The Basics of a Roll Forming Machine

The Basics of a Roll Forming Machine

Roll forming is one of the most versatile manufacturing processes for metal products. It is used in all metal based industries. It uses a series of rolls to shape the metal piece into a specific profile.

Each company has a unique set of steps for their forming process. However, there are three important factors you should consider before purchasing your own forming machine.

The Basics

A roll forming machine takes long coils of metal and fabricates them into the exact configurations of end products. This process works well with both ferrous and nonferrous metals. Roll forming uses incremental pressure to shape the metal strip station by station and avoids creating excessive stress in specific areas. This enables it to produce precise, high-quality parts that require little to no finishing work.

The basic machine consists of four major sections. The first, the entry section, takes in raw materials that can be either inserted as sheet metal or fed from a continuous coil. The next section is the station rollers, which shape the metal strip into its desired shape. The last two sections are the cut off press and the exit station, where the finished product emerges onto a conveyor or table for a worker to retrieve.

During the production cycle, a PLC system continuously monitors the equipment. It receives input from an operator that enters commands such as cutting lengths and quantities, as well as a selection of different pre-press functions like punching and slot cuts. The PLC then uses that information to control the machine and adjusts its operation as needed. This keeps the machine functioning efficiently, avoiding errors and damage to the equipment and product. This helps the manufacturer keep costs down by reducing the need for manual intervention.


The type of metal used in a roll forming machine has a direct impact on the profile shape that can be achieved. For instance, some heat-treated alloys are not ideal for this process because they become too hard and crack when rolled. This is why metal extrusion is often the preferred manufacturing method for these types of materials.

The thickness of the material also impacts the forming process. Thicker materials require more force to bend than thinner ones. In addition, the amount of lubrication needed is an important factor to consider. Too much friction between the rollers and the material can cause tool wear, whereas too little lubrication may make the workpiece difficult to move through the rolls.

Lastly, the length of the piece to be produced should be considered rolling forming machine when choosing a machine. A roll forming machine is capable of producing long pieces because it uses a series of fixed rollers that bend the metal at room temperature. Each set of rollers bends the metal a little more than the previous one, which helps to create a continuous profile with accurate dimensions and specifications.

For this reason, a roll forming machine is a great choice for applications that need to produce large coils of metal or long profiles in large quantities. The machine can also accommodate a wide variety of secondary operations such as punching and precision laser cutting to enhance production efficiency.


While many manufacturers are not eager to discuss safety issues until something goes wrong, proper setup, operation, and maintenance of a roll forming machine ensures the protection of employees and customers. The primary safeguards for this equipment include fixed point of operation barriers to cover any nip points, interlocked guards to prevent other rotating parts from being accessed, and presence sensing devices (light curtains, safety mats). Workers should wear appropriate clothing, such as workshop aprons, gloves, and protective headgear. Loose clothing could become entangled in the machinery or melt due to high temperatures, leading to accidents.

The equipment should be checked regularly to ensure that all mechanical components are in working order and the hydraulics are clean and free of contaminants. This is important as the hydraulics are sensitive to environmental conditions, such as extreme heat and cold that could cause the metal parts to expand or contract, causing them to weaken and break.

Roll forming machines offer significant benefits over other methods of shaping metal. For example, complex profiles can be easily formed with this method. In addition, the tolerances of finished products are more consistent between runs than with turret punching or press braking. Moreover, this method does not require heating rolling forming machine the metal, which reduces energy costs. Finally, a rolling forming machine produces a smooth finish that eliminates the need for additional processing, reducing labor and material costs.


There are a number of maintenance aspects to consider when running a roll forming machine. For one, a proper lubrication schedule should be adhered to. This can include lubrication of the tooling (if applicable), bearings, and gears on the machine. Keeping up with this task can prevent premature wear and can avoid a breakdown in the machine.

Another aspect of maintenance is to ensure that the incoming material is free from contamination. This includes burrs and other debris that can cause premature damage to the rolls on your line. This can be achieved by a thorough slitting process before the material comes to your line, or through a deburring process set up at the beginning of your line.

Other maintenance tasks can include cleaning the machine, and making sure that the hydraulic oil is clean and in good condition. The hydraulic filter should be checked daily, and it should be changed if the indicator light changes to red – this indicates that it is working in bypass mode and not actually filtering anything. The hoses that carry the compressed air should also be regularly inspected for leaks. If they show signs of abrasion or leaking compressed air, they should be replaced immediately.

Other areas of the machine that may require maintenance include a check on the shaft parallelism of the top and bottom rolls. A technician can use a straight edge to confirm that they are parallel, and they can also check the alignment by placing a feeler block between the rolls.

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