May 29


Are you ready to roll your own? Metal roofing panels, that is.

 sheet metal machinery new and used sheet metal equipment

More and more roofing contractors these days are answering “yes” to that question. Manufacturing independence, waste management, shipping considerations and other factors paint a compelling case for contractors looking to buy a roll former and produce their own panels. But it’s not that simple — additional manufacturing costs, employee training, warehousing and a different set of transportation considerations must be weighed before pulling the trigger on this significant purchase.


Photo Courtesy of McElroy Metal.

Mike Milliman of Rain Trade decided it was worth it. Rain Trade has been selling New Tech Machinery’s gutter systems for years and has had such a positive experience with their equipment, the company recently became a new distributor for New Tech’s roll former equipment. “There are so many benefits for companies to purchase their own machine,” Milliman says. “Just not having to depend on anyone else is a big advantage. It saves time as well as money.”

KenMcLauchlan, regional manager with Drexel Metals, agrees, and says it’s about controlling what kinds of projects you want to take on. “You can control your own destiny and have the flexibility of what jobs you can do —and be confident that you are putting out a better product,” he says.

For more than 38 years, Roll Former Corp., of Chalfont, Pa., has designed and developed custom machinery for companies looking for a roll forming application. “We design our custom equipment from scratch and we offer about 25 standard products,” said John Dumke, director of sales and marketing for Roll Former Corp. Dumke says that roll forming has many cost advantages over brake forming and preformed panels, including:

  • No expensive shipping and crating of long panels. Coils are delivered right to the shop or jobsite.
  • No panel shipping damage and delays are minimal.
  • Less labor and waste.
  • The ability to work on your own schedule, not the factory’s.
  • Form perfect panels to any length.

Additionally, Bruce Pearson, with Zimmerman Metals, has been in the business for 40 years, and he says that you can reduce your cost of doing business by using a portable roll former in many ways. “On-site fabrication eliminates shipping damage, you don’t have to worry about packaging materials, sizing errors and the panels can be custom manufactured. Also, as you make your panels on site, you don’t have to worry that the manufactured panels will get damaged laying around on the jobsite,” he says.


In-House vs. Portable Roll Forming Equipment


Photo Courtesy of Drexel Metals


Ready to roll your own? Your next decision will be to choose between the two distinct types of roll formers — portable and in-house machines. In-house machines are usually larger units designed and built for high-production rates. Portable roll formers are smaller for simpler transportation and tend to be more flexible in their ability to produce a variety of panel profiles.



Are you ready to roll your own? Metal roofing Panels, that is.