Overview of China cold roll forming machine
Cold roll forming is a metal working process in which sheet metal is progressively shaped through a series of roller dies to produce long, uniform metal parts with precise dimensions and superior mechanical properties. The process involves feeding a coil strip of sheet metal through a series of roller stations. Each set of roller dies incrementally forms the sheet until the final cross-section profile is achieved.
Cold roll forming is continuous and highly automated, making it ideal for high volume production. It can shape sheet metal quickly and cost-effectively into a variety of parts including complex geometries. The process produces parts with excellent precision and repeatability at a relatively low cost compared to other forming methods.
Advantages of China cold roll forming machine
Cold roll forming offers many benefits over other manufacturing processes:
- High Production Speeds – Cold roll forming is a continuous process allowing for very high production speeds and volumes. Large forming lines can produce over 100 meters of formed profile per minute.
- Dimensional Accuracy – Parts have tight tolerances and excellent repeatability due to the incremental forming through precision roller dies. Tolerances up to ±0.1mm are possible.
- Surface Finish – The sheet metal is formed in the cold state allowing parts to retain an attractive, smooth surface finish. There is no fire scaling.
- Material Savings – Generates very little scrap material during production compared to stamping. No need for trimming.
- Labor Savings – Automated process requires less labor compared to other methods.
- Flexibility – Quick roller die changes allow for flexible production of different profiles.
- Material Choices – Can form a wide range of metals including mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum and more.
- Strength – Work hardening during the cold working process increases strength and hardness.
- Cost Effective – Combined benefits make cold roll forming highly cost effective for high volume production.
These advantages make cold roll forming well suited for producing metal studs, framing components, panels, hardware, enclosure parts, roofing elements, racking systems and more.
Cold Roll Forming Process
The cold roll forming process consists of continuously forming sheet metal through consecutive sets of roller dies that progressively shape the strip into the desired profile. There are five primary steps:
1. Uncoiling – Coiled sheet metal is loaded onto a de-coiler which feeds the strip into the roll form line.
2. Feeding – The strip is gripped by feed rolls and pulled through the rolling stations at a constant speed.
3. Forming – As the strip passes through each roller station it is gradually formed between upper and lower rollers.
4. Cutoff – The finished profile is cut to length by a cutoff press once the full profile is achieved.
5. Secondary Operations – Parts may undergo hole punching, notching, welding, hardware insertion or other secondary processing operations.
The roller dies are arranged in sequential stations along the forming line. Each set of upper and lower rollers incrementally forms the sheet closer to the final profile. The cross-section design is fully achieved after passing all stations.
Precise control of the feed rate, roll pressures and roller dimensions is critical to achieve the correct forming sequence without defects. The process is automated and adjusted by computerized controls.
Cold Roll Forming Machines
Cold roll forming machinery forms the heart of the production line. The roll forming machine houses the consecutive roller dies and drive components which form and feed the metal strip.
China manufactures a full range of cold roll forming equipment from small portable units to high capacity multi-stand production lines. Roll formers come in different configurations including:
- Portable Units – Compact portable roll formers with 8-10 forming stations for small scale on-site production.
- Mini Lines – Entry level lines with up to 20 stations for small profile batches.
- High Speed Lines – Advanced production lines with 25-50+ stations for continuous high volume runs.
- Custom Lines – Tailored equipment for forming specialty profiles.
- Combination Lines – Integrated with stamping, notching, punching and other processes for complete production.
Heavy duty steel fabrications with precision machined rollers provide the framework for the forming machinery. Advanced units feature robust fully-welded constructions, anti-friction bearings, high accuracy roller guides and precision gearing.
Powerful AC variable frequency drives precisely control the roller speeds and metal feed rate. PLC computer controls allow for automated adjustment of the forming process.
Major Chinese Cold Roll Forming Machine Manufacturers
China has numerous manufacturers producing roll forming equipment. The major players include:
- Botou Xianfa – One of China’s largest roll forming machine producers. Offers a broad range of portable, stationary and high speed production lines.
