific to medical device manufacturers. GMN’s Beaverton, OR Division is the third GMN division to obtain this quality certification.

What does this standard mean for GMN customers?

Meeting the strict standards of ISO 13485 assures that GMN can continue to support existing and future customers in the medical industry. ISO 13485 demonstrates that GMN meets regulatory standards and legal requirements to operate in the medical device industry, reduces risk effectively, and has systems in place to consistently yield safe and effective medical device components.

With little room for error in the medical industry, GMN has continually worked to uphold a quality system that meets the highest quality standards in order to produce best-in-class solutions. This certification validates the strength and sustainability of our processes which differentiates us from competitors.

Dedication to quality

For decades, GMN has shown commitment to the medical device industry and a dedication to creating quality products. Compliance with ISO 13485 ensures that the medical device components and sub-assemblies produced by GMN will meet or exceed thoroughly planned specifications every time, without exception.

As a company that supports multiple regulated industries, such as medical, we are committed to ensuring that our Quality Management System is robust and flexible enough to meet the variety of challenges presented by our wide range of customers and industries. With this new recognition, GMN’s Beaverton, OR Division shows its ability to handle increasingly stringent and diverse customer requirements. In addition, the ISO 13485 compliments ISO 9001, another quality standard that GMN has long been in compliance with, which reflects our continual efforts to broaden our quality system to better align with the current Good Manufacturing Practices.

Gail Amole, GMN
By Gail Amole | Jun 22, 2017
USNR aluminum decal

GM Nameplate (GMN) created an aluminum label for USNR, an innovative company that manufactures a complete line of state-of-the-art equipment for cutting, handling, and drying lumber. USNR started as a small sawmill equipment supplier and has grown to be a global leader in the wood processing industry. 

USNR came to GMN to find a way to cut costs on their current nameplates in order to continue to maintain a strong brand identity on all of their equipment. Although changes needed to be made, USNR still favored the finish and dimensions of their prior nameplate. Luckily, GMN had the expertise to provide an aluminum decal with the same look and feel, but at a lower cost.

The first step of a printing job is often color matching. This step mattered a great deal to USNR because their prominent red color is such a distinct part of their brand. Therefore, it was imperative that the correct shade of red was achieved on the decal. GMN’s custom color-matching capabilities allow us to accurately color match from a variety of different sources – in this case it was a coffee mug.

Given the nature of the industry, the label also had to be extremely durable. After collaborating with USNR, GMN decided to screen print the label on .008 aluminum with a .005 3M adhesive backing. The aluminum label was fabricated with a steel-rule die, and thermal-embossed with a magnesium die to give the part more depth and make the logo pop. To complete the look, the part was given a satin polyurethane finish.

The end result met all of USNR’s aesthetic, durability, and cost requirements. The printed aluminum decal has a sleek look that aligns with their brand identity, protects against harsh environmental conditions, and allows USNR to expand the use of their branding components.

Jeff Friday, Marketing Specialist at USNR says it best, “With the per-unit costs reduced by 60%, it added great flexibility for us to use more of them in many more applications. It was a big win for us!”

By Steve Baker | Jun 16, 2017
GMN's membrane switch assembly for Welch Allyn.

GM Nameplate’s (GMN) Singapore Division supported Welch Allyn, a medical company, to develop and manufacture a membrane switch panel with backlit indicators for their resting electrocardiogram (ECG) device. As a device used to test a patient’s heart activity, it is critical that the backlighting appropriately indicates how much battery power the device possesses.

GMN offers an array of backlighting options including discrete LEDs, fiber optic weave, light guide film, and electroluminescence. The part had strict spacing requirements between its tactile buttons, which influenced GMN to choose discrete LEDs. Discrete LEDs are cost-effective and ideal for lighting up small indicators.

