Best Roll Forming Machine: Selection, Specifications, Operation

Roll forming is a metal forming process used to produce long sheets or profiles with constant cross-sections. A roll forming machine progressively forms sheet metal or strips through a series of roller dies. The process is versatile, efficient and economical for producing high volumes of standardized parts. This guide provides a detailed overview of roll forming machine types, key components, technical specifications, and best practices for selection, operation and maintenance.

Overview of Roll Forming Process and Machines

Roll forming machines are available in different configurations to produce various profiles and cross-sections. The roller dies bend the material incrementally as it passes through successive stands to gradually shape the profile. The key aspects are:

Roll Forming Machine Types

Machine TypeDescription
Single ProfileProduces single profile constantly
Multi-ProfileSwitchable heads for different profiles
PortableCompact for on-site or mobile operation
CustomTailored for special profiles

Components of Roll Forming Machine:

  • Roller dies – Formed into successive stands to gradually bend sheet
  • Forming stations – Houses roller dies for sequential bending
  • Decoiler – Feeds raw coil material into machine
  • Feed mechanism – Controls material feed speed and tension
  • Rollers – Provide support and configure material flow
  • Cutoff device – Cuts finished profiles to length

Roll Forming Machine Specifications

The technical specifications of roll forming equipment determine their capability and production capacity. The key parameters to consider are:

Roll Forming Machine Design Specifications:

Rolling LengthLength of rollers and maximum profile length
Rolling WidthWidth between rollers and maximum material width
Rolling ThicknessThickness range of raw material supported
Forming StationsNumber of stands for progressive bending
Roller SizeDiameter and width of rollers
Roller MaterialSteel, alloy steel etc.
Roller TypeHorizontal, vertical, inclined, pyramid etc.
Drive TypeElectric, hydraulic, servo, combination
Speed RangeMinimum and maximum rolling speed
Feed SystemUncoiler, feed rolls, pinch rolls etc.
Cutting ModeShearing, sawing, laser cutting etc.
ToolingQuick changeover, modular, custom etc.
AutomationPLC controls, motion controls, sensors etc.

Performance Specifications:

ParameterTypical Values
Rolling Speed10 – 100 m/min
Production RateUp to 120 m/min
Accuracy±0.5 mm over 3 m length
RepeatabilityExcellent due to progressive dies
Surface FinishSmooth, marks possible at cut

Operational Requirements:

Power20-100 kW connected load
Air Pressure5-8 bar for pneumatics
Staff1-2 semi-skilled operators
SpaceLength > 15m. Width > 4m, Height > 3m

The specifications vary widely depending on the profile, materials and production volumes. Custom machines can be built to suit specific requirements.

best roll forming machine
Best Roll Forming Machine: Selection, Specifications, Operation 4

Roll Forming Machine Design and Working

The design aspects and working principle of roll forming machines are:

Machine Structure

  • Heavy base frame for stiffness
  • Overhead support stand for forming stations
  • Inline configuration for material flow
  • Lateral or vertical split housing for accessibility

Roller Dies

  • Made of machined alloy steel
  • Mounted on shafts in forming stands
  • Arranged horizontally, vertically or at angle
  • Ground and hardened to close tolerances
  • Quick changeover design for flexible production

Forming Stations

  • House combination of top and bottom rollers
  • Roller shafts mounted on bearings
  • Adjustable roller mounts and spacers
  • Guide rails for precise die positioning

Feed System

  • Decoiler or sheet feeder at start
  • Servo motors and drives for speed control
  • Pinch rolls for positive grip without slippage
  • Dancer arm for maintaining web tension
  • Anti-wicking rolls to prevent deformation


  • Electric servomotors and drives
  • Hydraulic drives for high torque
  • Precision speed and tension control
  • Independent drives for roller shafts
  • Synchronized using master encoder

Control System

  • PLC or industrial PC control
  • HMI touchscreen for interface
  • Roll gap and speed settings
  • Servo drive synchronization
  • Safety interlocks and auto stop

Working Principle

  • Sheet or coil fed into roller dies
  • Progressive bending occurs in steps
  • Bottom rollers provide counterforce
  • Material exiting with finished profile
  • Cut to length by saws or shears

Through the coordinated motion of the precisely machined roller dies, the strip material is gradually shaped into the desired cross-section by the roll forming process.

Roll Forming Operation

1Coil stock fed into feed rolls
2Material progressively shaped by roller dies
3Bottom rollers provide counterforce
4Profiling achieved incrementally
5Formed section flows through machine
6Cutoff device cuts finished profile

Applications and Industries Served

Roll formed sections find widespread usage across industries due to their continuous production, lightweight properties, high strength and corrosion resistance.

