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Roll to Plate vs. Press Brake: A Comparison of Metal Forming Techniques

Metal forming processes play a crucial role in the fabrication of various components. Two commonly used techniques are roll to plate and press brake. Join us as we delve into the world of roll to plate and press brake to understand their differences and determine the most suitable technique for your metal fabrication needs.

Roll to Plate: Principles and Process

Roll to plate, also known as plate rolling, is a technique that involves shaping flat metal plates into curved or cylindrical components using a plate rolling machine. The process typically utilizes three or four rolls, with the top roll exerting pressure on the plate while the bottom rolls support it. Roll to plate offers flexibility and precision in forming various curved shapes, making it ideal for applications such as pipes, tanks, and cylinders.

Press Brake: Principles and Process

Press brake, also referred to as brake press or bending brake, is a metal forming technique that utilizes a press brake machine. The process involves clamping a metal sheet between a punch and a die, then applying force to bend the sheet into the desired shape. Press brakes are available in different types, including mechanical, hydraulic, and servo-electric. Press brake techniques are versatile and suitable for forming a wide range of geometries, including V-bends, U-bends, and straight-line bends.

Comparison of Roll to Plate and Press Brake

Forming Capabilities

1.1 Roll to Plate:

  • Well-suited for forming curved or cylindrical shapes.
  • Offers versatility in achieving various radii and profiles.
  • Enables the production of large-diameter pipes and tanks.

1.2 Press Brake:

  • Ideal for forming straight-line bends, V-bends, and U-bends.
  • Can produce precise angles and sharp bends.
  • Suitable for creating complex geometries with multiple bends.

Material Thickness

2.1 Roll to Plate:

  • Suitable for thicker materials, typically ranging from 3mm to several centimeters.
  • Can handle heavy-duty applications requiring robust metal components.

2.2 Press Brake:

  • Capable of forming both thin and thick sheets, ranging from a fraction of a millimeter to several centimeters.
  • Provides flexibility in working with a wide range of material thicknesses.

Production Efficiency

3.1 Roll to Plate:

  • Efficient for producing large quantities of components with consistent curvature.
  • Allows for continuous rolling passes to achieve the desired shape.
  • Well-suited for high-volume production in industries like construction and manufacturing.

3.2 Press Brake:

  • Offers faster setup time for smaller production runs.
  • Allows for rapid bending of individual pieces with different geometries.
  • Provides flexibility for prototyping and customization.

Tooling and Equipment

4.1 Roll to Plate:

  • Requires specialized plate rolling machines with multiple rolls.
  • Setup and adjustment may take longer, particularly for complex profiles.
  • Offers a range of configurations, including three-roll and four-roll systems.

4.2 Press Brake:

  • Utilizes press brake machines with punch and die sets.
  • Tooling setup is relatively quick and straightforward.
  • Available in various sizes and configurations, accommodating different bending requirements.


Roll to plate and press brake are two distinct metal forming techniques, each with its own strengths and applications. Roll to plate excels in forming curved or cylindrical shapes, making it ideal for applications like pipes and tanks. On the other hand, press brake offers versatility in forming various geometries, including straight-line bends and complex profiles. When choosing between these techniques, consider factors such as the desired shape, material thickness, production volume, and customization requirements. By understanding the principles, advantages, and limitations of roll to plate and press brake, you can make informed decisions and optimize your metal fabrication processes.