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Theory &

Application
of
Roll Forming

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
DEFINITION

CAPABILITIES

THE SHAPE

DESIGN RESTRICTIONS

TOLERANCES

SPRINGBACK AND END FLARE

THE FORMING MACHINES

Integral Drive Type

Universal Spindle Type

MACHINE ELEMENTS DETERMINING SECTION DEPTH

ROLL PITCH DIAMETER AND GEARING RATIO

FORMING MACHINE DRIVES

ROLL FORM TOOLING

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REQUIRED AMOUNT OF FORMING STATIONS

10

ACCESSORY TOOLING

11

ORIENTATION

12

ROLL MATERIALS AND ROLL LIFE

12

SPLIT ROLLS AND COMBINATION TOOLING

13

THE CUTOFF MACHINE

14

THE COMPLETE LINE

16

NUMBER AND CALIBER OF OPERATORS

18

SETUP TIME

18

MACHINE COST AND LIFE

19

PRODUCTION RATE AND CONVERSION COST

19

PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT AND OPERATION

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DEFINITION
Fundamentally roll forming is defined as a continuous, high-volume, fabricating process in
which a desired shape is formed from a flat strip of metal by passing it through a series of
matching pairs of contoured rolls. Only bending takes place, the metal thickness does not
change except for a slight thinning at a bend radius.

CAPABILITIES
As a fabricating method, roll forming is used mainly for mass production of shapes providing
that shape has a uniform cross-section. Any material that can withstand bending to the
desired radius can be roll formed. This material might be hot rolled, mill finish, material, it
might be cold rolled, it might have a mirror or a high polished finish, or it might be of any
known metal in wide use today. Likewise, it might be coated with another metal such as
galvanize, tin or copper, and it might be painted or plastic coated, the basic criteria being
only that, whatsoever the material or the coating, it or they must be able to withstand the
specified bend radii.
The product range is almost limitless. The process has successfully made such products as
1/8 diameter butt seam tube, filling it at the same time with a flux to create a welding rod;
computer components out of .005 thick tin plate; or structural sections and pipe from
thick plate, pipe as large as 48 diameter. In some instances, the type of section being the
determinant, multiple sections can be made from a single strip or, for that matter, several
strips can be fed simultaneously and combined into one composite section.

THE SHAPE
Roll forming may sound like the Answer to a Maidens Prayer but it, like every other
manufacturing process has some limitations, drawbacks, and restrictions that must be
observed in both machine operation and section design to provide a satisfactory application.

DESIGN RESTRICTIONS
For the most part end product design dictates shape configuration, but at the same time
familiarity with the processing limitations goes a long way toward designing for
manufacturing simplicity and thereby successful, continuous production of uniform piece
parts. Figure #1 shows some restrictions that should be considered:

Theory & Application of Roll Forming

Figure #1
a) Blind bends for example, bends that cannot be reached by both a male and female
portion of a pair of driven rolls can be difficult to control.
b) Narrow slots require narrow rolls that present heat treating problems and are subject
to breakage particularly when excessive metal thickness variations are encountered.
c) Flange lengths - the length of metal beyond the radius tangent point - should be at
least three times metal thickness.
d) Modern installations often include piercing, notching, embossing and other
operations either before or after the rolling operation. Prepunched holes and notches
should be kept away from bend lines or edges and consideration should be given to
the possibility of slight distortion in their size and shape during forming. Obviously
too, rolls must be relieved to clear any embossed designs; therefore, embossing
should also be kept clear of bend lines for most effective forming.
e) The press type cutoff machine, whether mechanical, hydraulic or pneumatic, because
of its speed and accuracy, is the most popular type of cutoff used today with roll
forming lines. If at all possible the shape should be designed so the cutoff die can be
constructed to develop minimum distortion of the cut end or, it this is impractical
then the product assembly should compensate accordingly.

Theory & Application of Roll Forming


Referring now to Figure #2 an additional group of restrictions to contemplate include:

Figure #2
f)

Sections with wide flat areas that are exposed when assembled into the end product
should be viewed with caution. Despite advances in coil metal processing, no one
has made a perfectly flat coil of material. Imperfections such as loose edges or
loose center (oil canning) tend to accentuate into such areas. Longitudinal ribs,
perhaps high minimum, added on about 6 centers across the width are effective
as a compensating measure.

g) Sections with a wide flat surface along one edge can be improved with some edge
formation to remove the ripples that otherwise might be produced.
h) Cold reduction and cold roll forming are not completely compatible, however, a
limited amount can be accomplished. Metal thickness reductions create control
problems as the thickness and hardness of the strip varies.
i)

