Types of Aluminium Roll Forming Machines

Aluminium roll forming machines are used to form aluminium coils into custom profiles and geometries for a wide range of applications. This comprehensive guide provides an overview of aluminium roll forming technology, the types of machines available, their key components, technical specifications, applications, advantages, limitations, and more.

Overview of Aluminium Roll Forming Machines

Roll forming is a continuous bending operation in which a long strip of metal is passed through consecutive sets of rolls, or stands, each performing only an incremental part of the bend, until the desired cross-section profile is obtained.

Roll forming aluminium provides a cost-effective way of producing custom aluminium parts with accurate and repeatable tolerances. Aluminium’s excellent formability allows it to be shaped via roll forming into a variety of complex geometries.

Compared to alternatives like extrusion, roll forming is advantageous for shorter production runs, lower cost per unit, and easier profile modifications. It enables flexibility for producing aluminium parts in a wide range of shapes, sizes and finishes.

Modern aluminium roll forming lines utilize advanced 3D modelling, precision roller positioning, and controls to efficiently mass produce aluminium sections on demand.

Key Benefits of Aluminium Roll Forming

  • Continuous, high speed production of long length aluminium parts
  • Cost-effective for medium to high volume requirements
  • Tighter tolerances and better consistency versus other methods
  • Flexible in adjusting profiles by modifying roller positions
  • Allows complex custom shapes and bends
  • Range of aluminium finishes possible – mill, anodized, powder coated

Limitations of Roll Forming Aluminium

  • Higher initial setup costs for roll tooling
  • Limited by maximum aluminum width/thickness that can be fed
  • Minimum bend radii restrictions
  • Designs need to allow movement of profiles during bending
  • Lower dimensional accuracy versus aluminum extrusions
  • Only linear profiles can be produced
aluminium roll forming machine
Types of Aluminium Roll Forming Machines 4

Types of Aluminium Roll Forming Machines

There are several configurations of roll forming machines and lines used to produce aluminium profiles. They differ in production speed, level of automation, number of roll stations, type of drive mechanism and feeding method.

Standard Roll Forming Machines

  • Entry level roll formers with 5-10 roll stations
  • Manual material feeding and offloading
  • Production speeds up to 10 m/min
  • Ideal for low volume, short run production

High Speed Roll Forming Lines

  • Automated lines with 12+ roll stations
  • Powered material feed system
  • Flying cutoffs for continuous production
  • Speeds from 18 – 50+ m/min
  • For high volume, long production runs

All-Electric Roll Forming Machines

  • Each roll station powered by servo motors
  • Independent speed/position control of rolls
  • No hydraulic components
  • Precise feeding and cutoff
  • Programming flexibility
  • Quieter, cleaner, and more energy efficient

Portable Roll Forming Machines

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Manual material feeding
  • Fixed or powered outlet guides
  • Speeds up to 10 m/min
  • For small custom profiles on-site

Main Components of Aluminium Roll Forming Machines

Aluminium roll forming systems have three main sections – the roll forming stands, the material feeding system, and the exit end for cutting and handling formed profiles.

Roll Forming Stands

The roll forming section has a series of roll stations, each with an upper and lower set of rolls. Typical configurations have between 5-16 stands arranged in a straight line.

  • Roll stations make progressively deeper bends to shape the profile
  • Heavy duty gearbox actuators precisely position upper rolls
  • Roll geometries match desired contour of the profile
  • Roll materials – steel, carbide, zinc plated, etc.

Material Feed System

This unwinds and feeds the aluminium coil strip into the roll forming section at a controlled speed and tension.

  • Coil holding mandrel + de-coiler mechanism
  • Feed tables with pinching drive rollers
  • Feedback controls for automatic speed adjustment
  • Edge guidance system to keep strip centered

Cutoff and Exit End

Formed aluminium profiles are cut into desired lengths and discharged out of the machine.

  • Flying shears or fixed knives for profile cutoff
  • Powered exit tables or conveyors
  • Stackers to neatly arrange cut aluminium parts

Control System

Advanced roll formers use PLC-based controls for monitoring and coordinating all machine elements.

  • HMI touchscreen for controlling production
  • Servo motor drives with position feedback
  • Sensor feedback for automatic speed control
  • Safety interlocks and operational modes

Specifications of Aluminium Roll Forming Equipment

Aluminium roll forming machine specifications depend on the production requirements. Below are typical ranges for key parameters.

