Choosing a Pipe Roll Forming Machine Supplier

Pipe roll forming machines are an efficient and cost-effective way to manufacture pipes and tubes from sheet or coil metal. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about pipe roll forming machine types, components, specifications, applications, operation, maintenance and more.

Overview of Pipe Roll Forming Machines

Roll forming is a continuous bending process that forms sheet metal into cylindrical or tubular cross-sections by progressively bending the workpiece through a series of roll stations. Pipe roll forming machines consist of a decoiler, pre-roller straightener, roller dies, post-forming stations and a cutoff press assembled in a continuous production line.

The sheet or coil is fed through the rolling dies at each station to incrementally bend the material into the desired tubular shape. Each roller die makes a small bend until the full profile is formed. Rollers can form a variety of round, rectangular or shaped metal tubes.

Key benefits of pipe roll forming include:

  • High production speeds up to 100 ft/min
  • Consistent quality and precision with roller die forming
  • Flexibility to form different sizes and material gauges
  • Cost efficiency for long production runs

Pipe roll forming is ideal for producing cylindrical tubes, pipes, hollow sections, panels and enclosures in medium to high volumes from metals like steel, aluminum and copper.

Table 1. Overview of Pipe Roll Forming Machines

ParametersDetails
PrincipleIncremental bending of sheet/coil through roller dies
MaterialsSteel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, alloys
StockSheet, coil
CapacityUp to 3 mm thickness, 1000 mm width
Production ratesUp to 100 ft/min
Cross-sectionsRound, rectangular, shaped
Key advantagesHigh speeds, flexibility, precision, efficiency
ApplicationsPipes, tubes, panels, enclosures
pipe roll forming machine
Choosing a Pipe Roll Forming Machine Supplier 4

Types of Pipe Roll Forming Machines

There are two main categories of pipe roll forming equipment:

Standard Fixed Size Machines

  • Produce single diameter pipes and tubes
  • Limited flexibility but simpler design
  • Lower cost for high volume runs

Adjustable or Universal Machines

  • Capable of producing multiple pipe diameters
  • Rollers and guides adjustable to change size
  • Computerized controls for fast diameter changes
  • Higher initial cost but greater flexibility

Table 2. Types of Pipe Roll Forming Machines

Machine TypeDetails
Fixed SizeFor single diameter pipes <br> Lower cost, simpler design
Adjustable UniversalMultiple diameters possible <br> Adjustable rollers and guides <br> Computerized size changeover

Components of Pipe Roll Forming Lines

A typical pipe roll forming system consists of the following elements:

  • Decoiler to hold and feed the sheet or coil stock
  • Pre-roller straightener to flatten and level the strip
  • Accumulator for constant tension buffering
  • Roller stations with male and female rolling dies
  • Forming guides to support shape during bending
  • Post-forming section for calibration and sizing
  • Cutoff press to cut pipes to length
  • Exit conveyor for finished products

Modern adjustable pipe roll forming lines have servo motor drives, PLC controls and HMI touchscreens to control the process and allow fast diameter changeover.

Table 3. Main Components of a Pipe Roll Forming Line

ComponentPurpose
DecoilerHolds and feeds the coil/sheet stock
Pre-roller straightenerRemoves coil curvature
AccumulatorMaintains constant material tension
Rolling stationsBending dies to form profile progressively
Forming guidesSupport the shape during bending
Post-forming sectionCalibration and sizing
Cutoff pressCuts pipes to length
Exit conveyorTransports finished pipes

Pipe Roll Forming Machine Specifications

The main specifications to consider for pipe roll forming equipment include:

Rolling Capacity

  • Maximum strip width – Up to 1000 mm
  • Material thickness – Up to 3 mm gauge
  • Minimum/maximum diameters – 50 mm to 300 mm typical

Production Speed

  • Speed range – 10 to 100 ft/min
  • Depends on material type and thickness

Drives and Controls

  • Servo or geared motors on each station
  • PLC logic controls with HMI operator interface
  • Allows programming of different forming recipes

Roller Design

  • Typical 2-3 top rollers, 2-3 bottom rollers per station
  • Hardened tool steel or aluminum bronze material
  • Quick changeover roller cassettes for flexibility

Floor Space

  • Length – 15 to 30 feet typical
  • Width – 6 to 8 feet for main roll forming section

Detailed machine technical specifications should be obtained from the equipment manufacturer. Custom engineering is available for special pipe sizes.

