Defining the modern skill of metal perforation
Metal perforation is the method of stamping or punching metal sheets with manual or mechanical tools to create a ‘cut out’ pattern. This can consist of holes, slots or custom made shapes of any size and is versatile enough to be used on many of the materials used in residential and commercial projects.
Uses for perforated metal
This technique is used across most industries and is commonly seen in the production of consumer goods and larger-scale projects.
You may have seen this method used for some of the below:
- Signage, cladding and fencing in architectural projects
- Components of production machinery
- Material development such as glass reinforcement, elements of textile processing machinery
- Household goods like baking trays, coffee machine elements or cooking moulds
- Chemical and energy processing elements
- Most modern automotive parts
- Construction scaffolding, ventilation grilles and other protective equipment
There are many other uses for this process, which is evident in many elements of the products you use every day. This is due to its highly customisable and adaptable nature, with elements created bespoke for each project to meet the desired outcome.
How is perforated metal created?
Thin, flat sheet metal is used as a base material, with the ability to select from a variety of material types and thicknesses (measured in mm) to meet the needs of the project.
Most commonly, a rotary pinned perforation roller is used to create the perforations. This is essentially a roller with large pins (created to suit the desired size and shape of the punctures) that rotates over the sheet as it passes, creating a uniform pattern. This can also be combined with heat applied to the roller, moulding the sheet around the edge of the punctures and reinforcing them by creating a ring.
Another technique is the ‘die and punch’ method, which uses a large ‘stamp’ to punch holes across a large surface area. The excess material is then sheared off to create cleaner edges. This is great for producing large volumes of product quickly and is considered one of the most effective methods, although it lacks the ability to reinforce the punctures as previously mentioned.
The desired finish
New techniques involve the use of lasers to cut and finish the edges of the holes, which produces a result similar to the rotary pinned roller. This has the highest degree of accuracy and detail, as state-of-the-art software maintains quality checks while the process is being completed. This is the most expensive method. However, the quality and uniformity of the results can render the additional cost a worthwhile investment.
Metal perforation is becoming increasingly popular in architectural design due to the strength, durability and capacity for creativity and innovation that modern techniques allow. As technology advances, it will become more common for small scale and residential projects to have access to this type of manufacturing and the freedom of design that comes with it.
If you have an idea that you’d like to bring to life, KNS will be able to consult with you and provide world-class advice to bring your project to fruition.