Rolling Along: Forming Wall Siding
Roll formers are used to form a variety of metal pieces. A roll forming machine uses a series of rollers to gently shape a metal sheet into the desired shape. Roll forming is often used to create railings from lightweight metals like aluminum. Roll formers also create other shaped sheet metal pieces, like roofing pieces and wall siding.
Watching a roll forming machine is action is actually quite fascinating. I had the ability to watch a roll forming machine in action the other day, and I was amazed at how such small movement could make such a huge design difference in the final metal sheets.
This particular machine was small and flat. Inside the machine were a series of rollers placed onto rods spaced over the metal sheet. The flat metal was fed into the machine, and the first rollers started shaping the metal. As the metal traveled through the machine, the placement of different rollers and variances in the roller thickness and spacing created narrow or thick bumps and rolls in the metal sheet. By the time the metal reached the end of the machine, there were several clear folds in the metal that gave the metal siding more flexibility and strength. At the other end of the machine, the shaped aluminum emerged and was ready to be cut, finished, and shipped off to retail stores. I was rather amazed that such as simple process could make such drastic changes to the metal with seemingly no effort at all.
Strengthening the metal by adding grooves and ridges makes it sturdier and more durable than plain sheet metal alone. The ridges also act as a decorative part of the wall siding to make the outside of a house look more interesting. Metal siding is an excellent choice for areas where vinyl, concrete, or wood siding will not work due to temperature, material mismatch, or other issues.