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Solid Metal Plate

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A high-performance and cost-effective solution for building exteriors

Metalwerks Solid Metal PlateSolid metal plate is becoming an in-demand product for exterior building facade systems, curtainwall components and custom architectural features. Its design possibilities, performance, lightweight composition, strength, color palette and durability all contribute to exterior façade systems that outperform many others in the marketplace. And even with all of its benefits, solid metal plate is cost competitive with alternative metal panel products.


What is Solid Metal Plate?

Solid metal plate is an exterior cladding material that offers superior strength and formability. To be considered solid metal plate, the metal must be at least 1/8-inch-thick, delivering not only an extremely flat, but durable surface. Most often, the metal chosen is aluminum, but stainless steel is also popular.

When properly designed and engineered for project loads, solid metal plate offers the highest level of long-term performance. Most notably, a reduced risk of damage or denting during installation and the highest degree of durability compared to other sheet metal or composite metal products.

Solid metal plate systems are produced from homogeneous materials, meaning they are never fused with foamed or plastic cores. Therefore, there is no concern for de-lamination or the separation of layers. In addition to its longevity, the amount of maintenance plate requires is very minimal.


Blend Design with Performance

Solid metal plate offers architects the ability to pick and choose from a wide variety of styles and effects for the project at-hand. Dead flat, 3-D profiles, and curved designs are all options to capture a plethora of textures and themes. Solid metal plate is used for wall systems, sunshade integration, canopies, trellises, screenwalls, column and beam covers, and customized enclosures.

To maintain a uniform aesthetic, all of these building features can have the same finishes applied in the same manner. Finishes are often applied following panel fabrication to ensure paint coverage on all edges of exposed metal. The forming process also provides the panels with inherent strength, requiring minimal reinforcement and allowing expansion and contraction.

Panel corners are typically welded closed for a neat and seamless appearance. This provides a gem-like quality compared to having exposed screws, seams or sealants. Kennett Square, Pa.-based Metalwërks also offers lighting and irrigated planter options for integrated living wall assemblies, maintaining a closer connection to nature, reducing the heat island effect, and creating a greener atmosphere overall.

Solid metal plate systems offer a completely functional purpose for exterior façades. Plate does not absorb moisture, so Metalwërks' corrosion-resistant systems fight off water damage and keep structures mold-free. Additionally, it holds up against natural forces, airborne debris, or dings and dents commonly found in high-traffic areas. The thickness and single-layer quality of solid metal plate is what gives it superior impact resistance.


Health, Safety and Sustainability

With a melting point of over 1200 F (aluminum), solid metal plate is noncombustible. There are no plastic or foamed components required, which renders NFPA 285 testing protocols inapplicable. Solid metal plate contains no toxic plastic additives, eliminating a health and safety risk in the event of a fire.

Metalwërks' solid metal plate is comprised of recycled content of 3000 or 5000 series aluminum plate and 6000 series aluminum extrusions. Solid aluminum plate panels are 100 percent recyclable after their used life, and over 95 percent of the waste generated during the manufacturing process is also returned into the material stream for recycling. Virtually no materials are sent to landfills. Lastly, they require no blowing agents, high-energy processes, high-VOCs, or toxic adhesives during assembly.

Plate is easily available in increments from 36-inch- to 72-inch-wide coils in 6-inch or custom increments and can be produced in custom widths to reduce waste. Drop-offs can be utilized and recycled into other components of the product so that most of the raw material is either used or recycled.

These systems easily accommodate renovation and façade rehabilitation projects due to an excellent strength to weight ratio and flexibility of design. Not only do they enhance exterior appearance, they improve the energy performance of older buildings. Solid metal plate systems can be installed with a thermal layer and prepared with cool coatings that are designed to reflect heat. Air-conditioned facilities in warmer climates can especially benefit from this energy-saving measure.


Fabrication, Installation and Cost

Contrary to popular belief solid metal plate is very economical, with a cost comparable to aluminum composite material. This is because Metalwërks relies on well-established supply-chain relationships, regularly buying plate in large mill quantities or forward-purchase contracts depending on project size. The company also invests in forming and production equipment for long-term use and high quality.

Solid metal plate systems provide a refined visual touch and can achieve the most ambitious designs and meet exacting specifications of designers and fabricators.


An Ideal Choice

Today, there are more product and system options than ever for exterior façades and curtainwalls--but one stands out. The characteristics of solid metal plate, in concert with its affordability, make it an ideal choice, and a workable system for architects looking for design freedom, performance and functionality all in one.


Steve Scharr is in business development at Metalwërks, Kennett Square, Pa. For more information, visit