Metal mesh, also sometimes referred to as wire mesh, has many different uses in industrial applications and settings. This mesh may be woven, knitted, welded or electroformed from steel sheets or other metal material. Mesh can be heavy and thick, or very lightweight and fine.
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The many structural variations of mesh make it useful for a wide variety of applications, from vent covers to screens. In microwave ovens, for example, metal mesh is used as a shield against radiation. The mesh in this application is extremely fine and thin because it’s made using wire-sized pieces of metal. A much heavier kind of metal mesh could be used as a fence or cage. Metal mesh is very convenient because in all but it’s most heavy duty forms it can be rolled up for shipping or storage. Once it needs to be used, the mesh can be cut to the desired length and fitted for its final application.
From complex industrial machinery to everyday household items like a tea strainer, metal mesh is an important type of material that is highly sought after in many different sectors.
Steel is the go-to material for manufacturers of metal mesh since it is both lightweight and strong, but other types of metal can be used. A Faraday cage, which is used to block magnetic fields from electronic devices, is usually made using a more conductive type of metal such as aluminum. Stainless steel wire mesh is very popular in many applications because it is easy to clean and highly resistant to the effects of corrosion.
The manufacturing process for creating metal mesh can be accomplished in a variety of ways.
- Metal Cutting
- One method employs a metal cutting machine that has sheets of metal continually fed into it. As the metal is fed through the machine, the blades cut out the pre-programmed mesh pattern. The remaining metal is collected and melted down again for use later on.
- Expanded Metal
- Metal mesh that is made using an expanded metal process is continually cut and stretched to quickly turn a piece of sheet metal into a much larger piece of metal mesh. The main benefit of expanded metal is that unlike a perforated metal mesh, expanded metal produces no waste during manufacturing.
- Wire Woven
- A third option is wire woven mesh. Wire woven mesh is created by machines that weave strands of metal horizontally and vertically across each other, creating a strong grid pattern that forms the metal mesh.