Roll Forming vs. Press Braking: What to Consider for Your Next Fabrication Project

March 8, 2019 10:00 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

One of the biggest questions for your next metal fabrication project is whether you should use roll forming or press braking techniques. Making this decision takes some education on the benefits and drawbacks of each of these techniques.

If you’re looking into a project for metal fabricators in Indiana, make sure to talk through these two styles of fabrication to determine the best direction for your project. Here are a few things to think about:

  • Design considerations: Obviously, you need to look at what press braking and roll forming can do for you from a design standpoint. Press braking uses a one-hit process, meaning that you can only make a certain number of bends, and all of them require a separate hit. The more hits you use, the longer the process takes and the higher the cost. On the other hand, roll forming bends metal into the shape progressively in a single pass. This reduces tooling costs and production time because it cuts down on the separate steps involved. Talk with your metal fabricator about which technique will work best for your particular design.
  • Length considerations: Because press braking is similar to stamping, you can only produce longer parts via multiple steps by joining smaller sections through fasteners, again adding costs because of the extra labor required. Roll forming produces longer parts without extra scraps or steps because it works by feeding slit coil directly into a roll form line. If you need longer parts, then, you should definitely choose the roll forming process.
  • Material considerations: You can save a lot of money on your project by thinking carefully about the materials you use. Both press braking and roll forming can work well with lighter metals like light gauge, high strength, low-alloy steel (HSLA), but press braking becomes more difficult when you opt for materials that are of a higher strength because of the added springback. It’s always more cost-efficient to use metals that are durable but lighter, so you should explore this option as best you can for each project.
  • Tooling costs consideration: Most tooling costs are consistent between roll forming and press braking, so you might want to look into cost amortization for both. If you do this, make sure you understand how much the total ownership will cost, including the inventory, material and tooling costs. If you choose this option, you will eventually own the tools outright, which allows you to reuse them for future projects, which could thus help you save a lot of money in the long run.

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into deciding which process will work for your project with structural steel fabricators in Indiana. You’ll want to partner with a company you can trust with any of your questions, and Benchmark Fabricated Steel has the expertise and equipment to help you every step of the way.

With over 40 years of experience, Benchmark Fabricated Steel offers a range of services, including project design, engineering, site construction and product procurement. Call today for more information!

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