Application Areas of Roll Formed Products:

Structural profilesRoofing sheets, wall panels, liner trays, studs, joists, beams
Storage productsRacking, shelving, lockers, wardrobes
Furniture partsFrames, enclosures, shelving, legs
Automotive partsTrim, sealing, bumpers, roof rails, tubes
AppliancesPanels, enclosures, wrappers, frames
HVAC ductingRectangular and spiral ducts
Agricultural buildingsCladding, roofing, structural frames

Industry-wise Applications

IndustryApplication Products
Building and ConstructionCladding, decking, purlins, roofing, doors, railing
Automotive and TransportBody panels, roof rails, seat frames, bumpers
Electrical and ElectronicsEnclosure panels, chassis, distribution boxes
Consumer AppliancesWashing machine drums, refrigerator liners, exterior panels
Ventilation and Air ConditioningSpiral ducts and fittings, smoke exhausts
InfrastructureGuard rails, lighting poles, sign boards, solar frames
FurnitureCabinet doors, table legs, shelving, storage racks

Roll formed sections enable lightweight, high strength structures across industrial and commercial applications.

Benefits and Advantages of Roll Forming Process

Roll forming offers significant benefits compared to other forming methods:

Benefits of Roll Forming

Capital CostLower than stamping or press brakes
Operating CostLow power consumption, minimal wastage
Production RateUp to 10x faster than manual methods
LaborRequires semi-skilled operators
ChangeoversRoller dies enable fast profile switches
FlexibilityEasy to change dimensions and materials
AccuracyConsistent and repeatable profiles
Surface FinishSmooth, bright finish possible
StrengthCold forming work hardens the metal
LightweightThin and lighter structures possible
Simple OperationsUser friendly controls and automation
SafetyWell guarded moving parts

Key factors driving adoption of roll forming include high productivity, flexibility, superior quality, and cost efficiency.

best roll forming machine
Best Roll Forming Machine: Selection, Specifications, Operation 5

Types of Roll Forming Machines

Roll forming machines are available in different configurations designed for specific production needs:

Roll Forming Machine Types

Longitudinal LineFor high volume panel production
Portable RollformerLightweight and mobile operation
Multi-Profile MachineQuick profile changeover
Double Head RollformerHigher production rates
Pyramid TypeBi-directional forming capability
Custom RollformerEngineered for special profiles

Longitudinal Line

  • Inline production line
  • Decoiler, accumulator, forming mills, cutoff
  • Lengths over 25 m
  • Parts warehouse integration
  • For high volume sheet production

Portable Rollformer

  • Compact and movable
  • Trailer or truck mounted
  • For on-site production
  • Flexible positioning
  • Lower capacity

Multi-Profile Machine

  • Computer controlled stations
  • Quick die changeover
  • Multiple pre-loaded profiles
  • For lower volume flexibility

Double Head Rollformer

  • Two side-by-side forming lines
  • Independent speed control
  • Higher production rate
  • Redundancy for uptime

Pyramid Type

  • Bi-directional roller configuration
  • Better support during forming
  • Prevents part twisting
  • For symmetrical sections

Custom Rollformer

  • Engineered for unique profile
  • Special roller design
  • Dedicated production
  • For proprietary sections

The choice depends on the required throughput, profile complexity, changeover needs and production volumes.

How to Choose a Roll Forming Machine

The key factors to consider when selecting a roll forming machine are:

Roll Forming Machine Selection Criteria

Profile shapeDimensional specs, radii, angles
MaterialSteel, aluminum grades and thickness
Production rateHourly or annual volume required
LengthMaximum part length needed
WidthAvailable working width and space
ToolingStandard or custom roll dies
ControlsEase of programming and settings
Automation levelMaterial handling and speed control
Line layoutInline or transverse arrangement
PerformanceSpeed, precision, surface finish
SafetyGuarding, emergency stops

Critical Factors

  • Profile drawings with complete specifications
  • Annual or daily production volume
  • Operating shifts per day
  • Raw material type and thickness
  • Accuracy and finish requirements
  • Available space for machine
  • Operator skill level
  • Expandability for future

Consulting with roll forming experts is highly recommended when specifying machines for the first time or for large production scale. Getting the requirements right is key to maximizing productivity and total cost of ownership.

Roll Forming Machine Manufacturers

Some of leading global manufacturers of roll forming equipment are:

Major Roll Forming Machine Manufacturers

Bradbury GroupUSA
Gasparini SpAItaly
Hangzhou Roll Forming MachineryChina
Howick Ltd.New Zealand
Robor CorpUSA
Rollvis SASwitzerland
Form Process EngineeringIndia

Capacities and Models

  • Production up to 180 m/min
  • Width up to 2.5 m
  • Quick die change modular stands
  • Single, dual and multi-profile machines
  • Standard and custom roll former designs

When sourcing roll forming machines, consider manufacturers offering:

  • Wide model range and customization
  • Local sales and service support
  • Latest technology and features
  • Training and maintenance programs
  • Overall life cycle value and TCO

Choosing an established manufacturer can ensure access to service, parts, upgrades and process support throughout the machine lifecycle.