- Jou Jye – Taiwanese company with extensive manufacturing operations in mainland China. Products include mini lines, high production equipment and tube mill machinery.
- Jupiter Rollforming Machinery – Major machinery builder focusing on high end roll formers up to 80 stations. Also offer cut-to-length lines, punches and more.
- Metform – Leading manufacturer of innovative high speed roll forming machines and complete turnkey production lines.
- Samco Machinery – Provider of flexible research & development oriented roll forming solutions. Both standard and custom engineered lines.
- Shanghai Rollforming Machinery – Diverse machinery catalogue including portable, conventional, high speed, cut-to-length and combined roll lines.
- Zhanjiang Hitech – Specialist in complex high precision roll forming equipment for unusual profiles.
These companies offer advanced Chinese-built roll forming machinery comparable in performance to top international brands. Customers can choose from standard catalog models or custom engineered solutions.
Choosing a Chinese Manufacturer
Selecting a qualified roll forming machine manufacturer in China is key to ensuring high performance equipment for your production needs. Here are important factors to consider:
- Production Volumes – Match your required capacity to the line speeds and throughput offered.
- Profile Specifications – Review machines that can form the dimensions, geometries and features you require.
- Roller Precision – Confirm roller precision standards and tolerances meet your specifications.
- Automated Features – Determine what automated controls are included for speed, pressure and more.
- Secondary Operations – Check capabilities for integrated hole punching, notching, bending and other functions.
- Technical Expertise – Look for expert engineering support for tooling design and production ramp up.
- Certifications – Verify quality management and manufacturing certifications. ISO 9001 and CE marked machinery.
- Service and Support – Review aftersales services, technical support, maintenance and spare parts supply.
- Budget – Weigh required performance and features against your equipment budget constraints.
Visiting candidate facilities to inspect manufacturing and quality firsthand is advisable to validate capabilities. Testing sample parts is also recommended.
Chinese vs International Brands
Purchasing roll forming equipment represents a major investment. A key question is whether to choose Chinese built machinery over more costly international brands.
For simpler, low volume applications, affordable Chinese mini lines and portable roll formers provide an economical solution. However, for more demanding high volume production, Chinese manufacturers have proven they can deliver advanced high speed equipment rivaling top European, American and Japanese brands in technology, precision and reliability.
Major advantages of Chinese machinery include:
- Lower Equipment Costs – Sophisticated Chinese roll lines can cost 50-70% less than comparable imports.
- Shorter Lead Times – Quicker manufacturing from order to delivery.
- Tailored Solutions – Chinese builders excel at engineering custom solutions.
- Process Optimization – Extensive expertise in achieving high quality roll formed parts.
- Service Support – Responsiveness of local Chinese companies for maintenance, parts and assistance.
For many buyers, partnering with a top tier Chinese producer represents the optimum balance of capabilities and value. Limiting factors include availability of very large >100 station lines and leading edge Industry 4.0 integration. However, Chinese manufacturers are quickly adopting the latest technologies and manufacturing techniques to eliminate any performance gaps with foreign equipment.
Applications and End Products
Cold roll formed metal components produce cost-effective substitutes for structures traditionally made from hot rolled steel, extrusions or other manufacturing techniques.
Typical end use applications include:
- Storage racking, shelving frames
- Building construction studs, columns, trusses
- Automotive frames, railings, bumpers
- Furniture frames and supports
- Electrical/HVAC ducting and conduit
- Solar panel frames and roofing
- Agricultural equipment, trailers
- Home appliances and vending machines
- Road barrier rails and lighting poles
- Telecom towers and enclosures
Roll formed parts excel in providing lightweight but high strength support structures. The process efficiently mass produces standardized metal components with superior quality and structural integrity compared to alternatives.
Common base metals formed include:
- Mild steel
- High strength steel
- Stainless steel
- Galvanized steel
These materials can be coated, painted or otherwise finished after roll forming to enhance durability and appearance.
