Sheet Metal Roll Forming
Dec 02, 2016
Roll forming, sometimes spelled rollforming, is a metal forming process in which sheet metal is progressively shaped through a series of bending operations. The process is performed on a roll forming line in which the sheet metal stock is fed through a series of roll stations. Each station has a roller, referred to as a roller die, positioned on both sides of the sheet. The shape and size of the roller die may be unique to that station, or several identical roller dies may be used in different positions. The roller dies may be above and below the sheet, along the sides, at an angle, etc. As the sheet is forced through the roller dies in each roll station, it plastically deforms and bends. Each roll station performs one stage in the complete bending of the sheet to form the desired part. The roller dies are lubricated to reduce friction between the die and the sheet, thus reducing the tool wear. Also, lubricant can allow for a higher production rate, which will also depend on the material thickness, number of roll stations, and radius of each bend. The roll forming line can also include other sheet metal fabrication operations before or after the roll forming, such as punching or shearing.
The roll forming process can be used to form a sheet into a wide variety of cross-section profiles. An open profile is most common, but a closed tube-like shape can be created as well. Because the final form is achieved through a series of bends, the part does not require a uniform or symmetric cross-section along its length. Roll forming is used to create very long sheet metal parts with typical widths of 1-20 inches and thicknesses of 0.004-0.125 inches. However wider and thicker sheets can be formed, some up to 5 ft. wide and 0.25 inches thick. The roll forming process is capable of producing parts with tolerances as tight as ±0.005 inches. Typical roll formed parts include panels, tracks, shelving, etc. These parts are commonly used in industrial and commercial buildings for roofing, lighting, storage units, and HVAC applications.
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