Cladding roll forming machines are essential equipment for manufacturing clad metal sheets and panels used extensively in the construction industry. This comprehensive guide provides a detailed overview of cladding roll forming machine types, components, specifications, applications, installation, operations and maintenance.
Overview of Cladding Roll Forming Machines
Cladding roll forming refers to a continuous bending operation that forms metal coil stock into shaped sheet or panel profiles by progressively bending the material through a series of roller dies. It is an efficient, high-speed process for producing straight or curved panels from coiled aluminum, steel, or other alloys.
The key benefit of cladding roll forming is the ability to permanently bond thin metal cladding onto heavier gauge metal coils through simultaneous forming and high pressure roll bonding as the materials pass through the machine. This creates bi-metallic composite sheets with a decorative or corrosion resistant cladding layer metallurgically fused to a structural metal core.
Cladding roll forming lines utilize a sequential set of roller stations to shape the incoming flat coils into formed sections which are then roll bonded together under pressure into a single composite panel. The process integrates decoiling, feeding, pre-forming, roll bonding, final forming and cutting functions.
Table 1: Key Features of Cladding Roll Forming
|Up to 100m/min production rates
|Coils processed continuously for high output
|Various materials, thicknesses and profiles
|Metallurgical bond between cladding and core
|Smooth, consistent and blemish free panels
|Reduced labor, changeover faster
|Lower capital and operating costs than other methods
Roll formed cladding sheets have advantages of design flexibility, durability, low maintenance and light weight making them ideal for interior and exterior building facades, wall liners, curtain walls, roofing, canopies, shutters, etc.
Common Types of Cladding Roll Forming Machines
There are two major classifications of cladding roll forming equipment – single sheet lines for solid sheets and two sheet lines for clad sheets. Cladding capabilities, production speed, and profile complexity vary across the different machine types.
Table 2: Cladding Roll Forming Machine Types
|Single sheet lines
|Rolls and forms solid metal sheets
|Two sheet lines
|Rolls cladding + core sheets together
|Uncoils + forms continuously
|Incremental decoiling + forming
|Portable roll former
|Lightweight for on-site forming
|Fixed forming lines
|For high volume factory production
Single Sheet Roll Forming Lines
These simpler lines are used for rolling solid aluminum, steel, etc. coils into various formed sections for roofing, wall panels, garage doors etc. They consist of a decoiler, pre-forming stands, finisher rolls and a cutoff press.
- Advantage is simplicity and lower cost for high speed forming of single sheets.
- Limitation is inability to produce multi-layer composite panels.
Two Sheet Cladding Roll Forming Lines
These are integrated production lines designed specifically for cladding processes. They create metal composite sheets by bonding thin coil cladding to heavier gauge coil core stock as the materials pass through the equipment.
- Key benefit is the ability to permanently fuse different metals into a composite panel.
- Additional functionality comes at a higher cost vs single sheet lines.
In-Line Process Roll Forming
In this continuous process, coils are uncoiled, pre-straightened, gradually formed in a series of stands, roll bonded and finished in one uninterrupted in-line operation for high volumes.
- Benefits include very high production speeds and process control.
- Inline machines have high initial cost and require significant factory space.
Stop-Start Roll Forming
In this incremental style, metal coils are decoiled in batches, then fed intermittently through multiple start-stop passes to complete the forming process.
- Allows roll forming with lower cost equipment, smaller footprint and easier operator control.
- Production rates are lower than continuous in-line rolling.
Portable Roll Forming
Lightweight, mobile roll formers that can be moved and operated on-site for direct forming of building panels.
- Allows custom or special architectural elements to be created on construction site.
- Limited by profile complexity, slower speeds vs in factory equipment.
Fixed Forming Lines
Large automated roll forming lines installed in high production facilities for continuous high speed output.
- Ideal for rolling high volumes of standard profiles.
- Require major capital investment and factory space.
Cladding Roll Forming Machine Components
Modern computerized cladding roll forming lines integrate a series of automated stations to handle the dual sheet cladding process. Typical components include:
Table 3: Cladding Roll Forming Machine Sections
|Feeds metal coil stock into process
|Loads fresh coils for continuous runs
|Corrects coil curvature for proper feeding
|Controls line tension, allows speed changes
|Rolls sheets to gradual curved shape
|Cuts sheets to length before bonding
|Joins cladding and core under pressure
|Full roller die forming stations
|Finishing cut to length after bonding
|Stacks cut panels for easy offloading
|PLC automation controls line functions
Decoiler and Coil Car
- Decoils and feeds the cladding and core metal coils into the roll former
- Coil car allows quick loading of fresh coils for continuous production runs
Straightener and Accumulator
- Straightens any coil curvature and corrects minor defects
- Accumulator controls line tension and material speed for a smooth process
Pre-forming Roll Stands
- Gradually start to bend the sheets using a series of roller dies
- Sequential bending avoids sheet cracking or tearing
- Pre-cuts sheets to finished length prior to bonding
- Permits precise positioning and joining of cladding to core
Roll Bonding Mill
- Cladding and core sheets joined under heat + pressure
- Creates metallurgical bond between the component layers
Final Forming Stands
- Full profile is formed sequentially using contoured roll dies
- Closely controls final dimensions and surface quality
- Finishing cut to exact length after bonding and forming
- Leaves clean, square sheet ends
- For neatly stacking cut panels for easy offloading
- Reduces labor and improves process flow
- Automated PLC logic controls and interlocks machine functions
- Allows monitoring, speed changes, to prevent mishaps
Cladding Roll Forming Machine Specifications
Cladding roll formers are fully custom engineered to client requirements in terms of production speed, sheet width, materials used and panel profile. Key technical parameters include:
Table 4: Cladding Roll Forming Machine Specifications
|10 – 120 m/min
|Up to 3m (10ft)
|0.3 – 2.0mm (26 – 14 gauge)
|1 – 15m (3-45ft)
|1:4 to 1:10 (core:cladding)
|10 – 50 stands
|7.5 – 75 kW (10 – 100 hp)
|25 – 250 kW (30 – 350 hp)
|10,000 – 50,000 kg (12 – 60 tons)
- Faster speeds generally require more horsepower and roll stations.
