Roll forming is a flexible and cost-effective process for shaping metal into custom cross-section profiles. Often called “cold roll forming,” because the metal is shaped in its hardened state, roll forming is used across 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 offers a host of benefits and advantages over alternative approaches.
Most roll forming is done with long strips of metal in coils, so the process is high-speed, with low labor demands, allowing higher volume production for most products with higher efficiency than with press braking or stamping. Additional processes, such as punching or notching, can be incorporated into a roll-forming production line, further reducing labor demands, 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 stages, into its final shape by passing it through a series of custom-designed rollers. Roll forming doesn’t create the tool wear that stamping does, the process eliminates the need for machining, such as deburring, often required with press braking. Identical parts cut from long strips mean no wasted scrap, and roll-formed parts can be of almost any length, while press braking limits length to the size of the machine. Roll-formed metal parts produced in quantity are almost always more cost-effective than plastic or extruded versions.
Even complex cross-section profiles that are a challenge or are impossible with stamping can be easily created with roll forming, including round, closed, and C-shaped profiles. Almost any metal, ferrous or nonferrous, can be roll-formed, while extrusion is limited to only aluminum or brass. Roll forming also allows the shaping of metals already finished with paint, plating, or coating, while extrusion works only with unfinished, unplated stock, and press braking of finished metals requires additional handling and processes, costing time and money.
Precision, Quality and Consistency
Roll forming can be designed to meet very tight tolerances. Products are more uniform and consistent across runs than with press braking, facilitating ease of use in applications such as assembly line manufacturing, where components must fit right every time. Roll forming can produce much higher quality products and components than extrusion.
Advanced Design Tools
Mills offers inline sweeping and arcing capabilities that can create complex, graceful curves and bends for aesthetics in products such as automotive or appliance trim.
Not every part or product is right for roll forming. For limited runs and prototyping, another process, such as hydroforming, might fill the bill, and Mills Products will always recommend the right metal forming service for the job. For jobs that are right for roll forming, major savings in time and money can be realized over other methods of production, with higher speed, precision, consistency, and quality.
Call us today at (423) 745-9090 to find out how we can put roll forming to work for you. Visit our website to learn more about our roll forming capabilities, and all of our metal fabrication services, including custom design and engineering.