Airports often have perforated metal ceilings that allow sunshine to fill the space.

Aesthetic and functional benefits of perforated metal in airports

 

Did you ever wonder what exactly it is that make airports all have that same quiet, bright, modern and clean feel? Perforated metal ceilings are one of the main architectural elements that you’ll find in almost every international airport. The advantages of using perforated metal are both functional and aesthetic: The metal creates a striking visual display for travellers as well as creating pleasing acoustics and a clean environment.

Discover the functional advantages of perforated metal – cleanliness and sound absorption – and how the material can be made aesthetically pleasing.

Sound absorption 

Have you noticed how strangely quiet airports can be and how sound seems to serenely echo throughout the open space? The Industrial Perforators Association (IPA) explains that one of perforated metal’s most important benefits is sound absorption. Any business looking to create a pleasant atmosphere without too many voices overlapping should consider perforated metal.

One of perforated metal’s most important benefits is sound absorption.

The material is designed to either absorb sound or scatter it. The IPA explains that perforated metal can remove or reduce sound by “tuning” the perforated sheet, in a sense.

It can be tuned by controlling the thickness of the perforated sheet and the size and number of holes in it. The holes make the sheet more “transparent” so that sound can easily pass through the material. Perforated metal can thus be customised to fit the amount that an airport, or any business, wants to control sound by controlling the number of holes and the thickness of the sheet.

Aesthetics 

In addition to being an effective barrier for sound, perforated metal is also aesthetically pleasing and versatile.  At Locker Group, we know that designers frequently feel too restricted in the design they can create because of the material they’re working with. But there are less limitations when it comes to perforated metal.

The IPA further explains that a company will be able to personalise the look of perforated metal because it’s capable of being manipulated into complex and curved sheets. Perforated metal brings a lot of product versatility, giving a business the capability to personalise its architectural products.

Also, spaces like airports often require divides between the many different terminals and airlines. So, perforated metal provides an attractively designed divide to an area, too.

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Furthermore, perforated metal can make it so airports are flooded with beautiful sunlight but still able to provide shade. The sheets effectively screen light while also allowing some of it to enter. The entrance of light provides a sense of warmth while also practically shielding travellers from the glare of the sun.

Cleanliness

Lastly, perforated metal is unique in providing more sanitary condition, which is particularly important for airports, known germ factories.

Perforated metal is exceptionally clean because of the smooth surface.

Auckland, New Zealand is an example of a world-class airport utilising perforated metal for this very reason. With an exceptionally smooth surface, the material doesn’t trap microbes or bacteria as easily as its rougher counterparts. This can contribute to higher air quality, not to mention the fact that it’s easier to clean for maintenance staff. Considering over 8 million people pass through Auckland Airport annually, minimising the chances of germ exposure for travellers is essential – and perforated metal helps this cause.

Locker Group has experts in perforated metal who can help you customise the material for your company’s specific needs. You’ll glean the functional benefits of perforated metal as well as create striking and unique architectural designs.

How do we perforate our metal sheets, and what do people do with them once they're made?

Looking into perforated metal: what we do with hundreds of thousands of holes

 

The various outcomes of perforating metal are an important aspect of what we produce here at Locker Group, and an area in which we have a lot of experience. We thought it was worth taking a closer look at what it is, how it works and what we can do with this lightweight, versatile product.

The perforation process: What happens?

As Mert Tavsanli, Locker Group’s Perforation Manager, describes it, perforation is done with hydraulic machines that “basically consist of a punch and a die.” The punch penetrates the material, pushes out the slug (the excess metal) through the die, and creates a hole.

Mass perforation machines can punch up and down anywhere from 120 hits per minute up to 500 hits per minute, making two to four rows of perforations with every hit, thus creating hundreds of thousands of holes in minutes. These are not used for every project, however; a lot of architectural products will be manufactured using a linear punch press. The pattern can be made using standard dies, or customised tools if the project demands.

Although the bulk of the perforation we do at Locker Group is to aluminium and steel, the process can be applied to other metals such as brass or copper, and also non-metal products like MDF, plywood, plastics like polyethylene and polypropylene, and polycarbonate materials.

“Effectively we can punch any malleable material” says Mert.

Pic-Perf is an aesthetic application of the perforation process.Pic-Perf is an aesthetic application of the perforation process.

