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Expert Metal Fabrication and Metalwork

The Perforated Sheet Metal Process

How Perforated Sheet Metal Is Made

The modern world is filled with perforated sheet metal. From noise reduction to climate control, it has seemingly endless uses. However, there’s more to this versatile metal than meets the eye. Perforated sheet metal is a material that has been punched or stamped with a machine to create a pattern of holes. Most commonly made from stainless steel, cold-rolled steel, aluminium and a variety of other metals – it is a popular material around the world.

Perforated sheet metal was first developed around 150 years ago for the mining industry as a means of filtering coal. In its most primitive form the process was very inefficient, requiring labourers to manually punch the holes into the metal sheet. Understandably, this time consuming and labour intensive methodology meant that perforated metal was not being used to its full potential – there was simply not enough to go around.

Today, the most common method of perforating metal uses a rotary roller. This is essentially a large cylinder with sharp-pointed needles to punch the holes. The needles come in a variety of sizes in order to customise the perforated metal, and sometimes the needles are heated in order to melt the metal during the process. This then forms a reinforced ring around the perforation.

Alternatively, some manufacturers choose the so-called “punch and die” method. Although it may sound archaic, the punch and die method is in fact very efficient. After being thinned and flattened, the sheet metal is repeatedly passed under a sheet of needles, which punches holes into the sheet. Any remaining pieces are then sheared off and the surface is smoothed. The speed with which the metal is perforated makes it the method of choice for many manufacturers.

Now that perforated sheet metal can be created with such efficiency, most people and many organisations come in contact with it every day. Buildings designed with environmental sustainability in mind often utilise perforated metal for climate control. The small holes allow the free movement of air, giving natural ventilation and negating the need for air conditioning. Perforated sheet metal can also be found on the inside of walls and roofs to bring the volume down in noisy environments, making them a common choice for large offices.

The food and beverage industry is perhaps one of the biggest users of perforated metal, using it in drain dryers, sorting machines and fruit and vegetable presses to name a few. Given that perforated metal is so versatile and easy to sterilise, kitchens around the world have made it a staple in their food preparation processes. Perhaps a more obvious industry to benefit from perforated sheet metal is automotive manufacturers. Not only is it used to support the huge amount of other metal elements in a car, but also as an oil filter and a silencer on motorbikes.

From aesthetics to usability, perforated sheet metal offers many benefits. This versatile metal has a valuable place in homes, businesses and manufacturing. For more information about perforated metal, contact the experts as Acorn Metal.