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What is a Roller Plate?

By Christy Bieber
Updated May 17, 2024
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A roller plate is a device on a machine that is used when working with lightweight steel products. The plate is used to bend flexible pieces of steel into different shapes, including cone and rounded shapes. The types of metal or steel used with roller plates include vessel carbon steels, stainless steels, and low alloy steels.

Roller plate machines heat metal to the ideal temperature to make it flexible. This enables the operator to bend and shape the piece of metal. He is able to do this by using the rollers all in one direction without having to reinsert the metal back through the machine to complete the task.

One popular type of roller plate machine utilizes three rollers. On these machines, the upper roller can move in both the vertical and horizontal directions, which allows the upper plate to remain in an asymmetrical position compared with the lower two roller plates. The three roller machine’s motor powers the two lower plates while a piece of metal is fed through the machine. This makes the three roller plate machine easy to operate and a popular choice when required to bend metal or mold metal into certain rounded or cylindrical shapes.

Unless the operator of the three roller plate machine is extremely skilled and experienced, it may be difficult to form tubular pieces of metal on this type of machine that are more than three times the diameter of the upper plate. Commonly, the smallest tube that can be formed using a three roller machine is a tube that measures 1.5 times that of the diameter of the first roller plate. Even for some experienced operators, other conditions will determine the tube he will be able to produce as well. These factors include the thickness of the metal, the width of the metal, and the tensile strength or breaking point of the metal.

Another type of roller plate machine is a machine that utilizes four rollers instead of three. It differs in many ways from the three plate machines. One of these differences is in sheer size. The three plate machine is much smaller than the four plate bending machine.

The four roller machine consists of a number of parts. The parts include the upper roll, the bottom roll, the side roll, the main drive device, the tipping device, the right and left supporting structures, and the seat. Metal is inserted into the machine along the three bottom rollers with the top roller plate sitting horizontal against the sheet of metal.

As the metal is fed into the machine, the top plate pinches the piece of metal tightly between the bottom plates. The top plate is then powered by hydraulics as it slowly moves along the bottom roller plates. As the top plate moves over the bottom plates, the bottom roller plates move up into a vertical position, causing the metal to bend.

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