Fastmount has launched a new product range, bringing their total offering up to seven ranges of hidden panel mounting systems.
Celebrating 15 years of business this year, the company first set out in 2004 to shake up how interior panels were attached to superyacht interiors. Replacing the traditional hook and loop fastening that was common in the industry at the time, Fastmount’s highly engineered ball and socket-style fastening was a world first that was quickly taken up by the largest superyacht builders in the industry. Now recognised as the standard for hidden panel mounting, Fastmount has found success not only in the marine industry, but in the architectural sector too, the combination of the two now informing many of their new innovations.
Their new Stratlock is the perfect example of the how the superyacht industry and architectural influence each other in terms of design and construction. Designed initially for the architectural industry in collaboration with Poliform Contract Italia, the Stratlock Range was designed for mounting large panels to aluminium framework in large scale interior fitouts. But it is not only the architectural world that will benefit from this new product, but the marine industry too. Since its launch, it has received increased interest from builders from large yacht companies, who are steadily changing their yacht production processes to create a more efficient build process.
How the Stratlock Range was born
The Stratlock Range was born out of the contract interior industry in Italy, which needed a new hidden fastening system that could improve the interior panel mounting process to the aluminium framework they used as a substrate in areas like high-end hotels.
Their needs were specific: both female and male parts needed to install without special tools, and have a two-stage fastening system giving the ability to move the panel up and down, side to side before locking it into its final position. The product would need a high pull out load, and a high shear strength to make it suitable for mounting large or heavy wall panels.
Encouraged by Poliform Contract’s enthusiasm to see a new product designed for this sector, Fastmount’s Managing Director Gregg Kelly worked closely with the technical department of Poliform Contract, collaborating during the research and development.
Fastmount worked with Poliform Contract, their framework manufacturers and Fastmount distributor Promotech Italia over an 18-month period. “This ensured that we were hitting all the right points – from a design and manufacture perspective, as well as an end user perspective. We had to create something that would lock panels into place, but provide flexible installation; be rapid to install but extremely robust,” said Kelly, commenting on the design process. “We are confident that the Stratlock Range will reduce installation time for large-scale interior fitout projects.”
“To date, we have always used fixing systems that exist on the market – both frontal and bayonet fixings – but choosing one of those would always limit our versatility in another area, the versatility that is essential to facilitate site management and installation,” affirms Poliform Contract.
Implementation into the superyacht design & construction process
Aluminium framing is already used extensively in medium to large size superyachts, particularly in Italy. “The likes of San Remo and San Lorenzo have used the Fastmount PC-RF1 from the Standard Range for a number of years, so implementing a clip system like this will be almost second nature,” comments Kelly. The benefit of using aluminium framework is that it is more accurate dimensionally, not effected by moisture (won’t have shrink or warp) and is extremely strong. It also improves construction efficiency – designers can control the usage of the materials, resulting in precise weight control with an already light material. The use of Fastmount with these substrates means everything can be pre-installed, with the interior panels being fitted at the last minute after the main construction has been completed.
Due to fire-rating requirements, we are seeing many shipyards moving towards aluminium interior construction. The interest we gained at METSTRADE in 2018 from the prototype gave us confidence that this is the direction that builders are moving in, and the more efficiency we can provide, the better.
Extremely strong and secure bond
The Stratlock Range provides an extremely strong and secure bond to the frame via its twist-lock and screw installation method. But with security also comes flexibility – the female clip can be moved along the rail to find the perfect position before screwing into place. Thanks to a dual locking mechanism, upon the first ‘click’ there is the ability to adjust the panel position within 10mm, before locking the panel into its final position with a 15kg pull out load. Additionally, the set provides acoustic isolation.
The next for the Stratlock Range
At METSTRADE in November, Fastmount will display their latest addition to the Stratlock Range, which is the SL-SF15A, designed to screw directly onto a flat frame (such as plywood frame) to increase the amount of application areas for the range.