How to Store a Portable Rollforming Machine

Machine service & troubleshooting
Katie Bowles|April 14, 2023

Once you’re done using your portable rollforming machine, what should you do with it? Whether you’re planning to put it away until projects kick back up again, or if you’re just storing it until your next job, knowing how to store a portable rollforming machine can keep your equipment damage-free and operating correctly.

New Tech Machinery is a leading manufacturer of portable rollforming machinery and accessories. Our Service department helps machine operators and owners worldwide understand the proper maintenance and safety procedures under any conditions when running and storing their equipment.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the best practices and key points to remember when storing your portable rollforming machine, whether it’s until your next job or in the off-season.

The Importance of Storing a Portable Rollforming Machine

An NTM SSR machine sits outside on a trailer covered in rust

Why is it critical to know how to properly store your portable rollforming machine? There are various reasons but some of the most important include:

Prevents damage from occurring while not in use – The first main reason it’s critical to store your machine correctly is that it can prevent potential damage to your machine. If you left your machine uncovered outdoors or especially exposed to the elements, dust, debris, or water could get inside your machine and cause even more major problems down the line. Even if you’re in an area that may not get extreme rain or snow, leaving your machine outdoors can still pose problems if uncovered, like condensation causing rust

Ensures your machine is running safely and correctly when you’re ready to use it – Knowing how to store your machine, whether you are just putting it away short-term until your next project or for an extended time like during the off-season, will ensure that the next time you take your machine out, that it’s running correctly. Not only does this mean knowing how to inspect your machine and get it ready for storage, but also choosing the right place to keep your machine and what to do once you’re ready to use it again.

Increases the longevity of your machine – Ultimately, as stated above, it’s essential to understand how to properly store your rollforming machine is because it will keep your machine running correctly for a longer time. The better you take care of your machine, the more life you’ll get out of it. Failure to keep your machine well maintained or properly stored can cause issues that could require you to get repair on your machine or replacement parts, which could be costly depending on the severity of your issues.

Download the complete roof panel and gutter machine maintenance schedule

What to Do Before Storing a Portable Rollforming Machine

portable roof panel machine on trailer at job site with material going through

There are a few things you can do to help ensure your machine will start up with no problems the next time you run it after it has been in storage. Before you even leave the job site, you’ll want to make sure you follow these steps to help you get ready to store your machine until your next job or for the off-season.

As soon as you’re done with your metal roofing project and before you leave the job site, you’ll also want to make sure you do the following:

  • If you still have coil feeding into your machine from the expandable arbor, cut it so that you can tape the edge of the material to the rest of the coil. Also make sure the coil is properly secured to the expandable arbor, taped together while in transit, and secured via a ratchet strap around the internal diameter and one going the full length around the painted part of the coil.
  • Next, after you’ve cut the material and secured the reeled coil to your machine, you’ll need to clear any remaining material by jogging or running it through. This is so that the material doesn’t damage the polyurethane drive rollers or collect dust, debris, or other hazardous objects inside your machine.
  • Turn off the gas motor and let the engine run until any remaining gas is out of the carburetor. 
  • If you have a removable computerized controller, like the PLC, EZ-Counter, or one of the older models of controllers, take it off of your machine and store it securely so it doesn’t get lost, damaged, or come off of the trailer or truck. The UNIQ® Automatic Controller is not removable so it just needs to be covered.
  • Fold up and store your run-out stands on the overhead reel rack. Secure them in place with the bolts on the bottom and tops of each bar on the run-out stand rack. Also, secure the entry guide cover before transport.
  • Put the canvas cover on your machine (if so equipped) and make sure it’s properly secured before proceeding to transport your machine to your shop.

Choosing the Best Place to Store a Portable Rollforming Machine

An SSQ II machine sits on a trailer inside a shop

Now that we’ve discussed some of the reasons why it’s good to know how to properly store your machine and what to do before storing it, let’s look at some ways you can pick the best place to store your machine. 

Choosing the right place for your portable rollforming machine may not be the same for everyone, depending on where your shop is located, the environment in your area, and the kind of space you have available to store your machine.

Some things to keep in mind that can help you in making your selection:

Do you have space inside your shop to leave your machine indoors? 

  • You always want to try to leave your machine indoors, especially if you have the space to store it. But if you have to leave your machine outdoors, try to keep your machine out of the weather by using a lean-to or other similar structure to protect your machine.
  • If you get a lot of extreme weather, rain, or snow, in your area, keeping your machine outdoors could pose a problem unless you keep it well-ventilated and covered with a canvas or tarp. Even if your area isn’t susceptible to these weather conditions, humidity can also cause a greenhouse effect on a covered machine without enough ventilation, creating moisture that can lead to rusting.
  • Also, make sure to leave the safety covers on your machine even while not using it to protect the internal components from getting damaged, changing weather conditions, and any foreign objects from getting inside.

