Monday, May 5, 2014

What is Custom Roll Forming?

Roll Forming is a continuous process in which a strip of metal, usually in coil form, is passed through a series of roller dies and progressively shaped to the desired contour. It eliminates multiple stage production, finishing or sub-assembly operations. Secondary operations such as: notching, punching, tabbing, perforating, edge rolling, bending, deburring, embossing, and mechanical finishing can be combined continuously with the roll forming operation to speed production and reduce assembly costs. By its very nature, roll forming is a process which permits consistent adherence to close tolerances, working in both heavy and lightweight materials. Roll formed shapes can be economically produced from an almost limitless variety of stock that has been preprocessed: painted, vinyl coated, oiled, anodized, embossed, or mechanically surface treated. Practically all metals can be successfully roll formed.

Competitive processes

Extrusion, hot rolling.

Parts produced

HVAC and construction industries are big consumers of rollformed products. These include ductwork as well as doors and wall panels. Rollformed products also find great use on roadways as sign posts and guardrails. Other products include shelving, airframe parts, window and door frames, raceways and troughs, telescoping bleacher seating, electronic enclosures, drawer slides and various types of rails.


Should your needs fall to parts with uniform cross-sections, rollforming can make them in high volumes, cutting the parts to the length needed. In-line processes to punch, notch and perform other functions help reduce cost and lead time. Generally, rollformed parts offer a strength advantage over competing processes in structural-rigidity applications.


Sizes of parts produced are limited only by shipping and handling concerns. The process typically runs at speeds from about 5 to more than 600 ft./min., depending upon part complexity and use of in-line non-rollforming operations. The type of material worked also affects process speed.


Any material that can be cold-formed from sheet is a candidate for rollforming.

Should I use it?

The process will yield high volumes of parts, to any length desired. Use it for parts with similar cross-sections throughout. Also, the process is not limited to straight parts—it can sweep material into a continuous radius or a circular ring. Rollforming allows the formation of two different materials simultaneously to produce a clad shape in one operation. Note: Product design is limited to material of constant thickness, and the process does not provide the ability to strengthen bends with fillets.
Article also available on the Custom Roll Forming Institute website. 

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