The process of perforation creates perforated materials, which are substrates—such as papers, plastics, composites, and metals—with a series of holes of varying shape and size. In addition to variation in hole design and pattern, these products are available in a wide range of sizes, thicknesses, and forms (e.g., coils).
While this seemingly endless selection of perforated product options can seem daunting, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind when choosing one for your application. The following article outlines some of the typical applications of perforated metals and critical factors to consider during the selection process.
Applications of Perforated Materials
Perforated materials find use throughout industry in a variety of applications. For example, they are used in:
- Acoustical enclosures to protect internal equipment from contaminants and absorb specific frequencies
- Architectural elements to add structural strength and aesthetic value
- Filtration equipment to separate dust and other contaminants
- HVAC equipment to facilitate even air distribution, reduce noise, and add aesthetic value
- Lighting fixtures to prevent damage to internal components while letting out light and, in some cases, create unique lighting patterns
Other applications for perforated materials include:
- Electronic enclosures
- Farm equipment
- Grain dryers
- Home appliances
- Store displays and fixtures
Selection Considerations for Perforated Materials
There are several key factors to consider when choosing a perforated material, such as:
The intended application of your end product is the primary consideration when selecting a perforated material. Knowing what the product needs to do and how it should operate significantly influences other decision-making factors.
Perforated materials are available in a number of base substrates, each offering its own set of properties that make it suitable for use in specific applications. Although options vary depending on the supplier, some of the most common materials include:
- Steel (e.g., hot-rolled pickled, cold-rolled, galvanized, aluminized, and pre-painted)
- Aluminum (e.g., 3003 H14, 5052 H32, and protective film-coated)
- Stainless steel (e.g., protective film-coated, 400-series, T304, and T316)
- Brass (1/2 hard)
- Copper (e.g., C11)
- Special alloys (e.g., Inconel, copper-nickel, titanium, corten, and Muntz)
- Plastics (e.g., PVC, polypropylene, ABS, Kydex, Mylar, and PTFE)
Hole Size, Center, and Shape
Perforated materials are available with a variety of hole shapes and sizes. The size and spacing of the holes and the hardness and thickness of the base material affect the rate and cost of production. For example, production operations involving perforated materials with round and larger holes generally require less production time and have faster production rates, while those involving materials with thicknesses similar to the punch diameter or bar tend to have lower production rates and cost efficiency.
In addition to size and shape, you must also select the pattern of holes on your perforated material. The 60-degree stagger is widely considered to be the strongest and most economical round hole pattern and the industry standard.
Other holes patterns include:
- Straight and diagonal (45 degrees): less common but available in a range of standard hole sizes
- Square and slot: available in straight, side, and end stagger configurations
- Decorative patterns: unique designs tailored to specific applications
Other factors to keep in mind when selecting a perforated material include:
- Open area
- Holes per square inch
- Finished end pattern
- Sheet or coil size
- Special finishes
- Additional processing requirements
- Quality requirements
Contact Metalex Today
At Metalex, Powered by UPG, we understand that our customers’ needs are constantly changing. To meet these ever-evolving needs, we are continually adding to our selection of high-quality perforated materials.
Our perforated metal products are highly versatile, finding practical application across a range of industries. Equipped with a team of engineers and technical experts, state-of-the-art equipment, and customizable tools, we have the power to tailor solutions to our customers’ applications.
To provide cost-effective and reliable perforated metal solutions, we arm our team with the knowledge on how to choose the right perforated material. To learn more about choosing the right perforated product to meet the form, fit, and function of your project, download our eBook “Proper Selection for Perforated Products”.