Cold Roll Forming Machine Components
Complete production lines integrate the roll forming machinery with various ancillary equipment. The main subsystems include:
Roll Forming Machine
Houses the sets of roller dies which progressively form the metal strip into finished profiles. Configured as portable units up to high capacity 50+ station lines.
Feeds the flat metal coil strip into the roll former. Equipped with straighteners to remove coil curvature.
Pulls the strip through the roll forming stands at a fixed speed matched to the roller stations. Consists of gripper rolls and servo motor drives.
Cuts the finished profile to length as it exits the roll former. Presses range from pneumatic to powerful servo electric.
Transfer and accumulates the finished cut profiles for downstream operations or palletizing.
Punches, drills, notches, stamps, bends or otherwise modifies the roll formed parts to finished products. Performed inline or as separate step.
Automates and monitors the complete production line. Controls roller pressures, speeds, strip position and more for precision forming.
Configurations and Specifications
China manufactures a broad array of cold roll forming system configurations tailored to different production demands:
Portable Roll Forming Machines
- Compact portable design for small onsite production
- 8-10 roller die stations
- Manually adjustable roller dies
- Simple control panel
- Low output around 10 m/min
- Limited to simple small profiles
- Light metal gauges ≤ 2.5mm thickness
- Overall length ~3-5m
Mini Roll Forming Lines
- Stationary lines for low volume production
- Up to 20 forming stations
- Outputs ~20 m/min
- Accepts light to medium gauge metals
- Automated PLC controls standard
- Optional secondary punching, drilling, tapping
- Length up to 15m
- Ideal for small batch contract production
High Speed Roll Forming Lines
- Advanced high volume production lines
- 25 to 60+ stations
- Heavy duty steel welded frames
- High precision roller bearing guides
- Max speeds >40 m/min
- Automated servo electric controls
- Integrated cutoff and conveyors
- Optional integrated punching and notching
- Lengths up to 100m+
- Large profile capacities
- Heavy metal gauges ≤ 4mm thickness
Custom Roll Forming Lines
- Engineered custom solutions
- Specialized roller dies for unique profiles
- Secondary operations tailored to part requirements
- Modular designs for maximum flexibility
- Sophisticated controls and software
- Turnkey installation and production ramp-up
- Ideal for proprietary components
Roll formers can be outfitted with a range of options to expand functionality:
- Punching units – Hole punching inline with forming
- Notching – Edge notching and cutouts
- Decoiler – Capacity for larger coil stock
- Servo electric cutoffs – High speed and force presses
- Conveyors – Transfers finished parts
- Part stacks – Automatic stacking of finished products
- Hydraulic mandrels – Internal supports for forming tubes
- Mobile configurations – Portable maneuverability
Work closely with your equipment partner to configure the optimal line design and features for your specific production goals.
Raw Material Considerations
Proper material selection is crucial for success in roll forming. Key considerations for your coil strip raw material include:
Alloys and Tempers
- Softer low carbon steels form easier than higher strength alloys
- Annealed tempers with fine grains have better formability
- High strength steels may require pre-stretching
- Aluminum and copper alloys require high pressure rollers
- Match the strip width to your part dimensions to minimize scrap
- Upper coil OD limits depends on decoiler capacity
- Thinner gauge coils can use smaller IDs reducing waste
- Smooth surfaces with consistent thickness profile roll best
- Surface defects may mark or scratch finished parts
- Oils can affect grip of feed rolls causing slipping
- Minimal internal stress prevents warping after forming
- Thermal relieving, pickling or annealing helps dissipate stresses
- Damage resistant packaging prevents dents or scratches
- Use wooden saddles for transport not to damage strip edges
Careful coil selection reduces defects and avoids unexpected forming problems. Purchase qualified precision rolled sheet from reputable metal suppliers.
