Review of the Best Residential Portable Roof Panel Machines for Starting a Business

Buying a portable rollforming machine
Katie Bowles|August 12, 2022
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For metal roofing businesses who are just starting up and unsure of what kinds of equipment they may need to help get their operations off the ground, it can be very challenging. There are many things to consider, such as where you will get your material, finding the right crew, and what kind of portable rollforming equipment and manufacturers to consider.

For beginning metal roofing companies, those specializing in residential projects, or first-time buyers of portable rollforming equipment, there are many portable roof panel machines and manufacturers to consider. Finding the right roof panel machine for your business and understanding some of the core things to consider when choosing a machine to start your business is critical to helping your business, your clients, and to secure your future growth.

At New Tech Machinery, we manufacture portable rollforming equipment for the metal roofing and gutter markets. While we are proud that our machinery has helped contractors and panel suppliers worldwide get more control over their metal roofing projects and profits, we know that considering all of the equipment available to you is essential and allows you to find the best fit for your business now and in the future.

In this article, we’ll discuss some considerations to help you decide on a portable roof panel machine for starting a metal roofing business and explore some portable rollforming manufacturers’ products.

What Should You Consider When Choosing a Portable Roof Panel Machine for Your Residential Metal Roofing Business?

portable roof panel machine in front of residential radius roof

When you look at different portable roof panel rollforming machines from manufacturers, especially ones that can help you start and build your residential metal roofing business, there are factors that you’ll want to consider both about your own business operations and future growth, and the machines themselves. 

Your Metal Roofing Business Operations and Growth

  • If you’re seeing a growing demand for standing seam metal roofing in your area, what kind of profiles are popular?
  • How many metal roofing projects do you typically take on or see yourself bidding on?
    • This question can help you gauge the future use of your machine, whether you should invest in one that allows you to do projects faster, more efficiently, and even run multiple profiles.
  • What kind of operation is your business based on currently? Do you have a crew or will it be you who mainly operates the machinery?
    • If you’re planning on operating the machine, or if you have a dedicated person to operate the machinery, you may be able to handle a machine that uses more manual operation. However, if you’re planning on taking more jobs or want faster production rates, consider a machine with a hydraulic shear, faster speeds, or computer controller capabilities.
  • Even if your business is starting up now, where do you see your company’s growth in the next 6 months? Year? Two years?
    • This question helps you understand whether you should invest in a machine that can do more as your company grows and as you get more or larger projects. 

Portable Roof Panel Equipment

  • How familiar are you with portable rollforming equipment? Do you have the skills to operate, adjust, maintain, and troubleshoot potential issues on the machine yourself?
    • Some portable rollforming machines are simpler to operate than others. Once you get into machinery that utilizes hydraulics or electronic controllers that involves more maintenance, potential issues, and more training to operate.
  • How much do you need to get out of your roof panel machine? Are you looking for one that’s user-friendly or easy to operate in a one-man business operation, or do you need added versatility out of your machine for your business?
    • Some portable rollforming machines designed for residential use only run on electric power, use manual shears, and have slower speeds. But if you want to get increased versatility out of your machine for your business, now or in the future, you may want to consider a machine that has more versatility in panel profiles and widths, faster speeds, hydraulic drives and shearing, and batch / length controller features.
  • If you’re looking for a machine to grow with your business, do you need a machine that can produce multiple profiles?
    • There are plenty of portable rollforming machines that are capable of producing one type of metal roof profile in a specific width. However, many roof panel machines are now designed to be multi-profile, meaning they can make different panel profile types just by switching out roller sets inside the machine without having to get another machine.

Now that you have a better understanding of what to look for when looking at portable roof panel machines for starting a business, we’ll explore some of the manufacturers and their residential portable roof panel machines best suited for starting a metal roofing business. 

Note: The manufacturers and products are shown in no particular order.

Which NTM machine is right for your projects? Take the quiz and find out

Englert’s Fixed Panel Roofing Machines

Englert’s MetalMan fixed panel roofing machines are single-width, single-profile machines (nail strip snap-lock, mechanical seam, or Snap-Lock) for those installers who don’t plan on varying from the types of projects they want to take on. Each machine can run variable lengths of panels but is limited to only making one type of panel profile at a pre-specified width. 

Fixed panel machines include:

  • FP1500/20 – Produces a 1.5” Snap-Lock panel with 20” wide coverage. 
  • FP1500/16 – Produces a 1.5” Snap-Lock panel with 16” wide coverage.
  • FP1301/21 – Produces a 1” mechanical seam panel with 21” wide coverage.
  • FP1301/17 – Produces a 1” mechanical seam panel with 17” wide coverage.
  • FP1300/20 – Produces a 1.5” mechanical seam panel with 20” wide coverage.
  • FP1300/16 – Produces a 1.5” mechanical seam panel with 16” wide coverage.
  • FP1101/20 – Produces a 1” nail strip Snap-Lock panel with 20” wide coverage.
  • FP1000/20 – Produces a 1.5” Snap-Lock panel with 20” wide coverage.
  • FP1000/16 – Produces a 1.5” Snap-Lock panel with 16” wide coverage.
  • FP1101/16 – Produces a 1” nail strip Snap-Lock panel with 16” wide coverage.

All fixed panel machines can run at about 40 feet per minute using a 1.5 HP electric motor and utilize a manual shear. They can also run 30 ga. to 24 ga. painted, galvanized, or aluminized steel, .019” to .032” aluminum, and 16 oz. (and in some cases 16 oz. to 20 oz.) copper.

Roll Former Corporation’s VS-150 Standing Seam Panformer

Roll Former Corporation manufactures and sells a variety of roof panel rollforming machines for specific panels profiles, including 5V crimp, 1” nail strip, 1 ¾” Snap-Lock panel, 2” armco, 3” trapezoidal panel. 

