Product differentiation is essential for business success. It protects against price competition and helps increase margins. For businesses that make a physical product, custom components are an effective way of achieving differentiation. Competitors all have access to the same parts catalogs but working with a custom manufacturer lets a business offer unique features and capabilities.


“Custom” Perforated Tubes
The design requirements for any perforated tube product are usually quite complex. At the same time though, they usually come down to three main factors:

  • Overall dimensions
  • Perforation pattern
  • Material

Arguably, two other points to specify are the material finish and the seam style. Choosing to go with a bespoke product from a custom manufacturer gives almost complete control over each of these. (Why “almost”? Because there are physical limits to what can be cut, punched, rolled, welded and plated, painted or otherwise coated.)

Of these factors, perhaps it’s the ability to customize the perforation pattern that’s most interesting. A custom manufacturer can do this in terms of hole shape, size, spacing and even overall pattern.

One especially important parameter to consider is “Open Area” (OA). This describes the ratio of total hole size to surface area and it has a significant effect on how the perforated tube will perform in service. Customizing OA opens the door to performance tailored to specific applications.

Don’t overlook the benefits of customizing the overall pattern. Imagine being able to punch complex designs, perhaps incorporating logos or other branding. This is the kind of capability you get only from a custom manufacturer of perforated tubes.

For a buyer or consumer of perforated tubing the benefits depend on the application. However, it’s usual to see some or all of these:

  • Optimized/enhanced performance
  • Reduction in volume needed
  • Cost savings
  • Branding opportunities
  • Market segmentation opportunities

Here’s an explanation of each, and notice how some build on others, in effect compounding the benefits.


Optimized/Enhanced Performance

Perforated tubes are often used in filtration, for guarding and for airflow. (Exhaust shields are an example of a product performing those last two duties.) Choosing standard product means over-specifying in order to meet performance requirements. Holes may be smaller than is ideal for the application and OA lower. This increases total surface area required or tube size, so the final product ends up larger than needed while perhaps still not meeting the spec.

Punching and fabricating to the precise needs of the application overcomes these problems. Air or liquid flow can be optimized to the rate and distribution needed. (Don’t overlook the ability to create a non-uniform hole pattern.) Materials can be used that resist corrosion or provide a particular appearance, and the seam can be placed wherever makes most sense.


Reduction in Volume Needed

A side effect of using standard products is that they invariably take up more space than is otherwise needed. This forces design compromises to achieve packaging goals which may in turn lead to suboptimal performance.

Custom perforated tube avoids this problem in two ways. First, control over hole shape and OA allows optimization for functionality. Second, the tube is cut, shaped and fabricated to the exact shape needed. Together, these points ensure a custom perforated tube will fit into a larger assembly as the designer wants, so maximizing volumetric efficiency.


Cost Savings

Cost benefits accrue in several ways: in the finished product, in any associated equipment, and in operating costs. Beginning with the product, smaller perforated tubes use less sheet, bringing down material costs. Shipping and storage costs may also be reduced. Savings may also result when the customized tube allows use of smaller, lighter or cheaper components elsewhere. For example, increased filtration efficiency might allow use of a smaller pump. Turning to lifecycle costs, the increased efficiency of optimized perforated tube can lower running costs while extending service intervals.


Branding Opportunities

A unique appearance can enhance a brand’s image in the eyes of customers. On performance cars red calipers signify the use of a particular brand of brake products. Imagine extending this idea into wherever perforated tubes are used: architectural applications perhaps, or in shields and screens. Custom hole punching could turn ordinary objects in product differentiators.


Market Segmentation Opportunities

Having recognized the potential of custom perforated tubes for product differentiation it’s a small step to use them for market segmentation. For example, mass market products might have standard hole shapes and patterns while the high-end versions feature unique designs that imply, (and may indeed deliver,) higher performance.


Be Different, Be Special, Be Profitable!

Whatever industry you work in or serve, it’s becoming ever harder to separate your products from those of competitors. Perforated tubing might provide the opportunity you need. A custom manufacturer can create distinctive designs that stand out and perhaps improve performance. They can even lower manufacturing and distribution costs, and from the customer perspective lower lifecycle costs are always attractive. In short, if you’re not already using customized perforated tubing it’s time to think about it. It’ll make your product stand out and may even increase margins. Isn’t that what business is about?


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