What is Roll Forming?Understanding the roll forming process at Welser Profile
Cold roll forming is a method of shaping hard metals, such as steels and stainless steels. Very precise, complex cross-sections can be created, and long lengths of these sections can be consistently reproduced. Along each length, features such as holes, slots, or embosses can easily be added, making the roll forming process a very cost effective method of achieving a strong, multi-functional shape. Roll forming is used instead of extrusion, where the metal required cannot easily be extruded, or where the features along the length of the part are uneconomic to add to an extrusion, or where an extrusion is not accurate enough.
Advantages of Roll forming
Roll forming is a fantastic way of economically adding features along the length of the section (something not possible with extrusion). Before the steel strip enters the forming rollers, features such as slots, holes, embosses, or even captive nuts can be automatically, and extremely accurately placed along the length of the strip, removing the need and cost of these processes at a later stage. Welser customers enjoy lowering their own production costs by taking advantage of Welser’s capabilities.
Welser can cold roll form metals from 0.3mm to 8.2mm thick, which allows us to create very delicate steel profiles for products such as filter vanes, up to hefty safety-related products such as roll-over protection profiles for cabs (ROPS/FOPS sections).
Welser’s advanced roll forming capabilities create further opportunities, as described on these pages.
Roll Forming in Detail:
Roll forming involves uncoiling a long strip of metal, and sending it through several stacks of rollers set up in a long line. It is performed at room temperature, hence the moniker ‘cold’, which is often dropped. Roll forming at room temperature maintains or even improves the properties of the feedstock material.
Each stack of rollers adds a small additional forming step to the strip, so that by the end of the line, the width of the strip has been formed into the required cross-sectional shape, which can then be cut into the desired lengths. The more complex the shape to be formed, the more roller stacks can be added, and at Welser, 60 stacks is not unusual. The finished shape is generally called a roll formed section, a profile or sometimes just a steel tube.
As well as open sections, Welser has inline laser welding and HF welding facilities, which allow the metal strip edges to be automatically brought together and welded closed. This happens as an integral part of the roll forming process, and this allows steel tubes with complex closed cross-sections to be created very cost efficiently.
Softer metals would probably use extrusion to create similar shapes, but roll forming comes with distinct advantages over extrusion; not least that hard metals such as steels, including duplex steels and stainless steels, can be very accurately formed into complex profiles, and features can be automatically added along the length of those profiles to add functionality.
For those new to the technology, a single stack of rollers can look similar to an old-fashioned clothes mangel, but with shaped, hardened steel roller tooling rather than flat wooden rollers. Welser manufactures its own roll forming tooling, and modifies the roll forming machines, so that we can form the metal strip extremely accurately and consistently.
You can get an initial idea of what is possible to create by building your own roll formed profile using Welser’s Profile Creator. Version 1.0 of the Profile-Creator contains only a small part of our Welser product portfolio. If you need special profiles with a more complex geometry, we kindly ask you to get directly in touch with us.
Adding even more to your profile:
Further downstream processing of the roll formed sections, for example bending the sections, or laser cutting them, allows Welser to form them into semi-finished components that are more readily integrated into our customers’ production processes, saving our customers’ time and money.
Please contact us to discuss your requirements for roll formed sections. Welser’s capabilities generate so many options that we feel sure we can create the profile you need, perhaps with additional functionality you hadn’t considered possible, at a price you will be very happy with!