How Is Perforated Metal Made?

What Is Perforated Metal?

Perforated metal is a form of sheet metal which has been punched or stamped with a machine to create a pattern of holes. It is also known as perforated sheet, perforated plate, or perforated screen and is commonly made from stainless steel, cold rolled steel, aluminum and more.

Perforated metal was first developed around 150 years ago for the mining industry as a means of filtering coal. Initially, the perforation process was inefficient; involving laborers manually punching individual holes into a metal sheet. Over time, the process has improved through the use of machinery utilizing punching needles arranged in specific patterns.

How Is Perforated Metal Made?

The manufacturing process for perforating metal starts with sheet metal. Sheet metal is thin and flat, and can be cut and bent into different shapes. In North America, the thickness of the sheet metal is specified in gauges; the larger the gauge number, the thinner the metal. In the rest of the world, sheet metal thickness is simply measured in millimeters.

The most common method of perforating metal uses a rotary pinned perforation roller. This is a large cylinder with sharp, pointed needles on the outside to punch holes into the metal. As the sheet metal is run across the perforation roller, it rotates, continuously punching holes in the passing sheet. The needles on the roller, which can produce a wide variety of hole sizes, are sometimes heated to simultaneously melt the metal which forms a reinforced ring around the perforation.

Another common method is “die and punch” perforating. During this process, a sheet with needles is repeatedly pressed onto the passing metal which punches holes into the sheet. The pieces remaining from the punching are then sheared off and the surface is smoothed. The die and punch method is very efficient and can perforate a large surface of sheet very quickly.

The most advanced method available is laser perforation. This process is very sophisticated and precise, but also the most expensive. Laser perforation produces results similar to rotary pinned perforation with hot needles, but maintains a higher level of consistency and control over the hole sizes and pattern.


Perforated metals are very popular in contemporary architecture as they lend themselves to creative and unique designs. They also have a number of practical benefits:

  • Sun protection and climate control: Perforated metal sheets are excellent at providing rooms with air flow and shade, often used as sun protection screens in rooms that require ventilation. Although they appear to be a design element, their permeable nature allows the free movement of air, resulting in substantial energy savings on heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
  • Noise reduction: Perforated metal sheets are often used for noise reduction walls and roof systems. In noisy environments, they can limit the adverse effects of noise on workers’ health.
  • Balustrade screening panels: Perforated metal sheets are used in panels for balconies, stairways, and balustrades screens. They offer weather resistant protection coupled with an attractive design.

Other industries that utilize perforated metals are:

  • Food and beverage: Used for drain dryers, wine vats, fish farms, sorting machines, fruit & vegetable presses and baking trays.
  • Chemical and energy: Used for filters, gas purifiers, mine cages, coal washing, battery separator plates and centrifuges.
  • Automotive: Used for oil filters, radiator grilles, running boards, engine ventilation and motorcycle silencers.
  • Material development: Used for blast furnace screens, textile printers and felt mills, cement slurry screens and glass reinforcement.

Metal Supermarkets

Metal Supermarkets is the world’s largest small-quantity metal supplier with over 125 brick-and-mortar stores across the US, Canada, and United Kingdom. We are metal experts and have been providing quality customer service and products since 1985.

At Metal Supermarkets, we supply a wide range of metals for a variety of applications. Our stock includes: mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, tool steel, alloy steel, brass, bronze and copper.

We stock a wide range of shapes including: bars, tubes, sheets, plates and more. And we can cut metal to your exact specifications.

Visit one of our 125+ locations across North America today.

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