- Wider sheet capabilities need heavier machine frames and components.
- Thicker metals require higher roll tonnage and downstream handling capacity.
- Longer sheets may need additional support and straightening.
- Higher volumes need more accumulator capacity and automated coil changing.
Cladding Materials Used in Roll Forming
Common metal cladding and core combinations include:
Table 5: Metals Used for Cladding Roll Forming
|Lightweight, corrosion resistant
|Sacrificial zinc protects steel
|Lightweight + structural strength
|Decorative, naturally antimicrobial
|Aesthetic, higher strength
|Very high strength and toughness
|Attractive gold color, durable
- Softer more formable metals like aluminum used for the thin cladding.
- Harder stronger metals like steel for the structural core layer.
- Compatible materials and melting points are required.
- Surface treatments like anodizing improve cladding durability.
Cladding Roll Formed Product Applications
Clad metal panels produced on these efficient roll forming lines are used in diverse architectural, commercial and industrial applications:
Table 6: End Use Applications for Cladding Roll Formed Panels
|Facades, curtain walls, roofs, canopies
|Partitions, wall liners, ceilings, doors
|Trailers, truck bodies, rail cars
|Bridges, waste/water treatment, shelters
|Refrigerators, washing machines, ovens
|Office furniture, storage, medical carts
|Server racks, control boxes, lighting
- Building cladding sees the largest demand due to aesthetics and corrosion resistance.
- Transportation uses include high durability liners and panels for vehicles.
- Diverse profile shapes, curves possible to support innovative designs.
- Formed metal perceived as higher quality than plastic panels.
Cladding Roll Forming Line Installation
Proper installation of these heavy industrial lines requires meticulous planning and coordination. The key steps include:
Table 7: Cladding Roll Forming Line Installation Steps
|Level floor, power supply, layout
|Use forklifts, cranes, chains/slings
|Locate per approved drawings
|Precision level machines on base plates
|Bolt machines together per design
|Align roll shafts and dies accurately
|Connect power, pneumatics, hydraulics
|Test individual sections then full line
|Refine settings to achieve design output
|Install guards for pinch points
- Floor must support machine weight and withstand vibration.
- Lifting equipment rated for full machine loads to avoid tipping or dropping.
- Utility capacity must meet peak power, air and fluid requirements.
- Initial test runs identify any issues prior to full production startup.
- Safety guards mandatory for all moving parts and roll openings.
Setting Up Cladding Roll Forming Lines
Efficient setup and changeover between cladding product runs minimizes downtime and material waste. Steps include:
Table 8: Cladding Roll Forming Setup Procedure
|1. Die change
|Stage new profile die sets for quick swapping
|2. Material check
|Verify clad coil thickness, surface quality
|3. Feeding alignment
|Ensure web centering and tracking
|4. Speed setup
|Enter new speed setting in controller
|5. Guide adjustment
|Position guides to suit new sheet width
|6. Trial run
|Test run new profile and monitor quality
|7. Inspector approval
|Get signoff on sample panel conformance
|8. Begin production
|Rapid changeover with minimum scrap material
- Schedule die changeovers when current coil batch is depleted.
- Monitor initial panels to ensure tight tolerances are held.
- Watch for sheet tracking issues, edge cracks, surface defects.
- Confirm inspector approval before full production restart.
Operating Cladding Roll Forming Machines
Consistent quality output relies on proper operation following standard procedures:
Table 9: Cladding Roll Forming Machine Operation
|Ensure guards in place, PPE worn
|Load coils on unwind stands via coil car
|Feed sheet through rolls and leveling stations
|Run machine at slow speed and inspect panels
|Set line speed per supervisor direction
|Watch for defects, listen for irregular sounds
|Use edge guides to center sheets in rolls
|Grease bearings, apply roll release agents
|Verify randomly sampled panels meet specs
|Update logbook on output, issues, maintenance
- Review safety procedures and wear protective equipment.
- Monitor newly formed panels closely until quality validated.
- Lubricate equipment frequently to prevent accelerated wear.
