Overview of Portable Metal Roof Roll Forming Machines
Portable metal roof roll forming machines are equipment used to produce metal roofing panels and related products through an efficient, continuous roll forming process. These machines form metal coil stock into customized panel profiles by progressing the strip through consecutive sets of roller dies. The key advantages of portable roll formers are:
- Flexibility: Portable roll forming equipment can be moved and set up for production at the installation site, providing flexibility compared to fixed in-place machines.
- Efficiency: Roll forming creates finished panels in a continuous process, avoiding inefficient stop-start press forming. Production rates can reach 130 feet per minute.
- Customization: Roll formers use changeable roller dies that can form complex profiles, emboss patterns, and create various edge details on metal roof panels.
- Cost Savings: Portable roll forming avoids costs of transporting bulky panels from the factory to install site. Operators can produce exactly required lengths.
- Quality: Roll formed panels have excellent flatness and dimensional accuracy. The automated process ensures consistency.
Portable roll forming is ideal for producing metal roofing for commercial buildings, residential homes, or industrial sheds in custom lengths on-site. These versatile machines produce roofing, siding, steel studs, decking, purlins, solar panel frames and various architectural cladding profiles.
Main Components of a Portable Metal Roof Roll Forming Machine
A portable roll former comprises of the following components:
- Decoiler: This uncoils and feeds the flat metal coil strip into the roll former. Decoilers with automatic loop control are optimal.
- Feeding Table: This positions and guides the strip for accurate entry into the forming section. Tables may have powered drives.
- Forming Section: The heart of the machine with consecutive roller stations that gradually shape the profile.
- Cutoff Press: Cuts the formed panels to preset lengths or manually using a foot pedal.
- Hydraulic System: Provides power for the presses and controls the precision roller gaps.
- Control Panel: Allows operators to adjust forming parameters and production settings.
- Frame: Supports the components in alignment on a portable chassis. Robust frames prevent vibration.
Types of Portable Roll Forming Machines
Portable roll formers are available in different configurations:
|Standard||Most common type with forming in a horizontal plane|
|Vertical||Forming section rotates to vertical plane, saves space|
|Double Deck||Two independent forming lines increase productivity|
|Custom||Tailored to produce specialized profiles|
Benefits of Using Portable Roll Forming Equipment
Portable roll forming machines offer metal roofing contractors the following advantages:
- Produce panels on-site, eliminating transport costs
- Form profiles exactly matching building dimensions
- Adjust production speeds to match installation rate
- Occupy minimal space when not operating
- Quick set-up and changeover between jobs
- Reduce inventory costs by making needed lengths
- Simplified logistics and operation
- Consistent quality and dimensional accuracy
- Ideal for remote sites with no power infrastructure
Applications and Uses of Portable Roll Formers
Portable metal roof roll forming equipment allows cost-effective on-site production of:
- Standing seam metal roofing
- Vertical seam roofing
- Corrugated roof panels
- 5V Crimp roof panels
- Custom architectural roofing
Siding and Wall Panels
- Corrugated wall cladding
- Multi-rib wall panels
- Textured metal wall siding
- Steel purlins and girts
- Light gauge steel framing
- Steel studs and track
- Floor joists and decking
- Solar panel frames
- Roof curbs and flashings
- Rainware and guttering
- Parapets, fascias and eaves
- Door and window flashing
- Sheet metal gutters
Specifications for Portable Metal Roof Roll Forming Machines
Portable roll forming equipment has the following design and operating specifications:
|Production Speed||50 – 130 feet per minute|
|Metal Coil Width||24 – 36 inches|
|Coil Weight Capacity||Up to 6,000 pounds|
|Formed Profile Height||Up to 8 inches|
|Roller Stations||10 – 20|
|Forming Motors||3 hp to 20 hp|
|Cutoff Press Force||15 to 30 tons|
|Power Source||Electric, diesel generator, or hybrid|
|Voltage||220V, 3-phase or 440V|
|Floor Space||16 ft x 10 ft operational|
|Weight||8,000 – 12,000 pounds|
The number of roller stations, motor power, and press tonnage are matched to suit production volume and metal thickness requirements. Popular options include automated loop controls, powered decoiler mandrels, and wireless mobile controls.