Forming Speed10 – 80 m/min
Profile WidthUp to 2100 mm
Material Thickness0.3 – 4 mm
Material Type1xxx, 3xxx, 5xxx aluminium alloys
Roll Diameter100 – 250 mm
Number of Stands5 – 20
Drive Power5 – 15 kW
Voltage220V/380V AC 3-phase
Machine Size10 – 100 m long x 2 – 3 m wide
Machine Weight2000 – 50000 kg

Applications of Aluminium Roll Forming

Roll formed aluminum profiles are used in diverse industries due to their excellent strength, durability, corrosion resistance, aesthetic appeal and recyclability.

Aluminium Profiles for Construction

  • Wall panel and siding sheets
  • Roofing, gutters, and downspouts
  • Window, door frames and shutter profiles
  • Structural framing members
  • Decorative trims and facade features

Aluminium Profiles for Automotive Industry

  • Chassis, cross members, and underbody parts
  • Seat components and bracing
  • Exterior body panels and trims
  • Window guide and glass channel sections

Aluminium Profiles for Manufacturing

  • Machine guards, safety fences
  • Conveyor side guides and tracks
  • Process equipment cladding
  • Electrical housing and enclosures

Aluminium Profiles for Furniture

  • Table and desk frames
  • Chair and seating components
  • Shelving standards and support members
  • Decorative trim sections

Aluminium Profiles for Transportation

  • Aerospace and aviation components
  • Trailer side rails and roof bows
  • Truck body panels and structural parts
  • Railway car sheets and stiffeners

Miscellaneous Applications

  • Solar panel frames
  • Greenhouse structures
  • Signage and displays
  • Heat sinks and heat exchangers
  • Pallet racking members
  • Scaffolding poles
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Types of Aluminium Roll Forming Machines 5

Design Considerations for Roll Forming Aluminium

Roll forming enables great flexibility in producing custom aluminium profiles, but the cross-section design must follow certain guidelines.

  • Simple, constant cross-section along length
  • No holes or extruded features
  • Limit complex concave shapes
  • Avoid quick changes in profile
  • Radius bends only (no sharp corners)
  • Account for springback after bending
  • Wall thickness impacts minimum radii
  • Consider machine capacity limits

Advanced 3D modelling helps optimize designs for roll forming performance, material utilization, and tooling longevity.

Aluminium Materials for Roll Forming

Common aluminium alloys used for roll forming include:

  • 1xxx series – Excellent corrosion resistance, low strength
  • 3xxx series – Medium strength, good formability
  • 5xxx series – High strength, good formability
  • 6xxx series – Medium strength, good extrudability

5xxx alloys like 5052, 5083, 5754 are most popular for roll formed aluminium goods. Finishes can be mill finish, painted, anodized, or powder coated.

Roll Tooling for Profile Designs

Roll tools are precision machined to match the contours of the desired profile shape.

  • Made from tool steel or carbide
  • Ground and hardened rolls
  • Upper rolls are adjustable
  • Quick change systems to swap roll sets

CAD software creates roll geometries by virtually bending flat strips and unfolding to get roller profiles.

Roll tools represent significant upfront cost, so it is economical for long production runs of the same profile. Tooling modifications can alter profiles.

Comparing Roll Forming and Extrusion of Aluminium

Roll forming and extrusion offer two different manufacturing methods for producing long aluminium parts with custom cross-sections.

Aluminum Extrusion

  • Complex internal and external shapes
  • Tight dimensional tolerances
  • Smooth surface finish
  • Fast production of simple profiles
  • High upfront extrusion die cost
  • Limitations on length

Aluminum Roll Forming

  • Only open profiles possible
  • Dimensional accuracy +/- 0.5mm
  • Surface markings from rollers
  • Lower cost for medium production runs
  • Adjustable roll tooling
  • Continuous production of long lengths

Roll forming competes on cost for simpler, linear geometries needed in longer lengths, while extrusion is better for complex profiles with finer features.

