Elevator Cab Anatomy Series: The Basics of Binder Angles

An example of typical damage to a plastic laminate wall panel. Impact at the edge/corner has caused the laminate to break.Binder Angles are always a topic of discussion with our customers because panel preservation is important. It’s not always clear what kind of Binder Angle can or should be used in your cab interior design, especially when working from architectural drawings that do not display fasteners.

What do Binder Angles do?

Binder Angles help minimize the untimely demise of elevator wall panels because they deflect impact from glancing blows during general use and prevent the panel face material from lifting and chipping. In our photo, you can see what normal damage to a plastic laminate wall panel looks like. Impact at the edge/corner has caused the laminate to break.

The particular type of Binder Angle that is appropriate for your elevator wall panels will depend upon:

– The composition of the panel
– The desired look of the finished panel(s)
– The manufacturability of the panel and the panels (together) as a wall unit
– How each unit can be installed in the field.

Stainless Steel, Bronze, and Aluminum are common metals used to make Binder Angles although other materials can be utilized. Typically we suggest a minimum of 16-gauge. However, a thicker gauge is always an option too. As you would think, choosing a thicker gauge offers more protection.


Elevator Wall Panel Sketch of Edge Binder Angle

Edge Binder Angles

The most common Angle is the Edge Binder Angle. Edge Binder Angles (or Edge Binders) are affixed to the wall panel from the backside of the panel.

Fastening the Binder Angle on the back side forms a strong, durable connection because there is a suitable amount of panel backer material available for the screw to grip into. A wall panel may have Edge Binder Angles around the entire perimeter of the panel (requiring aesthetic attention at the corner joint(s) or on select edges only.

Look below at Photo A. You can see 16-gauge stainless steel Edge Binder Angles affixed at the perimeter of a wall panel that is faced with patterned Stainless Steel. The protrusion or projection is “held proud” and measures .030– which is the closest to “flush” that we recommend because anything less will not provide the panel face with ample protection. The protrusion can be made larger depending on preference, panel design, and passenger traffic.


Photo A: Edge Binder Angles made from 16-gauge Stainless Steel.
Photo A: 16 GA

Below in Photo B you can see another example of what Edge Binder Angles look like when 12-gauge Stainless Steel is utilized with a glass wall panel. From this perspective, you can also see how the metal folds over the backside and adjoins with the neighboring angle. On all Binder applications, extra care in deburring of the metal is key to passenger safety. An edge that is too “crisp” or even sharp can be a safety hazard to anyone that inadvertently touches the panel edge.


Photo B: Edge Binder Angle made from 12-gauge stainless steel.
Photo B: 12 GA


Face Binder Angles

Face Binder Angles are nearly identical to Edge Binder Angles but are rotated so that the front surface of the Binder Angle lies on top of the panel face material.

Face Binder Angles (a.k.a. Face Binders) are fastened into the panel edges rather than on the backside, meaning that the attachment screws or fasteners are visible.

Face Binders may be installed around the entire perimeter of the panel or on select edges and are often utilized when the material (chosen for the panel) is difficult to cut cleanly. An example of this would be woven wire. Application of Face Binder Angles may be dependent upon the elevator cab condition (a new or an existing cab shell), the desired interior design, personal preference, and the location of other wall panels in proximity to the other interior components. The visibility of the screw heads may or may not be concealed by other components–if it’s necessary to conceal fasteners, Channel Binders are the alternative option­ (continue reading for information on Channel Binders).

It’s important to note that fastening Face Binder Angles to a wall panel made of porous panel backing material (like Aluminum honeycomb displayed in Photo D) will require the edge (of the porous panel backing material) to be treated so that it’s suitable for a fastener to grip into.

Backside of Aluminum honeycomb panel backer
Photo D: Aluminum Honeycomb


Below in Photo E you can see Face Binder Angles made from 16-gauge Stainless Steel used in conjunction with textured metal applied to the panel face (nickel). The corner seams are mitered, giving them a nice, manicured appearance.


Photo E: Face Binder Angles Made of 16-gauge stainless steel, mitered corner joint.
Photo E: 12 GA



Channel Binders

The final Binder Angle we’ll cover in this article is a Channel Binder. Channel Binders cap the back, edge, and face of the wall panel and may be placed around the entire panel perimeter, or just on select edges. Each is fastened to the wall panel from the backside allowing the fasteners to be concealed from view.

Channel Binders are not used often because manufacturing them is labor intensive. However, there are times when Channel Binders are the only option–such as when the panel face material is difficult to cut cleanly, when it’s necessary to conceal the fasteners, or when fastening into a panel edge is not feasible.

Binder Angles are just one option that assists in damage prevention–they help the wall panels stay nice-looking and hold up over time, just as you and your customer expect. However, wall panel longevity starts with choosing a face material that’s conducive to elevator use and then taking the necessary steps to protect them from potential damage that occurs when passengers use the elevator(s).

Need assistance regarding wall panel protection or design?