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By Steve Baker | Nov 16, 2016
Learn about how to approach your next backlighting project at GMN's free backlighting webinar.

Are you looking for a way to make your products stand out?

Backlighting is the perfect solution for instantly improving the look and functionality of your device. Although, with so many backlighting technologies available, it can be hard to determine which technology is best suited for your device.

What are the different backlighting technologies available? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each technology? Where does one begin when approaching a backlighting project?

You need answers and we’ve got them. GMN is hosting a free live webinar about backlighting technologies on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. PT/1:00 p.m. ET.

Want to ensure backlighting success for your next project? Join our webinar to learn:

  • An overview of current popular backlighting technologies
  • How to choose which technology is right for your device
  • Questions & concerns to consider during development
  • Tools to overcome common design challenges

Click here to register for GMN’s upcoming backlighting webinar.

By Steve Baker | Nov 1, 2016
GMN's capacitive switch demo unit allows you experience capacitive switch technology firsthand.

In today’s world, consumers interact with touchscreen devices on a daily basis. As a result, consumers have started to expect the presence of non-tactile technology in a growing number of products. This has caused the demand for the use of capacitive switch technology to rapidly increase.

Capacitive switch technology provides a cost-effective solution for sleek, modern product designs that match current market expectations. Providing thinner, cleaner, and more sealable solutions, capacitive switches have numerous advantages over more mature technologies such as keyboards and membrane switches. To learn more about capacitive switch technology, visit our capacitive switches page or past blog entry.

As experts in this cutting-edge technology, GM Nameplate offers a wide and unique range of capacitive switch capabilities. From early development to final production, GMN can support customers throughout the entire manufacturing process. We are currently working on several capacitive switch projects such as user interfaces and safety mechanisms for a variety of industries including appliance, heavy equipment, and wearable device. GMN also has the ability to incorporate capacitive switches into many of the products we already produce.  

Therefore, GMN is excited to announce the release of our new capacitive touch demonstrator. This innovative demo unit allows customers to experience firsthand the variety of capacitive switch options that GMN has available, including rotary and linear sliders and integration with curved surfaces.

Click here to learn more about our new demo unit!

By Brian Rowe | Oct 12, 2016
Membrane switch panel for  Given Imaging's medical device.

Given Imaging, a medical technology company, came to GM Nameplate (GMN) to assemble a membrane switch panel for their medical device. When configuring a membrane switch, many factors about each component layer must be taken into consideration. 

As the user interface for a medical device, the screen printed and embossed overlay needed to satisfy stringent requirements. The overlay must act as a sealant to prevent moisture and fluids from reaching the membrane. Additionally, the overlay must be chemical and scratch resistant to combat the strain of daily use. 

Common overlay materials include polyester and polycarbonate. Both materials are affordable options that will protect the circuit membrane from scratches, chemicals, and liquids. Due to the durability of screen printed inks, backprinting is a frequent practice to mitigate product wear and tear from everyday use.    

This Given Imaging overlay contains three colors - teal, white, and a black opaque layer. The opaquing layer was selectively applied around the LEDs which allowed light to shine through and prevented light bleed through unwanted areas of the overlay. Because of the opaquing layer, light only showed through the indicator icon on a button instead of throughout the whole part.

When looking at membrane circuit materials, printed silver ink in lower volumes provides a cheaper option than copper etched circuits, such as Kapton, while still offering comparable performance capabilities. Finding the right membrane circuit for the product application is necessary to manufacture a quality membrane switch.

For more information about GMN’s membrane switch assemblies, visit our capabilities page.  

Cynthia Schulte
By Cynthia Schulte | Nov 4, 2015
Emerson membrane switch and assembly by GMN

We are proud to announce that GM Nameplate was recognized with a Silver Golden Image Award at by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA).  The award was announced at SGIA’s annual exposition in Atlanta. GMN submitted an entry in the membrane switch category with their CSI Machinery Health Analyzer. To learn more, visit the press release.  

By Gerry Gallagher | Feb 17, 2015
Industry trends

Last week we reported the results from our bi-annual customer satisfaction survey. The majority of the survey covered areas related to satisfaction of working with GMN. In addition to assessing customer satisfaction, the survey also asks questions related to customer service trends. The goal of these questions is to confirm or establish new trends within the industry.

The industry trends section of the survey asked participants to indicate to which degree they agree with various trends GMN has noticed within the industry. Based on customer feedback we confirmed the following trends:

  • Increasing integration of touch technology into product user interfaces (glass interface)
  • Growing dependence on suppliers for engineering and design support as experts within our specialized field
  • Suppliers who can offer multiple products are valued

Respondents also identified a number of changes impacting business and suggestions for what GMN can do to help them adapt. Customers suggested end customer cost down initiatives, off-shoring manufacturing and a growing dependence on contract manufacturers – all areas GMN has already been working to improve.

As we look to the future of manufacturing, we are excited to see that we are on track with industry changes and trends. We will continue to assess industry trends and changes in future customer surveys, and look forward to continuing efforts to better serve our customers. 

