The construction industry relies heavily on roll forming machines to create structural framing and exterior wall panels. Roll forming technology allows contractors to rapidly produce straight or curved panels from coil strips of sheet metal in a continuous and economical process. This article will examine how panel roll forming systems have become indispensable tools for the modern construction trade.
An Overview of Panel Roll Forming Machines
A panel roll forming machine takes a flat strip of sheet metal and passes it through a series of rolling stations. Each rolling station progressively forms the sheet until the desired panel profile is achieved. Common panel shapes produced include wall studs, roofing panels, siding, steel joists, and more.
The roll forming line consists of a coil car where the sheet coil is loaded, a decoiler to feed the strip into the roll formers, a straightener to remove coil curvature, a series of roll stations, a cutoff station to shear panels to length, and a stacker to neatly arrange the finished panels.
Panel roll formers can be quite large with over 100 feet of rolling stations. The newest machines are equipped with servo motor drives rather than line shafts, making speed changes and setups easier. Advanced units also integrate inline punching and embossing for extra forming operations.
Benefits of Panel Roll Forming
There are many advantages to using panel roll forming machines versus other metal building product manufacturing methods:
High Production Speeds – Roll formers can produce panels at speeds over 500 feet per minute. This fast throughput allows contractors to quickly acquire the panels required for their projects.
Material and Labor Savings – Roll forming generates less scrap waste compared to stamping or brake forming. The automated process requires fewer workers to operate. Overall material and labor costs are reduced.
Consistency – Roll formed panels have precise dimensions and quality since they are formed by standardized machine calibration. This consistency leads to easier assembly in the field.
Flexibility – One roll forming line can produce various panel profiles by changing out a few roll dies. Quick profile changes let manufacturers switch between different product runs efficiently.
Scalability – Roll lines can be designed in different lengths to suit production needs. A shorter machine may suffice for a small operation, while a mega-sized unit can handle huge volumes for major contractors and OEMs.
Key Roll Formed Building Products
Panel roll forming machines create all kinds of products for building construction and enclosure:
The vertical framing members in walls are often produced via roll forming. Studs have an open web design with L-flanges to provide strength and stability while minimizing weight. Forming studs on a roll former is fast and economical compared to brake pressing.
Many roof systems utilize ribbed metal panels formed on a roll former. The raised ribs in the panels add stiffness to support loads. Roof panels can have exposed fastener or standing seam edges. Popular materials include galvanized steel, aluminum, and copper.
Roll formed aluminum and steel siding panels provide weatherproofing and aesthetics for exterior building walls. Modern insulated metal siding creates an energy efficient building envelope. The roll forming process ensures strong and straight siding panels.
Steel joists are lightweight open web truss framing members commonly used in floors and roofs. Roll forming lines efficiently shape the angled top and bottom chords joined by diagonal web bars. Joists provide strength while minimizing mass.
Metal Stud Drywall Framing
Drywall partition walls need quick and easy framing. Roll formed steel studs with staggered punch-outs fit standard wall heights. The punch-outs allow for electrical and plumbing line passages down the wall cavity.
The Roll Forming Process
The stages in the panel roll forming process consist of decoiling, entering, rolling, exit forming, cutting, and stacking:
Decoiling – The flat sheet coil is loaded onto a powered unwind reel called a decoiler. The decoiler feeds the strip into the roll former at a consistent speed.
Entering – The sheet enters a series of powered straightening rolls to remove any residual curvature from being coiled. Next are a few pre-forming rolls to start gradual bends.
Rolling – In the main rolling section, the sheet sequentially passes through contoured roll stations. Each set of rolls makes incremental bends until the final profile is complete.
Exit forming – End forming rolls finalize the panel shape and correct any bowing from previous stations. Punches or embossing units can also be integrated near the exit.
Cutting – A flying cutoff shear or rotary shear cuts panels to specified lengths as they exit the last station.
Stacking – Conveyors neatly stack finished panels for easy bundling and shipment. Automated count markers can tally pieces for order fulfillment.
