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What Is Expanded Metal Mesh?

Apr. 22, 2022

Expanded metal is sometimes considered to replace sheet metal or wire mesh. It combines some of the best features of the two materials-providing a material that is stronger than a fine metal mesh and has better airflow and drainage capabilities than a metal sheet. In fact, it is a good choice for custom wire baskets, because it requires stronger tensile strength than metal wires.

What Is An Expanded Metal Mesh?

Stainless steel expanded metal mesh is made of a single solid sheet compressed and stretched material. The expanded metal grating is suitable for cleaning applications of heavyweight custom parts, as well as providing open space for airflow and drainage.

Expanded metal is a sheet of metal fabricated with a regular pattern of diamond-shaped openings. These openings reduce the weight and cost of the sheet and provide ventilation, making it a versatile solution for many applications. The most common metals used for expanded metal sheet include steel, stainless steel, and aluminum, although it is also made from titanium and copper.

How Is Expanded Metal Made?

expanded metalExpanded sheet is made from a single sheet of metal that has been slit by a row of knives mounted on an industrial die cutting machine. The knives move back and forth in a uniform pattern, slicing the sheet in alternating cuts, while the sheet moves through the machine.

As the knives cut, they simultaneously push down on the newly cut sections, stretching them apart into “ribbons.” The ribbons remain attached at the uncut sections, which become the corners of open diamond shapes in an expanded mesh sheet. The size, shape and positioning of the knives and the thickness of the metal sheet can be changed to create openings of different dimensions for a variety of applications.

Uses of Expanded metal mesh

Stainless steel expanded metal mesh has a wide range of applications in many industries. Some application companies use these incredibly tough and resilient baskets, including:

Storage of heavy metal parts

Several auto parts manufacturers and aerospace companies use stainless steel expanded metal baskets when transferring their heaviest metal parts from one process to another.

ㆍShot peening parts

Shot peening is a process of spraying parts with small particles of glass, metal, or ceramics to change the surface characteristics of the parts. Obviously, this high-impact process will put incredible pressure on the basket with the parts during the shot peening process.

Expanded Metal Mesh

Expanded Metal Mesh

The expanded metal basket can make the particles used in the shot blasting process reach the modified parts, but the metal basket itself has enough strength to withstand the repeated exposure process-this is different from the wire basket, which may break from the impact.

ㆍShot blasting parts

Shot peening is a process similar to shot peening, but smaller particles can be used, which can not only change the surface properties of the part but also remove contaminants and/or polish. Here, 316 expanded metal baskets are very useful because of their incredible durability, which allows them to be used in such high-stress applications for long periods of time.

ㆍPart organization/stacking

Compared to steel mesh, heavy-duty 316 stainless steel expanded metal baskets are incredibly durable. When creating a nested or stacked design idea, fully loaded expanded metal baskets can be stacked to save space on the factory floor.

Many companies use this ability to stack baskets to help organize their finished products as they wait for the process between delivery or drying.

ㆍWarehouse fire protection device

When a fire occurs in a warehouse or factory, some people who use expanded metal baskets use them as a fire safety device to protect fragile parts or paper. Expanded metal baskets designed for this purpose are usually constructed in layers, and the outer frame is open to prevent heavy debris from impacting the sealed container inside.

Due to its high melting point and an insulating layer between the expanded metal frame and the internally sealed container, these baskets can very effectively protect fragile items from fire and possible accidental effects.

Types of Expanded Metal

Expanded metal sheet comes in different profiles, including:

ㆍStandard Expanded Sheet: A finished product as it comes off the press after being cut and expanded. Often referred to as raised expanded metal, due to the alternating ridges formed by overlapping metal strips.

ㆍFlattened Expanded Sheet: A standard expanded sheet that is then cold rolled, leaving a flat, smooth surface. Flattened expanded sheet is about 5% lighter than standard expanded sheet.

ㆍExpanded Metal Grating: A heavy duty expanded sheet manufactured from carbon steel sheet or plate. Expanded metal grating has no joints or welds, as each sheet is a single piece of sturdy steel. Ideal for catwalk and platform applications.

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