Roll forming is a continuous process that converts sheet metal into a designed shape using consecutive sets of coupled rolls, each of which makes only incremental changes in the body. The total of these small changes in form is a compound profile.

The roll-forming process

In conventional stamping, the entire part is formed and worked at the same time. The shape of the piece, and incredibly how complex it can be, is limited when the forming stresses exceed what the metal can achieve before splitting. In rolled parts, only a small amount of forming pressure is applied to the region during each station, and even here, only a tiny section is bent at any given time. Because of this, more complex shapes can be achieved with a properly designed roll-forming process.

In the forming process, a coil or long individual strips are fed through a roll-forming line that converts the flat sheet into a contoured cross-section profile. The unique aspect of this approach is the use of consecutive forming stations, each of which pushes the metal into the desired shape. Based on the target profile, a computer calculates the optimum location and condition of the rolls for maximum efficiency and designs the track. The more advanced the desired shape, the more rolls the material will pass through. The roll-forming line can bend metal, form metal into tubes, create labyrinth-like structures, and pierce metal with holes.

Rollers are precision-contoured metal dies that shape the incoming sheet metal. In most cases, they are also the drive rolls that pull the strip through the roll-forming unit. These rollers can be as simple as the cylindrical rollers used to roll luggage through airport scanners, or they can take on more complex shapes. After the final forming station, the strip is cut to the length of the requested product. Usually, no additional work is required before shipment, as the final shape has been achieved.

Advantages of the roll-forming process

There are a variety of advantages to roll-forming. Due to the roll forming “assembly line” efficiency, large quantities of metal can be produced and cut, reducing costs. Secondary processes, such as punching or welding, can be integrated into a single production line. The profiles that can be produced from rolled steel sheets are similar to those seen in extruded aluminum.

The roll-forming process facilitates the creation of lighter steel parts compared to other roll-forming methods, as the wall thickness can be oriented according to the structural needs of the component. Pieces can be rolled even if a finish or paint has been applied. While hot forming can produce equally complex profiles, roll forming is an ambient temperature process. As such, it avoids the risk of distortion associated with hot forming and, at the same time, is more energy efficient.

With all these benefits, it is not surprising that roll forming has applications in many industries, including automotive, appliance, construction, agriculture, solar, and shelving.

There are different kinds of steel to the roll-forming industry with a variety of material types and grade options to meet various roll-forming processes that also include tubers. You could find some of them with us, including:

  • Hot roll pickle and oil
  • Hot roll pickle dry lube
  • Hot roll black
  • Galvanized
  • Galvannealed
  • Electro Galvanized
  • Cold roll
  • Stainless Steel
  • High Strength Steel
  • Advanced High Strength Steel
  • Aluminum

Now that you know more about roll formers and profile bending machines, it will be much easier to choose the right one for your industry according to your needs and product specifications. We encourage you to contact our consultants, who can help you choose the right machinery for your steel pipe production industry. We are ready to assist you. Click here to see more information about our machinery, and click here to contact us.