Secondary Processing Equipment
Many roll formed components require additional fabrication steps to create the final products. Typical secondary operations include:
- Hole punching for fasteners, hangers and installation
- Done inline by adding punch units to the roll line
- Can also be done separately after roll forming
- Notching cutouts in panel edges
- Inline notchers built into the roll former
- Standalone notcher/folder machines also available
- Perforated holes for ventilation, drainage or aesthetic reasons
- Rotary perforators inline or offline
- Precise cutting for lengths, widths or non-linear shapes
- Performed on guillotine shears, plasma tables orWaterjets
- Inserting mounts, fasteners, hinges into parts
- Automatic insertion presses for high efficiency
- Adding bends for brackets, frames, channels
- Press brakes or specific profile bending machines
- Specialized tooling fixtures for holding parts
- Jigs used to locate holes accurately
Welding & Joining
- Joining multiple roll formed profiles together
- MIG welding, mechanical clinching or self-tapping fasteners
Painting & Coating
- Applying protective/aesthetic paints and coatings
- Done after forming to avoid coating damage
Work with your Chinese vendor to determine optimal secondary processing methods and equipment for your product specs. Many offer fully integrated solutions from coil to finished parts.
Quality Control and Standards
Maintaining quality standards is critical when operating at the high volumes of cold roll forming. Key quality practices include:
Raw Material Inspection
- Checking incoming coils for surface flaws and consistency of width, gauge and flatness. Reject defective inputs.
Roll Tooling Precision
- Roller dies must be precision CNC machined and hand finished to tight dimensional tolerances. Inspect for any signs of wear or damage. Proper roller maintenance and replacement intervals are essential.
Roll Forming Sample Evaluation
- The first profiles produced when starting a new tooling set or material batch should be dimensionally checked and visually inspected for any flaws. Verify profiles meet design specs before commencing full production.
- Regularly confirm critical dimensions are within specified tolerances using gauges and instruments. Key datums include hole locations, widths, angles and straightness.
- Periodic destructive testing verifies strength and durability. Tests may include bend tests, hardness and tensile/compression testing of sampled specimens.
Surface Finish Inspection
- Visually inspect surface quality and identify any scratches, press marks or other defects.
- When issues arise, halt production and methodically troubleshoot the root causes. Adjust machinery, tools or feedstock as needed to resolve quality deviations.
Following rigorous quality protocols minimizes rejects, avoids downtime and ensures reliable high performance parts. Many Chinese manufacturers can provide fully equipped quality labs and testing. Obtaining ISO 9001 certification further validates production capabilities.
Cost Analysis of Chinese Machines
The cost efficient pricing of Chinese built roll forming equipment is a major attraction for buyers. But it’s important to take a comprehensive view of the total long term costs when selecting machinery. Key factors to analyze include:
Purchase Price – Top tier Chinese high speed lines average 50-70% lower initial cost versus comparable European or American brands. More basic Chinese lines can be up to 80% less.
Freight Costs – Sea shipping completed equipment from China is reasonable given their proximity to major ports. Air freight or international builds may be higher.
Import Duties – Vary by country. Confirm tariffs and arrange clearance with your importer in advance. Qualify for duty exemption if possible.
Installation – Typically included from Chinese suppliers. Local install adds cost for imported machines.
Tooling – Initial profile tooling is extra. Reputable Chinese builders offer precision machined roll dies equal to other sources. Life expectancy averages 1-2 years for high use.
Consumables – Rollers, bearings, belts and other wear parts need periodic replacement. Chinese parts sources offer low cost supplies.
Energy Costs – Newer Chinese equipment features energy efficient AC variable speed drives minimizing electrical consumption.
Production Rate – The hourly/daily output volume determines operating profitability. Advanced Chinese lines achieve very competitive production rates.
Labor – Automated Chinese machinery reduces labor. But skilled staff are essential to oversee operations and quality.
Maintenance – Trained personnel should perform regular maintenance for maximum uptime. Costs are reasonable given low Chinese parts prices.
