Metal grates, or metal gratings, are essentially any collection of parallel, identical (or nearly identical), evenly spaced and elongated elements, typically grids, plates or bars. Most often, metal gratings are made up of just one set of elongated elements, but they can also be composed of two sets of elements. In the case of the latter, the second pair is typically perpendicular to their first pair. When they are perpendicular like this, the grates may also be known as mesh or grids. Metal grates are usually made from metal materials such as steel, stainless steel or aluminum. It is true that both plastic and fiberglass are also frequent choices in grating construction. However, neither plastic grating nor fiberglass grating wield the great strength of metal grating, nor can they match its load bearing qualities.
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Such load bearing qualities are important to many of the applications of metal grates, which are used to provide a protective filter or grid, a semi-permeable surface or structural support to stairs, floors, enclosures and various filter systems. Some of the roles they serve include stints as storm drain covers, air vent covers and sewer covers. In addition, metal grates are installed on factory floors that need a non-slip surface, on factory and warehouse floors that require the floor remain clear of liquids and debris and on outdoor stairs and ramps. Metal grates can be used to protect heaters or other machinery by serving as a protective wall.
In addition to their strength and load bear capabilities, metal grates are often superior to plastic grates and other non-metallic grates because the metallic materials from which they are built exhibit beneficial qualities of including electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, ductility and malleability. Such qualities render them well-equipped to handle applications in industries such as: architecture, chemical processing, food processing, marine, oil rigging, paper milling and wastewater treatment. Stainless steel grates in particular are extremely popular for use in environments where they will likely be exposed to corrosive elements. This is due to the fact that they exhibit the characteristic of superior corrosion resistance.
Metal grates are fabricated into two main metal grate types, which are bar grating and expanded metal grating.
- Bar Grating
- Made from thick metal bars. (Non-metal bar grating is usually made from fiberglass bars.) To form metal bar grates into their common spacing configurations, manufacturers may employ a few different metalworking processes, including riveting, swaging, pressure-locking or welding. The first method, riveting, is either done manually or done by a riveting machine, the latter which automatically squeezes rivets, a type of permanent mechanical fastener, into the workpiece. Next, swaging is a cold working process that involves changing the dimensions of a workpiece by forcing it through a die. The pressure-locking, or bonding, of metal grate bars is achieved by placing extreme amounts of hydraulic pressure onto them, typically two at a time. Finally, welding is a common process used to make metal bar grates. It works by heating two ends of two separate pieces until they melt, and then fusing them together. Bar grating is most often configured rectangularly or rectangularly with reinforced diagonal bars. Note that the reinforcement of diagonal bars effectively turns a rectangular configuration into a diamond configuration composed of triangle shaped spaces that face one another.
- Expanded Metal Grating
- Unlike metal bar grating, is typically formed from a solid metal plate using only one process. It works by taking this solid metal plate, perforating it and stretching it. By stretching the metal plate like this, manufacturers impart the finished product with superior structural strength and a greater strength-to-weight ratio than solid metal. It will not unravel, nor will it come apart at the joints. In addition, the process creates much less waste than most metal fabricating processes. Most often, expanded metal grating is formed into a diamond configuration, but it may be made into a different configuration if an application calls for it. This configuration allows light, liquid and air to pass through the grating, as the fabrication method allows the grating to remain solid enough to work as a barricade or floor.
Metal grates are a fantastic investment. They help facilitate the clean and uncluttered floors needed to keep workers safe and efficiency flowing in factory environments; they keep the streets and sidewalks free from irritating or dangerous amounts of rain accumulation and they provide all kinds of needed filtering services. Find out more about the value-adding capabilities of metal grates and how they might serve you by contacting one of the many talented grate manufacturers listed on our website.