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William Smith announces that it is to stock Button-fix

One of the UK’s leading trade suppliers to the sign and graphics industry, William Smith, has strengthened its portfolio with the introduction of British Sign and Graphic Association’s (BSGA) 2017 Sign Industry Product of the Year.

Innovative, versatile and fitter-friendly, Button-fix is a new sign component accessory, which offers a quick and precise way of attaching panels to walls and other substrates.

The product comes in four models and works by bringing panels together with durable nylon buttons, which are attached to the back of one panel and mating fixes fastened to the other, these then slide until the Button-fixes ‘click’ into place.

The award-winning product, which has been verified by independent test house, Sandberg LLP, is ideal for both signs and interior fit-outs, making it the perfect product for those within the signage and architectural industries.

The invisible product, created by Tony Wills, Director of Button-fix, and co-creator, Brian Watson, in 2012, was developed in response to a customer specification for flush, mounts to fix washroom panels.

After finding the fasteners on the market were difficult to align and disengage, the duo created the Button-fix concept, which introduced a range of possibilities for different substrate applications.

Speaking about the latest addition to the Company’s portfolio, Chris Bradley, Head of Marketing at William Smith, said: “We are really excited to have this product as part of our range.

“Button-fix is an innovative panel fixing system which has already collected multiple awards, including ‘Sign Product of the Year 2017’. Fitter-friendly and versatile, it is sure to prove popular amongst sign-makers, shopfitters and installers.”

More information at William Smith product page.

A grand entrance for England Rugby

A grand entrance for England Rugby

Artworks Solutions’ managing director, John Sulzmann comments on why using Button-fix was key to creating the striking ‘Rose of England’ feature wall panels his company created and installed at the world famous Twickenham rugby stadium.

Since it was converted from a cabbage patch 110 years ago, Twickenham, the Home of England Rugby, has undergone many changes. Some of these purely functional, focusing on the provision of a safe and comfortable environment for the 82,000 spectators the stadium can now accommodate, while others have been designed to visually enhance the less public facing spaces in the complex.


A recent example of the latter has been a complete makeover of the player changing rooms, where, thanks to the skill and craftsmanship of Artworks Solutions, a Bristol-based graphics and branding company, stunning feature walls on the changing room approach now greet the players.


Commissioned by RFU to revamp the entrance to the changing room, and working to the specifications of KSS Architects, Artworks Managing Director, John Sulzmann, created and installed the striking ‘Rose of England’ feature wall panels.


“A key consideration when designing the structure of the installation, said John, was to build in a degree of flexibility that would enable our client to replace or update panels in the future. The modular format we used, together with the Button-fix™ mounting system makes it easy for them to do that.”


Membrane pressed laminated MDF panels, CNC machined with the design, were locked into position using Button-fix™, a patented concealed fixing for panels. The Button-fix™ fixing meant that each panel could be templated and fitted with precision. “And,” added John, “in an environment like Twickenham, where you expect the odd boisterous knock, the design, materials and fixings we chose had to be both durable and strong enough to withstand these inevitable dunts.”


Artworks’ design and manufacturing prowess has also been in evidence at other sports venues such as Anfield and Ashton Gate, shared home of Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby. However, the company also has considerable experience across every other sector, where it has built an enviable reputation for its ability to translate sometimes abstract client ideas into arresting visual displays in all sorts of materials and in all sorts of places.


John said, “Going anywhere outside work is a bit of a busman’s holiday. Our installations are everywhere – in shopping centres, at the airport, in offices. I never get bored of seeing the scale and diversity of the projects we have been involved in, and of course, when England take on Wales in the Six Nations at Twickenham on 10 February, I’ll enjoy seeing our Red Rose installation feature in post match interviews.”

See how Button-fix works in this super short video



Can I use Button-fix to mount ceiling panels?

Type 1 Fixes may be used to mount ceiling panels quite successfully; using the ‘Buttonfix strength testing report’ here, and using figures based on the maximum perpendicular pull-out force rather than shear force, we can ascertain a maximum panel weight.

For example; mounting a panel using 4 x face-fixed Type 1 Fixes, a maximum panel mass of 148kg may be accommodated (Including a 1.4 safety factor and using bolted fixings).

