Roll Forming Machine Parts

Roll forming is a metal forming process used to produce long sections of sheet metal. A roll forming machine incrementally forms the sheet metal through a series of rolling stations until the desired cross-section profile is achieved. Roll formed parts have a wide range of applications across industries like construction, automotive, appliances, and more.

This comprehensive guide will discuss the various components and parts that make up a roll forming machine. We will also overview the working principles, types of roll forming machines, major suppliers, applications, advantages, and limitations.

Overview of Roll Forming Machine Parts

A roll forming machine consists of a series of stations each with a set of rolls that progressively form the sheet metal as it passes through the machine. The major components and parts of a roll forming system are:

UncoilerFeeds the flat sheet metal coil into the roll forming machine
FeederControls the feeding of material into the roll forming section
Roll forming stationsA series of stations with rolls that bend and form the material into desired profile
CutoffCuts the formed profile to desired lengths
StackerStacks the cut parts for easy handling
ControlsComputerized controls to set and monitor process parameters
DrivesProvides power transmission to the rolls and material feed
FrameHouses the roll stations and other components

These main sections consist of numerous custom machined parts that make up the roll forming system. The key components in each section are:

Uncoiler Parts

Coil mandrelExpandable shaft on which coil is loaded
decoiler armsSupports and guides the sheet into the machine
LevelerCorrects coil set and initial deformation
Feed rollDrives the metal sheet into the machine
pinch rollApplies pressure to grip and feed the sheet
Sheet guidesMaintains sheet alignment
Coil carAllows loading and unloading of coils

Forming Section Parts

Forming rollsProgressively bend the sheet to desired profile
HousingsSupports the forming rolls
Roll shaftsDrive the forming rolls
GearboxesTransmit power to the roll shafts
BearingsEnable low friction rotation of roll shafts
Roll spacersSet roll spacing and material opening

Cutoff Section Parts

Shear bladeCuts the formed profile
Hold downClamps the part for clean shear
ConveyorMoves cut parts away

Additional Parts

Guards and coversEnsures safety by covering moving parts
SensorsMonitors machine operation
Hydraulic systemProvides actuation for machine sections
Lubrication systemApplies lubricant to reduce wear

The exact configuration of parts varies across different types and sizes of roll forming machines. But the core components outlined here form the backbone of any standard roll forming line.

roll forming machine parts
Roll Forming Machine Parts 4

Working Principle of Roll Forming Machines

The working principle of roll forming machines is quite straightforward. Essentially the process incrementally forms the sheet metal by bending it through a series of stations until the final cross-section is achieved.

Here are the key steps:

  1. Sheet metal coil is loaded on the uncoiler mandrel.
  2. The decoiler feeds the flat sheet into the roll forming section.
  3. The sheet passes through a series of rolling stations each with a set of rolls.
  4. At each station, the rolls make contact with the sheet causing plastic deformation.
  5. The incremental bending action gradually forms the material into desired profile.
  6. Cutoff shears the completed parts to length which are collected on a conveyor or stacker.
  7. The scrap skeleton is recycled back into the process.

The roll forming action relies on the principles of bending metal plastically beyond its yield point. As the sheet travels through the machine, the transverse rolls induce bending stress while the longitudinal rolls control material flow between stations.

The key variables that determine the forming action include:

  • Roll geometry
  • Vertical roll spacing
  • Horizontal roll spacing
  • Material thickness
  • Material properties
  • Inter-station spacing
  • Roll rotation speed
  • Material feed rate

By optimizing these parameters, roll forming machines can produce accurate, high-quality profiles continuously and efficiently. The modular forming stations can be flexibly configured to produce a wide range of profiles.

Major Types of Roll Forming Machines

Roll forming machines can be categorized based on chassis design, degree of automation, and direction of material flow. The main types of roll formers are:

Based on Chassis

C-frameOpen center design allows easy roll changing
O-frameFully enclosed design for safety
U-frameGood rigidity suited for heavy profiles
Multi-radiusSpecialized for complex curved profiles

Based on Automation

ManualBasic models with manual controls
Semi-automaticAutomated deformation with manual material handling
Fully automaticComplete in-line automation
CustomizedTailored solutions for specific applications

Based on Material Flow

HorizontalHorizontal material flow suitable for long parts
VerticalCompact footprint for space savings
InclinedAdjustable installation angle

By selecting suitable roll former types based on production needs, optimal machines can be implemented for each application.