Table 4. Typical Specifications of Pipe Roll Forming Machines

ParameterTypical Range
Maximum Strip WidthUp to 1000 mm
Material ThicknessUp to 3 mm
Diameter Range50 to 300 mm
Production Speed10 – 100 ft/min
DrivesServo or geared motors
ControlsPLC with HMI
Roller Stations2-3 top, 2-3 bottom rollers
Roller MaterialsTool steel or aluminum bronze
Floor Space15 – 30 ft (L) x 6-8 ft (W)

Applications and Use Cases

Pipe roll forming allows efficient production of cylindrical tubing across many industries and applications:

Manufacturing and Fabrication

  • Structural tubes for construction, furniture, transportation
  • Hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders, axles
  • Exhaust pipes and tubing
  • Medical equipment parts like oxygen cylinders

HVAC and Plumbing

  • Hot and cold water pipes
  • Drain, waste and vent pipes
  • Air conditioning linesets
  • Refrigeration piping

Industrial Equipment

  • Process pipe systems
  • Material handling systems like conveyors
  • Towers, tanks, boilers, heat exchangers
  • Mining and oil/gas piping

Automotive and Transportation

  • Frames, roof bows, bumpers
  • Fuel, brake and hydraulic lines
  • Wheels, axles, struts, mufflers

Pipe roll forming allows rapid customization of pipe geometries for prototypes or low volume production.

Table 5. Applications and Use Cases for Pipe Roll Forming

IndustryTypical Applications
ManufacturingStructural tubes, cylinders, exhausts
HVAC and PlumbingWater pipes, drains, AC linesets
Industrial EquipmentProcess pipes, material handling, towers
AutomotiveFrames, fuel lines, axles, wheels
pipe roll forming machine
Choosing a Pipe Roll Forming Machine Supplier 5

Choosing a Pipe Roll Forming Machine Supplier

Key factors to consider when selecting a pipe roll forming machine vendor include:

  • Experience – Look for an established company with proven roll forming expertise.
  • Customization – Supplier should offer customized engineering of roll sets for your product pipe sizes.
  • Quality – Manufacturer should use precision machining and quality materials in roller fabrication.
  • Controls – Modern PLC controls and servo drives provide accuracy and recipe flexibility.
  • Training – Vendor should offer operator training for proper machine setup and maintenance.
  • Service – Look for full service support including maintenance contracts and spare parts supply.
  • Cost – Compare pricing of different vendors, but also consider experience, quality and services.
  • Delivery – Manufacturer should provide reliable lead times for roll tooling design/build and machine installation.

Getting references from past clients and visiting the manufacturer’s production facility is recommended during supplier selection.

Table 6. Guidelines for Choosing a Roll Forming Machine Supplier

ParameterRecommendations
ExperienceSelect an experienced roll forming specialist
CustomizationOffer custom roll tool engineering
QualityUse precision machined quality components
ControlsLatest PLC controls and servo drives
TrainingProvide operator training
ServiceOffer maintenance support and spare parts
CostCompare pricing but consider value too
DeliveryReliable lead times for design, build, delivery

Installing and Operating Pipe Roll Forming Machines

Proper installation and operation is key to maximizing production output and quality from a pipe roll forming system. Here are some best practices:

  • Perform acceptance testing and inspection on delivery before taking ownership
  • Allow manufacturer technicians to handle machine installation and commissioning
  • Ensure sufficient space around the equipment for coil loading and pipe offloading
  • Level the machine properly and bolt it down to avoid vibration issues
  • Connect electric power, pneumatics and machine controls as specified
  • Load tooling, guides and rolls per the forming recipes
  • Execute test runs and trial production batches to confirm performance
  • Only properly trained staff should operate the roll forming line
  • Follow all safety procedures and wear protective gear during operation
  • Conduct preventive maintenance and checks per the manual to maximize uptime
  • Schedule regular roller maintenance and replacement based on running hours
  • Keep the area clean and free of oil spills to prevent slip hazards

Adhering to the manufacturer’s operating manual is critical for safe, optimal pipe roll forming results.