Corner radii, control the amount of spring-back; if too large, the shape will not be
held uniformly as metal hardness varies; if too small, the result might be
objectionable pressure marks or the likelihood of metal fracture or cracking in the
bend areas.

j)

The minimum bend radius is largely determined by the ductility of the metal. It is
however, a fact that sharper radii can be obtained by roll forming than by other
methods. Given a metal of sufficient ductility, absolute sharp corners can be
developed by creasing or actually reducing the metal thickness before forming up the
corner. Although this is performed when required, it is not a suggested design
mainly because of the limited life of the creasing roll and the fact the section is
weakened by the reduction in area.

The various metal handbooks provide information giving bend properties of specific
materials. It is advisable to adhere to these restrictions and to those imposed by metal
temper in all cases, noting that forming sharp corner involve added machine loads and may
accelerate tool maintenance.

Theory & Application of Roll Forming

Tolerances
a) Tolerances on part dimensions are largely dependent on the tolerances of the
material being formed, end flare and springback, notwithstanding. A dimensional
tolerance of 1/64 is commonly applied to cross-section dimensions and a
tolerance of 1 to 2 to angles. Given a specific set of conditions, closer tolerances
can be held, e.g., .005. But, whenever such tolerances are specified, it should be
recognized they usually represent additional tryout time, more tooling expense and
possibly even the need for premium priced material that has special thickness and
mechanical property controls.
The manufacturer is often asked to propose equipment to make a given shape from
more than one gauge of metal and in the interest of minimum tool cost, to do so in
one (1) set of rolls. Remembering that rolls must be fitted for the maximum metal
thickness and also that the only adjustment available to the operator is vertical to
bring the rolls closer together or farther apart. Figure #3 shoes the minimum and
maximum conditions that exist in a typical case. Note the change in the angle of the
vertical leg, the change in overall height and the change in arc length at the bends.

Figure #3: Minimum / Maximum Relationship - Multiple Gauge Forming


Strip width variations also affect section tolerance. In the case of the hat section
pictured here, width variation would be reflected as a variation in the length of the
legs. The part designer should be governed accordingly.
b) The straightness of a formed section varies due to any one of several factors, strip
thickness or hardness changes in a given coil, or for that matter, from coil to coil, roll
pressure adjustments, lubricant or temperature changes and camber. The operator
must recognize the affect of these conditions and be able to compensate for them. A
straightening attachment on the exit end of every machine provides this facility.
c) Straightness consists actually of three (3) considerations - camber, or deviation from
a straight line in a vertical plane; sweep, deviation from a straight line in a horizontal
plane; and twist, the order of magnitude, for camber and sweep being about 1/8 or
in about 10 and twist about 5 to 15 in 10.

Theory & Application of Roll Forming

Springback and End Flare


One of two elastic distortion phenomena that must be reckoned with by both the shape and
tool designer is springback. It is defined as the general distortion of a part after its removal
from the forming pressure. The amount varies with metal properties like yield point and
elastic modulus. Usually by over-forming, the designer can compensate for a given set of
these conditions.
Closely related is a distortion commonly known as end flare which occurs, as its name
implies, at the ends of a roll formed section or at any point along its length one might cut
though it, such as pierces or notches in the cross-section. The strains in roll forming are
much more complex than in other types of bending. Residual stresses make themselves
particularly apparent by a greater distortion at the ends of a part than at any point along its
length. Flare can be minimized by roll design procedures, but it cannot be completely
eliminated except by subjecting the metal to some amount of stretch forming or to a stress
relieving anneal.

The Forming Machines


The roll forming machine is the instrument needed to convert strip to a finished crosssection. Common to all makes is a fabricated base, roll spindles, spindle support housings
and a drive.

Figure #4: Integral Drive Type Roll Forming Stand

Integral Drive Type


The most popular forming machine is the integral drive type, one head of which is illustrated
on Figure #4.
Several manufacturers make this style of machine in standard sizes of 1, 2, 2 and 3
spindles to accommodate mild steel up to about .180 thick in widths to 24. Each can be
made with as many heads as desired, as few as two or three or as many as thirty-six,
although generally twelve to fourteen meet most requirements.

