Expanded metal is created by an expanding machine, which turns metal sheets and coils into an expanded metal mesh. Many types of metal can be expanded, including: stainless steel, hot rolled steel, cold rolled steel, aluminum and more. The machine is fitted with a knife, which determines pattern for the mesh. As the metal passed through the machine, it is cut and stretched simultaneously using a pressured slitting and stretching process. The slits created by the knife allow the metal to be stretched, which produces uniform holes. To ensure a uniformity in patterns, the process is either programmed or done manually as the metal is fed through. The finished product is then wound into coils or cut into sheets.
Depending on the intended use, different thicknesses of metal can be used and different mesh patterns can be chosen. L.W.D (Long Way Diamond) and S.W.D. (Short Way Diamond) are commonly used to indicate the desired length and width of the diamond shaped mesh holes.
Expanded metal sheet used for steps, flooring in factories and on construction rigging, fences, wash stations, and for security purposes.
There are several benefits to using expanded metal:
- Cost-effective as a small quantity of metal can be stretched into a large piece
- Efficient Process as there is very little waste when producing and processing expanded metal mesh
- Is a good conductor of electricity, magnetic flux and heat because expanded metal is one piece
- It acts as protective reinforcement once the metal meshes are combined with glass, concrete and other strengthening materials
- High strength as they can support weight and withstands stress better than woven metals or jointed welds
- Due to the flattening and cutting process the Expanded metals are lighter than traditional metal sheets
- The mesh design allows for air and light to move freely
- Acoustic properties: Specially developed meshes can provide soundproofing and enhance acoustics