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How is Perforated Metal Made?

Modern perforation manufacturing currently relies on a few fundamental methods, each one with unique advantages, purposes, and values.

 |  2 min read

As our most popular product, it's no surprise that we're frequently asked, "How is Perforated Metal Made?" The process of turning plain sheet metal into eye-catching and versatile Perforated panels has been developed upon for centuries. What was once a rudimentary and uncertain practice has now become standardized and efficient. Modern perforation manufacturing currently relies on a few fundamental methods, each one with unique advantages, purposes, and values.

The three main types of Perforated Metal manufacturing are Punch Press, Rotary Pinned Perforation, and Laser Perforation. Let's take a look at the methods and benefits of each one.

Punch Press

The most common answer to the question, "how is perforated metal made?" is with a Punching Press. The majority of McNICHOLS® Perforated Metal is manufactured with a device called a Punching Press. Punch Press machines feature sharp perforation tools that can be customized to desired hole size and shape. There are a couple types of Punch Presses.

Wide Punch Presses feature long rows of punching rams. When sheet metal, whether plate or coil,  is passed through this machine, the rams descend upon the material to strike and perforate entire rows of holes in one motion. For this reason, Wide Punch Presses are ideal for punching large amounts of perforations at quick speeds.

Another Punch Press is the Sectional XY Axis machine. Unlike Wide Punch Presses, Sectional XY Axis Punch Presses typically do not have long rows of perforation tools. Rather, they will feature either a single die or a limited cluster of punching rams. Instead of passing sheet metal through this machine, the die or punching ram clusters are moved across the stationary material section by section. As you can imagine, this method can sometimes be a lengthier process. However, it is optimal for Perforated patterns that are not repetitive or have complex designs.

Typically, with either Punch Press method, a certain amount of material along the length of the sheet will be reserved as unperforated . This is done to create margins, or solid blank areas around the edges of the material.

Rotary Pinned Perforation Roller

To answer "how is perforated metal made most efficiently?", look no further than the popular process of Rotary Pinned Perforation. This method begins with large cylinders equipped with sharp, pointed needles along the outside. Sheet metal is then run underneath these structures, and as the cylinders rotate the needles continuously punch the sheet passing below. In some cases, the needles will be heated in order to melt the metal on the inside of the punched holes. This is done to reinforce the rings of the perforations and increase strength.

The cylinders can be rotated at considerably fast speeds, so Rotary Pinned Perforation is optimal for punching numerous identical holes at a quick rate.

Laser Perforation

Laser Perforation is a process where focused, highly accurate beams burn holes in sheet metal beneath them. Lasers are incredibly precise and versatile methods of perforation, but can be costly and time-consuming for large volumes.

How is Perforated Metal Made: Summary

Depending on pattern, time restraints, sheet size, and other details, the exact technique to make Perforated Metal will vary. Nevertheless, these manufacturing technologies enable Perforated Metal production that is dynamic and effective. We hope that this overview has given you a better idea of how Perforated sheets are made. If you still have questions or would like more information about our Perforated Metal offerings, our associates are eager to help and, as always, Inspired to Serve®!


Hole Stories is designed to inform, instruct, and inspire readers. Stories composed are for educational purposes only, and proper technical resources should be consulted prior to installation of any Hole Product. McNICHOLS shall have no liability for the informative nature of content shared.

How is Perforated Metal Made?
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