How long do you plan on storing your machine?

  • If you’re just storing your machine in between projects, or if you’re getting ready for the off-season and planning on not using your machine for a few months, the way you want to store your machine matters.
    • If you’re planning on putting your machine away for more than a few weeks, you’ll want to do your annual service check and inspect your equipment for any leaks, damage, or other causes for concern before you put it away. Doing so will ensure you don’t encounter any issues when you run your machine the next time and can take care of any damage or repair at the first sign of it.
    • For long-term storage, run out any fuel from your carburetor and put fuel stabilizer inside to keep it fresher.

Can you store your machine on a trailer?

  • If you’re using an enclosed trailer, you can leave your machine inside the trailer if it’s kept in a cool dry place and if you make sure there’s enough ventilation periodically (like opening the doors) to avoid rusting or excessive humidity.
  • If you use an open trailer, like the one NTM offers, you could leave your machine on it so long as it’s covered with the canvas machine cover, secured so it’s not liable to tip over, well ventilated to avoid moisture from getting in, and weatherproof. 
  • Make sure you secure your trailer in place and put blocks under the wheels to keep them from moving, even if it’s not connected to a vehicle.

Best Practices for Storing a Portable Rollforming Machine

portable rollforming machine with cover on a trailer

If you understand and follow these best practices for storing your portable rollforming machine, essentially you could store your machine indefinitely, only checking on it periodically. Once you get to your shop and are ready to store your machine, make sure you follow these best practices, and do your annual service check, to ensure that your machine remains damage and problem-free:

  • Use a machine cover or tarp with enough ventilation to prevent condensation and rust if you plan on storing your machine outdoors and especially indoors. Anything that is mounted onto your machine or inside doesn’t have to be removed before storing your machine. Any unused coil on your overhead reel rack can also remain on the machine as long as it’s properly secured IF you’re not planning on storing your machine for months. If your machine is going to be stored for a few months, take the coil off of the reel rack. Always ensure that there’s no material left inside of the machine when storing it.
  • Take the covers and guards off of your machine ONLY to perform your weekly maintenance check, clean out your machine, and get rid of any debris or dust that may be inside. For maintenance purposes, this is one of the only times you should ever have your covers and guards removed from your machine, otherwise the internal components and shear pose as potential safety hazards.
  • Try to keep your machine on as flat a surface as possible and avoid storing or placing things on top of your machine, even with the covers on. This will ensure that nothing gets inside your machine accidentally and will help keep any fluids inside the machine level.
  • Inspect your internal components and electrical parts for any leaks. Check the tension of the chains and lubricate them as needed and inspect your hydraulic hoses.
  • Run out any leftover fuel, turn the fuel off, and put a stabilizer into your fuel so it doesn’t become stale or get water inside, especially if you plan on storing your machine away for a few months. This will help your machine start up easier when you turn it on again.
  • Disconnect the power if your machine uses an electric motor and depress the e-stop to avoid draining the battery. Apply a lock out/ tag out. Electric motors are typically used on machines kept inside a shop.
  • If your machine uses the UNIQ® Automatic Controller and a gas engine, you’ll need to turn off the power before storing your machine so you avoid draining the battery. If the battery is drained, you’ll have to charge the battery to use your machine again. For electric motors, turn the power switch to “off” and depress the emergency stop button.

While your machine is in storage, especially for a long time, it’s good practice to start it once a month and let it run for five minutes or so and shut it back down if you’re leaving it stored. This process will help avoid any working parts from failing. It’s also recommended to lubricate the shear assembly throughout the duration your machine is stored as well as every 30 cuts when in use.

When you’re ready to use your portable rollforming machine again, you’ll want to make sure you repeat the inspection process: inspect the internal components for issues or damage, check your fluid levels for any leaks, and check your battery level with a voltmeter. Also, run a sample panel either before you get to the job site for those installing their own panels, or as soon as you arrive to the job site, for chop-and-drop panel suppliers.

What If I’ve Correctly Stored My Machine?

No matter how long you’re planning on not using your machine, keeping your portable rollforming machine properly and safely stored can ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible the next time, and that it will continue to run for years to come. 

Just follow our tips on choosing the right place to store your machine, taking care of initial inspections and turning off your equipment before you leave the job site, and preparing your equipment for storage.

The New Tech Machinery Service department is always here to help talk you through these best practices for storing your machine and any maintenance actions you should be aware of. Or, you can check out our Service & Support Center with quick troubleshooting assistance!

For any questions about storing your machine or if you’re looking for technical assistance, just reach out to one of our helpful rollforming specialists today!

Need help with your machine? Visit the NTM Service & Support Center