Skip to content

Design Guidelines for Effective Roll Forming

Roll forming relies on careful design considerations to achieve successful and efficient production. This article presents guidelines for designing symmetrical shapes, avoiding extreme deformations, minimizing sharp bends, considering leg length and bends, reducing air forming, addressing potential waviness, positioning openings, choosing pre-cut or post-cut methods, understanding tolerances and distortions, and countering spring back.

cold roll orming machine

Designing Symmetrical Shapes

Symmetry in design enables equal forming on each side of the vertical centerline, balancing stresses imparted by the roll forming process. This equalization minimizes distortion and ensures consistent quality throughout the forming operation.

Importance of Symmetry in Roll Forming: By maintaining symmetry, the distribution of forces during roll forming remains balanced, reducing the likelihood of material failure or uneven stress concentrations. Symmetrical shapes contribute to improved overall product quality and dimensional accuracy.

Avoiding Extreme Deformations

Cross-sections with extreme deformations should be avoided to prevent material damage and surface defects. The strains are highest around the arc of the bend and at the edges of the strip. Minimizing extreme deformations enhances product integrity and reliability.

Implications of Extreme Deformations: Excessive deformations can lead to material failure, such as cracking or localized thinning. By avoiding extreme deformations, manufacturers can ensure the production of high-quality roll-formed profiles with improved mechanical properties.

Minimizing Sharp Bends

Minimizing sharp bends is crucial to maintain dimensional accuracy and prevent material damage. The minimum bend radius should be at least equal to the metal thickness, considering the ductility of the material. Compliance with this guideline reduces the risk of cracking and unwanted deformations.

The Relationship Between Bend Radius and Material Thickness: Choosing an appropriate bend radius relative to the material thickness ensures the material’s ability to withstand deformation without compromising its structural integrity. Following this guideline helps achieve consistent bend quality and dimensional accuracy.

Leg Length and Bend Considerations

The minimum practical leg length, including the bend, should be three times the metal thickness. This guideline ensures sufficient strength and stability in the roll-formed profiles. Additionally, careful placement of notches, slots, and holes away from the bend line and edges minimizes distortion during the roll-forming process.

Optimizing Leg Length for Structural Integrity: Designing a leg length that exceeds the minimum requirement enhances the overall strength and stability of roll-formed profiles. Longer leg lengths provide additional support and resistance against external loads, contributing to improved performance.

Minimizing Air Forming and Waviness

Air forming refers to bends or areas that are not in direct contact with the roll-forming tools. Minimizing air forming in the design is recommended to ensure dimensional accuracy. Incorporating ribs or grooves in wide, flat areas can help hide potential waviness, enhancing the aesthetics of the final product.

Enhancing Dimensional Accuracy by Reducing Air Forming: Air forming can result in deviations from the desired dimensions, particularly in regions not in direct contact with the forming tools. By minimizing air forming, manufacturers can achieve tighter dimensional control and enhance the overall quality of the roll-formed profiles.

Positioning Openings and Distortion Considerations

Notches, slots, holes, and other openings should be positioned away from the bend line and edges to reduce distortion during roll forming. It’s important to be aware that these openings may undergo changes in size and shape during the roll-forming process.

Mitigating Distortion Effects on Openings: Properly positioning openings in the design helps maintain their structural integrity and dimensional accuracy. By considering the proximity to the bend line and edges, manufacturers can minimize distortion and ensure the desired functionality of the roll-formed profiles.

Pre-Cut and Post-Cut Methods

Pre-cutting involves cutting the material before roll forming, resulting in distorted and flared leading and trailing ends. This method can be advantageous for pocket areas and mitered edges. In contrast, post-cutting, performed with a flying cut-off die shaped to fit the profile, produces less end-cut distortion and is the most common and efficient approach.

Choosing the Appropriate Cutting Method: The decision between pre-cutting and post-cutting depends on specific design requirements and production constraints. Pre-cutting offers advantages in certain situations, while post-cutting provides better control over end-cut distortion and is generally more efficient for a wide range of roll-formed profiles.

Tolerances and Distortions

Understanding tolerances is essential in roll forming. Typical tolerances for cross-sections are around +/- 0.015, angular tolerances are typically within +/- 2 degrees, and length tolerances are often around +/- 1/8″ per 12 feet. Bow, lateral or curve, and twist are common deviations that can occur due to various factors.

Maintaining Tolerance Requirements: Establishing appropriate tolerance levels ensures the desired dimensional accuracy and alignment with design specifications. By understanding the potential deviations and setting realistic tolerances, manufacturers can meet customer expectations and produce high-quality roll-formed profiles.

Addressing Spring Back

Spring back occurs when the elastic limit of the metal is not exceeded during the bending operation, resulting in partial return of the stock to its pre-bent shape. Proper tooling design can counter spring back by intentionally stretching the stock beyond its elastic limit and setting the correct shape through finish forming.

Overcoming Spring Back Challenges: Designing tooling that accounts for spring back helps achieve the desired final shape in roll forming. By carefully planning the forming process and applying appropriate stretch and finish forming techniques, manufacturers can minimize the effects of spring back and ensure accurate profiles.

Final Words

Designing for roll forming requires careful consideration of various factors to achieve optimal results. By adhering to guidelines such as designing symmetrical shapes, avoiding extreme deformations and sharp bends, considering leg length and bends, minimizing air forming, positioning openings, selecting cutting methods, understanding tolerances, and addressing spring back, manufacturers can optimize the roll forming process and produce high-quality profiles with dimensional accuracy and structural integrity.