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How to roll form sheet metal with an industrial roll forming machine


industrial machinery news

Roll forming processThe process of roll forming has made significant advancements over the past several decades.  With the advancements in machine engineering and computer aided design machine builders have been able to incorporate some great new technologies.  The rollforming industry is no different and is now catching up to the general plant automation sector.

Since the mid 1990's plant automation has seen some significant leaps in product and material handling technology.  Having the ability to operate reliably conveying systems in the order of 300 feet per minute or more has helped to reduce the overall costs of goods.

How roll forming sheet metal benefits from plant automation.

In its basic form roll forming requires flat sheet metal strips or from a coil to pass through steel rolls that progressively bend it in to a desired shape, or profile.  This basic process hasn't changed since the beginning of rollforming.  The changes that have been made increase both the speed or production rate of a forming line as well the complexity of the profile shape.  Some of the 

Computer aided design

With the advancement in computer technology designers now have the capability to design the complete mill and roll tooling within the computer.  This has had a significant impact on manufacturing costs by reducing trial and error research and development.  As well, allowed machine manufacturers to meet more complex demands from the marketplace.  Some companies not only design their rollformers within the computer they also utilize 3 dimensional modeling to see how all the parts fit together and how the sheet metal flows through the line.

Roll Tooling

If there is a heart to the metal forming process it is most likely the roll tooling.  This is were the rubber meets the road, or more accurately where steel meets steel.  As the steel sheet passes through each roll set the shape gently pushes and bends the metal.  There are a number of roll stands that progressively bend the metal in to its final shape.  This progression has advanced to a new level of complexity.  By incorporating a number of common automation technologies some roll former machine manufacturers have been able to produce 3 dimensional forming.  This process can deliver a whole new range of profile possibilities to the steel manufacturing industries.

Material Handling

Years ago rollforming machines use to operate a a very slow speed.  The mills and tooling simply wouldn't allow for fast speeds.  Today, roll formers can operate at line speeds in excess of 500 feet per minute.  With this comes some new challenges.  

Take for example a stud and track machine.  These machines can pump out an amazing number of steel framing studs in a day.  Here is an example of the production rates


Theoretical Production Rates

Machine Speed 500 feet per minute
Stud Length 8 feet
Number of studs per minute 62.5  
Number of studs per hour 3,750  
Number of studs per shift 30,000  

With production rates this high you can quickly see how material handling systems needed to advance like the rolling mills.  So how do you handle 62 steel studs in a minute?  Many machine suppliers looked toward other industries for the answer.  Some, built stackers and bundlers to handle and manage the steel studs and tracks.  By flipping and nesting the studs bundles could be made that can easily be transported locally or around the globe.  

For more information on roll forming machines or to get a rollformer quote contact us today.


Over 25 years experience in the industrial sector with a broad knowledge of industrial equipment and the installation and application of machinery used in today's automation processes.