The Benefits of Roll Forming

Roll forming is a versatile and price-efficient process for shaping metal into custom cross-part profiles. Usually called “cold roll forming,” because the metal is shaped in its hardened state, roll forming is used throughout a wide range of industries to produce parts and components for everything from metal forming in automobiles to appliances to airplanes and houses.

For products that can be roll formed, the process presents a host of benefits and advantages over different approaches.

Most roll forming is completed with long strips of metal in coils, so the process is high-speed, with low labor demands, allowing higher volume production for many products with higher effectivity than with press braking or stamping. Additional processes, resembling punching or notching, can be incorporated right into a roll-forming production line, additional reducing labor calls for, and outputting completed products ready for distribution. Press braking requires separate processes for punching, notching, or perforating, adding time, labor, and expense.

Roll forming is a no-heat system — reducing energy costs — that gradually bends the metal, in phases, into its ultimate form by passing it by a series of custom-designed rollers. Roll forming doesn’t create the device wear that stamping does, the process eliminates the need for machining, resembling deburring, usually required with press braking. Equivalent parts lower from lengthy strips imply no wasted scrap, and roll-formed parts may be of virtually any size, while press braking limits size to the dimensions of the machine. Roll-shaped metal parts produced in quantity are almost always more price-efficient than plastic or extruded versions.

Even complicated cross-part profiles which can be a problem or are impossible with stamping can be simply created with roll forming, including spherical, closed, and C-shaped profiles. Nearly any metal, ferrous or nonferrous, will be roll-shaped, while extrusion is limited to only aluminum or brass. Roll forming also permits the shaping of metals already finished with paint, plating, or coating, while extrusion works only with unfinished, unplated stock, and press braking of completed metals requires additional dealing with and processes, costing time and money.

Roll forming may be designed to meet very tight tolerances. Products are more uniform and consistent throughout runs than with press braking, facilitating ease of use in applications akin to assembly line manufacturing, the place elements must fit right each time. Roll forming can produce a lot higher quality products and parts than extrusion.

Mills offers inline sweeping and arcing capabilities that may create advanced, sleek curves and bends for aesthetics in products akin to automotive or equipment trim.