Should You Use Plate Rolling for Your Next Project?

A machine rolling steel.

Plate rolling is one of the oldest technologies in the metalworking sphere, and is considered by many to be somewhat of an art form. A tremendous amount of skill and knowledge are required to successfully complete plate rolling jobs. So when a manufacturing facility has an experienced plate roller on staff, customers stand to gain from this in-house expertise. Plus, the company itself often benefits from a boost in reputation.

Although extremely complex, plate rolling is a versatile method of metal fabrication and can be used in a variety of industries and applications. For example, it’s commonly used for circular tank walls, stacks, molds, metal ductwork, machine housings, piping, and bridges, as well as many other demanding applications.

A wide range of materials can be worked using the plate rolling process, including aluminum, stainless steel, galvanized steel, mild steel, and iron, as well as materials which have been painted and polished. The ideal choice will depend on the specific project at hand and particular application requirements. But whatever material is used, customers must be very specific in their requirements regarding yield, tensile strength, width, thickness, and diameter in order to achieve the ideal end product.

The Plate Rolling Process

The plate rolling process is highly intricate and can be done on a variety of different machines — four-roll machines, three-roll, variable-geometry machines, and three-roll and double-pinch machines. Plate rolling also requires labor from two skilled workers, the operator and the equipment manager. One is responsible for the overall coordination of the project, while the other provides critical assistance.

During preparation processes, the operator and assistant gain familiarity with the structure and inner workings of the rolling machine. Once it has been determined that the machine is in satisfactory condition, that the hydraulic system pressure of the equipment is deemed normal, and that the material has been properly set up, the plate rolling job can begin.

If the material is to be prebent, the workers will first place and adjust the plate on the roll-bending machine and set up an arc that recreates the sample. To accomplish this, the bottom roller and upper roller are rotated repeatedly until the prebending sheet arc and sample are as closely aligned as possible.

However, keep in mind that it is possible to accomplish circular rolling jobs without prebending. Put simply, circular rolling requires adjusting the upper roller to align with the bottom roller. If the plate becomes offset at any time during this process, it must be paused so that the error can be rectified. Spot welding comes next, followed by roundness correction.

Common Components Produced Using Plate Rolling

Plate rolling is perfect for creating cylinders, cylinder segments, cone segments, rings, compound radius shapes, and obrounds for a wide range of industrial applications, including ventilation-system pipes, conveyor pipes, and downspouts.

Some of the most common applications include:

  • Bearings
  • Gears
  • Airplanes
  • Pressure vessels
  • Rockets
  • Turbines

When deciding on a plate rolling service provider, be sure they can provide the customization options you need for your unique application, and have the skills and expertise — and the cutting-edge equipment — necessary to guide you through each step of the process.






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