Have a question about a nameplate or badge?
The Nameplate FAQ page covers common questions in the following areas.
There are many options when considering a design for a speedometer, gauge or dial. Polycarbonate is one of the most common substrates used and is featured in all of the above examples. Application of the product is usually within a vehicle, but can expand into other markets, depending on the needs of the customer.
If you are considering polycarbonate for your gauge, dial or label design, there are several customizable options.
Request a Nameplate Materials and Processes Guide to begin exploring the options available to you in creating your polycarbonate gauge, dial or label.
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Congratulations to the team at our Holmen division and all who work with the Stoneridge account. Our COO, Jon Walter, proudly took home two awards for Northern Engraving while attending the Supplier Awareness Conference in Tallinn, Estonia, in May. Northern Engraving received an award for Continuous Improvement and Outstanding Support and another for Lean Thinking and Process Improvement.
Northern Engraving took home two of the ten awards given out at the conference, which over sixty suppliers attended.
See full press release.
The awards are a sculpture of Kalevipoeg, which is Estonia’s national symbol. Kalevipoeg bears a ship which represents a hero who protects his home and people.
The Holmen division largely manufactures polycarbonate dials for Stoneridge, which are installed into class 8 semi cabs built by Navistar International, marketed as ProStar. Northern Engraving contributes to building up to 40,000 high end semi-trucks each year. In addition, Stoneridge has empowered the expertise of Northern Engraving’s tool and design teams to create a special instrumentation cluster for a limited edition Harley Davidson themed cab. The limited edition cab was manufactured at Navistar, where Northern Engraving designed the aluminum trim with an engine turning technique, as well as incorporating polycarbonate dials.
Do you have a logo that is a good candidate for engine turning? Would you like to explore more finish options in nameplate design? Please request free samples to see varieties of options that are available to you.
In-Mold or Insert-Mold Decoration (IMD) or Film Insert Molding (FIM) refers to the insertion of a printed graphic overlay into an injection mold. The molding process encapsulates the film or overlay in plastic. It combines the advantages of decorative and functional graphics with a plastic molded component or assembly. Integrated components eliminate application costs for overlays or labels.
In-Mold Decorating offers design flexibility and productivity advantages over traditional post-molding decorating techniques. Durable graphics are integrated into plastic components using multiple colors. Since the part graphics are encapsulated in resin, the graphics cannot be removed without destroying the part. Graphics will not fade and remain vibrant. No secondary operation is required after molding. The part is complete. Graphics are updated by modifying the printed overlay. The mold does not need to be modified. The Nautique boat lens shown here is manufactured using the in-mold decoration process to combine graphics and clear windows into a single component with attachment features.
The in-mold process typically uses a polycarbonate film. Graphics are printed on the second or inner surface of the film. Selective gloss or texture is printed on the first or outer surface of the film. Printing on the second surface offers additional protection in the end application. The film is formed after decorating. It is then trimmed and placed in the mold. The final step is injection molding.
Design considerations include locating graphics in relatively flat areas away from sharp edges to minimize distortion and registration issues. Inks are selected to help eliminate washout in the gate area of components. Gates are positioned as far away from graphics as possible. They are designed to minimize the turbulent flow of material during the molding cycle.
What applications come to mind for integrating graphics into plastic components using the in-mold decorating process? Why is this process a good fit for the application?
Request in-mold decorated samples to begin exploring the options available to you in product trim and identification.
The mixed material Chaparral boat gauges integrate a decorated aluminum overlay with a backlit polycarbonate dial. The series of dials takes inspiration from the Harley-Davidson mixed material gauges changing the design up for a unique premium look.
The aluminum overlay is spun with bright accents. Embossing is used to add emphasis to the major grads. Metallic silver accents the tone on tone silver design. A matte black finish ties the metal and plastic materials together. It frames the gauge and is used as a background for the backlit graphics.
The mixed material design opens the possibilities for gauge design. Technical and mechanical finishes can be incorporated into the metal overlay. The metal can be embossed and formed creating further design options for product differentiation.
The marine gauge is an example of taking inspiration from other products. Innovation in a market can often be reinterpreted across another application. We see it happen often between our automotive and nameplate customers. How would you apply the laminated metal and plastic option in a gauge or other trim to your product?
Request samples of mixed material gauges to see the detail in the parts and begin exploring options for your project.
Backlit aluminum dials are in demand for the aesthetic qualities and functionality they bring to gauge design. Backlit gauges and dials are manufactured using a combination of a decorated aluminum overlay and a polycarbonate backer with deadfront and backlit graphics. A pressure sensitive adhesive can be applied to the polycarbonate dial for final application to the product. The aluminum and polycarbonate pieces are laminated together creating an eye-catching integrated dial.
Aluminum dials can be decorated with mechanical finishes, transparent tints and metallic colors. Adding a spin to the metal dial creates movement. Embossed details accent the dial and are reminiscent of a watchmakers attention to detail. Fine graphics can be embossed and diamond cut further adding to the precision look. Technical finishes and textures integrated into dials create an endless palette of possibilities for your dial. Additional options include forming the aluminum dial and integrating multiple dials into one part.
Backlit aluminum gauges allow a designer to carry the decorative theme used on aluminum trim across the gauge design. Our expertise in decorating both metal and plastic substrates allows you to design a metal dial with the functionality of backlit and deadfront graphics.
What type of finish would you add to a backlit aluminum dial for your product?
Spun aluminum is a popular decorative process on nameplates, badges and dials. Spinning is a mechanical process which creates a circular brush on the aluminum surface. It is usually one of the first steps in the decorative process. The spin can be applied selectively when a mask is used to protect areas of the aluminum that will remain bright. Transparent colors can be layered on top of the spun aluminum surface creating colors with depth and movement. A spin on aluminum is a versatile process for your nameplate, badge or dial needs.
Spin is traditionally used in the background of round nameplates, gauges and dials. It is also very effective when used in irregular shapes or even in rectangles. Spinning can be combined with many processes including diamond cutting, doming and aluminum in-mold. A unique application of the spin process is to use it in the graphics. It creates subtle movement and it is not immediately obvious why the graphics catch the light.
What application can you see for spun aluminum process? How might you incorporate a pattern into a spin?
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