Roll Forming Advantages Over Other Manufacturing Methods
Roll forming provides some distinct advantages over other sheet metal processing alternatives like stamping or brake forming:
- Lower Tooling Costs – Only roll dies are needed instead of a full stamping die set. Roll tooling is simpler and cheaper.
- Higher Material Utilization – Roll forming generates less scrap waste since it’s a continuous process with near net shaping. Stamping can have over 50% scrap rates.
- Greater Flexibility – Roll lines can produce various profiles by changing roll dies. Stamping dies are fixed to one profile per die set.
- Lower Energy Use – Roll forming consumes less energy than stamping presses which require immense tonnage for forming.
- Safer Operation – Roll forming equipment has powered guards and safety circuits. Stamping presses expose workers to point-of-operation hazards.
For low to medium production volumes, roll forming is generally the most efficient and economical panel manufacturing method. The flexibility and lower tooling costs are ideal for contractors and smaller OEMs.
Typical Roll Forming Machine Components
A panel roll forming line contains a number of key components and systems:
- Uncoiler – Feeds sheet coil strip into the roll former
- Straightener – Aligns strip and removes coil bow
- Roll stations – Many stands with contoured rolls that progressively form the panel
- Punching/Embossing units – Can be integrated for additional features
- Shear – Cuts panels to length at the discharge end
- Stacker – Neatly stacks finished panels into bundles
- Entry guides – Support and align the strip entering the roll stations
- Exit guides – Support and guide panels leaving the last station
- Drives – Usually servo motors linked to gearboxes driving the rolls
- Controls – PLCs and an HMI screen to control and monitor the machine
- Guarding – Safety guards with electromechanical interlocks
Proper design, machine calibration, and maintenance of these components ensure optimal roll forming results and efficiency.
Panel Roll Forming Allows for Complex Shapes
With multiple roll stations working in sequence, panel roll formers can create quite complex cross-sectional shapes. Some examples of intricate profiles produced include:
- Rack post pickets for warehouse pallet racks
- Formed steel I-beams for heavy load support
- Corrugated panels for architectural facades
- Trapezoidal decking for mezzanine platforms
- C-channel sections for conveyor framing
- Curved theater wall panels
- Standing seam roofing with an integral clip hem
- Highway noise barrier panels
The flexibility of shaping the strip gradually through many rolls allows the creation of panel shapes too complex for other processes like stamping or brake forming.
Efficient Roll Tooling Changes
To minimize production downtime, most panel roll forming machines allow quick roll set changes to switch profiles. Typical changeover steps include:
- Clear machine of any coil strips
- Remove apron boards around roll stations
- Loosen roll shafts and slide old rolls out
- Insert new profile rolls in proper sequence
- Adjust roll spacings with shims
- Tighten roll shafts and replace apron boards
- Thread new coil strip through machine
- Test run to validate new profile and make any tweaks
With practice, most profile changes can be completed in under an hour. Some quick-change machines reduce this to under 10 minutes.
Quick roll changes let manufacturers meet incoming orders of varying panel types instead of dedicating long runs to one profile. Frequent tooling changes provide more flexibility.
Roll Forming of Curved Panels
In addition to straight panels, panel roll forming lines can also produce curved panels by contouring rolls on a bend to the desired radius.
Curved panels have applications such as:
- Cylindrical grain silo walls
- Circular conveyor surrounds
- Domed building roofs
- Pipe elbow fitting sections
- Tubular bicycle frames
- rounded ducting
- Tank heads
A common method is bump forming where multiple bump rolls progressively shape the curve. Alternately, sweep forming uses a curved rotating mandrel.
Integration of Secondary Operations
Beyond just shaping the profile, many panel roll forming machines integrate secondary processing inline such as:
Punching – Punch and die sets can punch holes for fasteners, electrical outlets, duct openings, windows, etc. This avoids a separate punching step.
Embossing – Text, logos, and decorative patterns can be embossed into the panels.
Heat treating – Heating stations may apply localized heat tempering for panel strength.
Roll welding – Special welder rolls can spot weld sheets together along the process line.
Web holes – Punches can create web holes in open web sections for weight reduction.
