Skylar Edwards is a millennial carrying on his family’s fourth generation of roll forming. Custom Metal Industries, Greenfield, Indiana, has added multiple roll formers since he took over six years ago; however, they still utilize the roll former his grandfather purchased in 1969 to run long panels. The term “long” is relative. While mobile roll formers continue to push length limits, most roll formers, like Custom Metal, face challenges with double-digit lengths like those shown here.

What are the longest panels your company has rolled?

Edwards: The longest panels I have ran are 55 feet 2 inches for a job in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ve heard stories from my family that even longer panels were ran in the past.

What are the challenges of rolling long panels?

Edwards: Its difficult to run 29 gauge Lo-Rib panels at long lengths (3/4-inch rib, 9 inches on center). Our 26 and 24 gauge Hi-Rib panels have a stronger design and are better suited to run at long lengths.
Are there any tips you can share on how it can go successfully?
Edwards: Practice.

What equipment do you use?

Edwards: We use our original Bradbury rollformer that my Grandpa Pope purchased back in 1969. It loves the thick steel.

Have you had any troubles with the equipment?

Edwards: The equipment works great, even at 50 years old.
Our primary concern is producing a well-formed panel. These lengths tend to take more time because of our attention to quality and detail.

Can you give me some examples of projects that have required long panels and how it went?

We did some hotels in the Chicagoland area. We used 24 gauge Hi-Rib on the project and the panels were around 40 feet.
The main hurdles with long panels are the transportation and hoisting on the roof. However, the benefit is that the panels cover a large area without any seams.

Where do you get your coil from?

We primarily source within the Midwest and Eastern United States. We’re fortunate that our next door neighbor is a coil coater. RF

Sometimes it takes creativity to get things done, such as using hay bales for a loading platform.
Another view of the Comfort Suites roof top in Illinois.