Instead of using three different colored LEDs, GMN installed one bi-color LED to occupy as little space as possible and reduce costs. The two colors within the LED were green to indicate the battery was charged, and red to indicate the battery was dead. To create the amber color that indicates when the device needs charging, the LED was positioned off-centered from the indicator window to effectively blend the red and green colors together.

Another factor GMN had to consider was the material for the overlay. GMN utilized polyester (PET) film, a common overlay material for devices in the medical industry due to its resistance to abrasion and harsh chemicals. As an extremely durable, long-lasting material, PET film is ideal for applications with tactile switches because it’s abnormal for the material to crack. 

Rich Smylie, GMN
By Richard Smylie | Jun 9, 2017
Brushed finish on a stainless steel sill plate

GM Nameplate (GMN) offers vast stainless steel and aluminum decorating capabilities including, custom coatings, graphic printed images/patterns and mechanical finishing. In part two of our series regarding stainless steel, we will discuss the options available when choosing a brushed finish on stainless steel. Brushed finishes distort the light reflection pattern and in doing so can increase the perceived value of a part to which it is affixed.

Brushed metal finishes are produced by polishing or wearing away the outer surface of the metal. Brush finishes can be applied overall or selectively, in one or multiple directions. To create a selective mechanical brush or a spun finish, a screen printed resist ink is applied to the metals’ surface prior to it being subjected to the mechanical brushing wheel. In doing so, the area protected by the resist ink will maintain its original brilliance, as it will not come in contact with the mechanical brushing wheel.

Brushed metals finishes for both stainless steel and aluminum can be linear or oscillating (overlapping). Brushed stainless steel finishes are particularly prevalent in the home appliance and automotive industries. The most common finish call-offs for stainless steel are BA for bright finish applications and No.4 for brushed.

A BA (bright annealed) finish is a high luster brilliant chrome finish that is frequently employed in the automotive industry. A  No. 8 BA finish is the most reflective finish call-off. This finish is created by treating the surface with a series of fine abrasives, and then buffing to create a mirror like appearance. The buffing finish improves the corrosion resistance of the No. 8 finish because it polishes away any minor surface imperfections where particles may stick and initiate the corrosion process. With this corrosion resistant property, the No. 8 finish is commonly used for exterior application requiring brilliant highly reflective surfaces.

A No. 4 brush finish is commonly employed by the appliance industry for applications that include ranges, washers, dryers, and refrigerator trim. The appeal of the No. 4 brush is the uniformity, and the highs and lows of the elongated brush pattern.

Brush patterns, when combined with colors and/or textures; add even more contrast to the aesthetics of the part. The next blog in our stainless steel mechanical finishes series will cover colors and textures.

For more information, check out our previous blog on stainless steel alloys

By Chris Doyle | May 26, 2017
GMN's new digital THIEME press

GM Nameplate’s (GMN) Seattle, WA Division has just received a new digital press made by THIEME. This digital press produces the opacity of screen printing inks, but the print quality of lithography printing. The THIEME press has a very quick turnaround time, making it perfect for GMN to print lower volume jobs, as well as prototypes and projects that don’t allow much lead time.

Digital printing is a process that prints a digital-based image directly onto a substrate. There is less set-up and no printing plates or screens to make, which is not like other traditional printing methods. The cost of printing per sheet is often higher than that of other printing options, but is likely offset by the reduced labor time and cost savings due to not having to produce printing plates or screens.

Digital printing is best for lower to medium volume jobs that require gradations, half tones or more than three colors. The THIEME press can also easily print embossed overlays as well as transparent colored windows.

An advantage of the THIEME press is its ability for customers to make quick changes to digital images on the fly. The press also makes serialization and personalization possible by printing fixed and variable data simultaneously.

Print heads on GMN’s new digital THIEME press

The print heads include cyan, magenta, yellow, black, light cyan, light magenta, light black and white. If white is not used, the print speed is 150 seconds (2 minutes, 30 seconds), however when white is used the print speed is 300 seconds (5 minutes).

