On a roll

Advances in steels and roll forming machines are lowering the cost of making structural, high strength 3D parts

New high strength steels have been developed with a modification to the stress strain curve that optimise them for roll forming – a much less expensive way of making large, longitudinal sheet metal parts than stamping them out.

Presently restricted to designs with a constant cross-section along their lengths, a new machine is being trialled that is able to move its rolls and produce much more complex parts. The main intended application is reinforcements and energy-absorbing structural elements in cars, but the technologies are of potential usefulness to a wide range of fabrications made in steel.

Roll forming is inherently less expensive than stamping large, longitudinal parts, not least because it avoids the need to make large tool steel stamping dies and even larger presses to apply the required impacts.

Tom Shelley

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