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Roll forming machines bend metal sheet into channels and other cross-sectional shapes. They use paired rollers called roll stations to form metal parts with long lengths, often in large quantities.  Roll forming equipment that is used to shape steel can fabricate parts with greater strength-to-weight ratios than can be obtained via methods such as forging.

Machine Components, Options, and Accessories

Roll forming machines typically include  and incorporate power-driven bullet rollers, chain and gear driven rollers, rolling double-reel support stands, and emergency shut-off switches. Production options may include hole-punching, notching, finishing, and bending. Some manufacturers use a flower-shaped pattern to specify the successive stages of work and the resulting or end design. 

Accessories for roll forming equipment include three-reel adapters, coil cradles, bottom rib roller assemblies, and run-out stands. Design software may be used to improve custom techniques and allow for the simulation of these roll forming processes via finite element analysis (FEA).

Applications and Products

Roll forming machines are used to fabricate rigid, high-strength parts from metals as light as aluminum to as heavy as 6-gague steel (1/2-in. thick).  They are used to produce metal building components, studs, supports, angles, C-channels, U-channels, and hat channels.

Standards for Rolling Forming Machines

There are several organizations that publish standards for roll forming and roll forming machines. For example, Technical Committee A01.19 (sheet and strip steel) of ASTM International (formerly called the American Society for Testing and Materials) publishes standards that apply to roll forming machinery. ASTM A568/A568M-05a is a standard specification for sheet, carbon, structural, and high-strength, low-alloy, hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel.

Some end-users of rolled products require higher standards of flatness because of the use of machines such as laser cutters and high-speed punching centers. Roll forming machines may be required to meet specifications of the resulting products. For example, General Motors North America publishes GMN11192, a standard for high-strength recovery annealed cold reduced sheet steel, a product that is suited for roll forming operations.

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