The VS-150 machine is the only one of Roll Former’s products capable of producing multiple profiles within one machine. 

Features of the VS-150 machine include:

  • Produces 1” and 1 ½” Snap-Lock, 1” or 1 ½” U panel, 1” or 1 ½” mechanical lock, 1” or 1 ½” batten pan, batten cap, 1” or 1 ½” bermuda panel, 1 ½” SOP 15 panel
  • Utilizes 110 V 1PH power
  • Hydraulic drive and shear
  • Runs 40 feet per minute
  • Front scissors shear
  • Digital controller
  • Can form 22 ga. to 26 ga. steel, .032” aluminum, and 12 oz. to 20 oz. copper
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Zimmerman Metals Z-Panel Machine

Zimmerman Metals’ Z-Panel Machine is designed specifically for those who only do residential metal roofing. 

This multi-profile rollforming machine’s features include:

  • Produces five different profiles: 1” nail strip fastener flange, 1” Snap-Lock, 1 ½” Snap-Lock, 1” standing seam, 1 ½” standing seam
  • Hydraulic drive system and guillotine-type shear
  • Powered by 110 V 1 ½ HP 1PH electric motor
  • Accepts coil widths from 16” to 28”
  • Can run up to 24 ga. steel, .032” aluminum, and 20 oz. copper

Schlebach QUADRO Profiling Machine

Schlebach’s QUADRO profiling machine produces multiple panel profiles in one machine using exchangeable cassettes and rolling stations.

Features of the QUADRO machine include:

  • Profiles available: 1”, 1.25” and 1.5” mechanical seam, 1” and 1.5” Snap-Lock, U-profile, nail strip, 2” mechanical lock, 1 ¾” Snap-Lock, and soffit, wall, and step panels
  • Runs at speeds of approximately 46 feet per minute
  • Equipped with PLC batch and length controller
  • Infeed width maximum of 31.5”
  • Materials you can use (depending on the profile) include .6mm to .8mm (.023” to .031”) or .8mm to 1mm (.031” to .039”) non ferrous metals, 1.0mm to 1.2mm (.039” to .047”) non ferrous metals with facade profiles, .55mm to .70mm (.021” to .027”) steel, and max .50mm (.019”) stainless steel
  • Uses 230 V 50 or 60 Hz single phase, or 400 V 50 or 60 Hz and three-phase power

Jobsite SL12/16 Snap Lock Roof Panel Machine

Jobsite’s SL12/16 Snap Lock Roof Panel Machine is a portable rollformer that can produce 12” and 16” wide snap-lock panel profiles. Materials recommended for this machine include 26 ga. to 24 ga. steel, 16 oz. 1/4 hard copper, and .027” aluminum. It can run at speeds of approximately 35 feet per minute. It features a manual shear and 110V 1HP electric motor.

New Tech Machinery SSR MultiPro Jr. and SSH MultiPro Roof Panel Machines

New Tech Machinery SSH and SSR residential and light commercial portable roof panel machines on orange and blue background

Depending on your use and how much you want to get out of a machine, New Tech Machinery has two options for residential metal roofing applications: the SSR MultiPro Jr. and SSH MultiPro Roof Panel Machines.

Both machines are capable of running multiple residential profiles, including 1” and 1.5” mechanical seam, 1.5” Snap-Clip / Snap-Lock, 1” and 1.5” Snap-Lock with slotted flange, and a T-panel just by purchasing and adding roller sets to your machine. They are typically simpler to operate than a machine like the SSQ II MultiPro Roof Panel Machine, which has more sophisticated computer controllers, automation, and added equipment.

Acceptable materials you can form with each machine include:

  • 28 ga. to 24 ga. (painted, Galvalume, coated galvanized) steel
  • .027” to .040” painted aluminum
  • 16 oz. to 20 oz. 3/4 hard copper

The SSR MultiPro Jr. is a perfect machine for start-up metal roofing businesses that only do a few metal roofing projects monthly, or for those typically installing accent pieces or awnings. This machine is great for those unfamiliar with portable rollforming equipment, who just need the basics in a machine, don’t want full automation, and at an affordable cost.

Features of the SSR machine include:

  • Runs on 110 Volt electric power using 10 gauge, 20 amp extension cord
  • Features a manual shear
  • Push button jog/run controls
  • Produces panels at approximately 30 feet per minute
  • Has finished panel width of 10” to 16” depending on the profile
  • Optional EZ-Counter digital length controller is available

If you’re looking to make metal roofing a standard part of your business, and want to take on more projects, the SSH machine is a great fit. It allows for faster operation with full hydraulics and automatic shear, it is equipped with a batch and length controller or computer controller for easier operation of your machine, and it has the option to run on 220 Volt power or gas motor.

Features of the SSH machine include:

  • Includes a PLC batch and length computer controller for more automated operation
  • Quick-Change Power Pack for easy field conversion of your machine from electric power to gas motor depending on what your project requires
  • Hydraulically powered shear and machine 
  • Runs panels at approximately 60 feet per minute
  • Can also run 26 ga. terne-coat stainless steel
  • Has finished panel width of 10” to 20” depending on the profile

Final Thoughts

Starting a metal roofing business is exciting, and doing so with a residential portable rollforming machine can help you get your business off the ground and grow. 

As you consider different roof panel machines, remember that it’s important to gauge the current and future growth of your business, where you see any expansion into commercial metal roofing or additional markets, how much you need in a machine for ease of use and versatility, and the kinds of profiles you’d like to offer to customers.

If you want more information on residential portable rollforming machines or have any questions on how portable rollforming can help your metal roofing business, we’d love to talk to you! Just give us a call or send us an email.

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