Meshtec offers one of the most versatile ranges of expanded metal meshes that are fully bespoke and made to order. This means that everything from panel sizes, orientation, thickness, material sizes, finishes and tolerances can be specified to the required need.
And whilst we know that this flexibility can turn out the best architecturally designed products, we also know that it can be a tricky process to navigate through.
So we've put together a set of guidelines and tips to help you through the ordering and specification of Meshtec. These guidelines are here to give you some pointers on the range, but it's always best to speak to one of our consultants to gain more knowledge on a particular product.
Your quote will reference an LWM and SWM (ensuring that your measurements ares to the correct orientation). This relates to the dimensions of the open area of the mesh.
Your quote will also reference an 'A' and a 'B' side with a light direction of either 'light direction up' or 'light direction down'; Remember to check that the 'eye' of the opening is running in the direction you require.
2. Material Thickness
The thickness will be determined on the material used and the application of the mesh. This will usually be discussed with your consultant at the point of enquiry.
Below are our thickness recommendations for the most commonly used materials:
- Aluminium - 1.5mm, 2mm or 3mm
- Corten or pre-galvanised mild steel - 1.5mm or 2mm
We will state the overall tolerances of your mesh on your quotation.
These tolerances will generally range from +/- 3mm to 5mm on the LWM and +/- 10mm to 140mm on the SWM.
At the point of manufacture we will cut the mesh panel parallel to the SWM, which is how the aforementioned tolerances have been calculated. That is unless all four sides of mesh are cut, in which case your tolerances may differ.
The 'eye' of the mesh itself varies ever so slightly due to the tension in the material. As the expansion process takes place, our cutting tool will run through the flat material, which is then pulled to reveal the mesh openings. These openings will 'pop' differently each time as tension either builds or decreases as the panel is produced.
This means that a panel may be the correct size, but when placed next to another panel of the same size, the openings will not line up. This 'popping' effect can happen on the edges of the panels when they are cut to size. This is the nature of the mesh and cannot be controlled (as shown below) but it can be accounted for in the early design stages to manage you and your clients' expectations. There are also measures that you can take to overcome this challenge, which have been outlined in section five below.
4. Panel Layouts
The most popular choice by architects, designers and contractors is to butt the mesh panels up next to each other.
We advise that the best solution with setting out, is to have the panel dimensions divisible by the LWM and the SWM. For example, a panel that has an LWM of 110mm and a SWM of 52mm would work perfectly within a panel measuring 1100mm (LWM) by 2860 (SWM).
As a side note, all panels need to be at least 2 x LWM or SWM measurement for the panel to keep its structural integrity and squareness.
5. Overcoming Tolerance / Layout Issues
We understand that tolerances and layouts issues can be frustrating and unfortunately they come as part and parcel with any expanded mesh product.
There are however options available to you to help overcome these types of challenges.
- Framing : Panels can be framed, which will drop the tolerance levels to +/- 4mm around all sides of the mesh as the panels will be cut on all four sides. A framed panel is always more accurate.
- Shadow Gaps: Allowing a shadow gap of 10-15mm between panels allows the eye to read the façade omitting any opening variations between the panels.
- Panel Dimensions: Use panel dimensions that are divisible to the mesh product. This allows the mesh to be cut as a 'full mesh' panel, leaving no sharp edges.
All finishes will be applied after any fabrication works, reducing any sharp edges from manufacture. Finishes that can be applied to the Meshtec range include: powder coating and anodising.
For colour anodising, an upper and lower limit sample will need to be signed off by the customer prior to full production, as colour variations may occur across the panels (even when produced in the same production run).
Please be aware that there is an average bath set up charge for any non-standard colour finish in the region of £7,000 and any panels that are ordered incorrectly will have to be coated separately and will therefore incur this cost.
Our top tip is to plan and then plan again...
We recommend taking a collaborative approach to working with all parties involved in the project. That includes involving the manufacturer at the early design stages as they can provide much needed insight to the best solution for your projects. At Cadisch MDA we take a highly consultative approach to our projects and will be at hand to provide advise at the design phase through to fixing and installation.
If you would like to speak to one of our consultants, please get in touch.