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5 Questions and Answers for Choosing the Right Angle Roller

How to Choosing the Angle Roller
First of all, be clear about your own needs and requirements. 
Parameters of the metal profile: material, thickness, width, and yield strength.
Processing requirements: workpiece drawings, shape, minimum and maximum roll diameter, precision, error, angle, opening size, and some special requirements.

Angle roll and angle roller

profile bending machine
PBH section bending machines

No other CNC bending machine tool or piece of metal fabrication equipment has as many different names as does the everyday profile bending machine—a 3 roll bending machine for forming long metal profiles using a roll bending process. Just like the four-roller plate rolling machine, BIT also offers four-roller bending machines.

While some will just call them section bending machines or profile bending machines, in some places they are called section benders or profile rolls because they roll a section of metal that is usually going into a larger project. A very popular term for them in the US, UK, and elsewhere is angle roll, angle roller, and angle iron roller, denoting their common function of roll bending the angle iron into curving shapes.

The named profile bending machine is more accurate since angle iron is only one of several profiles that can be rolled with most of these machines. To look at someone or something the in profile means to view it from the side, so when looking at the end of a long piece of metal a particular shape or profile can be seen, such as a circle for a tube or pipe or an L-shape for a piece of angle iron. I-beams, flat bars, pipe, C-channel, tee, and square tubing are other examples of metal that all have specific profiles.

Metal with different profiles has to be held in place in the bending rolls in different ways, so most profile bending machines will have adjustable and sometimes interchangeable sets of bending rolls to accommodate different shaped workpieces. For example, BIT’s PBH series section bending machines can bend all metal profiles except round pipes on the market through a set of universal combined rolls.

5 Questions and Answers for Choosing the Right Angle Roll

Like any machine purchase, there are several factors to carefully weigh when looking at acquiring a new profile bending machine.

How much are you willing to spend?

Budget a reasonable amount but be prepared to exceed it. You need to keep in mind that while getting a good price is important if you don’t have the features necessary to do the jobs at hand, you will wind up spending far more in the future to make up the difference.

What capacity do you need?

You literally need to “size up” a profile roll to make sure that it is big enough to handle your largest jobs, yet capable of rolling your tightest diameters. One size doesn’t usually fit all, so you may need to consider eventually purchasing more than one profile roll, depending on your production. You will also want to get machines that have a slightly larger capacity than the biggest jobs you plan to run on them. If you frequently max out the capacity of the profile roll, you are putting unnecessary stress on it that will lead to excessive downtime for repairs and shorter machine life.

What metals do you need to roll?

A profile roll that is designed to fabricate a particular size in a more malleable metal like mild steel will likely not be able to roll the same capacity in harder, industrial-grade steel. Be sure to match your machine to your metal. (If it is aluminum, we recommend using an aluminum bending machine, because its rollers are made of polymer material and will not damage the surface of the aluminum.)

What metal profiles do you need to roll?

Determine all the metal profiles that your facility could potentially roll and make sure that the section bending machine in question is able to handle them. Each manufacturer should have one or more charts available that show which metal profiles can be rolled in which capacities on which of their models. It is also important to note whether your desired metal profiles can be done with a configuration of the current roll tooling, or if special rolls or apparatus will have to be ordered. Even though these section bending machines are commonly marketed as “angle rolls, angle rollers” they may require special tooling and side supports to properly roll angle iron.

What features of the angle rolls will you need?

Look carefully at the features and options of available machines to determine the perfect profile bending machine for your particular projects. Some things to consider include:

  1. Machine construction. How sturdy is the machine housing? Is the frame solid with post-welding stress relief? What material was used to make the roll shafts? Are the rolls ground and hardened?
  2. Machine power. Smaller capacity section bending machines will be motorized, but most profile bending machines are hydraulically powered. Size won’t matter if your new angle roll doesn’t have the power to perform, so confirm the power source of the machine before purchase.
  3. Adjustable roll positions. Smaller machines (we called it section bender) will usually have fixed position lower rolls with a moveable top roll (either manually or hydraulically adjustable). Larger PBH hydraulic section bending machines will likely have a fixed top roll with the other rolls being adjustable for greater rolling control. Be sure to know what bending rolls are adjustable on the machines you consider.
  4. All rolls are driven. Good hydraulic section bending machines will have independent power to all rolls instead of a couple of drive rolls and an idle roll. This improves accuracy by reducing the chance of the workpiece slipping. See if the section bending machines you look at also offers features such as high torque drive systems and hydraulic brakes for greater strength and accuracy during rolling.
  5. Adjustable turning speed. Some motorized and hydraulic section bending machines will come standard with the dual-speed operation and may offer an option of a variable range of speeds.
  6. Dual horizontal/vertical operation. Small profile rolls usually operate in a vertical position, while big ones just lay down horizontally to accommodate large workpieces that would otherwise hit the ground. Many small and midsize rolls will be designed for dual operation, working vertically for most jobs but being able to be moved to a horizontal position for rolling larger diameters.
  7. Special apparatus.
    1. Are lateral angle guide rolls mounted on the profile rolls you are looking at?
    2. Will you want to consider mechanically or hydraulically powered lateral guides that can move to support the workpiece as it is rolling (an important feature if you are bending things like spirals)?PBH series section bending machines are equipped with 3D guide rolls.
    3. Will you need a beam pulling apparatus for better bending I-beams? Profile rolls can be equipped to bend scrolls, twist pickets, and form helical stair rails, so price out the right optional equipment for your current and future projects.
  8. Control systems. Will digital readouts work for you, or will you want an NC control system? (Or a more specialized CNC upgrade?) Will you want a portable control unit that can be moved around to view the part from any angle during rolling?