- Document any abnormal observations or deviations for troubleshooting.
Maintenance of Cladding Roll Forming Machines
Preventative maintenance avoids unplanned downtime and disruption to customer orders:
Table 10: Cladding Roll Forming Maintenance Activities
|Inspect panels, check safety guards
|Lubricate bearings/gears, clean deposits
|Check belt/chain tension, fastener torque
|Roll surface inspection and refinishing
|Hydraulics inspection, fluids change
|Replace wear items – seals, spirals etc.
|Gearbox oil change, shaft/bearing replacements
|Major overhaul, ring roll replacement
- Monitor wear on consumable items like spirals, guides, seals.
- Refinish or replace rolls when surface defects appear.
- Schedule major repairs during planned annual maintenance shutdown.
- Keep maintenance logs to track work history on each machine module.
Choosing a Cladding Roll Forming Machine Supplier
Key factors in selecting reliable equipment manufacturers:
Table 11: Cladding Roll Forming Machine Supplier Selection Criteria
|Years in business, number of installations
|Range of machines and line speeds offered
|Ability to engineer lines for exact requirements
|Stringent manufacturing and validation processes
|Installation assistance, operator training provided
|Timely response for maintenance, repairs
|ISO and industry certifications held
|Feedback from existing customers
|Equipment quality relative to proposed budget
- Look for extensive industry application expertise.
- Require supplier validation data on machine capabilities.
- Evaluate ease of maintenance and spare parts sourcing.
- Consider geographic proximity and service infrastructure.
- Balance purchase price versus production output and durability.
Cladding Roll Forming Machine Cost Considerations
Pricing is driven by production speed, line configuration, and customization level:
Table 12: Cladding Roll Forming Machine Price Ranges
|$150,000 – $500,000
|$500,000 – $1,500,000
|$1,500,000 – $3,000,000
- Entry level machines for low volume workshops.
- Mid-range for cost sensitive fabricators.
- High production for continuous operation.
- Turnkey includes installation and commissioning.
- Customization requires engineering charges.
- Regional factors also influence pricing.
- Request itemized quotes accounting for all specifications.
Cladding Roll Forming Machine Comparison
Table 13: Cladding Roll Forming Machine Pros and Cons
|Inline high speed
|Very high volumes, consistency
|Expensive, major factory space
|Lower cost, smaller footprint
|Slower production rates
|Single sheet roll former
|Simple design, low cost
|Cannot produce clad panels
|Two sheet cladding line
|Clad materials together
|Complex, higher maintenance
|Portable roll former
|Form onsite for custom shapes
|Limited profiles, slower
|Fixed factory lines
|Optimized for 24/7 production
|Inflexible, major installation
- Consider required production rates and capabilities.
- Evaluate initial cost versus operating costs long term.
- Customized lines maximize performance but have higher price.
- Simple entry level machines lowest cost but sacrifice speed.
- Select technology level that aligns with business objectives.
What materials can be roll formed?
- Most ductile metals including steel, aluminum, copper, titanium etc. Certain alloys with low malleability are not formable.
What thickness range is possible?
- Roll forming typically handles lighter gauges from 0.3 to 2.0mm (26 ga to 14 ga). Thicker metals become too hard to form without cracking.
How long does a cladding roll forming line last?
- Properly maintained lines have a typical lifespan of 15-20 years. Major rebuilds may be needed after 10 years. Key components like gearboxes, roll bearings, hydraulics require replacement over time.
How are different metals joined in roll bonding?
- The metallurgical bond relies on applying high pressure while heating the material interface just below the melting point. This breaks up surface oxides enabling atomic interdiffusion.
How many operators are required?
- Modern automated lines need 1-2 operators. One oversees the process and offloads finished panels while another handles material feeding. Advanced AI-assisted systems further reduce labor.
How often are roll dies changed for different profiles?
- For high mix lower volume production, die changes can occur weekly or several times per shift. For long production runs, die changes may only be needed every few weeks or months. Quick die change capability minimizes downtime.
What safety measures are mandatory?
- Equipment safeguarding for pinch points, interlocks on doors, E-stops, worker training. Proper PPE must be provided and worn. Work zones should be clearly designated to avoid hazards.
How is sheet alignment maintained?
- Edge guides and roller dies are machined to precise tolerances to track sheets. Sensors provide feedback for automated minor adjustments to web position. Accumulators allow stretching or slowing material to prevent skew.
How are operating speeds controlled?
- AC variable frequency drives adjust motor speeds. Production rates are entered into the HMI panel. The PLC automatically sets individual station speeds to match the target output.
How is coil stock loaded and fed?
- Coils are brought near the line on trucks or coil cars. Then they are lifted into position using lifting beams and powered decoilers or payoff reels and threaded into the process.
What factors affect roll forming costs?
- Key drivers are line speed, sheet width capacity, material thickness, automation level, and degree of customization. Higher volumes and throughput lower overall costs.
How should I budget for a new cladding roll forming line?
- Typical budget percentages: Equipment 60%, Installation 10%, Building 20%, Ancillary Equipment 10%. Factor in adequate room for future expansion or additional lines.