Understanding Roll Bending: A Detailed Handbook on Methods, Usages, and Contrasts

If your operation needs to roll metal plates, you might be interested in the roll-bending process. Unfortunately, the jargon, types, usages, and everything else can get very confusing and complicated. 

That’s why Accurl put together this overview to help you understand roll bending. Keep reading to learn what roll bending is, uses, essential terminology, and contrasts with different types of bends.

What is Roll Bending?

Roll bending, also called plate rolling or angle bending, is a metal fabrication process that creates curved shapes out of metal tubes, bars, and sheets. The result is a cylindrical or cone shape that can be used in a variety of industries. 

They work by using a set of rollers that apply pressure to the metal while rolling to shape the material into a uniform curve. There are different roll bending types, most commonly divided by the number of rolls. 

For example, a 3-roll bending machine has three rolls in a triangular shape while a 4-roll bending machine uses an additional roller to improve control and precision. To learn more about the types of roll bending machines, check out our dedicated article to determining the ideal plate rolling machine for your needs. 

Roll Bending Uses

A rolling bending machine can be used for a variety of applications and industries. In fact, they can virtually be used for any application that requires the creation of metal cylinders or cones, but these efficient machines are certainly more common in some areas than others. 


Roll bending is an essential process for automotive frames, fuel lines, chassis parts, exhaust pipes, and more. Additionally, specific types of roll-bending machines that are very large can be used to create tanks for trucks and trains. 


Roll bending is used in the aerospace industry as well, providing precise parts for planes and other essential equipment. This includes wing spars, fuselage sections, fuel lines, replacement parts, and other components. 


Roll bending can sculpt parts for construction and manufacturing including storage tanks, bars, excavator parts, metal frames, foundational piping, and so much more. Additionally, they can be used for HVAC parts, trusses, and temporary constructions. 

Energy Industry 

The energy industry relies on roll bending to create turbines, reactors, piping, towers, and other constructions. This includes electrical, solar, wind, gas, and other forms of energy that require conical or cylindrical parts. 

Roll Bending Terminology 

When researching different sheet metal bending techniques, you’ll come across some lingo that might be confusing. Here are some of the terms and what they mean.


The rollers are the components that support the metal sheet or tubing and apply pressure to create the desired curvature. 

Roll Bending Radius

This refers to the size of the cylinder or cone that you are creating. When shopping for a machine, keep the minimum and maximum radii in mind. 

Drive System

This is the type of system that operates the machine, typically either fully mechanical hydraulic, or electromechanical. 

Control System 

The control system is what the operator uses to make the machine run. This can be either manual or computer-operated. 


Pre-pinching refers to the initial bend on the metal plate by placing it and holding it tightly between two of the rolls.  

Roll Bending vs Other Types of Bending Machines

Roll bending is only one type of bending machine and knowing how it differs from other types of bending machine options will help you determine if it’s the right choice for your needs and clarify what roll bending is. Here is a contrast with other types.

Press Bending vs Roll Bending

Press bending is one of the most basic forms of tube bending. While affordable, press bending machines don’t offer exceptional accuracy, versatility, or output or roll benders. Therefore, if you have a small 1-5 man operation with limited tube bending required, press bending might be a good choice, but for anything greater, it will likely be insufficient. 

Rotary Bending vs Roll Bending

Rotary draw bending creates precise and easily repeatable tube bends. Whereas a roll bender uses a set of rolls, a rotary draw bender uses a clamping die, pressure die, and radius die to form the tube. The main downside is the lack of versatility and the need to have separate tooling for each different tube radius. 

Press Brake vs Roll Bending

Press brakes are highly versatile machines that are often preferred in industries and applications where precision is paramount. Many press brakes, like the Accurl Electrical Press Brake eB Ultra, not only maximize productivity while creating complex shapes including cylinders, but this model also saves you money directly by lowering your energy bills. 

Have a Question About Roll Bending?

If you have a question about roll bending, other bending machines, or how to roll sheet metal without a roller, Accurl is here to help. Our range of machines can fit almost any operation whether you need high output, extreme precision, unmatched durability, or anything else. 

Click here to contact us with a question today! 


Our Newsletter

Sign up for our mailing list to get latest updates and offers.


laser cutting machine distributor