Slotting – Narrow slot punches form openings easier than drilling.
Clinching – Mechanical clinching can connect overlaid sheets through the process.
Hems – Hemming rolls can fold panel edges for added thickness.
Tabs & slots – Tabs punched in sheets increase rigidity when inserted into slots.
Integrating secondary processing with the roll forming reduces total production time. Punched holes can also serve as fastener locations for assembly.
Roll Forming of Sandwich Panels
Sandwich or double skin panels with an insulating foam core provide excellent thermal efficiency for walls and roofs. Special roll forming mills can shape the inner and outer metal skins while also injecting the foam between them in a continuous process.
First, the two sheet strips are separately formed to their profiles. Next, the foam is dispensed between the strips as they are pressed together through contouring rolls. The foam then cures and adheres to the metal skins.
Sandwich panel roll forming makes high-R insulation panels with integrated vapor barriers in one production line.
Roll Forming Wide Panels and Curtain Wall Sections
Narrow coil strips limit standard roll formed panels to around 4 feet in width. However, wider architectural panels are possible through tandem and multi-stage roll forming processes.
In tandem roll forming, two or more coils are fed side-by-side into separate sets of rolls that work in synchronized stages. The strips are gradually shaped and then pressed together along their edges for bonding.
In multi-stage roll forming, successive stands shape the panel across its full width. The strip progresses through multiple stands similar to a tandem mill arrangement.
These methods allow architectural curtain wall panels up to 13 feet wide for large airport and stadium facades.
Roll Forming Aluminum Building Products
While steel is the most common material for roll formed building components, aluminum is also routinely shaped into structural and architectural products.
Advantages of aluminum roll forming include:
- Lightweight for reduced handling costs and dead loads
- Corrosion resistant for low maintenance
- Soft alloy is easier to form without cracking
- Attractive surface for decoration
Some typical aluminum roll formed building items are:
- Wall and roofing panels
- Siding and gutters
- Door and window frames
- Structural studs
- Prefabricated shelters
Roll formed aluminum costs more than steel but provides benefits of weather resistance and light weight.
The Future of Roll Forming in Construction
Panel roll forming will continue expanding its applications in the building sector as technology improves. Some future trends include:
- Wider and larger panels for taller structures
- Incorporation of photovoltaic films
- Higher strength alloys for increased spans
- Automated production with artificial intelligence
- Hybrid composite panels with non-metal skins
- Just-in-time delivery to job sites
- Increased modular building prefabrication
With an efficient and scalable process, roll forming will help the construction industry meet demands for complex and sustainable building designs. Contractors will continue benefitting from fast and economical sourcing of high quality panels.
Common Roll Formed Building Product Applications
Roll formed components serve many applications in building construction. Here are some of the most common uses of products from panel roll formers:
Wall Framing Studs
The standard studs used for framing interior partition walls and external load bearing walls are frequently cold rolled. Steel studs with punched web holes can be rapidly roll formed for wall systems on multiple floors of high-rise structures.
Architectural standing seam metal roofs utilize curved panels formed on a roll former. The ribs or seams provide weather tightness. Roofing can have exposed or concealed fasteners. Copper, steel, and aluminum are popular roll formed roofing materials.
Wall and Soffit Siding
For home exteriors, colored aluminum and galvanized steel siding offers maintenance free weather protection. Horizontal siding panels interlock together. Soffits around overhangs are often roll formed panels as well. Insulated metal sidings improve energy efficiency.
Steel Stud Drywall Framing
Roll formed steel studs with staggered punch-outs fit standard wall heights and make framing interior drywall walls faster. The punch-outs allow passage for electrical and plumbing lines down the wall cavity. Drywall screws fasten to the metal stud flanges.
Structural Steel Joists and Purlins
Open web steel joists save weight and material versus solid web beams. Joists are commonly used for floor and roof framing. Purlins support roof loads between main rafters. Both joists and purlins are efficiently mass produced by roll forming.
Warehousing Pallet Racking
Storage rack systems use extremely strong columns and bracing to hold stock pallets. Rack posts and frames are often roll formed with angled flanges and slots for boltless connections between components. Rack roll forming maximizes strength from thinner gauge steel.
