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Why You Should Consider Roll Forming Transportation Parts

From large tractor-trailers to school buses and every niche vehicle in between, the transportation industry has ingrained itself as one of the most formidable industries in American manufacturing. 

With so many parts and vehicle components being manufactured on a daily basis, there are a variety of ways that roll forming can benefit the transportation industry.


Image Credit: Johnny Wilson via Flickr

Roll forming benefits high volume production of transportation components with complex geometry, edge conditioning requirements or long lengths.

This post will highlight a few transportation applications that benefit from being roll formed.

Rail Tracks 

Stainless steel clamp-on or welded rail tracks are typically produced in high volume, making them prime candidates for roll forming. When volume levels are high and parts are long in length, the tooling for roll forming can be amortized over the production run, and total cost of the project might be less than other fabrication methods. 


Crossmembers, the long, large metal beams that pass under a train’s oil pan connecting either side of the chassis together, would be ideal from roll forming because of their length and occasional customized shapes.

The stable process of roll forming is capable of manufacturing part lengths up to 60 feet long and produce custom shapes that are light and strong.

Decorative Grill Bars 

Another application for roll forming is stainless steel grill bars. The cosmetic purpose of grill bars makes the exterior finish extremely important. Stainless steel with 2B finish is a common material choice, but the section geometry is usually a radius and difficult to form. While other processing methods induce linear forming lines, roll forming can mold the stainless steel into the desired geometry and produce a clean, polished finish.

Roll Forming Benefits 

Roll forming is a stable, proven process. Whether transportation, solar or aerospace, the benefits of roll forming fabrication stay the same:

  • High-volume capacity.
  • Substantial cost savings.
  • Consolidation of secondary operations through in-line processing.
  • Ability to process multiple metal types.

Because roll forming is a single, in-line process, the turnaround for parts is quicker, meaning a finished piece can get to you quicker. Tooling cost amortization and inventory management improve cash flow and reduce total cost of ownership. 

The most important element is making sure you align with a strategic, roll forming partner that will help you enhance your business from design all the way to delivery.

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