Clear about needs and requirements: Parameters of plate: material, thickness, and width. Processing requirements: workpiece drawings, shape, roll diameter, precision, roundness, error, angle, and some special requirements.
Question 1#: What is the capacity of the bending rolls?
Each plate rolling machine is made to spec to make a very specific item. The size and pressure (tonnage) available change as machine size increases. Each Plate Roller has its own capacity and that capacity is determined by the size of the rolls and the power to drive the material through them. The larger the capacity the larger the workpieces that can be formed, however as you go up in machine size also lose the ability to form the smallest of work. Capacity is one of the biggest differences between machines.
Question 2#: Do you need 2, 3, or 4-roll bending machines?
Plate Rolling Machines come in different types. Initial pinch and double-pinch. Double-pinch rollers offer more precision and perform pre-bending on both ends in one setup, but they are slightly more expensive.
The number of rolls a plate rolling machine has made a big difference. Typically they are of a 3-Roll configuration. The rolls are the round part that spin to bend and shape the metal inside the machine. Each of these rolls can be configured with a specific shape in order to closely hold the working material without distorting it during the forming process. Each design has at least one pinching roll that’s used to feed the metal plate into the machine.
Pressing rolls are the rolls that provide the force that takes care of the bending process. The number of pinching and pressing rolls is how each machine is classified. The most common include a four-roll double-pinch and three-roll initial pinch plate bending machine.
Question 3#: What features of the plate rolling machine will you need?
Look carefully at the features and options of available machines to determine the perfect plate rolling machine for your particular projects. Some things to consider include:
- 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?
- Machine power. Smaller capacity plate rolling machines will be motorized, but most profile bending machines are hydraulically powered. Size won’t matter if your new plate rolling machine doesn’t have the power to perform, so confirm the power source of the machine before purchase.
- All rolls are driven. Good hydraulic plate rolling 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 plate rolling machines you look at also offer features such as high torque drive systems and hydraulic brakes for greater strength and accuracy during rolling.
- 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?