Perforated metal or stainless steel mesh has a wide variety of applications; metal mesh is used for stairs and walkways as well as for straining various products during a production process. Perforated metal is also used for fencing and ventilation. When choosing a metal perforating process for your application, you might be surprised at your options. Note a few varieties of perforated metal so you can determine the right choice for your application and then discuss these with a metal stamping contractor.
An expanded metal starts with a solid sheet and then has slits made in the sheet; the sheet is then stretched so that a diamond shape is formed. This type of application may allow the sheet to retain its strength, since the slits used to form this diamond pattern are small and don't compromise the sheet's overall structure. This also means there is no waste of the materials, since the slits do create scrap metal pieces that are lost. The sheets can then also be flattened after being stretched. Expanded metal is often used for fencing and ventilation, where you need a strong sheet but with a wider opening for air circulation.
Wire mesh, woven and welded
Wire mesh sheets can be woven or welded. With a woven sheet, strands of metal are run together vertically and horizontally. Welded sheets have the strands melted or welded together. The welding process can make for a stronger mesh for filtering applications, whereas the woven sheets mean less use of metal since you don't need any material for soldering pieces together. Woven mesh may also have a particular raised design that makes it more visually appealing for ventilation coverings and fencing. Welded mesh may be stronger, since woven mesh involves slightly bending the wire strands in order to create the weave pattern.
Perforated metal sheets
Perforated metal sheets are solid sheets that are put through a machine that punches out a mesh pattern. This may allow for more control over the size and shape of the pattern, as punch machines can be programmed for larger openings, patterns in the openings, and the like. This does result in wasted metal from the perforated areas, although this metal can be collected and recycled. Perforating the metal can also compromise its strength, but if the original sheet is thick enough, this type of metal can be used for walkways, drainage, straining, and the like.