Type 2 Fixes are NOT suitable for ceiling panels, if the panel load is pulling directly to disengage the Fix and Button. Even if a ceiling panel under test appears secure, and the panel weight is well below the Fix disengagement force, the steady load on the Fix ‘jaws’ causes creep in the polymer, which may lead to the panel disengaging days, or even weeks later.

I use screws which are not those specified – can I use them to attach the Buttons or the Button-fix?

Yes, you probably can, but you will need to try them out to see. Please ensure that the heads of any screws used in the Buttons, or in the rebated Fixes, are flush, or just below the surface of the mouldings, so that they do not clash. See the ‘Videos’ section of the website for recommended fixings, or for more detail download the ‘Suggested Fixings for Buttonfix’ PDF from the Useful Information page.
The limiting factor dictating the maximum load is, in most cases, the pull-out load of the fixing screws, and the strength of the materials being mounted. Therefore, the fixings used should be the largest practical, given the thickness of the panel to be mounted. For Type 1 Fixes on thin panels, Varianta Euroscrews (CSK Ø6.2mm for Ø5mm pilot holes) are recommended.

To keep a panel flat I have used a lot of Button-fixes and the click fit is now too strong, what can I do to make it easier to fit and remove?

For Type 1 Fixes, if you remove the détente ‘ears’ using a small flat screwdriver or needle nosed pliers (See the ‘useful tips’ section under the Type 1 Fix heading in the ‘Videos’ section of the website), this will remove the ‘click’ fit, reducing the force required to install and remove the panel. If you do this, please protect your eyes, or cover the Fix with a gloved hand. If required, you can remove all of the détentes to facilitate a frequently removed vertical panel, but please be aware that there will be no force other than gravity keeping it in place.

On Type 2 Fixes, the détente force can be reduced by carefully removing a small amount of material from the détente ears using a small file or sharp knife (file or cut from both sides, retaining the angled profile of the edge); do this incrementally until the required pull-off force for the panel is achieved.

What is the best type of screw fixing for thin panels?

Varianta Euroscrews are useful for giving good strength in thin panels, normally in particleboard. The orange Buttons are designed to accept countersunk Ø6.2mm Euroscrews for Ø5mm pilot holes. While both the Type 1 and Type 2 Fixes are not specifically designed for use with Euroscrews, they can function satisfactorily. For instance the Ø6.2mm Euroscrews are a tight fit in the Type 1 Fix holes, but they install readily when the Fix is in-situ with the pilot holes in the panel to guide them. The Type 2 Fix will only accept Ø4.2mm Euroscrews for Ø3mm pilot holes. Please see the Videos page.
For more detailed information, including screw length/panel thickness guides, please download the ‘Suggested Fixings for Buttonfix’ PDF from the Useful Information page.

Can I lock/secure panels?

The détente will generally deter accidental displacement; if necessary an aluminium or PVC extrusion, or even a small block may be screwed into the 15mm ‘drop’ gap above the panel, to stop it being lifted.
By orienting the Fixes at 90 degrees, panels can be slid in sideways. Adjacent panels can also be mounted similarly, but of course the first panel(s) installed will effectively be locked in place, unless the subsequent panels are removed: This can be advantageous for providing security for a run of panels, requiring only the last panel installed to be secure.

Can Button-fixes withstand shock loading?

Type 1 Fixes can carry a significant cantilever load; as a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to keep the cantilever distance, that is the shelf depth, shorter than the height between the Fixes. In most circumstances, the screws will pull out of the panel before the Button-fixes fail. Please download our load test results from the Useful Information page on this website. This should help you to specify the number of Button-fixes to use for a given load. However, we strongly recommend that you perform your own tests for your specific application and the materials that you intend to use and that you use a generous safety factor.

Type 2 Fixes are designed as a push/pull fit, and will therefore not take a cantilever load. Assuming that the screws and substrate are properly matched, a vertical panel under no other loading than its own weight, fixed with four Type 2 Fixes, can safely weigh 80kg. Other configurations should always be properly tested by the user to their satisfaction.
Each Type 2 Fix requires approximately 12kg force to separate the Button and Fix; this should be taken into account when designing your installation and defining your safety factors.
Type 2 Fixes should only be used on vertical panels or in applications where the weight of the panel does not act to separate the fixing. In critical applications for Type 2 Fixes, always use the safety cord accessory.
Please note that safety cords are sold separately from the Button-fixes.

