China Guardrail Roll Forming Machine

Guardrail roll forming machines are essential equipment for producing guardrails that are used on highways, bridges, and other infrastructure projects. China has become one of the leading manufacturers and exporters of guardrail roll forming machines due to its immense metalworking capabilities and competitive pricing. This article will provide an in-depth look at China guardrail roll forming machines, including their features, benefits, manufacturers, and more.

What is a Guardrail Roll Forming Machine?

A guardrail roll forming machine is equipment designed to continuously bend and form metal coil or strip stock into guardrail profiles through a series of rollers. The formed guardrails have a distinct “W-beam” or “Thrie-beam” shape with alternating ridges and channels that provide strength and rigidity.

The roll forming process allows efficient and high-speed production of guardrails in long lengths by cold rolling metal coil through a series of roller dies. As the coil passes through each roller station, it is gradually shaped into the final guardrail profile. Roll forming creates uniform guardrails with excellent dimensional accuracy and repeatability.

china guardrail roll forming machine
China Guardrail Roll Forming Machine 4

Key components and features of a guardrail roll forming machine include:

  • Uncoiler – Feeds raw coil material into the roll forming line
  • Feeding tables – Support and guide the strip through the process
  • Forming stations – Contain roller dies that progressively shape the profile
  • Punching units – Punch holes for bolting end sections together
  • Shearing device – Cuts guardrails to length
  • Hydraulic system – Applies pressure and controls roller positions
  • Control panel – Houses the PLC and controls the machine
  • Conveyors – Transfer finished guardrails out of the machine

Advanced guardrail roll forming machines may also incorporate features like decoilers, straightening units, screws, hydraulic presses, and more. The configuration depends on the specific guardrail profile and production requirements.

Benefits of Guardrail Roll Forming Machines

Guardrail roll forming machines provide many benefits over other guardrail production methods:

  • High productivity – Capable of speeds up to 25 m/min for efficient volume production
  • Labor savings – Automated operation requires less manual labor
  • Consistent quality – Roll formed guardrails have excellent dimensional precision
  • Material savings – Efficient forming reduces scrap and waste
  • Flexibility – Quick roller changeovers allow different profiles to be produced
  • Compact size – Smaller footprint than cut-to-length lines
  • Cost-effectiveness – Lower equipment cost than press brakes or bending machines
  • Safety – Advanced machines have safety guards and emergency stops

The productivity, quality, and cost advantages make roll forming the predominant method for producing guardrails today.

Main Guardrail Profiles

The two main guardrail profiles produced on roll forming machines are:


W-beam is the most common guardrail profile used worldwide. It has a distinct W-shape with two deep channels and three ridges. The W-beam gets its strength from the corrugations, which also help to dissipate impact energy.

W-beam guardrails feature:

  • Stronger structure than Thrie-beam
  • Typically made from 12 gauge sheet steel
  • Standard post spacing of 1,905 mm (6′ 3″)
  • Versatile – can be used for medians, bridges, highways
  • Meets common crash test standards


Thrie-beam has a more intricate profile with four channels and five ridges. The extra ridge provides additional strength over W-beam designs.

Key characteristics of Thrie-beam guardrails:

  • Stronger than W-beam, leading to longer post spacing
  • Made from 12 or 10 gauge sheet steel
  • Typical post spacing of 3,810 mm (12′ 6″)
  • Mainly used on highways with higher speed traffic
  • Increased impact resistance than W-beam

Other less common guardrail profiles include bullnose, F-shape, step beam, and box beam. But W-beam and Thrie-beam make up the vast majority of guardrails produced today.

Main Components of Guardrails

Completed guardrail systems consist of different components:

  • Guardrail panels – The W-beam or Thrie-beam sections formed on the roll forming machine. Available in standard 12′ 6″ lengths.
  • Splice bolts – Used to join the ends of guardrail panels together. Installed through the bolt holes.
  • End sections – Absorbs impact at the ends of guardrail runs. May be flared or parabolic.
  • Posts – Support the guardrails at regular intervals. Made of wood, steel, or concrete.
  • Blockouts – Square tubes placed over posts to position the guardrails. Allow rails to flatten upon impact.
  • Other hardware – Includes nuts, washers, reflectors, delineators, etc.

