Perforated aluminum of varying configurations can be found in industrial cabinetry, in speaker covers, in architectural decorations and in a wide variety of other settings. Aluminum is often chosen over other metals for use as a raw material because of its favorable qualities.
Corrosion and heat resistance, strength, durability and a number of other superior physical qualities make aluminum the material of choice for the construction of perforated metal sheets and screens in many situations.
Aluminum can also make an excellent drain covering because of its resistance to rusting. Perforated aluminum can be used for the construction of colanders and other food preparation utilities like spoons, ladles and cheese graters. It is also used for decorative wall paneling, for indoor and outdoor furniture and for many other purposes.
The metal perforation process is quite simple, though fully automated perforation machinery can be somewhat complex. In either case, the process begins with a metal sheet that is fed into perforation equipment.
There are two main ways in which perforations are created in metal sheets. Depending on the desired size and shape of the perforations, specially designed perforating tools must be installed in perforation equipment.
Once designed and installed, the tool is used to impart the new shapes upon the metal sheet as it is passed through the equipment. Depending on the level of automation and the size and capacity of the equipment, perforation runs can produce newly perforated sheets in very high volumes or in small volumes.
A perforator can feature several carefully-shaped perforation tools on a rolling beam; this method can still be considered punching because the tools on the beam punch out metal shapes.
As an aluminum sheet is forced under the roller, the turning of the beam exposes the sheet to the perforation tools, which punch their shape into the aluminum. Other configurations involve a press that is affixed with perforation tools.
The press is retractable and perforates the aluminum sheet when it is extended. Metal perforating processes can be manually operated, but with recent developments in CNC technology, computer controlled perforating machines have allowed for the high-volume creation of high quality perforated metal products. Aluminum perforations can be produced by both methods.