Roll forming is the preferred method for most manufacturing companies to create different parts. This is because it is one of the simplest ways to manufacture different parts in large quantities as fast as possible. But what is it exactly? In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about roll forming, a history of then and now.
What is Roll Forming?
In order to understand roll forming, you first need to know what rolling is. Rolling is a process of metal forming. In this process, metal stock is passed through one or more pairs of rolls to reduce its thickness. It also ensures that the thickness is uniform. With that being said, roll forming is a type of rolling. It involves the continuous bending of a long strip of sheet metal into the desired cross-section. The strip passes through sets of rolls mounted on consecutive stands. Each set performs an incremental part of the bend until the desired look is obtained. This form of rolling is ideal for producing constant-profile parts with long lengths and in large quantities.
When Did Roll Forming Begin
Roll forming began as early as 600 BCE in the Middle East and South Asia. There, they used the basics of what we know today as a rolling mill. However, more streamlined mills, closer to what we use today, were created across Europe and Britain. The design for these came from drawings done by Leonardo da Vinci. Slitting mills were created first. Slitting mills passed flat bars between rolls to form a plate of iron, which was then passed between grooved rolls to produce rods of iron. Patents were given to Thomas Blockley and Richard Ford for the first tandem mill which was for hot rolling. This paved the way for all other forms of rolling.
Roll Forming Today
Without the efforts of the inventors and workers stated above, roll forming wouldn’t be what it is today. They truly paved the way for the art of modern roll forming. When rolling first began, people used hammers, working at a very slow pace. Today, we use machines with a fast production rate. Production rate varies based on the material thickness and the bend rate. As a result, this process is used to create automobile parts all across the world. In part, this is due to the simplicity of the process, but it’s also because of the speed at which roll forming produces the product.