Theory & Application of Roll Forming

As you can see, each pair of spindles is carried in a separate gear-head and as per Figure #5,
each has its own splash lubricated worm and gear train. Since the upper roll spindle must
be adjustable for rolls of different diameters, it is driven through a toggle or link type gear
arrangement from the bottom spindle permitting adjustment without sacrificing pitch line
mesh of the gears. A micrometer dial on each adjusting screw indicates spindle adjustment
and parallel. The outboard housing is removable from the spindle as a complete assembly to
permit roll changes.

Figure #5: Integral Drive Type Roll Forming Stand Solid Model

Operators View of Yoder M-Style Forming Machine

Universal Spindle Type

Theory & Application of Roll Forming


For applications in which the limits of the self-contained gear-head construction have to be
exceeded or in which additional versatility is desired, the spindle arrangement shown on
Figure #7 is used.

Figure #7: Universal Spindle Type Roll Forming Stand

Here the gearbox is set back from the spindle housings and the spindles are driven through
universal couplings. This type machine has been made with spindles up to 15 diameter for
heavy structural products and large pipe.

Machine Elements Determining Section Depth


The capability of any given machine with regard to height or depth of the section is
measured mainly by the vertical distance available between spindles. This, together with the

Theory & Application of Roll Forming


distance from the centerline of the bottom spindle to the top of the machine base and the
horizontal center distance between roll stands, establishes the maximum roll diameter.

Figure #8: Roll to Spindle Relationship


Let us look at the roll contour of the last roll stage for a simple channel as on Figure #8 and
note it relation to the other parts of the machine. In addition to the restrictions just
mentioned, there must be clearance between the outside diameter of the bottom roll flange
and the top roll spacer, as well as clearance between the edge of the section and the top roll
spacer. Note also the bottom roll flange diameter includes a lead-in or bell-mouthed contour
to aid in threading from one pass to another.

Roll Pitch Diameter and Gearing Ratio


The roll pitch diameter is usually selected to engage a given profile at its widest and most
nearly horizontal area. This area is important as it provides the most effective and balanced
traction. The ratio between the pitch diameter of the top and bottom rolls must be the same
as the ratio of the gearing connecting the top and bottom spindles.
Some manufacturers provide machines that are able to accommodate either equal ratio or
unequal ratio rolls. On the left of Figure #9 is a cross-section through a stage of equal pitch
diameter rolls. The drawing on the right shows the same roll stage in a machine fitted out
for unequal ratio rolls. The pitch diameter in the latter is well below the mid-point between
spindles and as you see, gains enough space to allow forming a much deeper section with the
same vertical centers.

Theory & Application of Roll Forming

Figure 9: Equal versus Unequal Gearing


In machines to which only equal ratio rolls can be applied, deep sections are formed by so
called floating the pitch line. This is not a good procedure but can be applied in specific
instances, particularly where light gauge and perhaps narrow shapes are concerned. In
principle, it involves a different pitch diameter in successive roll passes which, as each
bottom spindle is driven at the same RPM, can lead to roll fight between passes, excessive
gear loads and excessive HP demands.

Forming Machine Drives


The OEM will determine the correct amount of horsepower required to form the section.
The horsepower takes into account four critical items. They are:
1. Material Thickness
2. Total number of forming stands
3. Desired line speed
4. Yield strength of material
With these items in mind the proper DC or AC Variable Frequency Drive can be selected.
Most drives today are digitally controlled, with some type of dynamic braking. This
eliminates the old clutch and brake style drives. It also gives the operator the ability to
increase and decrease the line speed of the machine.
The larger, more complex lines, typically operate with a PLC to manage the functions of
each piece of equipment. These lines can have multiple motor drives and color touch screen
controls for the individual functions.

Theory & Application of Roll Forming

Roll Form Tooling


Tooling in a roll forming machine predominately consists of the driven forming rolls,
together with the spacers that hold them laterally in alignment on the spindles. The
importance of proper roll design, materials and manufacture cannot be emphasized enough.
It is not my intent to discuss roll design in detail, this is the jurisdiction of knowledgeable,
experienced engineers, but a few brief comments are certainly in order.