Design and Engineering Standards
Portable roll formers are designed as per the following standards:
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standards for fabrication of pressure vessels, guards, controls, and hydraulics.
- American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) for robust structural steel fabrication.
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety standards.
- National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) for electrical components and enclosures.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) machine safety regulations.
- American Welding Society (AWS) standards for qualified welding procedures.
Reputable manufacturers also use 3D modeling software and finite element analysis to optimize the machine design. Rigorous quality control testing is conducted before shipment.
Suppliers and Pricing
There are many equipment manufacturers that supply portable roll forming machines. Here are some of the leading suppliers and approximate price ranges:
|Rollformer Corporation||Indiana, USA||$65,000 to $150,000|
|Formtek Group||Ontario, Canada||$55,000 to $125,000|
|Shanghai Metal Corporation||Shanghai, China||$45,000 to $100,000|
|ZFontaine Machinery||Hebei, China||$40,000 to $90,000|
|Kingsland Engineering||Staffordshire, UK||$70,000 to $140,000|
Pricing depends on production speed, profile size, added features, and customization. Imported budget machines from China start around $40,000 while heavy duty US-made roll formers range up to $150,000. Leasing options are also available to lower initial costs.
Operation and Maintenance
Proper operation and preventative maintenance ensures the long-term productivity of a portable metal roof roll forming machine:
- Clean oil filters and inspect hydraulics routinely.
- Lubricate bearings, gears, chains and rollers.
- Check electrics, controls, sensors periodically.
- Monitor chains and sprockets for wear.
- Verify roller gap spacing regularly.
- Repair or realign any damaged or worn components.
- Keep forming sections free of dirt and metal dust.
- Test and calibrate control instrumentation annually.
Maintenance schedules, operator manuals, and parts lists should be provided by the manufacturer. Taking correct precautions maximizes production uptime.
Installation and Set-Up
Portable roll formers need proper planning for site installation:
- Pour concrete foundations or use thick wooden blocks. Anchor securely.
- Position centrally for optimal material flow.
- Ensure adequate space around for coil loading and panel offloading.
- Have electricians install suitable power supply and outlets.
- Protect electrical panels from water exposure.
- Use shims and jacks to level the machine fully.
- Connect hydraulic hoses and fill reservoir.
- Install cable and service connections via conduits.
- Trial run initially and fine tune forming adjustments.
- Keep spare consumables like knives, bearings, and filters.
The machine supplier will provide complete guidelines for preparing the site infrastructure and utilities. Proper installation ensures smooth commissioning and training.
How to Select a Suitable Portable Roll Forming Machine Supplier
When selecting a supplier for portable roll forming equipment, keep these tips in mind:
- Choose an established company with years of experience.
- Look for manufacturers not just dealers or middlemen.
- Evaluate their specialization in roll forming machines.
- Consider supplier’s industry reputation and client reviews.
- Assess the engineering quality and ruggedness.
- Examine backup service support and responsiveness.
- Review control software and ease of operation.
- Understand delivery time, shipping terms and lead time.
- Request references and inspect operational machines in person.
- Compare pricing and payment terms of various suppliers.
- Verify quality assurance procedures and ISO certifications.
- Check if customized features or enhancements are possible.
Choosing the right supplier is key to getting a high-performance roll former matching your production needs and budget.
