How can metal facades help protect your building from graffiti?

How can your architectural design choices guard against graffiti?


Graffiti is a continuing problem in Australia’s urban centres. During the five year period between July 2011 and June 2016, NSW police received an average of 8,063 reports of incidence of graffiti a year. And there’s a financial side to it as well – according to the Keep Australia Beautiful association, graffiti and other vandalism costs the Australian community an estimated $2.7 billion per year.

Deterring vandals is a more effective use of resources than repairing property afterwards.

With this in mind, many businesses and councils are working on the understanding that prevention is better than a cure. Deterring vandals is a more effective use of money and resources than cleaning up and repairing property afterwards. This is one of the reasons that a perforated or expanded metal facade can be a good choice for architectural projects in public spaces.

Facades present vandals with an unappealing canvas

The Victoria State Government recommends applying anti-graffiti coatings to walls to make them easier to clean and make the wall less appealing to graffiti in the first place. We think it’s possible to go a step further than a coating, though – what if the very wall was anti-graffiti?

A non-solid facade like perforated or expanded metal presents vandals with a surface that is more difficult to paint, and makes the resulting graffiti harder to see. This removes the appeal for the vandal.

However, when our Pic-Perf technique is involved there’s another way that our facades can help deter graffiti. Pic-Perf is Locker’s unique method of recreating images and designs with perforated metal. By varying the size and placement of the perforations, we can create an image without relying on paint or other coatings that can be damaged or destroyed by graffiti.

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We’ve talked before about how using Pic-Perf for designs and murals means that cleaning off graffiti is easier than if the art was painted on the wall. But there’s an added anti-graffiti benefit to using Pic-Perf, which is that an illustrated facade may help to reduce graffiti in the first place.

Walls with murals or public art suffer less graffiti than plain walls.

Public art discourages graffiti

As InformeDesign reports, a 2006 study in New Zealand found that walls with murals or public art suffered less graffiti than plain walls. The Project for Public Spaces in the United States also recommends murals as a way of discouraging graffiti, especially when local artists and the community are involved in the project. Not only is it more difficult to see graffiti on the illustrated surface, but locals are less likely to deface a piece of art they connect with.

By adorning your building with a design rendered in Pic-Perf, you not only make it more pleasing to look at; you may also be reducing its risk as a target of graffiti. To stop people putting their pictures on your walls, it seems the answer may be to put some pictures on them yourself.

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However, as Myra Taylor and Ida Marais of The University of Western Australia say in their 2009 paper ‘Does Urban Art Deter Graffiti Proliferation?’, public artwork is more effective at discouraging graffiti in the short term than it is over a longer period. This is where the durable, easy-clean nature of Pic-Perf still offers benefits: Even the best preventative design decisions may not completely prevent graffiti, so having a metal facade that can be cleaned with solvents or water blasting without risk of damage is a cost-effective choice.

Locker Group provides a range of architectural products that can be incorporated into public works. In addition to the aesthetic and comfort benefits these give to a building, these can also play a role in making spaces safer, cleaner and less prone to vandalism. To find out more about how we can help with your next project, please get in touch today.

How does perforated metal help with honey production?

Architecture on an insect scale: Using perforated metal in beehives


Perforated metal has uses in a wide range of industries, and some of them aren’t all that obvious. Here at Locker Group a great deal of our work is providing materials for architectural designs, but we’re often asked to help out with other projects. We thought we’d take a look at one of the less conventional applications of perforated metal, one that nevertheless bears a little resemblance to architecture: beehives.

Beekeepers’ divisive use of perforated metal

Beekeepers primarily use perforated metal for a product called a queen excluder. As the Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium (MAAREC) explains, this is a thin sheet of perforated metal with holes punched through that are small enough to prevent the queen bee getting past, but large enough to let worker bees go through freely.

Queen excluders are used to keep the queen, and her eggs, separate from the honey stores.

Queen excluders are used to keep the queen, and her eggs, separate from the honey stores. This stops her from laying eggs in the area where the beekeeper will eventually harvest honey from, meaning the next generation of bees is allowed to grow undisturbed, and the beekeeper can collect honey that isn’t contaminated with eggs. They can also be used in hives that have been set up in a two-queen system.

As with larger human spaces, we can see perforated metal being used as a way to divide a space and selectively limit what can cross the barrier. In the case of the beehive, it’s dividing worker bees from the queen; in architectural uses, it might be dampening sound without preventing light from passing through.

Perforated metal has a small but important role in the beekeeping industry.Perforated metal has a small but important role in the beekeeping industry.

Locker Group’s comprehensive range of perforated architectural products

Locker Group produces a wide range of perforated metal architectural products. We understand the importance of completing large and small projects to high standard; while a small sheet of metal in a beehive may not seem all that grand, it serves an important purpose to the industry.

Perforated metal has so many applications partly because it can be made in so many ways. Here at Locker we can punch sheets with holes in a variety of different shapes and patterns, and cut or fold the sheets to fit whatever customised shape the project needs. We can also supply perforated sheets in several different materials including stainless steel, aluminium and polypropylene. Whatever you need to finish your project, large or small, Locker Group can work with you to provide a solution.

Check out our case studies for some examples of full-scale architectural applications of Locker Group’s products, or get in touch today to find out more.

Conveyor belts can be made from a range of materials.

Conveyor belts and their role in the food industry


The conveyor belt has come a long way since its first inception.

Transport of bulk materials via conveyor belts dates back to around 1795, according to the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA). Originally used in the agriculture industry to transport grain over short distances, these conveyor systems were very primitive and often made of leather belts travelling over flat wooden beds.

