What's The Difference Between Expanded Metal And Perforated Metal?
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 19:36
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differences between expanded metal and perforated metal

When you need sheet metal that is perforated to allow ventilation, drainage, or a decorator look, what do you choose? The holes in the sheet of metals are either created with an expanded metal machine or stamped or punched into the metal, using an expanded metal perforating technique. While the look is similar, the similarity stops there. There are many differences. While perforation makes metal weak, creating openings through the expanded metal process actually makes it stronger.

Differences In Expanded Metal Production And Expanded Metal Perforating

In the expanded metal process, metal is fed through a multi-stage expanded metal machine which performs three steps. First, it is flattened to the desired gauge, then it is slit over its surface. Finally, the material is stretched to form a lattice pattern. Typically, the pattern is a diamond shape, but additional stretching can alter the pattern to form a hexagon or other shape. The material may then be flattened for additional variation.

To create perforated metal, flattened or expanded rolls of metal are fed through a stamping machine, which punches out the holes or other designs. The pattern of holes can be aligned in straight rows and columns or staggered to increase the amount of the openings. Usually, there is a margin on the side and ends of the sheet for additional stability. The removed metal from the expanded metal perforating process is recycled to create new sheets.

The Differences In The Processes

Both the sheets made from an expanded metal machine and those made from stamping and punching, or expanded metal perforating, are very useful in industry, which often use both types of fabrication. While products made by the expanded metal process have the strength advantage, perforated metal weighs less. The reason is simple. Perforated metal stamping takes material away from the finished product, while expanded metal processing reconfigures the original material to make it stronger. While punching or stamping weakens material, the expanded metal process enhances strength at every intersection of diamonds.

Uses For Expanded Metal Vs. Perforated Metal

Wherever there is a need for lightweight ventilated panels of any size, perforated metal fills the bill. The variety of hole patterns also makes it a popular decorative material. Stamped material makes great sunscreens, room dividers, building fa├žades, sorters for processing plants and more. Perforated metal is also used in engineered parts.

The products of the expanded metal machine remains strong and rigid. As the metal is stretched, strength builds at the corners. The sheet retains its structural integrity because it has not undergone the stress of having shapes punched in it. The mesh-like pattern that results will not unravel like woven mesh does. As a result, expanded metal sheeting works well for steps, flooring in factories and on construction rigging, fences, security applications, and more.

New Markets For Perforated Metal

Perforated metal uses stainless steel, galvanized steel, or cold rolled steel while expanded metal also uses aluminum, tin, copper, and even plastic. Even though the perforated metal process reuses most of its waste when steels are used, the expanded metal process uses less material and the cost offers savings of 30 to 50%. The attractive price differences have alerted users to the benefits of expanded metal and increased demand for new architectural and decorative patterns.

For many uses, expanded metal outperforms perforated metal. Coupled with differences in price between the two products and its greater strength and structural integrity, the future of the expanded metal is bright. 

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 19:45