What is Engineered Metal Plate?

Metal Wall Panels (MWP) take many forms, and is not always recognized at first glance to the untrained eye. However, it is one of the most common façade cladding products in use.

One of the materials used for Metal Wall Panels is Aluminum Plate.  Many elementary materials in construction now have an “Engineered Version” to improve on the benefits of that material. Examples include Engineered Hardwood Floors, Engineered Floor Joist, and Engineered Metal Plate.

VitrabondG2 is a Non-Combustible Metal Composite Material, a perfect example of an engineered metal plate product.

What is Engineered Metal Plate?

Metal Plate wall panels have been used for years on building facades, however some of the challenges faced in working with this products include oil canning (rippling of panels after installation due to thermal expansion and contraction), difficulty in handling due to the weight, multiple processes like welding, grinding, painting, etc…, and design limitations due to limited finish options.

Engineered Metal Plate, on the other hand, has all the benefits of Metal Plate, but is lighter weight, more rigid, has a higher strength to weight ratio, less tendency for oil canning, easier to handle, and comes in nearly unlimited finish options like what can be had with Metal Composite Material.

What Finishes are Available?

Practically any design or pattern can be used for the visible portion of this cladding. Modern buildings often use solid or metallic finishes, but the material can also be made to look like bricks, stones, or other unique finishes and textures, allowing a wide scope in design options for the architects.

What Materials is Engineered Metal Plate made of?

In any engineered product, the materials used are far more advanced than its traditional predecessor. Engineered Metal Plate is still comprised of metal, but uses modern manufacturing means and methods in order to yield more benefits.

Top 10 reasons Engineered Metal Plate is an ideal cladding product for the building façade industry:

VitrabondG2 is a Non-Combustible Metal Composite Material, a perfect example of an engineered metal plate product. Here are some benefits that are unique to VitrabondG2:

  1. All the benefits of MCM, but in a non-combustible product.
  2. Variety of finishes that can’t be achieved in the traditional spray-applied plate products.
  3. Most durable finishes known in the industry.
  4. Higher strength to weight ratio than metal plate façade materials.
  5. Coated prior to fabricating to eliminate additional handling and outsourcing to painters.
  6. 50% lighter weight means for less structural support needed within the wall assembly and attachment systems.
  7. Fully recyclable without needing grinding equipment to separate components.
  8. Much less tendency for oil canning from thermal expansion and contraction.
  9. Easier to machine and work with than solid aluminum plate
  10. Works with standard MCM systems, such as the Arrowhead Installation System.

Learn more at www.fairview-na.com!

Progressive Vs. Non-Progressive Panel Installation Systems

Progressive vs. Non-Progressive Panel Installation Systems

In buildings, it is typical for the exterior walls to be covered with some sort of panels to both protect the "guts" of the walls and to present a properly-finished appearance. To those passing by, the differences between the options aren't always immediately apparent except for their visual appeal. However, if you're in the construction business, you need to be quite aware of the benefits and drawbacks of the two main panel installation systems: Progressive and non-progressive.

What is a Non-Progressive Installation Panel System?

This type of installation gets its name from the fact that the installation of one part does not progress from that of the prior module. It has many benefits, such as the ability to remove or replace a section without the need to dismantle those that are around it. This makes it easy to repair or update a wall on an as-needed basis without high costs, other benefits include having multiple crews installing in all directions

What is a Progressive Installation Panel System?

Progressive systems use panels that interlock in some fashion. One of the easiest ways to imagine these systems is as being like bricks. Each one builds upon and interlocks those that were installed before it and that will come after it. The biggest downside to this is that it takes a long time - and therefore, a lot of money - to install. It also makes remodeling or repairs into complex, expensive procedures. Installation is one directions only, so you can not expedite installation with multiple crews, like you can with a Non-Progressive Panel System.

Which is Best for a Building Project?

In most cases, the non-progressive installation system is superior.  Therefore, there is no need to forego the ease of installation and repair that comes with a non-progressive installation system. In fact, the non-progressive version is almost always the best option.

To learn more, just contact us. We'll be glad to explain all of our structural offerings so that you can make the best choice for any project.

All MCM Is Not Created Equal


The building façade industry has seen a continuous increase in the use of Metal Composite Materials (MCM). This light weight and rigid material provides and attractive appearance and is well suited to many building styles.


Like any product growing in demand, more and more brands start hitting the market, and finally some companies, struggling for market share, begin to drop prices and engage in the losing battle of a Price War.


Low Cost Providers:

When it comes to MCM (also known as Aluminum Composite Material, or ACM) many low-cost providers are trying to push their way into the market. This began with some low cost imported products suited to the signage industry being used for building facades, because it looked about the same. Following this, some domestic MCM  manufacturers begin competing in this price-driven boxing ring and as a result must sacrifice quality to maintain their slim margins.



As with all products in any industry, ‎a drastic price difference either means there are product variables being exploited, or margins are being cut leaving the vendor no room for servicing the client. Either way, the validity of any warranties is called into question. Will they use a loophole in their warranty to get out of product failure? Will they be in business for long, if they are selling at little to no margins?



Warranty is one of the most important aspects in choosing your MCM product. If a company has great confidence in their product they will offer you a great warranty. If they don’t, you might want to ask some more questions.



Cost and price are two different things. Price is what you see up front. Cost is how your purchase affected your bottom line profits. Risk is a major factor in a purchasing decision. If a MCM product manufacturer can reduce your risk by offering better warranties, and better service, and goes the extra mile to help see your project through to success, you can be sure that they will stand behind you when you need them. Their price might look higher, but the cost of doing business with them might be much less than the headache of dealing with a “low-cost provider”.


An example of how price driven manufacturers might try to cut costs is to increase the production speed of the ACM manufacturing line to get more output, with effects which may not appear until years later. Or they might use lower grade raw materials, or cut their customer service.



Quality is sustainable and with that creates a long lasting look on your building that you worked hard to create. You deserve to have the best products representing that building and your vision. And you don’t deserve to be replacing the “cheap” product when it fails, which is much costlier than the small percentage saved at the initial product selection!


FAIRVIEW Products are distributed in many countries globally.  Please be aware that FAIRVIEW product features and availability may differ between locations. Each location is independently operated by local management and ownership to ensure the individual needs of the local markets are satisfied. This statement relates to the North American market only.


June 19, 2017




Our thoughts and prayers with all those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire in London UK. While the tragedy is yet to be fully investigated, we hope that everyone in the industry will be affected enough to ensure the correct use of materials and follow the appropriate codes and standards.


No Fairview Architectural products were used on the Grenfell Tower project, nor on any of the similar fire incidents.  There are several types of ACM suitable for different uses when correctly specified, fabricated and installed in accordance with the appropriate building codes and industry standards.


Fairview Architectural North America will cease production of Vitrabond® PE (Polyethylene Core) for building facade use in North America as of July 1st 2017.


This decision was made and deadline set in March 2017 to ensure that our products align with our vision of a façade industry free of flammable cladding materials. Although the codes allow for this product in certain applications, we feel this is a responsible action to help reduce the risk potential of any Fairview products ever being misused, which is beyond our control.


For more information or to learn about non-combustible ACM cladding please contact us at helpdesk@fairview-na.com, or visit our website at www.fairview-na.com.




Jerry Fossey

General Manager

Fairview Architectural North America


Expansion and Contraction of Aluminum Composite Material

Why is it  important to use a panel mounting system that allows for expansion and contraction of Aluminum Composite Material ?

Aluminum Composite material (ACM) consists of two skins of aluminum, typically 0.020" thick each, sandwiching a core material. ACM is routed from the back to create a V-Groove, leaving a little bit of the core material on the back side of the front skin. This routed panel can then be folded easily by hand along the groove.

The remaining aluminum face skin is now what holds the panel in place for years to come. As with any building product, there is a certain "coefficient of linear expansion", meaning that as temperature changes, the material will shrink ‎(when it cools) or expand (when it warms up).

In a typical “rout and return”  system panels are v-grooved and folded to make “returns” around the perimeter and Panel Extrusions are fastened to these returns. These fabricated panels, sometimes called cassettes, are then fastened to the building using a variety of methods, either with wall extrusions, mounting clips, etc… Many times however, these panels are mounted to the substrate without allowance for thermal expansion, often pushed tight one against the other.

When there is no allowance for thermal expansion the panels may begin to show "wrinkles" or "waffling" on the panels exposed surfaces, often called the "oil can" (pictured) effect and must be avoided.  Thermal expansion may also cause bending at the weakest parts of the panel which is at the folds of the returns.


This means expansion and contraction will in effect be opening and closing the fold repeatedly, although it is a very small amount, potentially weakening the fold or allowing for uncontrolled water penetration.

What happens when you repeatedly bend Metal? Finally it breaks! Unfortunately this is one feature that many façade designers and consultants overlook when specifying an ACM Rainscreen System.

There are a lot of factors involved that increase or decrease the likelihood of there being a problem with thermal expansion.  One is the color of the ACM.  Another is temperature ranges.  Some regions have very small temperature ranges all year long and other have radical changes not only from day to day but from season to season as well.

The Fairview Arrowhead Panel Installation System (pictured) has been designed, engineered ‎and tested to safely allow for thermal expansion and contraction.

Learn more at http://www.fairview-na.com/products/arrowhead-panel-systems/