Expanded metal is similar to perforated metal, but it has been cut, rather than punched, and stretched into a shaped framework. Materials out of which expanded metal is made include sheets of steel, stainless steel, aluminum, tin, copper and plastic. Flattened expanded metal has been cold rolled to reduce thickness and increase surface smoothness. Using expanded metal is an ecologically-minded approach, as it is elaborated from discarded raw material. Expanded metal is basically transparent, has high resistance and excellent mechanical properties and is an excellent conductor. Expanded metal can be made out of non-metal products such as plastic, which then makes it an insulator.
Perforated and expanded metal possess numerous uses in a wide variety of applications. Perforated metals are used for filtration, reinforcement and decoration. Perforated metal manufacturers provide products that can be made into screens, filters, baskets, trash cans, tubing, light fixtures, vents, audio speaker covers and patio furniture. Like perforated metals, expanded metals are also used for filtration, reinforcement and decoration. Common applications include enclosures, such as lockers and cages, supportive structures, such as grating, shelves and catwalks and protective structures, like guards and fencing. Because of their many uses, perforated and expanded metal is found in almost every industry, including the automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical, waste management and construction industries.
The decision whether to expand or perforate metal depends upon the industrial application, budget and specific design requirements. Perforated metal remains useful because it is easy to manufacture, cost-effective, versatile and suitable for a wide range of metals. Factors to take into account when considering perforated metal manufacturers include quantity, hole pattern and size and metal type and thickness. A less expensive material does not guarantee the lowest manufacturing cost. A higher strength alloy, which would be a more expensive material, may allow a reduction in thickness, reducing the overall price of perforation. Expanded metal is cost-effective because the metal is stretched rather than punched, reducing scrap metal waste.