rail vehicle hinges

Rocfast Panel Fittings for every enclosure from FDBHere at FDB Panel Fittings there are many years of combined experience in supplying panel hardware, from which we have found that the selection process for correct panel hardware is largely to do with the application. For example there is little point in fitting low cost, light duty locks and hinges to enclosures destined for use in shipbuilding or mining for instance. Of course they will work for a short time but not for very long. Conversely, it should not be assumed that fitting expensive stainless steel fittings is the answer. As with most things, the optimum solution is based on more than one factor – and can make very important differences in cost and reliability – this is where FDB are able to provide truly independent advice and can often act in a “Project management” role – finding an optimal application solution. Balancing weather-ability, corrosion resistance, strength/ruggedness, supply constraints etc. e.g. by matching a stainless handle with a polyamide housing, as a compromise of performance/cost between polyamide at the low cost end and stainless at the high cost end.

A good example is the latest “Buzz” technology in enclosure hardware – Compression Locking, which was confined to a somewhat limited range of applications until it recently came out of patent protection, so that now a much wider market is finding it beneficial. A number of manufacturers seem to have had their own parallel version of this technology under development for some years and have been able to quickly bring their expertise in design/manufacture to provision of a very greatly expanded range of compression latch variants.

However the question stands “is a compression facility beneficial and where?” Well certainly the anti-vibration role of these locks is excellent in preventing opening of panels such as on trucks, railway rolling stock gen-sets, air-con and heating and ventilating systems.

Similarly the ability to provide “soft” gasket compression is valuable on cabinets with EMC gasket to ensure a firm contact, or indeed on large door panels where the closure force needs to be distributed over substantial distances or adjusted to allow for manufacturing tolerances, also compression technology provides several millimeters of soft gasket compression and cam depth adjustment.FDB compression latches

The result then is that customers are finding they are also now in a position to consider “soft-close” compression technology for ¼ turn locks, swing handles, T handles etc, where it may be that the different closure feel is important, or that the additional degree of anti-tamper performance conferred by the design is a valuable security factor

This is just one of many trends in cabinet hardware which tends to work over fairly long time frames. During recent years there have been many new developments in enclosure hardware and today there are products available for almost all industrial applications. Not just locks and hinges but a whole raft of complementary products including grab rails and handles, stays, door seals and numerous accessories.

IPxx degree of sealing is by now a well recognised front line consideration and most engineers will be aware that for example IP54 or IP55, while potentially suitable for external use is not weatherproof or waterproof. Our sales team have become adept at looking beyond this to the complete picture including: frequency of use, ease of operation, degree of corrosive environment, the cost/material balance, key possibilities, zonal security requirements, walk-by clothing entanglement, gloved hand usage, vibrational considerations, e.g. where vehicle mounted, wash down and pressure hose use, type of gasket used, door type and opening required, special industry standards, e.g. railway, offshore, mining, machine tool guarding.

A major long term trend is toward greater use of stainless steel hardware; consequently we have established a comprehensive range of stainless steel locks, hinges and handles suited to petrochemical plants, hospitals, food processing establishments, medical environments, outdoor installations, marine and offshore industries. The range includes piano hinges, integral recessed lock/handles, weld-on hinges, bolt-on hinges, grab handles, spanner locks, rod locks, concealed hinges, lever and T handles. Importantly for marine/offshore installation many are available in stainless grade 316 as well as the more common 303 and 304 with satin and electro polished finishes. Stainless steel fittings are suited for control cabinets, electrical equipment and instrument housings, especially where exposed to the elements or frequent wash down processes. These stainless products are of course designed to complement the standard range of die-cast and mid steel fittings and in many cases are interchangeable with them.New heavy duty hinges from FDB Panel Fittings for railways, garage doors, gates and agricultural equipment

In one large project our team certainly rose to the challenge when they were called in to supply locks for the new T45 warships. Like any very large single community the T45s face security issues for their personnel, in this case the requirement was for a zone based wing lock system to cover personal lockers, wardrobes and other storage areas. With typically over 2000 locks on each ship a project based master key system was specified for crew cabins and furniture or lockers in communal areas.

This ideally suited our expert Rocfast team who were able to carry out planning, supply, specialist project packaging, administration of coding/delivery and long-term backup support. Not only was it important to have a zoned security with key operated wing locks offering a very high number of “differs” – up to 5000 different combinations with master keys – it was also important that the locks and keys were separately labelled for specific locations and delivered at a very early stage so that they could be brought together later during final fit out.

Another good example was the requirement for quarter-turn latches to suit 18000 galvanised steel water meter boxes for domestic installation in the Middle East. For security, a plastic clip-in, quarter-turn latch was specified by the customer – simple to fit and, bearing in mind the quantity, relatively low in cost.

