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What Is Roll Forming?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Roll forming is a continuous bending operation in which a long strip of metal (typically coiled steel) 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 is ideal for producing parts with long lengths or in large quantities.

Examples of roll formed products include bicycle rims, fenders, precipitator panels, door frames, auto trim, fence posts, auto bumpers, step-beam members, and even flux core rod.

Roll Forming Facts

  • Generally, it takes about 75,000 pieces of a given part per year to justify a roll former. However, some applications can be justified with as little as 3,000 pieces of a particular part per year.
  • Roll forming typically produces a more consistent part than other forming methods.
  • Since roll formers usually run from coiled material, product lengths are limited only by the amount of material in the coil. Furthermore, product lengths can be easily changed on-the-fly.
  • Ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as cold or hot rolled carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, copper, HSLA steel, and even titanium or special alloys can be roll formed.
  • Pre-painted, galvanized, vinyl clad, and plastic enclosed metals can also be roll formed. By doing so, secondary coating operations can be eliminated.
  • Locating holes, "knock-outs", and notches can all be punched in the parts in-line before the finished parts are cut to length.