Pros and Cons of Portable Roll Forming Machines
Portable roll forming equipment has the following advantages:
- Flexible on-site production
- Reduces material handling
- Fast set-up and operation
- Lower operating costs
- Consistent quality panels
- Minimal inventory requirements
- Ideal for remote locations
- Produces complex custom profiles
- Efficient, continuous process
- Large initial capital investment
- Requires trained operators
- Limited thickness and width capacity
- Periodic roller die changeover
- Large machine footprint when operational
- Subject to dust and outdoor conditions
- May require peripheral equipment
- Service, maintenance can be challenging
Limitations and Challenges of Portable Roll Forming
Despite many benefits, portable roll formers also have certain limitations users should be aware of:
- Limited to thinner gauge metals below 16 gauge, about 0.060 inches thickness. Heavier plates require fixed machines.
- Maximum coil width that can be handled is around 36 inches depending on machine capacity.
- Switching between different profiles may require roll change.
- Profiles requiring reverse bends or high tolerances may be problematic.
- May need additional supporting equipment for loading, offloading etc.
- Requires protection from rain and dust at outdoor job sites.
- Exposed electrical parts risk short circuits in wet conditions.
- Oil spills, metal scrap debris need to be managed.
- Sourcing suitable power supply at remote locations.
- Transporting and mobilizing heavy machine frequently.
- Storing and moving large coil inventory.
- Securing formed panels and preventing theft.
Q: What safety precautions are needed when operating a portable roll former?
Protective guarding, emergency stops, and lockout tagout procedures are essential. Require PPE like gloves, eye protection, and hearing protection. Ensure adequate lighting. Keep other workers away from machine during operation.
Q: How much roofing can a portable roll former produce daily?
Output depends on machine speed, operator skill, and job specifics. Typical production ranges from 500 to 2000 linear feet per 8-hour shift.
Q: Can a portable roll former make tapered roofing panels?
Yes, using a degrading die system that incrementally reduces panel height from one end to the other. Useful for sloped roofs.
Q: What skills are needed to operate a portable roll former?
Machine operators need basic mechanical aptitude, attention to detail, ability to interpret drawings, and proper training from the manufacturer.
Q: What gauge metal coils can portable roll formers process?
They can form steel coils from 18 ga to 28 ga (0.040” to 0.015” thickness). Heavier coils require more horsepower.
Q: How long does it take to set up a portable roll former on site?
With preparations complete, portable roll formers can start production within 2-3 days. Proper planning minimizes delays.
Q: Can one portable machine make different roofing profiles?
Yes, with quick die changeovers. But dedicated machines are better suited for mass production of the same profile.
Q: What is the warranty period for portable metal roof roll formers?
Standard warranty from most manufacturers is 12 months. Extensions up to 3 years are available.
Q: What is the recommended maintenance schedule?
- Daily: visual inspection, cleanliness
- Weekly: lubrication, bolt tightening
- Monthly: hydraulic system, electrics
- Annual: sensors, full calibration
Q: What are common problems or breakdowns?
Issues include: worn dies, belt breakage, bearing failures, poor lubrication, hydraulic leaks, loose fasteners, electrical malfunctions. Staying on top of maintenance minimizes breakdowns.
Q: How much does a portable metal roof roll forming machine cost?
Roll former prices start around $40,000 for a basic machine ranging up to $150,000 or more for high-end, heavy-duty equipment with extra features.
Q: Is it better to buy or lease a portable roll forming machine?
Leasing can make sense for short term needs to conserve capital and upgrade equipment faster. Buying has lower monthly costs and is better for long term usage.
Q: Are portable roll formers cost effective compared to site assemblies?
Roll forming on-site is 20-30% cheaper than transporting assembled panels or operating from a fixed factory location.
Q: Can one operator manage the entire portable roll forming operation?
For optimal efficiency, have dedicated operators for decoiler, forming, cutoff, and offloading. But one skilled operator can handle the entire process.
Q: How long does it take to change roller dies to form a different profile?
With some experience, a die changeover takes 30 minutes to 1 hour. Quick die change allows easy product switching.
In summary, portable roll forming machines provide metal roofing installers with flexible, cost-effective equipment to produce panels on-site with speed, efficiency, and quality. When selected and maintained properly, portable roll formers deliver significant benefits for contractors.