However, our technical sales team felt that the latch would be unsuitable for the service conditions that were likely to be encountered by the boxes. A small but extremely robust die-cast lock with steel cam was suggested for evaluation by the client.

In order to stay within the budget constraints it was proposed that the lock be supplied zinc-plated rather than with its usual chrome-plated finish. A further problem was the very short delivery period for the boxes themselves – a period of just 3 months for the fully equipped boxes with a fixed completion date and no possibility of slippage with container shipment pre-booked. We were able to deliver at the required rate of 1500 locks a week, but after four weeks increased this to 2000 thus allowing the contract to be met in 10 weeks.

FDB have successfully tendered for the supply of panel hardware to many diverse and prestigious projects including: London’s Millennium Wheel, The Channel Tunnel, Russian Oil Pipeline, Hungarian Buses, The Thames Barrier, T45 Destroyer fleet and the London Underground flood defences.

Panel Fittings for Special Vehicles from the FDB Transport Industries range

Hinging and locking products from FDB Panel Fittings for railed vehiclesPanel Fittings for Commercial Vehicles from the FDB Transport Industries range








Here at FDB Panel Fittings we are proud to offer probably the UK’s largest range of locks, hinges, handles and accessories for industrial applications – today this increasingly means providing hardware solutions for building, rail infrastructure, boat building, road transport, HVAC and machine engineering. This is alongside our traditional markets of specialist electrical and electronic enclosures and cabinets, for control equipment or power distribution housings. For instance, we are proud to have been able to supply the locking devices used on such diverse applications as London’s Millennium Wheel and the Royal Navy’s fleet of T45 destroyers.

This supply process continuously focuses on our ability to provide a friendly personal service based on detailed product knowledge and experience with an extensive product range encompassing everything from cable management support systems to cabinet hinges, enclosure gasketing and locking systems. This includes many stainless steel variants and anti-vandal handle designs – with our extensive stock-holding we expect to deliver most items direct from our warehouse and from our Online shop.

Our focus is always on the supply of quality products from top brands such as Dirak (as their official UK distributor) coupled with our own brand of exceptional personal service, provided by our friendly and resourceful customer service team. A service exemplified by the Rocfast assembly and logistics approach to lock specification, assembly and supply – our own in-house branded and world wide, service package.

FDB visit RailTex


Hinging and locking products from FDB Panel Fittings for railed vehiclesA couple of our senior people – Gary Miles, MD and Sophie Carter, Marketing/Sales – paid a visit to RailTex yesterday and enjoyed the “buzz” at the NEC. The rail industry is an important one for us as we have many standard locks,  vibration proof locks, compression locks and hinges – including a range of stainless steel products which are used on rolling stock as well as on trackside cabinets and available from our Online store. Sophie and Gary were impressed by the busy show with many large stands – but also with a growing support from smaller suppliers.

Rocfast lock assembly from FDB


It is among these many suppliers that our Rockfast assembly program has been so popular since we are able to assemble to specification and deal with kitting, packaging and logistics all under one umbrella, enhancing quality and speeding the supply chain. For more in depth information and to download our Knowledgebase documentation please see our main catalogue and for your custom rail hardware please speak to our experienced sales team.

The Panel Builder MagazineIt is great to see that such a relevant specialist publication as The Panel Builder magazine is interested in the hardware of panel construction and installation – here they cover our Rocfast Corner Gasket radius adapter and our Rocfast Lock Assembly Service now working up to IP67 sealing levels – along with our Heavy Duty Hinges for Railway Applications.
Naturally they cover lots of other good stuff as well in the rest of the mag!

Heavy Duty hinges for Railway Applications

27 September 2013

These new forged steel and stainless steel hinges are designed for use on railway rolling stock and trackside enclosures. In these applications their extra thickness of 4mm to 10mm and riveted hinge pins offer rugged in-service performance. They are also expected to be suitable for garage doors, gates, agricultural equipment etc. The range includes butt hinges […]

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FAST Show goes FI!

6 September 2013

We are really looking forward to exhibiting our range of enclosure and transport vehicle related hardware at the FAST Exhibition to be held on November 7th at The Williams Conference Centre in Oxfordshire, home of the Williams F1 Team. This prestigious venue was originally the Williams base for its Le Mans project and so is […]

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Hinging & locking for the Railed Vehicle industry

6 September 2012

We know that customers within the Railed Vehicle Industry have special requirements for hinging and locking products, such as specific industry-standard inserts for locks including durability and the ability to withstand substantial vibration in adverse environments, plus vandal-resistance, are absolute “must haves” – consequently we are delighted to introduce this new range designed to meet […]

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