Wire mesh is a prefabricated grid of interlocked metal strands that are spaced at even intervals to create a symmetrical pattern of spaces. It typically consists of two layers of parallel metal strands, with the second layer perpendicular to the first, forming a grid. The individual strands are generally welded or woven together to ensure the material’s overall stability. Afterward, the material can then be subjected to further welding and soldering operations to create product components and complete product assemblies.
The welding and soldering processes rely on similar elements—i.e., high heat and filler materials—to connect components. However, the end result of each process is different. Welding is used to form a strong and durable joint between two or more components of the same material. Soldering also joins metal components together, but the bond formed is not as strong as a welded bond. Both processes are used to manufacture parts and products from wire mesh.
Materials for Wire Mesh Welding and Soldering Operations
Wire mesh comes in a variety of metals, all of which can be welded and soldered to form various components and assemblies. Some of the metals that are commonly used for wire mesh are:
- Carbon steel – Carbon steel is the least expensive wire mesh option. It is an iron alloy with levels of carbon, molybdenum, and other metals to enhance particular features. Due to its high iron content, it is more prone to degradation than other steel blends. When exposed to oxygen and humidity, it will rust, corrode, and pit, so it is best suited for indoor applications where it will be exposed to little or no moisture.
- Stainless steel – Stainless steel is an iron ore with a minimum chromium content of 10.5% by weight and sometimes molybdenum and nickel. The presence of chromium in the material creates a corrosion-resistant oxidized surface layer. While it is more expensive than other steel alloys, it exhibits similar strength and greater corrosion resistance, which makes it a reliable long-term option, especially for outdoor settings or applications where moisture and humidity may be present.
- Galvanized steel – Galvanized steel is also corrosion-resistant. However, unlike stainless steel, which has a built-in chromium oxide covering, it has been treated with a layer of protective zinc. Zinc is more durable and corrosion-resistant than steel, which allows for additional protection from the elements. Galvanized steel mesh is not as expensive as stainless steel and can be used in many of the same applications.
In addition to the base wire mesh material, wire mesh welding and soldering operations require filler materials. These materials are melted and applied to wire mesh to connect separate pieces. As such, they must exhibit melting points that are attainable and bond with the wire mesh once they solidify. Once a wire mesh assembly is fully welded or soldered, coatings and finishes can be added to improve its functional or aesthetic surface qualities.
The Wire Mesh Welding and Soldering Process
The process of welding and soldering wire mesh to manufacture product components and assemblies is similar to the process of welding and soldering metal strands to produce wire mesh. Both processes employ heat, pressure, and filler material to form welded or soldered joints. The main difference between them is that the end result of wire mesh welding and soldering operations is a usable part or product rather than a raw material.
Welding and soldering are generally used in conjunction with other fabrication operations — e.g., punching, shearing, cutting, notching, slitting, and seaming — to manufacture various wire mesh components and assemblies. For example, the material can be mounted and welded to a frame to create a basket or rolled and welded into a cylinder. Other examples of welded or soldered wire mesh parts and products include:
- Architectural elements
- Dividers, partitions, and screens
- Filters and separators
- Grills and grates
Advantages of Wire Mesh Welding and Soldering
Wire mesh offers a number of benefits when used in welding and soldering operations, including in regard to the following:
- Wire mesh offers an aesthetically pleasing design that makes it suitable for use in decorative applications.
- Wire mesh is available in several types of metals, which allows manufacturers to choose the material that best accommodates the requirements and restrictions of the intended application.
- Cost – Compared to other fabrication materials used in the same applications, wire mesh offers greater durability and reliability and easier cleaning and maintenance requirements, both of which result in lower operational costs over time. Additionally, they are generally available at lower price points.
Contact Lawrence Sintered Metals for Your Wire Mesh Application
Lawrence Sintered Metals is pleased to offer an extensive range of welded and soldered wire mesh products and services for customers across a diverse set of industries. From agriculture to energy and mining, we have the right mesh to meet the needs of your particular application.
We are dedicated to providing the highest quality products for even the most stringent requirements and industry standards, including ASTM specifications. To learn more about our quality wire mesh products and services, contact our experts today!