Pic-Perf – an aesthetic evolution

We’ve adapted the perforation process to create our Pic-Perf product, which uses varying sized holes to recreate a figurative or abstract image in a perforated sheet. According to Mert, the difference between Pic-Perf and regular perforation isn’t so much about the punching technique as the preparation and digital file creation leading up to it. A customer will supply an image which is translated into a digital file suitable for the perforation process. This file is fed into the programming software and the image is applied to the metal in the same way as regular perforations.

What happens to the holes

What happens to the metal that’s punched out of the sheet?

“It’s all recycled,” says Mert. “It goes to a foundry where it’s melted down and reused. A lot of it used to be recycled into car parts for the automotive industry, but now that’s gone they’re finding other homes for it.”

The benefits of perforation

The strength of perforated metal comes from its versatility and customisability. While there are plenty of pre-defined die shapes, a unique die shape is also a possibility.

“If you can draw it, you can make the hole just about whatever shape you like,” says Mert.

Perforated metal often fills a dual role: not only is it an aesthetic device, it is also functional.

Once the perforation is done the sheets themselves offer a range of applications. You can leave a border or a solid edge around the perforations, which makes it easier to work with and easier to fix to a structure. Unlike some other screening materials, perforated metal doesn’t need to be put into a frame, making it more cost effective.

Curving and folding the sheets can create interesting visual devices, and it also has the structural benefit of adding rigidity, which means fewer supports are necessary.

Around 95 per cent of Locker Group’s work for architectural applications is aluminium panels, which are light and pliable. “It has great anti-corrosion characteristics so it lasts for a long long time,” Mert says. “You could put perforated aluminium into an area with a design life of 50 years plus, easily.”

The lightweight nature of aluminium also has the benefit of reducing the load put on a building by the sheets and their supports.

The uses of perforated metal – where does it end up?

Perforated metal has a huge range of uses, which can broadly be separated into industrial and architectural applications.

Some of its industrial uses include watering the pulp in paper mills, crushing and squeezing sugar cane, shielding electrical devices to reduce EMI/RFI radiation and as speaker grills or lining on transmissions in motor vehicles.

In architectural projects our perforated metal sheets have been used for ceiling tiles, balustrades, privacy screens, partitions, infill panels on bridges, sunscreens, decorative screens and facades. Perforated metal often fills a dual role: not only is it an aesthetic device, it is also one that has a functional purpose – usually reducing sunlight or moderating sound in a space.

Atmosphere – sustainable sun protection

Our Atmosphere facade is made of perforated sheets supported on stainless steel cables. The facade is held out from the building’s surface where it can limit the effects of direct sunlight without interrupting visibility from within. The aluminium sheets are folded in one of our standard configurations designed to optimise sustainability, visibility or ventilation. These configurations can also be customised to suit individual projects.

Perforation is a widely applicable process, and the results can have any number of uses. We’re proud that our product is used in such a varied and exciting range of projects. But perforation isn’t all we do at Locker Group. To talk about the products we supply and how they could help your project or business, please get in touch today.

What mining safety products might you need if you get hit by a sinkhole?

How to ensure mine safety in your own back yard

 

Safety is a huge issue for the mining industry, but what about for the rest of us? You’d think that the dangers of mining wouldn’t effect those who don’t venture out to mines, but what about when mining comes to you?

You never know what instability lurks in the ground beneath you.

Take the example of Lynnette and Ray McKay from Ipswich, Queensland, whose back yard fell into a 15-metre-wide sinkhole when an old mine shaft collapsed underneath it in August. And in 2014 a similar-sized hole, also thought to be caused by an abandoned mine shaft, opened up underneath a house in Swansea Heads, New South Wales.

Sinkholes happen naturally when caves form, usually in limestone, close to the ground’s surface. When the roof of the cave becomes too thin it collapses, suddenly creating an unexpected and often sizeable pit. But this process can also happen artificially, when an underground mine collapses in a similar fashion.

The risk of this happening to you will of course depend on the mining history of your area, but you never know what instability might be lurking in the ground beneath you. If a collapse does happen at your home your first priority should be safety (and then maybe a call to the insurance company once you’ve got over the shock of your new situation). Here are some immediate ways to regain a level of safety if the ground gives way underneath you:

Handrails

The Building Code of Australia requires a handrail on decks a metre or more above the ground. An unintended pit could cause a much higher fall than that, so handrails are an obvious safety feature to stop anyone plummeting in as they admire your new garden feature. Locker Group handrails can be set up in a range of custom configurations to suit even the most irregularly-shaped hole.

