If you are looking for a product that will allow ventilation, drainage, or perhaps add a decorative touch, your three main choices are Expanded Sheet Metal, Perforated Sheet Metal, or Welded/Woven Wire Mesh. So which one do you choose and why?
Expanded metal sheet is made by first creating multiple slits in the sheet, and then stretching the sheet. The stretching creates a unique diamond pattern opening with one of the strands protruding at a slight angle. These raised strands can be flattened later in the process if desired. As you can see this process creates no waste (thus keeping down production costs) and it can add structural strength to the product.
Perforated metal sheet is a product that is made from sheet steel that has been fed through a machine that punches out round holes (or other designs). These holes can be straight rows or staggered to increase the amount of the openings. Typically the perimeter of the sheet has a boundary where holes are not punched; this adds stability to the sheet. The removed metal from the holes can be recycled but it also increases the cost of the product. The larger the hole size (or increased amount of holes), the greater scrap volume, and therefore costs can be increased.
Welded wire mesh is a metal wire screen that is made from various alloys including steel, stainless steel, brass and copper. It is available in various sizes and shapes. Grids of parallel longitudinal wires are welded to cross wires at the required spacing, using electric fusion. The machines that are used to produce the mesh have precise dimensional control.
Also available in steel, stainless steel, brass and copper, woven wire mesh is made as a cloth with wire threads woven at right angles. Wires which run lengthwise are known as warp wires, whilst those running perpendicular are weft wires.There are two common styles of weave: plain weave and twill weave. It can be made from various alloys including stainless steel, brass and copper. Wire cloth can be woven to create a variety of opening sizes and wire diameters.
One of the benefits from the manufacturing of expanded metal is that the sheet retains its structural integrity because it has not undergone the stress of having shapes punched in it (like perforated sheet), and the mesh-like pattern will not unravel (like woven mesh can do). Expanded metal has been stretched rather than punched, reducing scrap metal waste; making it cost-effective. The main considerations when using expanded metal will be the chosen thickness and strand dimensions (weight and structural design requirements). Expanded metal can be almost transparent (depending on the opening); it has mechanical properties and is an excellent conductor.
Perforated metal sheet comes in a virtually endless variety of sizes, gauges, hole shapes and material types. Hole diameters range from a few thousandths of an inch to more than 3 inches, punched in material as thin as foil or as thick as 1-inch steel plate. From lightweight decorative elements to load-bearing structural components, perforated metal offers unique opportunities to combine strength, functionality and beauty.
The chance of improper bending of bars is reduced since bending machines bend the mat as a single unit. This provides the exact size of reinforcement where needed through variable bar size and spacing, thereby reduces steel waste. There can be a considerate savings because mesh is easy to handle and can be installed much faster. Typically you can purchase a welded mesh for less than a woven mesh.
Wire mesh is adaptable to almost any application. It is extremely durable and very easily cleaned.
Expanded metal sheet works well for steps, flooring in factories and on construction rigging, fences, wash stations, and security applications.
Perforated metal can be made into a multitude of products such as: screens, filters, baskets, trash cans, tubing, light fixtures, vents, audio speaker covers and patio furniture.
Widely used in agricultural applications, industrial, transportation, horticultural and food procuring sectors. It is also used in mines, gardening, machine protection and other decorations.
From sifting and screening machinery to conveyor and automotive belts, all the way to animal enclosures and architectural framework.
You can check out our video below to find out the difference between expanded metal, perforated metal and wire mesh: