Alfa Romeo, a car brand of the FCA Group, contracted GM Nameplate (GMN) to manufacture a steering wheel badge containing seven custom colors. When screen printing seven colors that border one another, color deposition registration is essential to ensure the colors do not overlap or gap, thereby changing the visual in the overlapped area or allowing the metal to be visible.
Important factors to consider when manufacturing such a detailed badge are selecting the right mesh, setting the correct pin registration for location accuracy, stretching the screen to the correct tension value, holding the sheet in the screen press stable so it does not move, and separating the colors.
To test for color accuracy, GMN’s graphic artists created an inspection color bar. Having the color bar in the same size and location for each color deposited created a visual check that confirmed color to color registration. With the visual check, each color’s deposition accuracy could be validated by the screen print operator and in-process inspector.
GMN’s own chemist and lab technicians color match all inks/coatings to meet the required visual and functional requirements – be it scratch, mar, chemical, gasoline, et cetera. Additionally, the inks were formulated to not crack during embossing, blanking and/or forming.
In-house tool designers built the progressive die and secondary forming tools. The tooling allowed the ink to be stretched without fracturing, creating a seamless badge.
These process steps insure the badge will maintain its beauty and functionality even in harsh environments. GMN’s process knowledge and capabilities allowed for the successful execution of the Alfa Romeo steering wheel badge.