The Roll Forming Operator: Who Runs the Machine?
Will You Need a Team?
For lines of average proportions, usually a single roll forming operator is sufficient. Depending on the number of machines in the plant, however, this single operator may or may not be capable of making a roll setup. As lines increase in complexity or as the shape gets longer, wider or heavier, a helper may be added to the picture to assist in coil loading or part handling. The degree of automation in use on the line will also affect the need for an additional helper.
Sometimes, a roll forming machine is “operator-less” and simply functions as a conveyor between operations. For example, the typical refrigerator panel line wherein the flat sheet is automatically conveyed from the trim and notch press to the forming machine, and also from the forming machine to the tangent bender, will likely need someone to oversee operation without any hands-on control.
Finding the Right Skill Level
It is often assumed that a roll forming operator must be a “Jack of all trades”. Although this may not seem like a necessary qualification for operation, a deeper experience level could be very beneficial when the need for troubleshooting arises. Operators who have mechanical or repair experience will stand out as preferred workers. Candidates who have the drive to accept new training opportunities and employ these skills when problem-solving make excellent roll forming operators. Note that they do not have to be experienced with tool-making, however, as this phase of work has already been accomplished for them.