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Why Rollforming is Great for Remote Roofing Companies

Jerry Iselin December influencer
December 30, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

MCS Influencer Jerry Iselin says that smaller roofing companies can benefit from having an on-site rollformer since it could be hard to access them elsewhere.

Editor’s note: The following consists of a conversation between MCS’ Gina Cali and Metal Roof Specialties Owner Jerry Iselin. You can listen to the conversation or read the transcript below.

Gina Cali: Hi Jerry, thanks for joining Metal Coffee Shop for the December Influencer Question of the Month, and the question is what are the items to consider when purchasing metal roll forming equipment?

Jerry Iselin: Hi Gina. So there are a number of issues and a lot of it depends on where you are and your geography and relationship to other access to products. Onsite roll forming has become really popular actually for many, many years now, ever since I've been in the industry it was a consideration. And the biggest benefit of onsite roll forming is just having the ability to make the products on the job site where you're at.

It becomes more popular in areas where people don't have access to other manufacturers that can make products and deliver them to the site. For instance, here in the Pacific Northwest onsite roll forming is not very popular because there's a lot of manufacturers nearby that have site delivery capacities and can put the materials right on site for you, eliminating the need for you to have your own equipment and your own coils and things like that. But in more remote areas or where that's not as accessible or people just simply want to have their own machine and make their own product then they become a very good option.

The things to consider for onsite roll forming equipment is the fact that now you become the manufacturer so you are responsible for a finished prime product. You are the one that carries the product warranties, you are the one that certifies or ensures that it's suitable for use. It does put a different reliability on you as a contractor that you're now making a product and responsibility for its performance, as opposed to if you bought it from somebody that was going to make it then they carry all those issues regarding warranty and suitable for use type issues. So that's one consideration.

The other is you also now have to have people capable of producing the product, being on site to make it, and so that's a different... Another labor aspect of it, but of course you're going to pay... Your total cost is probably going to be less even with the labor and buying the coil than maybe buying it from somebody else.

The other thing is for a metal roof application, which is primarily what we're talking about, the panels are only part of it. So while you may have the capacity to roll form and make your own panels do you have the capacity to make all the parts and pieces that go with it, the trims and things like that, that is a separate process, it's not made by the onsite roll former, so you need to have that capacity. A lot of larger contractors have their own capacity for making sheet metal parts and pieces so then they can certainly make those out of the same coil that they're making the panels, and that becomes kind of a non-issue. But for maybe smaller operators that are thinking about getting an onsite roll former that sometimes is overlooked, that they haven't really considered where they're going to get all the other parts and pieces or how are they going to make them.

So issues are access to products in your environment where you want to build your product, your project, or where you're going to install your project, and then also the ability to make all the things that go with it. So great ideas, there's some really nice manufactured products out there that are onsite roll form, but again, may not be as practical if you've got great resources for pre-made products or factory made products in your area. That's what I see as the primary considerations in deciding to go with onsite role forming or not.

Gina Cali: Jerry, thank you so much for your insight and thought leadership on that topic, it is very much appreciated by Metal Coffee Shop and our readers. Thank you.

Jerry Iselin: Take care. Bye.

Gina Cali: Take care. Bye.

Jerry Iselin is the President of Metal Roof SpecialtiesSee his full bio here. 



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