C- and Z-Purlins for Metal Buildings
Purlins support roofing and siding loads between the main I-beam frames in pre-engineered metal structures. Cee- and Zee- shaped purlins provide greater rigidity than flat members. The angled web offers torsional resistance against wind loads.
Door and Window Frames
Roll formed door jambs and window frames save time versus assembling components. Frames can have nailing flanges or J-channel molding already formed. Roll formed frames simplify installation with pre-punched hardware holes as well.
Conveyor Guard Rails
Along the sides of elevated conveyors in warehouses, C-channel railing frames provide fall protection. The tubular shape lends strength while minimizing mass. Conveyor rails are commonly roll formed for economical production.
Highway Sound Barrier Walls
Noise abatement along highways utilizes tall metal walls between the roadway and homes. These sound dampening barriers have sinusoidal, trapezoidal, or rounded profiles from roll formers to improve acoustic performance.
Roll Forming Advantages for the Construction Industry
Why has roll forming become the dominant manufacturing process for metal building products? What unique benefits does the technology offer to construction firms?
Fast Production Speeds
The swift continuous throughput of roll forming lines allows contractors to rapidly acquire the panels required for their projects. With forming rates over 500 feet per minute, a coil can be processed into finished panels and on a truck ready for delivery in under an hour. Speed to completion is a major advantage of roll forming.
Lower Production Costs
Roll forming machines involve significantly less capital investment than large stamping presses and associated die sets. The simpler tooling plus efficient material usage means lower overall part costs. These savings allow contractors to stick to tight budgets for supplies.
Greater Material and Profile Flexibility
With roll forming, various metals, alloys, and gauges can be shaped by changing a few tooling components. Different panel profiles can be formed on the same line just by switching roll dies. This flexibility in materials and geometries is a key benefit versus stamping or brake presses fixed to certain metals and dies.
Consistent Panel Quality and Dimensions
The consistency achieved through roll forming leads to building components that assemble together smoothly on the job site. Since each panel is formed identically by machine calibration, fit-up problems are eliminated. This precision saves contractors labor time and headaches during erection.
Scalability for Small Runs or Mass Production
A major advantage over other building panel manufacturing methods is how roll forming lines can be flexibly scaled. A smaller machine may suffice for a contractor making panels for one job. Large OEMs can utilize a roll former hundreds of feet long to supply major projects. The incremental scalability of roll forming suits low to high production volumes.
Roll Forming Allows Complex and Innovative Profiles
With its progressive bending through multiple roll stations, panel roll forming can shape complex geometries too difficult or uneconomical to produce otherwise. Contractors are no longer limited to simple folded panel forms. Roll forming opens up innovative structural and aesthetic designs.
Reduced Material Costs and Less Waste
The continuous roll forming process has material utilization rates over 90 percent versus 50 percent or lower for stamping. By eliminating large amounts of scrap waste, roll forming provides significant material cost savings that benefit contractors. There is also less energy consumption to help lower part costs.
Just-In-Time Delivery Direct to Jobsites
With their fast production capability, roll forming facilities can manufacture panels and deliver them to construction sites on an as-needed just-in-time basis. There is no need to warehouse extensive inventories. This saves contractors storage space while ensuring panels arrive when required.
Fewer Environmental Impacts
Beyond material and energy savings, roll forming generates minimal waste for disposal. The automated process needs fewer chemicals for metal treatments compared to bath systems. Roll forming’s green benefits align with construction sustainability goals.
Safer Working Conditions Compared to Stamps
Lastly, roll forming machines provide a clean and quiet work environment without the safety hazards associated with massive stamping presses and die sets. The forming method provides a safer and more pleasant production atmosphere.
With all these advantages, it’s easy to see why panel roll forming has become integral to modern building construction over other panel manufacturing approaches. Contractors will continue benefitting from the technology’s flexibility, efficiency, and innovations.