Service Support – Leading Chinese manufacturers provide solid aftersales support, documentation and technicians. Proximity eases fast response.
Carefully projecting all direct and indirect costs will demonstrate the strong value proposition of advanced Chinese roll forming equipment for most buyers. Sourcing high quality machinery helps minimize lifetime costs.
Trends and Innovations in Chinese Machines
Original Chinese roll forming equipment was limited to basic low end machinery. However, today’s top manufacturers rival international standards through rapid innovation. Key advances include:
High Speed Lines – Now producing efficient 100+ meter/minute high volume equipment.
Heavy Gauge Capacity – 4mm and thicker high strength steels readily formed.
Servo Electric – Replacing hydraulics with precise servo motor drives.
Robust Frames – All-welded steel frames with anti-friction linear guides.
Multi-Profile Dies – Quick change tooling for flexible productions.
Powerful Cutoffs – Electric press cutoff systems up to 400 tons pressure.
Safety Features – Light curtains, E-stops, guards and safety PLC automation.
Advanced Controls – Touchscreen HMI and high level programming options.
Automated Material Handling – Coil cars, conveyors, part stackers.
Secondary Integration – Inline punch, drill, notch and other capabilities.
IoT Connectivity – Industrial internet of things data collection.
Chinese R&D engineering teams are focused on quickly turning concepts into practical solutions that enhance productivity. Continued innovation will further elevate Chinese machinery to lead the global market.
Opportunities and Challenges for China’s Industry
Major opportunities exist for China’s cold roll forming equipment industry:
- Export Growth – Expanding exports worldwide supported by cost competitiveness and improving brand recognition.
- Technology Leadership – Leveraging R&D and manufacturing strengths to achieve technical leadership.
- Industry 4.0 Automation – Adopting smart factory IoT connectivity and data analytics.
- Customization – Tapping extensive engineering resources to provide tailored solutions.
- Energy Efficiency – Optimizing energy consumption through advanced drive systems.
- Aftersales Service – Geographic proximity to provide responsive customer service and support.
- Smart Cities – Urbanization and infrastructure investment drives domestic demand.
However, some challenges remain:
- Quality Perceptions – Overcoming lingering quality concerns through strict QC processes.
- Specialization – Tailoring machines to highly specialized niche applications.
- Large Scale Systems – Scaling up machinery for the largest tier 1 automotive applications.
- International Standards – Ensuring compliance to all regional safety and industry standards.
- Intellectual Property – Balancing open innovation with protection of proprietary technologies.
Despite these factors, China’s cold roll forming equipment industry appears positioned for robust continued expansion and maturation.
What are the main advantages of cold roll forming?
Key benefits of cold roll forming include high production speeds, dimensional accuracy, material savings, labor savings, material flexibility, increased strength through work hardening and overall cost effectiveness.
What metals can be cold roll formed?
Common metals formed include mild steel, high strength steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper alloys, brass and galvanized steels. Softer and more ductile alloys generally form easier.
How precise are cold roll formed parts?
Properly configured lines using quality tooling can achieve dimensional tolerances of ±0.1 mm or ±0.004 inches. Repeatability is excellent.
What thickness of metals can modern cold roll forming lines accommodate?
Top high speed Chinese roll lines handle material gauges ranging from 0.3mm steel foils up to 4mm or heavier in high strength steels.
What secondary processing operations can be integrated?
Typical integrated operations include hole punching, notching, tapping, stud insertion, shearing, bending and more. Secondary processes can expand part fabrication options.
How long does roll forming tooling last?
Quality hardened tooling averages approximately 1-2 years of continual use before requiring replacement or refurbishment. Life varies based on metals and daily usage rates. Proper maintenance extends longevity.
What is the difference between Chinese and foreign roll forming brands?
Leading Chinese manufacturers now equal international standards for precision and performance while maintaining substantially lower equipment pricing. Advanced automation and secondary processing capabilities are closing prior gaps.