Major Roll Forming Machine Manufacturers

There are a number of leading global manufacturers that supply roll forming equipment and machinery. Some of the major players are:

FormtekComplete range of C-frame and O-frame roll formers
Electro-MecUSA based leading supplier since 1959
Bradbury GroupFull portfolio of roll forming solutions
DimecoHeavy-duty roll forming machines up to 10000 kN
Samco MachineryTaiwanese manufacturer of economical roll formers
Shanghai RollformingChinese manufacturer exporting worldwide
T&H LemontSpecializes in tube and pipe roll forming
MetformAustralian manufacturer focused on metal forming
EnsalcoIndia based manufacturer exporting globally

These companies offer standard as well as customized roll forming equipment to suit different production needs across industries.

Applications of Roll Formed Parts

Due to its continuous, efficient, and versatile forming capabilities, roll forming is used to mass produce a wide array of parts and profiles.

Some of the most common applications are:

IndustryTypical Applications
ConstructionRoofing panels, door frames, studs, cladding
AutomotiveWindow frames, railings, anti-intrusion bars
AppliancesPanels, housings, door handles, frames
FurnitureRacks, storage units, shelves, frames
InfrastructureHighway crash barriers, drainage profiles, utility poles
PackagingRacks, pallets, trays, totes

Nearly any open profile section that requires continuous production can be efficiently roll formed to save time and costs compared to other processes like fabrication or casting.

Advantages of Roll Forming

Roll forming provides several benefits that make it advantageous for high productivity forming of metal profiles:

Lead timeShorter time from design to production
EfficiencyHigh material usage and line speed
FlexibilityQuick roll changeover between profiles
QualityExcellent dimensional accuracy and surface finish
AutomationSuitable for automated mass production
VersatilityWide range of materials and thicknesses can be formed
CostLower initial and operating costs

Key factors like minimal material waste, low tooling costs, and reduced finishing result in lower overall part costs compared to other methods.

roll forming machine parts
Roll Forming Machine Parts 5

Limitations of Roll Forming Process

Despite its advantages, roll forming also has certain limitations:

Profile complexityCannot produce highly complex shapes
Size restrictionsLimited to relatively narrow width and radii
StrengthLower strength than wrought or forged parts
HolesCannot pierce holes along the profile length
Batch sizeSuited for long production runs, not small batches
Material typeOnly ductile metals like steel alloys can be roll formed

For some applications that require complex 3D profiles, tight tolerances, or short production runs – other processes like stamping, fabrication, or casting may be better suited.

Roll Forming Machine Pricing

Roll forming equipment represents a major capital investment for a manufacturing facility. Prices vary substantially based on factors like:

FactorImpact on Price
Line speedFaster machines cost more
Degree of automationManual models are least expensive
Type of materialMachines for thicker/harder metals cost more
Line lengthLonger lines with more stations cost more
BrandPremium brands command higher pricing
CustomizationStandard machines cheaper than custom machines

Typical price ranges for new roll forming equipment are:

Machine RatingPrice Range
Light-duty$50,000 – $150,000
Medium-duty$150,000 – $500,000
Heavy-duty$500,000 – $2,000,000
High-speedOver $2,000,000

Purchasing used equipment can significantly reduce investment costs. But productivity may be lower on older machines.

Choosing a Roll Forming Machine Manufacturer

When investing in roll forming equipment, choosing the right supplier is critical. Here are key factors to consider:

ParameterEvaluation Criteria
TechnologyAdvanced 3D modeling, precision machining, controls
ExperienceProven track record, years in business
CapabilityRange of machine sizes offered
CustomizationAbility to modify for special needs
Production capacityAdequate to meet demand
ServiceInstallation support, training provided
PricingCompetitive pricing commensurate with features
Lead timeAbility to deliver within schedule
CertificationISO certified quality management system
SupportResponsiveness for problem resolution

Reviews from industry peers, site visits, and discussions with suppliers can help assess these parameters to make the optimal machine selection.

