3 Factors that Affect Roll Forming Costs
August 21, 2020
Roll forming is one of the most efficient and cost-effective methods of shaping metals.
However, it isn’t free. So what major factors affect the cost of roll forming? (Hint: Your design choices play a big part in it.)
Think of metal forming costs in three ways:
Here is a closer look at each factor along with an explanation of how they affect roll forming costs. Understanding these three aspects will enable you to make the most cost-effective decision.
Setup time refers to the amount of time it takes to put the roll tools into the machine and then take them out. This time will vary based on the complexity of the shapes you’re producing, which relates directly to the number of steps required for tool assembly.
The clock starts when you retrieve the roll dies from storage. Facility organization is the most important factor in retrieval speed - if there’s a repeatable method and clear working space, retrieving roll dies is simple. However, if the plant is cluttered and the workers are disorganized, time will most certainly be wasted.
Inserting the roll dies into the machine is the next hurdle. This time varies depending on the availability of mechanical aids (cranes, hoists) or the number of people used to move the process along.
Lastly, there are multiple components within a roll form machine that affect setup time.
To fully minimize setup time, Dahlstrom deploys multi-person “pit crews” to assemble and disassemble each machine. We also use a consistent assembly technique and our facilities are strictly organized.
As with real pit crews in NASCAR, we seriously consider any down time a major loss for the customer.
Run speed is the rate at which you can feed a strip of metal through the machine.
Once you have the roll dies in place and the steel loaded up, a roll form machine will run at a consistent, rapid pace. The faster it runs, the cheaper the components.
However, there are of course several different factors that influence run speed.
Materials make up the bulk of roll forming costs. Raw materials can be anywhere from 40-80% of the final cost.
The cost of a material depends on three factors: material thickness, market cost, and its scrap factor.
A thin, inexpensive material (like thin carbon steel) can take up 40-50% of the cost. If the material is heavy and expensive (copper, bronze, stainless steel), it reaches up to 80% of the total price.
The great thing about custom roll forming is that it produces little scrap - on average, only 0.5 - 3% scrap is produced. This makes it very cost effective, and there won’t be as much monetary or material waste once you buy the materials.
Knowing how critical raw material cost is, Dahlstrom is constantly watching the world metal markets to ensure we take the optimal action for any customer’s supply pipeline.
Overall, custom roll forming is one of the least-wasteful and most-affordable metal manufacturing processes available. We might be a little biased -- but the facts speak for themselves!
To learn more about how you can reduce your per-part cost, download the free e-book below:
(Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2016 and was recently updated.)
Topics: OEM Roll Forming, Cost
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