By Gerry Gallagher | Feb 10, 2015
Graph bar upward trend

As part of GMN’s commitment to excellence and its customers, every 6 months GMN conducts a customer survey to asses our customers’ satisfaction. The survey also fulfills part of GMN’s quality system requirements. GMN’s bi-annual customer survey is made up of a series of ranking and short answer questions related to various aspects of the customer experience, product quality, value, and more.

Every bi-annual customer survey we are pleased to report that the majority of our customers are pleased with their overall experience and would recommend working with us. Over the last 15 surveys, more than 92% of customers reported that they would recommend working with GMN.

Compared to the last survey, this survey saw improvements in a number of areas. More than 90% of respondents rated their experience with GMN as good or excelling in the following areas:

  • Overall experience of manufacturing and industry expertise
  • Sales people responsiveness, expertise, communication, and overall experience
  • Experience working with GMN new product managers and account managers

While the majority of our customers report satisfaction with GMN, areas in need of improvement were also pointed out. We are continually making efforts to improve all aspects of our business. Recently many employees have been involved in customer service training, lean manufacturing workshops, and other continuous improvement efforts. We are excited to see how these efforts will improve our customers’ experience with us.

We look forward to continuing our efforts to improve all aspects of our service and manufacturing.

By Steve Baker | Jan 20, 2015
Acel Rx membrane switch assembly

As a printed electronics manufacturer, GM Nameplate manufactures membrane switches and other electronic components for various industries including medical. GM Nameplate has been working with specialty pharmaceutical company AcelRx since 2009, printing a membrane switch and overlay for their Zalviso device. The device is used for post-operative pain management.

The overlay features a selectively textured front surface and tactile buttons to make it more use friendly. It also features a window for the device’s display screen. This window added a challenge to the part, as it required rigidity and durability without increasing the size of the membrane switch or thickness of the overlay material. GMN created a unique solution for AcelRx by combining the dome spacer with a window stiffener layer and optically bonding  this component to back of the overlay.

In the electronics industry where components are constantly getting smaller, it is imperative to have adequate technical printing resources to yield robust and reliable circuits to avoid any malfunction when in use – and when the component is used on a medical device the stakes are higher. Stringent printing and inspection procedures are in place to ensure that every element of the membrane and overlay meets customer specifications.

This membrane switch is a great example of GMN’s expert electronic printing capabilities in highly regulated industries, and the type of products we will be showcasing at MD&M West in a few weeks. The final parts meet all the technical customer’s requirements while provide the necessary durability and wear resistance needed.

To learn more about GMN’s recent electronics projects visit some of our other blogs.

By Jim Badders | Dec 2, 2014
Decorating, bonding, nameplates, and labels for an ultrasound

One of the growing capabilities at GM Nameplate is front panel integration. We currently provide the front panel integration for many customers across nearly every industry. Recently, we provided ultrasound device manufacturer, Fujifilm SonoSite with front panel integration for their X-Porte ultrasound kiosk device.

For the X-Porte device, we provided the decorative cover glass and bonded the cover glass to the display. The manufacturing process involved printing specialty ink and Sonosite’s reflective chrome logo. Once decorated, the cover glass was integrated to the display using our liquid optically clear adhesive (LOCA) bonding process.

Before going into production, significant time was spent developing the inks and process to ensure that the liquid adhesive to cure. Once everything was set, the production team faced various challenges in assuring the best quality display. Due to the design, there were extremely tight tolerances in both the printing and bonding process

The end result? A beautifully bonded front panel display assembly, with added durability and sunlight readability benefits!

By Gerry Gallagher | Feb 6, 2014
Manufacturing decorative and functional parts for gaming consoles

GM Nameplate has been providing components to Microsoft for their Xbox systems since the original device, and including the latest Xbox One. Our China facility manufactures various parts on the Xbox One including a capacitive touch membrane circuit, badging, labels and more.

The flexible circuit is one of the most interesting parts that we manufactured for the device. The circuit utilizes capacitive touch technology for the power on/off and optical disc drive (ODD) eject switch. Utilizing this technology increases durability, as there are no mechanical components and meets all the functional needs of the switch. Our engineering team worked closely with the Xbox team to create a cost effective design meeting all the performance criteria.

In addition to the flexible circuit we also manufactured two 2D electroform logos (in addition to labels and other components) for the Xbox One console and Kinect device. To meet the desired aesthetic GMN developed a unique process to tint the 2D electroform to achieve Xbox One’s unique dark chrome color. This process can be used to create a variety of shades and colors for 2D electroform parts.  The GMN produced logos can be found on the top of the console and on the Kinect device.

Our work with Microsoft on components for the Xbox One is a great example of how our diverse capabilities can serve multiple needs of a customer – in turn reducing supply chain costs and simplifying logistics. The GMN capabilities featured on the Xbox One can be found on various other products across nearly every industry.