Common Metals and Alloys Used for Roll Forming Building Products
Roll forming can shape a wide range of metals and alloys into structural framing, exterior panels, architectural features, and other building components. Here are some of the most commonly roll formed metals:
Mild Carbon Steel
Mild carbon steel with around 0.25% carbon content contains relatively low alloying elements. It roll forms easily into studs, joists, railing, and similar items where high strength is not critical. Mild steel offers good formability at low cost but rusts unless painted or galvanized.
High Strength Low Alloy Steel
HSLA steels have small additions of alloys like chromium, nickel, and silicon to impart higher strengths without compromising ductility. Common grades roll formed include HSLA-50 and HSLA-80 for their 50,000 and 80,000 psi yield strengths respectively. HSLA is popular for structural framing and heavy roll formed sections.
Hot Rolled Steel
Hot rolled carbon and HSLA steels have a rougher surface finish but can make economical large roll formed sections. The material has favorable elongation and recovery properties during contouring. Hot rolled steel is used for some architectural paneling.
Steel sheet coated with a thin zinc layer gains corrosion resistance while remaining easily formable by roll forming. The zinc provides cathodic protection against rusting. Galvanized steel sees widespread use exterior roll formed panels and components.
As an alternative to galvanizing, coated steel sheet with baked-on paint finishes supply color to roll formed products. Common prepainted steels utilize polyester, silicone-modified polyester, or plastisol coatings. Prepainting avoids the need for painting post-production.
Stainless steels like 304 and 316 contain chromium and nickel for high corrosion resistance, albeit at higher cost. Stainless architectural panels and fixtures nicely maintain their luster but require special roll materials to avoid surface damage. Stainless can also be painted.
Aluminum’s lightweight, attractive appearance, and weather resistance make it ideal for exterior roll formed building products. Common alloys are 5000 and 6000 series which balance moderate strength with good formability and bendability on a roll former.
Copper and Zinc
Copper’s traditional standing seam roofing application along with zinc’s use for exotic building facades utilize the roll forming process for these higher cost metals. Their natural weather resistance and traditional appearances justify the expense for special structures.
Some sandwich panels integrate non-metallic materials by combining fiberglass, cement, wood, or mineral cores between roll formed metal skins. Hybrid composite panels offer energy efficiencies along with design aesthetics.
Proper metal selection considers formability, corrosion resistance, appearance, and cost. With the flexibility to run varying materials, roll forming machines accommodate whatever metal a building construction project may require.
Tips for Designing Optimal Roll Formed Panel Profiles
When designing panel geometries to be roll formed, following certain guidelines will ensure an efficient production process and strong finished components:
- Avoid tight radii – Rolling metal through a tight bend radius increases force requirements and likelihood of cracking. Keep bend radii at least 3x the material thickness.
- Minimize variations in cross-section – Changing thicknesses and depths along the profile length raises complexity and roll forming effort. Keep geometry variations to a minimum when possible.
- Design symmetrical sections – Asymmetric profiles are harder to roll form evenly and may try to twist coming off the mill. Strive for symmetrical panel shapes.
- Watch maximum height restrictions – Taller profiles require large roll housings and pit depths. Excessive section heights could exceed machine limits.
- Specify larger inside bend radii – Similar to outside radii, inside bends of small radius are crack prone and difficult to form. Open up inside radii where feasible.
- Add ribs for stiffness – Ribs, beads, or embossments along a panel increase its bending strength once formed. Properly placed stiffeners optimize roll formed panel rigidity.
- Avoid holes near bends – Any holes placed close to bend lines will stress concentrate and tend to tear in those areas. Move holes away from adjacent bends.
- Design symmetrical hole patterns – Much like overall shape, evenly spaced and sized holes will roll form easier and reduce twist. Non-symmetrical holes can lead to distortion.
- Account for springback – The elastic rebound from bending slightly springs back panels upon exiting the roll former. Compensate for springback in the profile design.
- Utilize high strength materials – Where possible, specify higher strength metals and alloys to allow thinner material gauges while maintaining performance. Thinner coils improve formability.
Following these guidelines will optimize panel geometries for the roll forming process. The proper design exploits the technology’s capabilities while avoiding problems like cracking. Partnering with experienced roll formers ensures constructible and efficient designs.
