How to design for a roll forming machine?

Roll forming can be a good way for businesses in the metal fabrication business to maximize their production and efficiency and grow their profit margins.

Posted on Friday, December 31, 2021

It is regarded in the industry as a highly cost-effective way to achieve a quality product. During the roll forming process, these highly efficient machines can reduce the weight of your end product, streamline and simplify the product design and eliminate secondary fabrication requirements.

Is a roll forming machine right for your design?

Roll forming machines have many parts, each working in harmony together to achieve a precise result to exact specifications time and time again. If you decide to invest in one and design your product around one, it is essential first to understand whether a roll forming machine will best suit your business needs.

A roll-forming machine runs coiled metal through different tooling stations, which gradually shape your product into the final cross-section profile. Roll forming is ideal if you want high-volume production of a uniform product. Roll forming machines also have additional inline capabilities like punching and stamping. They can manipulate high-strength metal, and you aren't restricted by length (bar the length of the coil that's fed into the machine).

Capabilities and costs

Designing for a roll forming machine means evaluating the capabilities of the machine versus the costs of material and other expenses to ensure your design will be profitable.

Selecting the right materials

The right choice of material for your product is a massive design consideration, and choosing the right one will undoubtedly save you time, money, and stress in the long term. You need to understand which materials can be used in a roll former - aluminum and steel are the most common as they are robust and durable and will hold their shape even when manipulated by the machine. However, other materials such as copper, lead, and brass can all be roll-formed too.

Tooling costs

Tooling costs are also essential to consider when designing for a roll former. Tooling expenses are an upfront cost that can stretch some businesses, but you should feel confident that the investment is worth it by projecting the long-term savings.

Sourcing requirements

Your current sourcing needs may change dramatically should you start to design your products for a roll former. Identifying reputable stockists and forming solid relationships with them is an intelligent plan from the outset. Ensure that they will be able to cope with your higher demands. If you aren't sure how to assess your sourcing needs, a more experienced roll forming partner should be able to advise you.

Forecasting and managing cash flow

Forecasting is crucial if you decide to enter into the metal roll forming business. Because of such machines' high production volume and efficiency, there is very little room to make mistakes. The ability to forecast with accuracy will play a big part in your business success.

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