Roll Forming Machine Pricing

Roll forming machine prices vary based on:

Factors Influencing Cost

  • Type and size
  • Production speed
  • Automation features
  • Controls and drives
  • Material thickness capacity
  • Tooling design
  • Manufacturer’s brand and location

Typical Cost Ranges

Machine TypePrice Range
Entry level portable$40,000 to $100,000
Single profile machines$100,000 to $500,000
Multi-profile machines$250,000 to $1 Million
High speed longitudinal lines> $1 Million
Custom roll formersApplication dependent

Additional Cost Items

  • Design engineering charges
  • Tooling cost for profile
  • Shipping and customs
  • Installation and commissioning
  • Training for operators
  • Spare parts inventory

Large production lines with warehouse integration, automation and custom features can cost over $2 million. Getting quotes from different vendors is advised.

best roll forming machine
Best Roll Forming Machine: Selection, Specifications, Operation 6

How to Operate and Maintain Roll Forming Machines

Proper operation and preventive maintenance are essential for productivity and longevity of roll forming machines:

Roll Forming Machine Operation

PlanningSchedule production, ensure material availability
InspectionCheck rollers, safety devices, lubrication
ProgrammingInput correct profile, speed, length
Set upPosition guides, inserts, cutoff
Jog modeInch to test run slower speed
RunningMonitor forming, speed, sensors
QualityVerify first piece dimensional accuracy
SafetyEnsure guards in place, no unsafe conditions
  • Wear gloves and eye protection when handling sheet metal
  • Adjust machine parameters gradually and systematically
  • Clean oil spills immediately to prevent slips
  • Report any abnormal noise, vibration or behavior

Maintenance Checks

SystemMaintenance TasksFrequency
RollersInspect surface damageWeekly
BearingsLubricate roller shaft bearingsMonthly
DrivesCheck belt tension and alignmentMonthly
GuardsEnsure in place and functionalDaily
HydraulicsCheck oil level and leaksMonthly
ElectricalInspect connections, coversQuarterly
StructureCheck loose fastenersMonthly
SafetyTest emergency stops and sensorsQuarterly

Proactive maintenance as per manufacturer’s recommendations is vital for maximum uptime and extending machine life. Keep records of all inspections, repairs and parts replacements.

Roll Forming Safety Tips

Roll forming operations involve moving machinery and sheet metal handling which require safety measures:

  • Restrict access for only trained personnel
  • Ensure proper machine guarding is in place
  • Never reach into unsafe areas during operation
  • Follow lockout procedures before maintenance
  • Wear cut resistant gloves when handling sheet metal
  • Keep work area clean and uncluttered
  • Never stand in line with material flow path
  • Maintain adequate lighting in the production area
  • Know emergency stop button locations
  • Report any unsafe electrical, mechanical or hydraulic conditions
  • Never modify or override safety mechanisms
  • Formalize safety procedures and training

Making safety a priority protects personnel and equipment during roll forming operations.

Roll Forming Machine Troubleshooting

Some common issues faced in roll forming machines and remedies are:

Roll Forming Problems and Solutions

IssuePossible CausesCorrective Actions
Inaccurate profileWorn rollers, loose shaftsRealign/replace rollers, tighten shafts
Scratched finishDebris, damaged rollersClean rollers, replace damaged ones
Excessive vibrationImbalance, loose partsTighten loose parts, rebalance rollers
Hydraulic leaksWorn seals, damaged hosesReplace seals, damaged hoses
Speed variationSlipping belts, sensor issueAdjust belt tension, check sensor
Uneven material feedWorn/slippery feed rollsReplace feed rolls, increase tension
Sheet jammingMisaligned guides, worn rollersRealign guides, replace worn rollers

Consult the machine manual and manufacturer if faults cannot be resolved. Stop operation immediately in case of any safety issues.

Roll Forming Machine FAQs

Q: What materials can be roll formed?

A: Most ductile metals like steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass. Thickness under 3 mm is common.

Q: What profile shapes are possible?

A: C, U, Z, hat, tube, angle, channel, rails, bars etc. Complex beads and louvers also possible.

Q: How to calculate production rate?

A: Production rate in ft/min = Machine speed (ft/min) x Number of heads

Q: What tolerances are achievable?

A: +/- 0.5 mm over 3 m length is typical. Tighter tolerances possible with precision rollers.

Q: How many operators are needed?

A: 1-2 operators for typical operation. Automated lines may need none.

Q: Is surface coating possible after roll forming?

A: Yes, powder coating and other finishes can be applied after roll forming.

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