Roll Forming Equipment Manufacturers
There are many global equipment manufacturers producing panel roll forming mills to service the metal construction industry:
- Metform – Based in the U.S., Metform manufactures a wide range of roll forming lines for standard and complex sections. Their Flexiform mills include punching and notching.
- Formtek – A U.S. manufacturer producing section, tube, and sandwich panel roll forming equipment. Formtek focuses on Quickchange and custom profile designs.
- Samco Machinery – A Toronto-based producer of sectional roll formers including portable jobsite and custom steel forming systems.
- Bradbury Group – A leading U.K. roll forming equipment company manufacturing tube mills, section mills, and sheet processing lines.
- Gasparini SpA – An Italian roll forming machine builder with over 50 years of experience in long product and sheet roll forming systems.
- Ltdjitian – One of the largest Chinese manufacturers of quality roll forming equipment, from small units to high speed production lines.
- Form Process Engineering – An India-based maker of roll forming equipment, tube mills, and sheet metal processing machinery.
- RAS – The Reinhardt Maschinenbau company based in Germany supplies modern roll forming technology for efficient production.
- Taiwan PanHebron – A Taiwanese manufacturer of high precision roll forming mills along with slitting lines and cut-to-length systems.
- Jupiter Rollforming – A U.S.-based company focused on optimizing light gauge and thin-walled roll forming applications.
Choosing an experienced roll forming equipment company ensures getting machinery engineered for optimal efficiency, precision, and capabilities aligned with production needs.
Roll Forming Safety
When operating panel roll forming equipment, following proper safety protocols is critical to avoid injuries. Key roll forming safety tips include:
- Restrict access to only trained personnel. Keep visitors and unauthorized staff away.
- Require hearing protection in high noise areas near uncoilers or cutoff saws. Use proper rated earmuffs or plugs.
- Enforce mandatory use of machine guarding. Never bypass or override guards during operation.
- Confirm electrical control panels are closed and properly grounded before starting. Risk of shock exists.
- Check for pinch points at roll stations and drive areas. Keep hands away from rolls during operation.
- Apply lockout/tagout procedures during any maintenance, adjustments or clearing jams.
- Never climb on the machine while running. Use provided ladders, platforms and guardrails.
- Allow only qualified personnel to adjust roll clearance settings. Improper gaps increase safety risks.
- Keep work spaces clean and free of slip/trip hazards. Coil stubs and cutoff pieces present trip risks.
- Wear appropriate gloves when handling coil strips or finished panels. Edges may be sharp and could lacerate.
- Use material handling equipment like cranes, forklifts, or hoists to move heavy coil stock properly without lifting strains.
Roll forming equipment is generally safe as long as workers follow provided instructions and use their training. Being observant, vigilant, and proactive about risks keeps the operation hazard-free.
Roll Forming Equipment Maintenance
To maximize uptime and production, an effective maintenance program should include:
- Daily cleanup – Remove scrap pieces, wipe down stands, verify guards in place
- Inspections – Check roll conditions, lubrication, alignments, fastener torques. Schedule periodic partial disassembly to inspect internals.
- Roll replacement – Have spare sets available for quick change outs as rolls wear over time.
- Bearing checks – Confirm bearings are greased and check for wear periodically, replace as required.
- Shaft alignment – Realign shafts if shifts occur using laser methods. Catch misalignments early.
- Drive maintenance – Follow recommended gearbox lubrication schedules and inspect shafts, seals, and couplings.
- Sensor calibration – Confirm sensors are functioning accurately, adjust sensitivity or recalibrate as needed.
- Electrical inspections – Check terminals,Connections, grounding and control devices for tightness and function.
- Shear blade upkeep – Replace shear blades periodically to maintain sharp cutoffs. Lubricate slide components.
- Stacker maintenance – Inspect chains, sprockets, and belts on stackers. Lube guides and check stacker function.
Proactive maintenance keeps the roll line running optimally with only short routine service outages. Trained staff can perform much routine upkeep in house. Partner with equipment experts for major repairs or rebuilds when required. Proper roll former maintenance ensures consistent production to meet customer delivery schedules.