Advantages of Aluminium Roll Forming

Key benefits of roll forming aluminium profiles:

  • Low equipment cost – Roll formers cheaper than extrusion presses
  • Material efficiency – Low leftover scrap rates
  • Flexibility – Easy to modify profiles by adjusting roll tooling
  • Consistency – Highly repeatable process with tight tolerances
  • Speed – Fast production up to 80 m/min line speeds
  • Strength – Work hardening increases aluminium strength
  • Quality – Smooth, defect free, and strong aluminum parts
  • Versatility – Wide range of profiles, sizes, finishes
  • Efficiency – Automated production with high yields
  • Customization – Unique profiles designed for function
  • Light weight – Lower transportation costs

Limitations of Aluminium Roll Forming

Limitations to consider for roll forming aluminium parts:

  • Profile shape – Only linear uniform profiles possible
  • Radius limits – Minimum bend radii rules apply
  • Precision – Tolerances +/- 0.5 mm, finer than extrusion
  • Surface finish – Roll marks visible on outer surfaces
  • Setup costs – Roll tooling requires initial investment
  • Design expertise – Engineering support needed for new profiles
  • Alloy limits – Only 1xxx, 3xxx, 5xxx optimal
  • Width limits – Max widths from 1000 – 2100 mm
  • Thickness range – Limited to 0.3 – 4 mm aluminium
  • Production runs – Lower volumes not economical

Tips for Choosing an Aluminium Roll Forming Machine

Here are key factors to consider when selecting a roll forming machine:

  • Production volume – Length of runs dictates level of automation
  • Profile dimensions – Width and thickness capacity needed
  • Production speed – Required output rate in m/min
  • Power type – Electric, hydraulic, or hybrid drives
  • Control features – Auto speed control, safety interlocks
  • Coil handling method – Decoiler, straightener, feed system
  • Secondary operations – Cutoff, punching, counting, stacking
  • Precision needs – Tolerance and positional accuracy
  • Budget – Balance performance with cost
  • Expandability – Ability to add components later
  • Reputation – Reliable supplier with quality equipment
  • Technical support – Setup assistance and training
  • Delivery lead time – Schedule requirements

Prioritize key performance criteria and shop around to find the right roll forming solution. Balance production needs with equipment costs.

Roll Forming Machine Manufacturers

Leading global manufacturers of aluminium roll forming equipment include:

Samco MachineryTaiwan – wide range of roll formers
Shanghai HyroChina – electric and hydraulic machines
Bradbury GroupUK – high precision roll forming
FormtekUSA – heavy duty equipment
MetformUSA – customized roll forming lines
GaspariniItaly – high speed production lines
KnuthGermany – CNC roll forming
Botou XianfaChina – portable roll forming
Zeman Bauelemente – Austria – all-electric roll forming

When requesting quotes, provide detailed product drawings and production requirements to vendors. Ask about lead times, warranties, and maintenance services.

Aluminium Roll Forming Cost Analysis

Roll forming aluminum can produce custom profiles at competitive prices. Cost factors include:

Equipment Cost

  • Roll forming machine – $40,000 to $500,000
  • Tooling/die design – $5,000 to $20,000
  • Installation and training – $5,000

Operating Costs

  • Labor – $20/hr x 1 operator
  • Power consumption – $10 to $30/hr
  • Maintenance – 2% of machine cost per year
  • Aluminum material – $1.0 to $3.5 per kg
  • Secondary finishing – $0.5 to $2 per linear m

Typical Profile Cost Range

  • Small quantities – $5 to $10 per linear m
  • Large quantities – $1 to $3 per linear m

Costs vary based on location, production runs, and complexity. Get price estimates from experienced roll forming companies.

Secondary Finishing of Aluminium Profiles

After roll forming, additional processing can enhance aesthetics or performance:

  • Cutting – Shearing or sawing to length
  • Hole punching – Mounting holes or decorative patterns
  • Embossing – Text or logo branding on surfaces
  • Deburring – Removing sharp edges
  • Anodizing – Colored oxide layer for corrosion protection
  • Powder coating – Durable colored painted finish

Tips for Efficient Aluminium Roll Forming

Best practices for maximizing productivity and quality:

  • Maintain consistent coil thickness and width
  • Monitor strip alignment and tension
  • Use automatic speed control systems
  • Ensure adequate laminar lubrication
  • Inspect and replace worn roll tooling
  • Keep roll forming area clean and clear of debris
  • Perform regular machine maintenance and calibration
  • Check formed profiles for defects and inconsistencies
  • Optimize line layout and material flow

Proper training of machine operators is key. Evaluate production metrics and implement continual improvements.

