Selecting the Proper Woven Wire Mesh (full
Today, steel, aluminum and stainless steel are the most common metal mesh materials used in filter manufacturing. The raw materials and processes that a top-tier mesh supplier uses are critical factors in determining quality and reliability.
Finished wire is woven to customer's specifications or to industry standards. High-quality input wire is paramount to the weaving process to help control consistency in the mesh and provide a reliable product for processing by the filter manufacturer. For example, distortion in the mesh can cause consistency issues when paying the wire mesh off into a pleating line.
After weaving, the mesh can be further processed in a number of different ways depending on the end customer's needs. The mesh could be shipped directly after weaving with no cleaning or coating (referred to as "natural" or "mill finished"). It might be cleaned of drawing and weaving lubricants and shipped as cleaned only, or it can be cleaned and coated according to customer requirements. Prior to the coating process, it is sometimes necessary for the mesh to be heat treated, or annealed. The annealing process is critical for the wire mesh to be pleated. Aluminum, a softer metal, often does not require annealing, while steel and stainless steel mesh almost always require softening through the annealing process to be pleated efficiently. Strict quality control of the annealing process ensures that the wire mesh will remain consistent and reliable in the filter manufacturer's pleating operation.
Many filter manufacturers require custom slitting of wire mesh. Precision slitting capability is paramount for a wire mesh supplier to meet the exacting width tolerances required in many filters. Another important and valuable factor for filter manufacturers is the capability of supplying rolls of wire mesh in maximum lengths. Longer input rolls require less frequent roll changes and increase pleater input.
Aluminum has a relatively high strength-to-weight ratio, can be pleated easily with or without annealing and is generally lower in cost per foot than most other metals. It is also not as susceptible to rust and oxidation as ferrous metals and can be used with or without a coating depending on the application.
Low carbon steel provides high strength to withstand the cyclic pressure differentials present in many fluid filtration systems, is easy to pleat when properly annealed and is a low cost option in comparison to other metals offering similar physical properties. In most cases, it should be coated to prevent rusting.
Stainless steel mesh, though a higher cost option, offers still greater strength, high heat resistance, is more resistant to corrosion, and can be used with or without a coating. It is generally more suitable for applications with highly-acidic or caustic solutions at elevated temperatures.
Wire mesh has long been a component of many types of filters. The predominant use of wire mesh in filters is as a support mechanism for various types of filter media. With advances in filter media efficiency and development of high-speed filter manufacturing technology, choosing the right mesh product and the right supplier are critical to a filter manufacturer's success.