Although color matching is improving with digital printing, a downside to printing digitally is its limited color spectrum. If an exact color match is needed for a print, digital printing is not the ideal printing process. However, GMN can create a color profile that matches Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors, or color chips for each material. After the color matching is completed, GMN can supply custom ink cartridges.

The THIEME press can print on up to 2 inch thick material and on no larger than an 18”x24” sheet. If a job requires a larger sheet size, customers may be able to take advantage of our San Jose, CA Division’s HP Indigo digital press, which can handle a sheet size of 12.5”x37”. Customers may also utilize the Inca Spyder press at GMN’s Monroe, NC Division, where we can print 48”x60” sheets on a print bed that can take up to 5’x10’ of print area. 

While there are multiple factors that contribute to the decision of which printing process to use, there are clear benefits and drawbacks of each method. GMN works with each customer to determine which printing method is best for the specific project, whether it is offset, flexography, screen, or digital printing. GMN offers a printing solution for every type of project. 

By Betty Raper | May 23, 2017
Metal nameplates with antique effect.

Brands often use a weathered look for their branding components to differentiate their product or to invoke a sense of emotional attachment to the product within users. Applying a weathered or antique aesthetic typically signifies the history or importance and value associated with the product. Weathering is regularly used in industries such as outdoor recreation in order to appeal to certain target customers and give products a well-loved, natural appearance.

To provide a nameplate with this antique effect, first, a dot pattern is developed and applied to the background artwork of the part. Then, the dot pattern is printed onto the metal as a halftone, meaning the pattern varies from light to dark. The halftones produce a gradient effect, which causes the nameplate to appear to have been exposed to the elements and weathered naturally.

In addition, embossing and applying a darker halftone pattern to the area around the nameplate’s letters can help to further accentuate a weathered look.

GMN manufactures custom nameplates in a variety of materials, textures, and designs. A list of GMN’s metal nameplate options and materials can be found on our nameplate capabilities page.

By Rachel Wienckoski | May 18, 2017
Polyester and polycarbonate are both popular overlay materials.

Have you ever walked up to an ATM machine or gas pump and noticed the cracking, fading numbers on the keypad? This is a prime example of why material selection is vital for graphic overlays. At GMN, the two most common materials used for graphic overlays are polyester and polycarbonate. Depending on the application, there are advantages and disadvantages for both materials.

When evaluating overlay materials, one of the most important factors to consider is durability. Polyester and polycarbonate are both extremely durable materials, but polyester is generally known as the more durable option. Polyester has a longer actuation life (over 1 million actuations vs. 200,000 actuations), meaning that it can endure more switch actuations before the overlay will start to crack or deform. As a result, polyester is a great choice for membrane switches and overlay designs that include embossed buttons. Polycarbonate has a wider thickness range, and increasing the thickness of an overlay can help make it more durable. However, polycarbonate is best suited for applications with minimal flex requirements because continual flexing can cause stress fractures over time. Therefore, in the scenario above, polycarbonate was likely chosen for those overlays, when polyester would’ve been a better choice.

In addition, polyester is resistant to abrasion and significantly more resistant to acids and chemicals, making it an ideal substrate for the medical, industrial, and appliance industries. Polycarbonate is flame retardant while polyester is flammable, making polycarbonate perfect for industries in which safety is of high importance, such as the aerospace industry. Alternatively, hard-coating can be used to significantly improve the durability of either material.

While polyester has an edge in terms of durability, polycarbonate has some cosmetic advantages over polyester. Polycarbonate offers a wider range of textures and finishes, which can be attractive when design is the most important factor. It also has very high clarity and color brilliance. If an overlay is being used purely for appearances and won’t be exposed to frequent use, polycarbonate may be the most appropriate substrate choice.

In terms of production, polycarbonate tends to process easier than polyester. It’s very easy to cleanly print on polycarbonate of all thicknesses. Polycarbonate is also easier to die-cut and emboss, which can help to reduce cost.