Aluminium Roll Forming Process Step-by-Step

The complete roll forming process involves six main steps:

1. Design Product and Create Roll Tooling

  • Engineer drafts 3D model of desired profile
  • Roll forming simulation software generates roller profiles
  • CNC machining produces roll dies from tool steel

2. Setup Machine with Correct Tooling

  • Install roll die sets on respective stands
  • Adjust roll gaps and height positioning
  • Thread coil through feeding system

3. Feed Aluminium Strip into Machine

  • Coil loaded onto de-coiler
  • Strip feeds through pinch rollers into first rolls
  • Lead-in guides stabilize strip

4. Pass Through Progressive Roll Stands

  • Strip consecutively shaped by each roll station
  • Gradually bent into final profile
  • Adjust individual rolls to tune profile

5. Cut Formed Profile to Length

  • Exit section shears or saws cut parts to length
  • Conveyors transport finished pieces

6. Conduct Finishing Operations

  • Anodizing, powder coating enhances appearance
  • Holes punched, ends deburred
  • Products packed, inspected, and shipped

Understanding each step helps identify potential improvements and optimizations. Proper setup is critical prior to production. Adjustments during operation fine tune the process.

Troubleshooting Aluminium Roll Forming Issues

ProblemPotential CausesCorrective Actions
Inconsistent profile shape– Worn roll tooling<br>- Improper roll adjustment<br>- Strip alignment off center<br>- Strip feeding inconsistencies– Resurface or replace roll dies<br>- Realign and reset roll positions<br>- Adjust strip guides and feed tension<br>- Check feed system sensors and controls
Profile outside tolerance-Incorrect roll design <br>- Rolls lack rigidity<br>- Deformed roll tooling<br>- Excessive strip burrs– Modify roll tool design <br>- Reinforce roll stations<br>- Repair/replace damaged roll dies<br>- Improve edge deburring process
Surface defects– Insufficient lubrication<br>- Worn/damaged roll finish<br>- Dirty strip– Increase lubricant flow<br>- Refinish roll surface<br>- Clean coils before use
Reduced line speed– Underpowered drive unit<br>- Mechanical binding<br>- Control system error– Increase forming motor capacity <br>- Check roll alignment and cylinder actuation<br>- Reset/repair speed control

Poor quality and output issues can be prevented with vigilant process monitoring, maintenance, and corrective actions.

Safety Tips for Aluminium Roll Forming

  • Enclose pinch points with guards
  • Ensure interlocks stop operation when doors open
  • Wear cut resistant gloves when handling coils
  • Keep work area clean and free of slip/trip hazards
  • Long hair/loose clothing must be tied back
  • Wear proper PPE – safety glasses, shoes, hearing protection
  • Follow lockout procedures before maintenance
  • Use cranes, lifts, team lifts to move heavy tooling
  • Train workers on standard operating procedures

Review safety manuals. Complete risk assessments. Implement a comprehensive safety program.

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Types of Aluminium Roll Forming Machines 6


Q: What size aluminium coils can be roll formed?

A: Most roll forming machines accept coil widths ranging from 200 mm to 2100 mm. Standard coil IDs range from 150 mm for narrow coils up to 700 mm for wide coils. Strip thicknesses typically range from 0.3 mm to 4 mm. Maximum coil weights depend on the decoiler capacity but are usually 1 to 3 tons.

Q: What aluminum grades work best for roll forming?

A: Alloys in the 1xxx, 3xxx, and 5xxx series have good formability and are commonly roll formed. 5xxx alloys like 5052, 5083, and 5754 are most popular. 6xxx alloys require special roll pass design. 2xxx and 7xxx alloys have poor formability.

Q: Does roll forming weaken aluminium?

A: The cold working of the roll forming process actually increases the strength and hardness of aluminum through work hardening. The repetitive bending under tension cold works the material. Proper machine setup and roll design prevents cracking.

Q: How many roll stands are needed?

A: Most applications require 8 – 16 stands of rolls. Profiles with deeper shapes or smaller radii may need up to 20 stands. Simple profiles can be formed with as few as 5 stands. More stands allow more incremental bending for improved control.

Q: How long can roll formed parts be?

A: Many roll forming lines produce aluminum up to 200 m long by continuously feeding coil strip through the machine. Flying cutoffs slice profiles at the required lengths for the application. Lengths are limited by the coil size and machine layout.

Q: What tolerances are possible with roll forming?

A: Roll formed aluminum typically achieves profile tolerances around +/- 0.5 mm. More advanced machines can achieve +/- 0.3 mm accuracy. Tolerances primarily depend on material consistency and machine precision.

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