Roll forming machines are very popular because they’re cost-effective, give great performance, are highly efficient and extremely versatile. But even the best of machines are not perfect and roll forming quality can be compromised.

So what are the problems that you’re likely to encounter and how do you keep your machine in good nick?

For starters, faulty equipment or defective material could be the actual culprit. Usually quality control inspections are carried out at the machine sites but to double check, every machine operator should be in a position to inspect the equipment, see that everything is all right and that the machine runs smoothly. Don’t depend entirely on the quality control inspectors, perform quality management before you buy the machine—it helps save time and money.

On installation, you need to find out if the machine face is aligned properly—just place a straight edge along the tooling and if this is off, then re-align the machine once more. Even if the tooling is built and designed well and the material is good, if the alignment is bad, then the end product suffers. Also make it a point to check whether the shafts are tight enough or have bad bearings. If they are loose, fix them or tighten them correctly.

Sometimes an improperly aligned entry guide stand adds a twist to the part—so align the sides and the entry guide stand to minimize such errors. If the tooling doesn’t print the correct cross-section, then adjust it and remount it. Keep the tooling area clean so that dust and debris doesn’t interfere with operations.

Very rarely raw material supplied is perfect—sometimes the thickness level varies measured edge to edge. Such variation in thickness disrupts the design consistency in the finished product. So assess the material even as it touches base at your entry.

You may have issues with the material as it is stretched and compressed while being formed. A little lubricant or a little vanishing oil on top eliminates the drag and the operation is smoother.

While adjusting the die rolls, it’s important to ensure that all the rolls are sync and matched properly. Adjust the roll gaps in accordance with the thickness of the actual material and also check the rolls using a mirror (without any material in between) and view each pass and also the gap between the top and bottom rolls.Any misalignment will be visible and can be adjusted.


After checking everything and tightening the bolts and nuts, make an empty run and watch out for vibration or any queer noise. Check whether every part is functioning in sync. It pays to keep the roll forming machine in good working condition—you’ll experience less downtime and also won’t have to pay for costly repairs.

Carefully choose your equipment, test it, train people to operate it, maintain the production line and keep that equipment ticking to get the quality product that you want.