When would I use Varianta Euroscrews in the Buttons?

Varianta Euroscrews are useful for giving good strength in thin panels, normally in particleboard. The orange Buttons are designed to accept countersunk Ø6.2mm Euroscrews for Ø5mm (0.197″) pilot holes.

For more detailed information, including screw length/panel thickness guides, please dowload the ‘Suggested Fixings for Buttonfix’ PDF from the Useful Information page.

Can the gap between panels be zero when using Type 1 Fixes?

Yes, but you will need to machine a stepped rebate for the Type 1 Fix moulding – please ensure that the Fix is not sub surface, otherwise the panel may bind up on installation. Note that if the Fixes are used on the removable panel, the screws holding the Fix will no longer go into the full panel thickness, and may have a reduced pull-out strength.

Can I use machine screws?

Yes; the lime green countersunk screw Button will accept an M5 countersunk screw. The rebated Fix will accept M4 countersunk screws, while the surface-mounted Fix will accept M4 pan head screws, ideally with washers, or for maximum strength M5 pan head screws, although they are a tight push fit in the fixing holes.

Can I space off the Buttons?

Yes, generally using M5 x 25 steel ‘penny’ washers; however, if the Buttons/Fixes are binding due to angular misalignment, it is best to use washers that are within the ‘footprint’ of the Button (i.e. Ø18mm or less, for example part number 1000750000VR here) which will allow more angular tolerance. Bear in mind that spacing off the Buttons will increase the bending forces on the button fixing and reduce its weight carrying capacity.

How do I use Button-fixes on bath panels?

Type 2 Fixes are ideal for mounting bath panels, especially in conjunction with the Type 2 Fix-markers (available on the Accessories page), which remove the need for any measuring. We have made a video, showing a typical bath panel installation. Note that you can get by with fewer Fix-markers; you just need to do the Fix-marking in two or more goes, having first marked, and fixed, the two top corners of the panel.


Can I fix Button-fixes to metal structures?

You can use Ø4.8mm pop rivets, with washers to protect the plastic of the Fixes, and/or self tapping screws, but you will need to satisfy yourself of the fixing type and loadings by thoroughly testing the application. Recessing the Fixes into sheet material or tube would be possible, but would require machining with appropriate equipment.

Can I fix to plasterboard?

For maximum strength on plasterboard, fixing through to studs or noggings is best. If this is not practical, direct fixing onto the plasterboard is possible, but the maximum loadings must be reduced significantly.
The next best option is to attach the Fix to the plasterboard using expanding metal fittings, such as Rawl M5 Interset sleeve fixings. These have the advantage of being demountable, as well as having a good load capacity.

If necessary, and if maximum load is not so critical, the Button may be fixed to the plasterboard; Interset fixings may be used for fixing the buttons, but the standard pan head M5 screw will need to be substituted with a countersunk M5 screw of a suitable length. Alternatively for fixing the Buttons, fixings such as the Rawl ‘4ALL’ universal plug (Ø8mm for a Ø5mm screw) may be used. Using a Ø30mm M5 penny washer under the button helps spread the load.

Can I fix panels directly to plaster, brick or concrete wall using Button-fixes?

In these circumstances we recommend fixing levelled battens to the wall first. If this is not possible, please be aware that the wall may not be flat, and you may need to use washers to both space the Buttons off the wall for levelling, and to keep them parallel to the panel: although there is a degree of flexibility and tolerance in Button-fix, misalignment of the Buttons and Fixes may cause binding, and difficulties in engaging or removing the panels.

Can I use Button-fix to mount Corian, Staron or solid surface panels?

Yes, the Type 1 Bonded was developed with solid surface materials in mind; a single Fix has been tested rebated into Corian, using Corian glue, to an astonishing 625Kg at failure!.. and the screw attaching the Button sheared before anything else..

Even face-fixed to Corian, the Fix failed at over 200Kg in shear.

Alternatively use M4 ‘Squirrel’ inserts (www.squirrels-uk.com), or M4 Rampa BAN/BAV inserts (shopen.rampa.com) to attach Type 1 or Type 2 Fixes: (use with suitable washers when using pan head screws). The buttons ideally require M5 CSK screws for maximum strength; use M5 Rampa BAN/BAV inserts. For reduced loadings, the Buttons may also be fixed using M4 CSK screws.

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