Mining safety isn't usually an issue in the suburbs, but the unexpected can happen.Mining safety isn’t usually an issue in the suburbs, but the unexpected can happen.

Platforms and walkways

When inspecting the damage or checking details for the insurance forms, you’re going to need somewhere to stand. Unfortunately your lawn or patio are no longer to be trusted, and so some sturdy walkways or platforms will be necessary. A good product for this is Gridwalk, a versatile industrial flooring that can be customised to any shape, and either welded to a structure or easily attached with removable clips.

Given that your new garden structures need to be used not only by mining experts but also by inexperienced laypeople, you may want to ensure a more secure footing. In this case an anti-slip flooring like Safe-T-Perf is the solution. Its perforated surface has 360-degree skid resistance for people walking in any direction. Safe-T-Perf is also available as preformed stair treads which are ideal for quick, easy installation.

Fencing

You weren’t expecting to own a pit, but your in-laws will expect it even less when they pop over for a visit.

To ensure safety you’ve got to keep people out of your new mine. You weren’t expecting this situation, but your in-laws will be expecting it even less when they pop over for a surprise visit. Make sure any steep drops or unstable ground are adequately fenced off to keep people out who aren’t prepared to be there. Our woven wire mesh offers plenty of fencing options, or our expanded security mesh provides a more dissuasive option if your in-laws don’t take a hint well.

The best solution to a dangerous situation is to avoid that situation altogether. Do your research when buying a home (although with that said, the Ipswich hole was caused by a shaft that hadn’t been recorded properly), and don’t go mining unless you’re a miner. But if you are a miner, or if unforeseen circumstances mean you have some sudden work to do, please get in touch today.

Woven wire is a customisable product with huge potential for unique projects.

3 unconventional uses for woven wire

 

Wire mesh has many uses and a range of architectural applications, both structural and aesthetic. But aside from the usual applications on buildings and public features, today we thought we’d look at a few fun, unconventional projects that could be achieved with our woven wire products.

1 Mazes

We have some great mazes open to the public in Australia: Last year the Tangled Maze in Springmount, Victoria made it onto the Telegraph’s international list of top ten mazes.

There are a number of materials a maze could be built of, but woven wire’s variable opacities offer a unique twist. Building a maze out of solid barriers that offer glimpses of where you want to go, or where other maze-runners have found themselves, adds a fun dimension to the experience.

Woven wire's variable opacities offer a unique twist on a traditional maze.Woven wire’s variable opacities offer a unique twist on a traditional maze.

2 Fashionably dressed statues

James Cook in Sydney’s Hyde Park, the bronze Queen Victoria in front of the Queen Victoria building, even the Big Merino in New South Wales – these statues are all great sightseeing attractions, but they’ve been there, relatively unchanged, for a long time.

Perhaps there is an opportunity for a tourism boost if these spectacular characters became a little more of a spectacle. Maybe a new outfit?

James could have a grand new coat, the sheep could have a jaunty hat, Victoria could have a full suit of armour. With woven wire’s range of finishes and configurations there are so many options for customisable outfits that could be attached to the statues and swapped out regularly. And with wire’s light weight these fun additions could be made without putting undue stress on the valuable statues underneath.

A photo posted by Guymer Bailey (@guymerbailey) on

3 Unique playgrounds

This is actually something that’s already been done, and we’re proud to say Locker Group had a part in making it happen.

Frew Park in Brisbane contains a playground constructed in part from a stainless steel wire mesh. The architect Guymer Bailey worked closely with us to achieve his vision of an industrial-styled playground for Brisbane City Council. The project called for a material that would give the playground the feel of a tiny abandoned city while still meeting the requirements for safety and visibility. Our Boston 311 woven wire profile fit the bill nicely. This year, the Frew Park playground made the short list for Australia’s Best Playground.

Woven wire is a customisable product with huge potential; these are just a few ideas for how it could be used outside of traditional architectural uses. If you’d like to have a go at any of these projects, or have some creative ideas of your own that we could help you realise, please get in touch today.

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