The cost difference between the two types of materials is minimal, so the application and use considerations are typically the main factors to consider. However overall, polyester is slightly more expensive than polycarbonate.

Polyester and polycarbonate are both excellent material choices for overlays. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on the overlay’s design requirements and environmental conditions. For more information on how polyester and polycarbonate compare, visit GMN’s graphic overlays page.

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 offer limited design and developmental support and 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 help create a design and was able 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.

Chris Passanante, GMN
By Chris Passanante | Apr 25, 2017
Plastic insert mold decorated part for the automotive industry.

In the sixth and final part of our blog series covering plastic decoration capabilities, insert mold decorating will be discussed.

Insert mold decorating, known as IMD, is a technology that imbeds a graphic overlay into an injection molded plastic piece. The IMD machine first picks up the graphic overlay with a robotic arm and then loads it into the mold. Molten resin is then injected into the mold which bonds the overlay to the part. From there, the robotic arm picks up the complete part and sets it onto the conveyer belt to be sent to the operator.

IMD is a high volume application using automated processes. In terms of functionality, this technology is utilized frequently for the aerospace and automotive industries because the process ensures strong durability and that the ink won’t wear off of the part. There are material considerations for bonding to ensure that different materials will adhere correctly. For example, if you are bonding two different materials such as nylon and polycarbonate that don’t want to stick together, it can be challenging to figure out how to bond them together. This can be done on first or second surfaces, meaning placing the graphic overlay either on top or below the plastic, and is a design driven decision.

In addition, IMD parts are bulletproof, which is an important feature for many ruggedized industries. Aesthetically, IMD can pull off multiple effects including wood grain, carbon fiber, and high gloss piano black, which are frequently used in the automotive industry. IMD can also incorporate backlighting technologies. Backlighting can be molded in and bonded into the part versus the use of adhesives.

The development phase for IMD can be long, but prototyping can be very helpful for the design as a production tool. IMD is an advanced process through which many GMN customers have found long lasting results. 

To learn more about the plastic decorative options offered at GMN, please visit the rest of our blog series by clicking here

Rich Smylie, GMN
By Richard Smylie | Mar 31, 2017

As the preferred material for parts used in extreme environments, stainless steel has applications in industries including automotive and home appliance. With extensive experience working with stainless steel, GM Nameplate (GMN) can help customers choose the correct stainless steel alloy for their application.

Each stainless steel alloy is unique in element composition and elongation, resulting in differing performance capabilities, visual characteristics, cost profiles and elongation ratios. Elongation is the amount of expansion a metal under stress can endure given its original length. The two most common alloys employed in automotive and major appliance parts are the 300 and 400 series.

With superior elongation, the stainless steel 300 series is non-magnetic and employed where severe metal forming is required.  Prevalent in the automotive industry, the 300 series is also known for extreme corrosion resistance, crack resistance, and non-yellowing when subjected to high temperatures and brilliance. The automotive industry favors the 300 series for sill plates, liftgate trim and other vehicle accents that are exposed to extreme environments. For its durability under high temperatures, the 300 series is used in ranges for the home appliance industry as well.

The stainless steel 400 series is magnetic and has a smooth surface finish that is ideal for home appliance products. A disadvantage to the 400 series is that it is more susceptible to corrosion than the 300 series as it has less chromium and nickel. As a result the 400 series is more cost effective than the 300 series. The 400 series is the alloy of choice for cost-sensitive appliance applications such as dish washers and refrigerators.

After choosing the right stainless steel alloy, GMN can provide customers with industry-leading, metal decoration capabilities including selective mechanical finishing on stainless steel. GMN’s mechanical metal finishing capabilities include but are not limited to brushing, spinning, and tooled patterns.

In addition to mechanical finishing, GMN offers graphic finishing including premium coatings and inks. For more information on custom-engineered coatings and inks visit our previous blog post.

Pages