The guardrail panels produced by roll forming machines make up the main linear barrier portion. The other components are assembled on site to create full guardrail systems along roads.

China Guardrail Roll Forming Machine Manufacturers

China has grown into the top producer of guardrail roll forming equipment due to its broad manufacturing capabilities, qualified workforce, and large domestic market:

Hebei Shengria Roll Forming Machinery Co.

  • One of the pioneers of China’s guardrail roll former industry
  • Manufacture W-beam and Thrie-beam guardrail machines up to 300 m/min
  • Machines adopted for major infrastructure projects
  • Overseas customers in Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa

Botou Xianfa Roll Forming Machine Factory

  • Specialize in W-beam guardrail production lines
  • Offer machines from 60-150 m/min production speeds
  • Customized design services available
  • CE certified and meet European standards

TianjinTTL International Trading Co.

  • Export focused guardrail roll former trading company
  • Offer complete lines and individual components
  • Source machinery from certified local manufacturers
  • Experience exporting to USA, Canada, Australia

Wuxi Howard Roll Forming Machinery Co.

  • Advance guardrail production lines with high automation
  • Lines equipped with auto packing, stacking, counting
  • Technical engineers provide production guidance
  • Guardrail lines installed in 30+ countries globally

Rsenke Roll Forming Machine Co.

  • Customized guardrail roll forming solutions
  • Machines available with produces up to 200 m/min
  • Offer associated equipment like punching and cutting machines
  • CE, ISO, SGS certification on products

These are just a few of the many China guardrail roll former manufacturers capable of supplying this equipment. When sourcing a guardrail production line, it’s important to select an experienced supplier and evaluate machine quality, capabilities, and cost.

Buying Guide for China Guardrail Roll Forming Machines

Follow this buying guide when purchasing China guardrail roll forming equipment:

  • Determine production needs – Consider required output, line speed, coil width, metal thickness, and profile dimensions. This helps select suitable machine specs.
  • Select reputable manufacturer – Evaluate suppliers based on experience, capabilities, quality control, and certifications.
  • Specify machine configuration – Choose uncoiler type, number of roller stands, punching, shear, and conveyor features to suit output.
  • Request production guidance – Ask manufacturer to provide documentation on proper setup, operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
  • Evaluate options – Compare pricing, lead times, warranty terms, and after-sales support between suppliers.
  • Check credentials – Verify manufacturer qualifications, inspect factory through audit or visit, and request references.
  • Review contract – Carefully check purchase agreement terms related to pricing, delivery, warranties, documentation, training, etc.
  • Arrange shipping – Organize all logistics for securing export procedures, loading, ocean/air transport, customs clearance, and delivery to final site.
  • Test thoroughly – Upon delivery, complete comprehensive testing before accepting the machine to uncover any issues.

Choosing the right China guardrail roll forming equipment supplier and properly specifying the machine configuration is key to getting equipment that meets your production needs, quality standards, and budget.

china guardrail roll forming machine
China Guardrail Roll Forming Machine 5

Accessories for Guardrail Production Lines

To maximize productivity and efficiency, guardrail roll forming machines can be outfitted with additional accessories:

  • Decoilers – Alternate unwinding system to smooth feeding of coil material.
  • Centering devices – Guide strip alignment to prevent meandering.
  • Strip accumulators – Allow uninterrupted production when exchanging coils.
  • Entry guides – Support strip feed into the process.
  • Exit conveyors – Safely collect finished guardrails.
  • Oil mist lubrication – Automatically lubricates rollers/bearings for maintenance.
  • Flying shears – Cut guardrails to length while moving continuously.
  • Stacking systems – Automatically stack cut guardrails.
  • Punching units – For punching bolt connection holes.
  • Hydraulic units – Provide pressure for punching, shear, and other functions.
  • Control systems – PLC, HMI with touchscreen programming recipes.

These accessories help optimize guardrail roll forming production, reduce labor, and improve end product quality.