Table 7. Pipe Roll Forming Machine Installation and Operation Guidelines

TaskProcedure
Acceptance TestingInspect machine thoroughly on delivery
InstallationAllow manufacturer’s technicians to install
SpaceEnsure sufficient room around machine
LevelingLevel and bolt down machine properly
ConnectionsConnect electric, pneumatic, controls
ToolingLoad correct tooling per setup sheets
Trial RunsTest run machine and validate performance
OperationAllow only trained staff to operate
SafetyFollow all safety procedures
MaintenancePerform preventive maintenance per schedule
RollsSchedule roller replacement based on run hours
HousekeepingKeep area clean and free of slip hazards

Maintenance of Pipe Roll Forming Equipment

Regular preventive maintenance is required to keep a pipe roll forming machine running at optimal performance. Key maintenance activities include:

Daily Checks

  • Clean the line and inspect for oil leaks
  • Confirm proper hydraulic fluid levels
  • Check coil payoff and pipe cutoff operations
  • Verify electrical cabinets are clean and fans functional

Roller Inspection

  • Check rollers for wear using gauge blocks or feeler strips
  • Replace worn rollers to prevent scratching or marking
  • Lubricate bearings and inspect for noise/looseness

Drive Maintenance

  • Grease motor bearings and inspect couplings
  • Check belt tension and pulley alignment
  • Verify proper gearbox lubricant levels

Control Panel

  • Clean cabinet and inspect wire connections
  • Check PLC battery and I/O module status
  • Verify HMI screen and touch functions

Safety Systems

  • Test emergency stop buttons and door interlocks
  • Inspect guards and safety devices
  • Confirm light curtains and pull cords are functional

Documentation of all maintenance work is recommended. Major overhauls should be scheduled yearly.

Table 8. Recommended Maintenance Tasks for Pipe Roll Forming Machines

FrequencyMaintenance Tasks
DailyClean line, inspect leaks, fluid checks
WeeklyRoller inspection and lubrication
MonthlyMotor/drive maintenance
QuarterlyControl panel and safety checks
YearlyMajor overhaul and service

Pipe Roll Forming Troubleshooting

Some common issues that may arise with pipe roll forming machines include:

Pipe Shape Defects

  • Adjust rollers for proper bend angle and distance
  • Check forming guides are aligned and in position
  • Increase post-forming calibration if walls are wavy

Scratched/Marked Surface

  • Replace worn rollers
  • Ensure proper roller lubrication
  • Adjust rollers engaging too tightly

Roller Wear or Damage

  • Replace damaged rolls immediately
  • Avoid overheating from friction – use lubricant
  • Ensure proper hardness and surface finish

Strip Tension Problems

  • Check decoiler brake is applying right tension
  • Confirm accumulator is moving smoothly
  • Increase/decrease pressure on hold-down rolls

Hole Punch or Cutoff Issues

  • Adjust punch depth stroke and straighten die
  • Replace worn/chipped punches and dies
  • Check shear blade clearance and sharpness

Consult the equipment manual and manufacturer if errors persist. Prompt troubleshooting helps maximize uptime.

Table 9. Pipe Roll Forming Machine Troubleshooting Guidelines

IssuePotential Causes
Shape defectsIncorrect roll angles, guides, calibration
Scratched surfaceWorn or incorrectly set rollers
Roller damageOverheating, incorrect hardness
Tension problemsDecoiler brake, accumulator, hold downs
Hole punch / cutoff issuesWorn or misaligned tooling

Advantages and Limitations of Pipe Roll Forming

Some key advantages of pipe roll forming machines:

  • High productivity – Up to 100 ft/min production rates
  • Flexibility – Quick changeover between diameters
  • Consistency – Precise repeatable forming quality
  • Efficiency – Cost effective for medium to high volumes
  • Simplicity – Compact equipment with user-friendly controls
  • Material savings – Low scrap rates compared to welding

Limitations to consider:

  • High initial cost – Large equipment investment required
  • Fixed diameters – Frequent size changes not optimal
  • Thicker materials – Limited to around 3 mm thickness
  • Short pipe lengths – Max length of 20-25 feet typically

For low to medium production runs, alternate methods like pipe bending machines may be more suitable. The cross-section shapes are also restricted to round or simple profiles.