Roll Forming Process Troubleshooting
Some common roll forming problems along with potential causes and remedies include:
Twisted panels – Asymmetric feeding, worn rolls, poor stock straightness, incorrect edge guidance. Center stock entering mill and align edge guides.
Flared panel edges – Insufficient edge guidance, worn rolls, improper horizontal alignment. Add sheet supports along process line, replace defective rolls.
Buckled panels – Weak stock grade for profile, excessive feeding rate, excess roll space. Use heavier gauge input or high strength alloys, slow feed rate, optimize roll gaps.
End flare – Misaligned exit guides, lack of support near cutoff, dull shear blades, excessive gaps after shear. Align exit guides, add end rolls for support, sharpen or replace shear.
Profile distortion – Worn rolls, poor stock annealing, excessive roll pressures, misspaced rolls. Replace damaged rolls, use properly annealed stock, reset roll pressures evenly.
Scratched panels – Debris buildup on rolls, dirty stock surface, improper roll hardness. Clean rolls routinely, ensure stock is free of surface grime before feeding.
Cracked panels – Abrupt contour changes, tight bend radii, poor metal elongation properties, overworking. Optimize profile for gradual bending, use tempered metals, increase bend radii.
Excess skid marks – Insufficient lubrication, friction from panel contact points, dirty incoming stock. Increase lube application at rolls and contact points, remove any rust before feeding.
Catching problems early, understanding root causes, and methodically correcting through adjustments, maintenance, and optimized machining will eliminate roll forming difficulties and scrap waste.
What are the main benefits of using roll formed panels in construction?
Roll forming provides very fast production, lower costs, material efficiency, flexibility, consistent quality, and innovative profiles difficult to achieve otherwise. This makes roll formed components ideal for building projects.
What metals can be roll formed?
Roll forming can shape virtually any metal including steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc alloys. Metals do need sufficient ductility and elongation ability for bending without cracking.
How long does it take to roll form parts?
At speeds over 500 feet per minute, roll formers produce finished panels rapidly. Sections under 30 feet long take just seconds to roll form continuously. Even long panels can be completed in a couple minutes.
Can a panel profile be changed on a roll former?
Roll forming allows quick die changes to switch profiles, often within an hour. Some quick-change machines can alter profiles in under 10 minutes to provide great flexibility.
What tolerances can roll forming hold?
Precision roll formed panels typically held dimensional tolerances around +/- 0.005 inches. More critical profiles can achieve tolerances down to +/- 0.001 inches.
Can a roll former make curved panels?
Yes, roll forming lines can produce both longitudinal and transverse curves by using contoured rolls on a bend. Complex curvatures are possible through sequential bending processes.
Can other processes be integrated with roll forming?
Many additional operations like punching holes, slotting, embossing, heat treating, and more can be integrated inline to minimize secondary processing.
How large can roll formed sections be?
Standard roll forming mills can shape sections up to around 4 feet wide by common coil strip widths. Special multi-stage and tandem lines can produce much larger panels up to 13 feet wide.
How long does it take to set up new profiles on a roll former?
With proper training and preparation, typical roll changeovers take 30 minutes to an hour. Advanced quick-change equipment allows profile shifts under 10 minutes in some cases.
What safety precautions apply to roll forming?
Machine guarding, ear protection, safety procedures, and usual precautions around industrial equipment apply. Training and vigilance keep operators safe around roll lines.
Roll forming’s unique capabilities have made it integral to modern building construction for good reason. The technology provides an ideal solution for rapidly mass producing straight or curved panels with innovative and complex profiles that would be impossible or uneconomical to manufacture otherwise.
With benefits like swift throughput, material efficiency, flexibility, scalability, and cost savings, it is easy to see why leading contractors utilize roll formed framing, siding, roofing, and specialty components throughout their projects.
As metal construction continues to expand, improved roll forming technology and machinery will ensure optimal productivity and quality. Roll formed building products deliver the advanced designs and performance that progressive construction demands.