What is Roll Forming?

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Have you ever wondered how the fender on your car is manufactured? It is prepared using a technique called roll forming. Roll forming is a process of shaping metal into desired shapes. During the process, the metal is bent into shape by passing it through a set of consecutive rolls or stands. Each stand gives the metal an incremental bend until the desired shape is achieved.

It is an ideal technique to produce metal parts in large quantities and long lengths. It is also an excellent solution if you want consistency in the cross-sectional profile. A number of parts can be produced using roll forming such as bicycle rims, door frames, fence posts, auto rims, precipitation panels and more. Roll forming machines also work in continuous cycles. Once the metal enters the machine, it snakes through each stage of the machine until a final completed product is obtained.

The process takes place at room temperature and the end product requires little or no finishing. A number of metals are used in roll forming such as aluminum, copper, stainless steel and more.

Who uses roll forming in their business?

Many industries use roll formed parts such as the automobile industry, tools, and dyes industry, metal furniture industry, construction, railways and others. There are also several types of roll forming processes such as roll bending, roll forming, flat rolling, foil rolling, ring rolling and controlled rolling.

Where did roll forming begin and where does roll forming take place in the US?

The rolling mill was first used in England in 1590 (it was brought from Belgium). It was called a ‘slitting’ mill because it was used to split iron bars into rods. Richard Ford developed a crude version of the rolling mill we know now in 1766.  He received a patent for his process.

Modern rolling began with Henry Cort, the owner of Funtley Iron Mills. He received a patent for the process  in 1783 for pioneering the use of grooved rolls to roll iron. In 1820, John Birkenshaw managed to produce wrought iron rails which stimulated the development of the railways.

Most of the roll forming companies in the US are located in the North East, a traditional center of the steel making industry. There are also some companies in Arizona and parts of the South West.  Samson Rollform is located in Skokie, Illinois just a few miles North of Chicago.  The Midwest location gives Samson a strategic transportation advantage to delivering roll formed products around the nation as well as to Canada and Mexico.

List of top ways roll forming can help a business or save it money

Roll forming machines have high productivity as compared to other manufacturing techniques. You can actually combine the roll forming process with other operations, reducing manufacturing costs. Roll forming also reduces packaging, shipping and handling costs. The technique also eliminates supplemental operations like splicing, drilling or cutting to length.
Roll forming is aided by CAD/CAM systems, which help the machines to work at maximum potential. This not only reduces the need for human intervention but also helps companies save money on manpower. With rising industrialization in different parts of the world, the need for roll formed products is only going to increase. So, the roll forming industry will continue to do well in the coming years.

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