Wire screens are thin metal wires woven in a criss-crossed horizontal and vertical pattern to form open yet protective barriers. Also referred to as wire sieves, wire screens are often used to protect, shield and filter. Wire screen products include flour sifters, cooking strainers, wire netting, bend screens, resin traps, support grids, intake screens and extruder screens.
A diverse range of industries use wire screens including: food and beverage, chemical and petroleum, for liquid filtration systems in order to catch unwanted media and debris; automotive and aerospace, for nozzles, intake screens and oil filters; construction and architecture, for window screens, gratings and wall panels; and industrial manufacturing for strainers, filtration systems and vibrating screens. Each different type of wire screen has specified wire gauges and weaves, making them more suitable for certain applications and industries than others. For example, the wire screen gauge range can include very thin and fine screens, like window screens, or thicker and stronger screens, like fencing. Wire screens can be made from a number of different metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, copper and brass; however, plain steel is the most common material used for most applications.
Wire screens are fabricated from very thin pieces of metal wire that are formed through wire drawing, which is a process that forces wire through a die, thus decreasing the wire's diameter. After this process, the wires can be either woven or welded in order to make a screen. Weaving is a process used for screens with smaller gauges where perpendicular wires are interlaced. In waving, wire is woven onto a typically rectangular solid metal frame in an over and under pattern in order to create a mesh, which allows for some amount of space between where the interlocked wires cross but still operates in a guarding capacity. In regards to welding, the two most common methods are metal inert gas (MIG) welding and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. In the MIG welding process, electricity is utilized from a continuous wire feed in order to melt and join together wires. In addition, an inert gas is used to ensure that the weld is protected from any sort of contamination. TIG welding is similar, but much more complex since it utilizes a non-consumable electrode formed from tungsten, a shielding inert gas and, at times, also adds a filler material. For stronger applications, welding should be used since it increases the screen's strength. In addition, welded wire screens are easily cut to size; however, woven wire screens may easily come unraveled.