Fast forward over 200 years, conveyor systems have become a lot more sophisticated and are an integral part of a diverse range of industries. Not only are they an efficient and cost-effective way of transporting goods, conveyor belts can be integrated into the manufacturing process, dramatically improving their throughput.

Conveyor belts have revolutionised the food industry.Conveyor belts have revolutionised the food industry.

Conveyor belts in the food industry

The food industry has been revolutionised by the application of conveyor systems. With the right belting material, food processing (such as cooking, freezing) can be facilitated almost entirely without human intervention.

Take the baking industry, for example. Conveyor belts are able to follow the goods from raw to cooked product through ovens on a single line, cutting production time and increasing throughput.

Choosing the right material in a conveyor system is key in determining its applicable functions. Below, we’ve outlined several products and their use in the food industry:

1. Spiral wire: This versatile product can be used for many applications, from heat treatment to food processing, thanks to the wide range of metal wire types the belts can be manufactured from.

2. Plastic hybrid: With the versatility of plastic and strength of stainless steel, plastic hybrid is particularly useful in cooler environments, such the transportation of seafood or frozen goods.

3. Rolmat: Airflow is important in the transportation of food, whether cooling a product down or preventing moisture buildup. Rolmat belts are flat with a maximum open area to facilitate the flow of air around a product.

4. Uniflex: This highly flexible belt is made made up of interlocking strands of high-tensile wire. Widely used in the confectionery and snack food industries, Uniflex is used in drying, washing, coating, cooking and cooling applications.

Part of what makes a conveyor system such a vital part of industry, not just food manufacturing, is the versatility it brings. With metal belts, Locker Group can manufacture systems to any width or length, withstanding temperatures as low as -250°C and as high as 1200°C.

To find out more about our range of products, get in touch with the team at Locker Group today.

What makes metal the ideal material to use?

Transforming interior spaces with Locker Group’s architectural products


Beauty isn’t skin deep. While Locker Group has a long history of exterior application with architectural fixtures, their products hold just as much potential for using interior design to transform a building.

When making the most of an internal space, it can be hard to find a single material that can be used in multiple settings and carry out multiple functions. Not only are internal environments different than exterior ones, there is an endless variety of purposes a room can have that designers must take into account.

As Locker Group’s architectural and commercial representative, Joe Berkelmans knows what he’s talking about when he says that metal products can be used in any architectural setting.

“The ability to roll, shape, adjust colour and size – gives our products both interior and exterior superiority over more inflexible products.”

In this article, we’ll be going through some examples where Locker Group’s products are among the most practical and versatile materials to work with in interior features.

Why use metal in interior design?

In a word, Versatility. While other products such as wood, plastic or glass may have their time and place, none is as diverse as metal according to Mr Berkelmans.

“A versatile product goes beyond simple application such as ceilings, balustrades and screens,” says Joe. “When using metal in interior design, the ability to roll, shape, and adjust colour and size gives our products both interior and exterior superiority over more inflexible options.”

“On top of this, the durability of metal means that in whatever application it’s designed for, it’ll stand the test of time, long outlasting the likes of timber.”

Because no two metal installations look alike, in order to gain a better understanding of the capabilities of metal, it’s best to see it in action. Below are some prime examples where Locker Group’s architectural products have transformed an interior space:

1. Perforated metal

Perforated metal can help diffuse noise.Perforated metal can help diffuse noise.

In large open spaces where a lot of people congregate, excess noise can be an issue. In this application, the use of perforated metal acts as an acoustic dampener. According to Joe, the perforated holes disperse sound, slowing it as it travels through, to scatter and reduce the overall amount of noise. While the above picture shows perforated metal at Perth Arena, this application is more commonly used in industry.

“Perforated metal is often used in manufacturing, on the walls of factory floors,” says Joe, as a way to protect workers’ health and prevent hearing damage, blending form and function into a single product.

2. Wire curtains

Wire curtains can partition areas without losing space.Wire curtains can partition areas without losing space.

When internal separation is needed without compromising on space, such as in an office or restaurant, choosing the right dividing material can be hard. How do interior architects design a space that at the same time partitions areas and keep them from feeling cramped or closed off? The answer: wire curtains.

Wire curtains offer the practical solution as in the above picture of separating, not subtracting, space.

“The moveable curtains let the owners adjust the interior space to open up the restaurant and meet whatever requirements on the night, without compromising on space,” says Joe.

In a business setting, wire curtains can also help achieve the desired balance between open and private office environment to create a more productive workspace.

3. Pic Perf

vvvThe historic image ties the futuristic building to the past.

While metal may carry the perception of befitting a modern, industrial style, in the right application it can also serve as a link to the past.

“In designing the renovations for the old Tip Top factory in Brunswick, they needed a way to tie the heritage of the building with the modern design, as a way to keep the history of the place alive,” says Mr Berkelmans.

Pic Perf was the natural choice, combining both the perforated metal medium with an original image of the old factory.

Where is the future of metal design?

Perhaps one of the most exciting frontiers of interior application of Locker Group’s products is the growing interest in using them in support of green walls and spaces. In this application, wire mesh or a similar product is used as a scaffold for plants and vegetation, turning bare spaces into lush green features. Not only does having more green spaces make an interior (or exterior) space look more inviting and unique, it also helps improve the air quality for the people working in and around these green walls as the vegetation acts as air purifiers.

At the moment, green walls are constrained to small-scale projects such as rooftop terraces, says Mr Berkelmans, but he’s seen a huge amount of interest in it recently as building design becomes more environmentally focused.

No matter the application, there’s something to be gained from using one of Locker Group’s many architectural products. The versatility, durability and style of metal can not only make a modern building look cutting-edge, but it can also serve as a vital link to the past.

To find out more about Locker Group’s range, get in touch with the team today.

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