Wire cloth, also commonly referred to as wire mesh or screen cloth, is made in rolls on a loom and can be manufactured from almost any metal or alloy which can be drawn into a wire.
Wire cloth is typically classified according to weave types as there are a number of different methods that affect the final capabilities of the wire. Different types of weaving for wire cloth that are commonly used include: plain woven, twill woven and Dutch woven. Another important factor affecting the performance of a particular wire cloth is its mesh count, or the open area between wires.
Applications for hardware cloth include industrial uses such as in sifting and sorting machinery, draining pulp or other mixtures, in buildings for window screens and in HVAC installations, decorative purposes in residential applications such as fireplace guards or kitchen cabinetry etc. It is also commonly used to determine the particle sizes of a material based on the openings in the mesh itself. For applications where wire cloth allows goods to be visible but prevents unauthorized access to them, it is available with different cloth shapes including the hexagon (chicken wire) shape as well as simple square and rectangle shapes.
The specifics of the type of wire will be determined in part by the intended usage of the wire and what will be required of it in terms of strength and durability. It is important that a wire material be able to withstand the elements which it may come into contact with such as: abrasive or chemical substances, moisture and corrosion, high temperatures etc. Furthermore, in industries such as food processing which require sterility, a material which can be easily cleaned is necessary.
Materials that are commonly used in the manufacturing of wire cloth or hardware cloth include aluminum, steel and stainless steel, copper, nickel and magnetic alloys. For certain applications, galvanized wire mesh is used. This has been through the process of galvanizing in order to further protect it from the elements. Factors to consider in the manufacturing of wire cloth include: mesh count, the larger the mesh size, the smaller the opening in between the weave of the crossing wire, wire diameter will also similarly affect the precision of the material, weave style and wire material.