“When it comes to expanded metal products, the only limit to their applications lies within the human imagination,” says Glen Pringle, Technical Director at Vital Engineering.
As a manufacturer with some 80 years of experience in the production of expanded metal products, safety hand rails, floor gratings and stair treads, the company is yet to encounter a limit to the fields of application for their products.
“Expanded metal products and their related applications can vary from our very popular base industrial range of meshes – typically used as walkways, screenings, to oil filter encasements; and small aperture meshes which are used as speaker covers, rodent control in phone towers, or to protect solar geysers from hail – and everything in between,” Pringle says.
Expanded metal is also increasing in popularity in architectural applications, where functionality like noise and light deflection is combined with interesting aesthetic effects.
There is good reason for the popularity of this range. Expanded metal possesses some very attractive inherent qualities. It has an excellent weight-to-strength ratio, and has an advantage over welded products, the material does not have localised weak points because it is made from a single sheet of metal. It is furthermore cost-effective and the material, structural design, and material-to-air ratio can be tailor-made to the customer’s requirements.
“We pride ourselves in producing world-class quality products and in going the extra mile to help our clients find the perfect combination of material and design for their specific needs:- whether it be mild steel, copper, or stainless steel, varying patterns, large or small aperture,” he explains.
“Our decades of experience – coupled with a spirit of innovation – has led to the development of various distinctive products. As an example, we are the only producers of non-slip serrated walkway mesh in South Africa,” he adds.
Pringle however cautions that customers should be discerning when choosing expanded metal products, as there are certain visually subtle defects such as sharp edges or small tears in the joints that could be indicators of compromised structural integrity.
On the other hand, there could be variations in product thickness which might appear as material flaws when, in fact, it is inherent to the manufacturing process. When these variations fall within the specified product tolerances it is perfectly normal. He further advises customers to always choose products that adhere to SANS or ISO standards, and which are manufactured by a trusted supplier with an excellent industry track record.
The company has been privileged to supply their products for various new and exciting projects recently. This includes some of the newly built coal mines where the Vitex expanded metal range has been used for machinery safety guards and in the manufacture of mine walkways; as well as for certain security applications in gold mines.
“We are very proud to have supplied our expanded metal products to these projects, as this demonstrates that the Vital Engineering name and our expanded metal brand Vitex have become synonymous with product innovation and versatility – underpinned by meticulous attention to safety and quality,” concludes Pringle.