Required Amount of Forming Stations


The selection of the number of driven roll stages depends on the configuration of the shape
to be rolled, qualified to some degree by the characteristics of the material and the machine.
Tool designing for roll forming is not an exact science. There are no definite rules that apply
to a large variety of shapes. Generally speaking, it can be said the number of roll stages
needed to form a given shape will increase with depth or height of section, with the number
of bends and with increases in metal thickness. Moreover, the number of stages might
decrease to some extent with an increase in the horizontal center distance between rolls, or
with an increase in roll pitch diameter.
Take any shape to a roll designer and quiz him as to the number of passes it requires.
Applying what I will call the Seat of the Pants Theory, more likely than not he will look
out the window, look at the ceiling, scratch his head, put a couple of lines on paper and thus
come up with an answer.
There is another theory that relates the overall forming length to the height of sections of a
40 to 1 ratio. Another that relates center distance between roll stands to metal movement
around the arc of bend and in turn to the resulting strain along the strip edge. Still another
relates roll diameter, transition or roll contact distance, metal movement around the arc of
bend and again, the resulting edge strain. Common to all is the basic premise that the metal
cannot be unduly stretched in its progression from the flat to the finished part.
Each of these theories, there may be more, have some logical basis. Each has its place in the
scheme of things; but none tell the whole story. The engineer must be able to visualize the
shape the metal will take at each stage. Or, in other words, visualizing the forming
progression is termed a flower layout.
Figure #11 shows the progression (flower) of a typical C section, involving pure
bending in all stages; Figure #12, the flower for a hat section, where both bending and
drawing are considered.
The cross-section of Figure #13 also illustrates the combination of drawing and bending. It
points up too, the demand for drawing metal into and forming, the center tongue before
work on the edges is started.

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Theory & Application of Roll Forming

Flower Drawing of Strut Section

Figure #11: Forming Progression C Channel

Figure #12: Forming Progression Hat Section

Figure #13: Forming Progression Center Tongue

Accessory Tooling
It is sometimes necessary to mount rolls on vertical axes, between driven roll stages, to exert
side pressure to a shape when it is need for forming or guiding.
Likewise, when cut-to-length strips are fed through a roll forming machine, interstage
guiding devices are used to guide the lead end in its progression from roll to roll.

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Theory & Application of Roll Forming


These items, together with straightening guides or rolls, are considered accessory tooling and
are mounted on standard fixtures available from all manufacturers for the purpose.

Orientation
Shape orientation, its position relative to the roll axis, is to be considered as an important
element of roll design. It can affect machine cost, tool cost, part quality and also the overall
efficiency of the operation. A particular orientation may receive preference because of:
1) The limitations of the forming machine as to the number of roll stages and roll
diameter.
2) The limitations of the cutoff machine as to the die space and stroke.
3) A desire to retain the finished or exposed surface of the section in a position visible to
the operator as it is being formed.
4) A desire to position the cutoff burr in a particular direction.
5) A desire to tool similar sections in combination or sectioned rolls.
6) A desire to minimize, control or eliminate:
a) Scratching and galling
b) Blind bends
c) Trapped coolant
d) Springback
7) The requirement
postpunching.

of

other

in-line

operations,

e.g.,

coiling,

prepunching,

8) Tool cost economies or ease of setup and operation.


9) The need to position a laminated section most conveniently for the application of the
core of cover strips involved.

Roll Materials and Roll Life


Rolls are usually made from tool steel, the grade being dependent on the expected production
and finish of the piece part. For general duty applications where a smooth finish strip is to be
formed or when shapes are formed from hot rolled, unpickled, steel, a High Chrome-High
Carbon tool steel (AISI D-2) with about 1.5% carbon and 12% chrome is to be suggested. This
generally heat treats to 60-63 Rockwell C and represents about 2 to 2 times the life of the
previously used oil hardening tool steel. This tool steel has good wear quality and for the
average run of light gauge cold formed sections could be expected to roll several, on the order
of 3 to 5 million feet or more before regrinding. Generally speaking, 4 to 5 regrinds can be
made before the rolls are scrapped.
For specific industry and product applications, other materials may be used. For light gauge,
pre-painted or galvanized wide products, such as building panels or metal roofing, chromed
coated alloy steel may be used, due to the liberal tolerances of the application and the light
forming duties involved. Additionally, if there is a non-magnetic or temperature sensitive
environment for the roll tooling, such as inline welding or heat treating, other materials may be
required, specifically aluminum bronze (non-magnetic) or AISI H13 tool steel (heat resistance

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Theory & Application of Roll Forming


compared to D2). Finally, for extremely high speed, high wear applications, most commonly
tube mills, tungsten carbide tooling may be used. Carbide tooling may offer an order of
magnitude improvement in tooling wear, but it is substantially more brittle than toolset, so
case must be taken in the handling of the tooling pieces.

