Expanded metal is widely regarded as an excellent product for architectural uses, based on its appearance, functionality, and intrinsic properties. Architects constantly seek versatile materials with characteristics that offer aesthetic appeal as well as versatility and design freedom.
Types Of Expanded Metal Output
EMMA, the Expanded Metal Manufacturers Association, has a motto that sums up the value of this product for architects: “Stretching Your Dollars, Increasing Your Options.” Available in a variety of metals, the product is stretched to create meshes and thicker metal sheets that can be used within a building structure or outside to add attractive looking function.
The process flattens a metallic plate that is put through a multistate expanded metal machine to flatten it, cover the entire sheet with tiny slits, and then stretch it to create a basic diamond pattern. The basic shape can be altered by further stretching and flattening. The types of output include:
- Architectural meshes – Often used for building façades, ceilings, sunshades, and more, architectural meshes may be created with unique openings.
- Fine-mesh – Often thin and with tiny openings, fine-mesh is often used for filters, guards, fire screens, and in heavier gauges, or security doors.
- Decorative mesh – Created with smaller diamond sizes or uniquely shaped openings, it may be incorporated into designs for many functional products, such as baluster panels that complement railings in auditoriums and stairways.
- Grating – Made from a heavier plate, of material such as aluminum or low carbon steel, this type of expanded metal is made with larger diamonds, and is often used in walkways and platforms.
Why Architects Love Expanded Metal
Expanded metal offers these specific characteristics that architects love:
- The openings in the product permit light and air to flow through. Based on the size, exact shape, and how the opening is angled or oriented, the architect can control how much light or air flows into a space. This makes the product useful for covering lighting or creating a sort of metallic pergola over an outdoor area.
- Customization option are limitless. Expanded metal is a custom product, rather than a stock one, which means that an architect can specify the size and type of slits, stretches, placement, degree of angles, indentations, and other characteristics to alter the appearance of the finished product in a way that enhances design.
- The product is strong and formable, without fear of rambling. In contrast to woven products that can come apart at the edges, expanded metal sheets are continuous, and even stronger than the original raw material. They can be bent 90 degrees and maintain a one fourth inch inside radius in either direction without breaking or fracturing.
- Due to its manufacturing process, the process is cost-effective, with no metal waste. Depending on how much the initial sheet is, it can provide a 3 to 1 yield for most designs, with as much as a 6 to 1 yield on thin output.
- Its green properties make it suitable to architects and builders who aim for LEED Certification. Not only does the material produce little scrap, it can also contain high amounts of recycled material content. Since it can easily be made by regional producers, transportation costs are low. Once placed on a building, it can reduce cooling costs when it is used as a sunshade, while letting in the optimum amount of natural light. Most manufacturers of expanded metal can supply a Certificate of Compliance in shipping the product that specifies the number of LEED credits an architect can accrue with purchase.
Develop Your In-house Production Capabilities
If you work with architects, your company might benefit by having expanded metal machinery on site. For information about acquiring or retrofitting equipment, contact Adame EM Solutions today for turnkey solutions, equipment, and design service.