Applications of Guardrails

Guardrails serve an important protective function alongside highways, bridges, slopes, medians, and other roadsides. Primary applications include:

  • Highway barrier – Prevent vehicles from leaving the roadway and colliding with hazards.
  • Bridge rail – Provide containment on elevated bridges to stop errant vehicles.
  • Traffic separation – Median guardrails to separate directional traffic.
  • Work zone safety – Temporary guardrails to safeguard work areas.
  • Slope protection – Guardrails placed along steep slopes or drops.
  • Tree protection – Shield trees close to traffic from collisions.
  • Property protection – Shield buildings, signs, utility poles, etc. adjacent to roads.

Guardrails are also used throughout parking garages, loading docks, on piers and wharves, lining racetracks, and even on some airport runways. Properly installed guardrail systems absorb kinetic energy and redirect vehicles to prevent serious crashes.

Standards for Guardrails

Installation of guardrails must comply with applicable standards, which vary regionally:

  • USA – AASHTO M180 & AASHTO M30, NCHRP 350
  • Canada – CSA G40.20/G40.21
  • Europe – EN 1317
  • Australia/NZ – AS/NZS 3845
  • United Kingdom – BS 7669 Part 1

These standards establish requirements like:

  • Structural strength
  • Deflection upon impact
  • Vehicle containment and redirection ability
  • Crash test performance criteria
  • Design parameters like height, rail thickness, post spacing

Using qualified guardrail products that meet local standards is critical. The roll forming machine must be capable of producing guardrails sections that are compliant.

Cost Analysis of Guardrails

As with any infrastructure component, cost is an important factor in guardrail selection and installation. Key guardrail cost considerations include:

  • Material costs – Of the metal coil feedstock. Varies based on steel prices, grades used, and section lengths.
  • Production costs – Capital and operating costs associated with roll forming lines. Includes labor, utilities, consumables, maintenance.
  • Logistics costs – Of shipping guardrail components from the manufacturer to installation sites.
  • Installation costs – On site assembly, post driving/placement, splicing of sections, hardware. Depends on labor rates.
  • Maintenance costs – Repairing damage, replacing worn posts/hardware, straightening posts over time.
  • Removal costs – Eventually guardrails may need complete removal and replacement.

Generally, pricing ranges from $35-$55 USD per linear meter of complete guardrail installation. Using cost-effective roll formed guardrails helps minimize material and production costs. Proper installation also lowers long term maintenance fees.


From highways and bridges to loading docks and racetracks, guardrails play an important role in infrastructure safety. Roll forming provides a fast, efficient method to produce the miles of guardrails required for these applications. With their vast manufacturing capabilities, China has become the leading global source for advanced, high-quality guardrail roll forming machines. This equipment allows producers to meet guardrail demands with improved productivity, cost-effectiveness, and consistency compared to other production methods. By selecting a reputable Chinese manufacturer, implementing a complete guardrail production line is now an accessible and affordable solution for new and existing guardrail producers worldwide.

china guardrail roll forming machine
China Guardrail Roll Forming Machine 6


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about guardrail roll forming machines:

What types of coils can be used?

Guardrail roll forming machines are suitable for low carbon steel, HSLA steel, and ASTM A36 steel coils. Common thicknesses are 1.5mm, 2mm, or 2.5mm. Machines can accommodate coil widths from 900-1200mm.

What profiles can they produce?

Most standard machines can produce both W-beam and Thrie-beam guardrails. Some can also produce bullnose, F-shape, and other profiles.

How fast do they operate?

Production speeds typically range from 30-300 meters per minute, depending on machine size, features, and profiles.

What power supply do they require?

Most utilize 3-phase 380V or 415V / 50HZ power. Some smaller machines run on single phase 220V supply.

What maintenance do they need?

Routine maintenance includes lubrication, cleaning, inspection for wear, adjusting/replacing any worn components. Punch and die maintenance is also needed.

What is the approximate cost for guardrail roll forming equipment?

Entry-level machines may start around $20,000. Larger automated lines with added capabilities can range from $60,000 to $150,000.

How can I find reputable China manufacturers?

Check for manufacturers certified to ISO, CE, or other standards. Evaluate their experience, capabilities, customer reviews, services, support, and machine quality.

Are spare parts available for the machines?

Reputable manufacturers can provide spare parts kits and support for any required repairs or maintenance.

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