Split Rolls and Combination Tooling


Rolls are split where necessary to facilitate machining, grinding or for change changes, and
also to provide for easy replacement of a roll piece that might be subject to extreme wear. In
general, no roll pieces exceed 6 wide, meaning that wide shape rolls are made up in
sections, sometimes even of different materials, according to the service requirement. Such
would be the case for a wide panel in which flats predominate, the flat roll pieces being a soft
machine steel, the forming or working portions of tool steel.
Closely related to the subject of splitting rolls is the use of combination tooling, to enable a
manufacturer to produce several shapes with a minimum of tooling outlay. Note the
similarity of sections #1 and #2 on Figure #14. Combination tooling was provided for
theses. The basic set being that to the right of line XX with separate roll sets for the portions
to the left of this line.

Figure #14: Combination Tooling Arrangement


Looking at Section #3, splitting a set of channel rolls along line XX as shown, allows the
forming of numerous widths simply by adding spacers at the split.

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Theory & Application of Roll Forming


The shapes shown as #4 and #5 employ another type of combination roll arrangement
involving split rolls with spacers for width in the first passes, a common set of bottom rolls,
and two (2) sets of top rolls in the subsequent passes.

The Cutoff Machine


To realize the maximum production capabilities of a roll forming machine; continuous
operation and the improved product consistency available by feeding coiled stock, a cutoff
machine becomes an important part of the complete roll forming system. The machine in
most general use is similar the 4-post model on Figure #15 and might be pictured as an
under-driven press with rails fastened to the bolster plate and to the ram, with the flying
cutoff die being free to slide on the rails from right to left. These machines function to cut
the formed section to length as it exits the roll forming machine without stopping the
forward progress of the section.

Figure #15: 4-Post Mechanical Cutoff Press

The section passes through the die and travels along a runout table until the desired length is
measured, either via a rotary encoder, photo-eye, limit switch or a positive (mechanical)
stop. This target initiates the cutting cycle an during the period of cutting, the die moves
from right to left on its slide rails. Once the cut is completed, it returns automatically to its
starting position. This is the most simplistic way to operate. However, the cut length
tolerance can be very broad, depending on line speed, type of cutoff press and method of
length control employed.

Other methods of actuation of a cutoff operation include:


1. Open Loop Measuring System with rotary Encoder
2. Closed Loop Measuring System with rotary Encoder
3. Mechanical piloting or pickup on a prenotched area triggered by a limit switch.

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Theory & Application of Roll Forming

Line Speed & Length Tolerance by Method of Control1

A general illustration of the length tolerance as a function of line speed and method of length
control is shown in the above figure. It is not within the scope of this discussion to deal in
greater detail on the subject. However, cutoff performance, die design, triggering method,
die acceleration and material handling, all influence rolling machine speeds, the lengths that
can be cut, the length tolerance that can be maintained and in turn, the investment dollars
involved. A realistic evaluation of the requirement should be made for the budget available
and the end-use requirements.

Machine Base Mount Hydraulic Cutoff

For more information see Hill Engineering, www.hillengr.com

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Theory & Application of Roll Forming

The Complete Line


The complete roll forming line can become one of two approaches to the processing of a
particular part; It can be arranged to produce that part
1. From precut lengths, or
2. From coiled strip.
Some parts demand the cut length approach; however, the most efficient, productive,
consistent, and reliable arrangement is the coil fed line. It most often consists of a coil reel,
roll forming machine, cutoff machine and run-out table. This is the basic concept applying
to the majority of installations in the world. A more complex arrangement might be
provided whereby auxiliary operations, such as prenotching, punching, embossing, marking,
trimming, seam welding, spot welding, curving and coiling are performed continuously, with
the result that a minimum of subsequent operating procedures might be involved to provide
the finished NET product.

Figure #16: 26-Stand Refrigerator Panel Machine

Figure #16 shows a 26-pass machine for producing a refrigerator panel from precut,
trimmed, prepunched lengths.
Figure #17 is a typical basic, coil fed line using a coil reel, a 11-stand forming mill and a 4post type pneumatic cutoff press.
Figure #18 shows a prenotch, form and cut line. This, you see, includes not only the cutoff
machine after the rolling machine but also another cutoff, in this case, termed a prenotch
press, and a small stock straightener ahead of it. Although used most generally for
developing a contoured end formation that cannot be developed after the shape is formed,
this system can be used to prepunch many repetitive pattern combinations.