Table 10. Comparison of Pipe Roll Forming Advantages and Limitations

AdvantagesLimitations
High production ratesSubstantial initial cost
Flexibility in diametersFrequent size changes not ideal
Consistent qualityMax 3 mm material thickness
Cost efficiency in medium+ volumesLimited to shorter pipe lengths

Pipe Roll Forming Machine Costs

Pipe roll forming equipment represents a major capital investment. Here are some typical cost factors:

  • Fixed vs. Adjustable – Fixed size machines start around $75,000. Adjustable universal machines start around $150,000.
  • Production Rate – Maximum production speed impacts cost. 100 ft/min systems are 2X the cost of 50 ft/min systems.
  • Line Length – More roller stations and features increase length and cost.
  • Customization – Special pipe sizes or added automation increases cost.
  • Brand Reputation – Leading manufacturers like Formtek, Samco, Meteor charge higher prices.
  • Location – Prices vary by region due to shipping, import duties, etc.

Many suppliers also offer refurbished or used pipe roll forming equipment at 30-50% lower cost for budget buyers. Leasing options are also available to spread out payments over time.

Table 11. Pipe Roll Forming Equipment Cost Considerations

FactorTypical Price Impact
Fixed vs. AdjustableFixed: $75k+. Adjustable: $150k+
Production Speed2X cost for 2X max speed
Line LengthMore stations and features increase cost
CustomizationSpecial sizes or automation add cost
Brand ReputationLeading brands charge higher prices
LocationCosts vary by region for shipping, duties, etc.
pipe roll forming machine
Choosing a Pipe Roll Forming Machine Supplier 6

Pipe Roll Forming Machine Manufacturers

Some leading global manufacturers of pipe roll forming equipment include:

  • Formtek – USA. Offers Maxibend adjustable roll forming lines.
  • Samco Machinery – Canada. Supplies adjustable and custom roll formers.
  • Meteor Roll Forming – Italy. Specializes in high speed roll forming.
  • Shanghai Rollforming – China. Budget roll forming lines and components.
  • Jupiter Rollforming – India. Roll forming machines for a range of sections.
  • Curto Roll – Spain. European engineering and quality standards.

End users should evaluate suppliers based on experience, customization capabilities, cost and delivery timelines.

Table 12. Major Pipe Roll Forming Equipment Manufacturers

CompanyDescription
FormtekUSA – Maxibend adjustable roll forming lines
Samco MachineryCanada – Adjustable and custom roll forming
Meteor Roll FormingItaly – High speed roll forming equipment
Shanghai RollformingChina – Budget roll forming lines and components
Jupiter RollformingIndia – Machines for various structural sections
Curto RollSpain – European engineering standards

Pipe Roll Forming Machine FAQs

Q: What size pipes can be formed on roll forming machines?

A: Typical size range is 50 mm to 300 mm diameter and up to 3 mm thickness. Custom roll sets can produce larger or smaller special sizes.

Q: How long does it take to changeover to a different pipe diameter?

A: On adjustable universal machines with quick change roll cassettes, size changeover takes 15-30 minutes typically.

Q: What materials can be roll formed into pipes?

A: Most common materials are steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and their alloys. Softer metals and plastics can sometimes also be roll formed with specialized tooling.

Q: How are the formed pipes cut to length?

A: A saw cutoff press or flying shear is typically integrated at the exit end to cut the continuously formed pipes into specified lengths.

Q: Does pipe roll forming involve any welding?

A: Welding is not required in the forming process itself. But seam welding can be added in-line for producing continuous spiral welded tubes.

Q: How does roll formed pipe quality compare to seam welded pipe?

A: Roll forming produces very uniform wall thickness and mechanical properties along the length with smooth inside and outside surfaces. Seam welded pipe quality depends on the welding process used.

Q: What factors affect the production speed of a roll forming machine?

A: The maximum speed is dictated by material thickness, yield strength, diameter, number of rolling stations, and motor power. Thinner and smaller diameters can be formed faster.

Q: How loud are pipe roll forming machines?

A: Noise levels are typically around 80-85 decibels near the equipment. Sound enclosures or noise barriers are recommended for operator safety and comfort.

Q: Does pipe roll forming require secondary finishing operations?

A: Minimal finishing is needed since the process produces smooth surfaces. Deburring, edge trimming, or end flaring may be required depending on the application.

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