Roll Forming Machine Installation

Proper installation is vital for smooth functioning of roll forming systems. Here are key considerations:

Site preparationLevel concrete foundation, space for coils/conveyors
Lifting equipmentCrane, forklift to position machine sections
AssemblyBolt machine frames, addguards, covers
AlignmentPrecision alignment of roll shafts and stations
CalibrationSet and test all sensor switches, controls
Trial runsConfirm forming quality before production
Operator trainingReview operating procedures, safety

Vendors usually provide supervision during installation. But in-house personnel should participate to understand the process and equipment details.

Roll Forming Machine Operation

Efficient operation of roll formers requires training and adherence to set procedures for:

Coil loadingUse appropriate mandrel and loading method
ThreadingFeed sheet through machine gradually
Parameter settingEnter recipe values for feed rate, cut length etc
StartingRun machine at slow speed to confirm forming
MonitoringObserve process for any issues, sensors
Speed adjustmentRamp up to required production speed
Quality checksTake measurements, verify part accuracy
ShutdownStop feeds, allow machine to clear stock
SafetyFollow safe operating practices at all times

Operators should have full knowledge of machine controls and emergency stop procedures.

Maintenance of Roll Forming Machines

A comprehensive maintenance program is essential for peak performance of roll formers. Key aspects include:

InspectionsCheck roll wear, backlash, loose parts daily
LubricationGrease bearings, gears, per schedule
Line clearanceRemove scrap buildup, dust, dirt often
Roll changeSchedule roll sets change as per tonnage produced
Drive serviceInspect chains, sprockets, couplings periodically
HydraulicsCheck fluid level, leaks, cylinder seals
ElectricalsInspect wires, controls, sensors periodically
RecordsDocument all maintenance activities

Roll replacement is a major activity to restore profiling accuracy once wear exceeds tolerances.

How to Choose Between Roll Forming and Other Metal Forming Processes

Roll forming provides unique advantages for high volume production of metal parts. But for some applications, other processes may be more suitable depending on factors like:

Comparison FactorRoll FormingStampingExtrusion
Part shapeOpen profilesComplex 2D shapesSimple solid profiles
Production volumeHighMedium to highHigh
Lead timeMediumLowHigh
Tooling costMediumVery highMedium
Dimensional accuracyHighVery highMedium

Understanding application requirements and comparing process capabilities is necessary to select the optimal method. Roll forming, stamping, and extrusion complement each other for wide-ranging metal fabrication needs.

roll forming machine
Roll Forming Machine Parts 6


Q: What types of materials can be roll formed?

Most ductile metals like low carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum alloys can be roll formed. With sufficient power heavier sections of high strength steels, copper, and brass are also possible.

Q: What are common roll formed profile shapes?

C-sections, Z-sections, channels, square tubes, roofing panels, angle sections are among the most popular roll formed shapes. Special profiles like curved panels, railings, door frames are also possible.

Q: How are holes and notches incorporated in roll formed parts?

Holes and notches perpendicular to the length can be punched in a separate press station before or after roll forming. Slots and holes along the length require post operations like milling.

Q: What thickness range can sheet metal be roll formed?

Roll forming is highly effective for sheet thickness between 0.3 mm to about 3 mm. Sections up to 8 mm thickness can be formed with heavy-duty machines.

Q: What affects the line speed of roll forming?

Machine power, material thickness, profiling complexity, number of stations, and desired quality determine maximum line speed. Speeds of 15 m/min to 200 m/min are typical.

Q: What defects can occur in roll formed parts?

Twisting, bowing, flaring, and longitudinal curling are common defects due to non-optimized process parameters or worn tooling.

Q: What safety is required for roll forming operations?

All moving components must be fully guarded. Emergency stops, pull cords along length are necessary. Personnel should wear protective gear and stay clear during running.

Q: How to calculate cost savings with roll forming versus fabrication?

Roll forming can provide 20-50% savings in material, labor, and energy costs compared to fabrication of equivalent profiles. But design and tooling costs may be higher.


Roll forming enables efficient, precision production of metal profiles vital for construction, automotive, and other industries. The modular design using specialized machined components makes the process highly flexible and scalable. By understanding key roll forming machine parts, working principle, types, applications, and operational best practices, manufacturers can gain maximum value from this versatile metal forming technology.

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