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Theory & Application of Roll Forming

Figure 17: Typical Coil Run Line with Cutoff Press

Figure 18: Entry end of Typical Prenotch Line with Servo Feed

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Theory & Application of Roll Forming

Number and Caliber of Operators


A roll forming line of average proportions, usually is operated by a single man. Depending
on the number of machines in the plant, this man may or may not be capable of making a
roll setup.
As lines increase in complexity or as the shape gets longer, wider or heavier, depending upon
the degree of automation, a helper may be added to the picture to assist in coil loading or
part handling.
Sometimes, a roll forming machine is operator-less and simply functions as a conveyor
between operations. An example of this is the typical refrigerator panel line wherein the flat
sheet is automatically conveyed from the trim and notch press to the forming machine and
also from the forming machine to the tangent bender.
It is often assumed that a roll forming machine operator must be a Jack of all trades. This
may be far-fetched, although on some troubleshooting occasions, such attributes might help.
The operator should be a good mechanic capable of accepting and utilizing such training as
is made available. They do not have to be a tool-maker, as this phase or work has already
been accomplished for them.

Setup Time
Qualified to include the time consumed to strip, clean and store one set of rolls and to load,
and adjust another set; setup time must be predicated on a well organized and readily
available roll storage facility, an experienced conscientious operator, and crane or hoist
service readily available when needed.
The 1 and 2 spindle mills that are changed over by stripping the rolls from the ends of
the shafts can be setup in about 15 minutes per pass, both driven and idle. The 2 and 3
mills require about 20 minutes per pass.
Additionally, if a cutoff is involved, about 15 minutes is needed to remove and replace the
die, excluding any internal die changes. Length changes, which involve a mechanical
method of length control, may require repositioning the cutoff target and, roughly, 5 to 10
minutes of time. If a system has an electronic method of length control, changing product
lengths and or hole patterns, can be accomplished on the fly, so halting the roll forming
operation may not be necessary.
Typically, a roll change in a large, wide (6 diameter x 60 wide) mill wherein roll and
spindle assemblies are removed through the top of the housing, and replaced with preassembled rolls and spindles, requires something on the order of 30 minutes per pass.
In the situation where rafted roll formers are employed, the roll stand and tooling is mounted
on a plate, typically referred to as a raft or cassette, the complete raft unit is removed and
a second set of rafts with tooling in place are mounted on the machine. Though this setup
requires greater capital investment, the changeover time is much faster and the operator does
not need to physically remove or adjust the roll tooling.

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Theory & Application of Roll Forming

Machine Cost and Life


The initial cost of a standardized roll forming line with a coil reel, cutoff and electrical
equipment, ranges from about $100,000 minimum up to $500,000 or more, depending on the
size and number of roll stands. The median would probably lie somewhere between
$150,000 to $250,000 without tooling.
There is practically no limit to the life of these machines; maintenance, including
replacements, is small or negligible even in a very old machine so long as it is not being
abused. The obsolescence factor during the part decade or so, has also been very small.
Although machines have been constantly improved in accuracy, accessibility, ease of
adjustment and wearing qualities, the basic design has not been changed.

Production Rate and Conversion Cost


Standard roll forming machines are usually equipped for operation at a nominal rate of 100
FPM, but may easily be designed for a higher or lower speed to meet a specific requirement.
At this rate, daily production averages about 25,000 to 30,000 feet of section of 8 hours
taking into account the usual delays for loading coils, threading the mill, clearing away
finished product, and those other elements of downtime that might enter the picture.
Conversion costs obviously vary from plant to plant and from one requirement to another.
For this reason a general observation becomes almost meaningless; each job must be
analyzed individually. But, the high productivity and the low operating expenses involved
provide a break-even point invariably so low one can conclude, if roll forming can be used in
shaping any product, the conversion cost will be lower than obtainable with any other
method.

Production Management and Operation


With todays electrical controls and computer technology, it is possible to integrate the roll
former operation with a businesss MRP system to schedule when and how much product is
roll formed. Lengths, quantities, and hole patterns can be directed from a companies
incoming orders and routed to the roll forming machine controls, with the inclusion of
product specific labeling or inkjet marking to identify the product coming off the roll former
to the order for which it was made. Such integration can be added on existing roll former
installations with the upgrade of some controls, or planned in the early stages for new
installations. Also, in order to operate such a system, it is necessary for the facilities to have
the hardware and software infrastructure to manipulate incoming orders to a data format
that can be processed and transmitted to the roll formers production queue.
Originally written by Henry Royak, Cold Roll Forming Theory and Application. Yoder
Manufacturing, 1993.
First Revision by Darren Muchnicki, Theory and Application of Roll Forming, Formtek,
Inc., 2002.
Second Revision by Jack Pennuto Jr., Theory & Application of Roll Forming, Formtek,
Inc., 2010.
Formtek, Inc. 2010

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