Using NTM Gutter and Metal Roofing Machines in Extreme Temperatures

Industry News & Information
Rick Zand|May 4, 2023

Effects of Extreme Temperatures on Rollformers

Are you concerned about using your New Tech Machinery gutter or metal roofing machine in extreme temperatures? The good news is that New Tech Machinery (NTM) builds its portable rollformers to operate in almost any condition. We made our metal roofing and gutter machines from heavy-duty materials to withstand the rigors of daily use. They also require minimal maintenance, reducing downtime and keeping your operation running smoothly.

As pioneers in the industry, NTM has been building portable roof and wall panel and gutter machines for over 30 years. In that time, our machines have operated on all seven continents. This includes the Middle East, where temperatures can get to over 120°F, and Antarctica, where temperatures can drop to nearly -80°F. 

Although most contractors don’t work in extreme climates, many of our machines are regularly exposed to heat, humidity, and freezing temperatures. While NTM machines can withstand severe temperatures, there are a few things to remember if your machine is exposed to extreme cold or hot weather.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • How extreme temperatures can affect machine performance
  • Problems related to storing NTM machines in hot or cold temperatures
  • Dealing with machines in extreme temperatures
  • How to store your NTM machine to protect it in any climate

Transporting a machine in hot weather.

Common Problems With Rollformers in Extreme Temperatures

Rollformers in Cold Weather

Imagine working in an extremely cold climate like the northern U.S. or Canada, where winter temperatures can drop to -30 degrees. While you shouldn’t have any problem operating your machine in these temperatures, starting it up when it’s been stored cold may be an issue. Here are some problems that can result from cold storage:

  • The rollers can flatten. The top and bottom drive rollers are loaded with pressure. When the machine sits overnight in extreme cold it will create flat spots on the rollers from being pressed together.
  • The hydraulic fluid will thicken. This will prevent the shear from operating correctly if you have a hydraulic system.   
  • The control screens may not be as responsive or turn on right away. The touchscreen loses sensitivity, and the text may be harder to read.
  • The battery on a gas engine may run down or die.

Rollformers in Hot Weather

Whether you’re in Dubai or Mississippi, you’ll probably work in heavy heat and humidity. Fortunately, we designed our machines to operate in these conditions. Again, as in cold weather, storage may impact the machine’s functionality. Here are problems that can result from hot storage:

  • Hydraulic fluid thins
  • Rust in humid climates

Download the complete roof panel and gutter machine maintenance schedule

Dealing With Machine Issues in Extreme Temperatures: Diagnosing, Fixing, and Preventing

Hydraulic fluid—If your machine is experiencing problems with the shear and has been stored in extreme temperatures, it could be that the fluid has either thickened (from cold) or thinned (from heat). While either of these would cause problems with the shear, there are other reasons to consider. For example, there may be a leak in the hose or the hydraulic system itself.  If oil isn’t flowing through the hose, the shear won’t operate. Likewise, the shear won’t function properly if there isn’t enough oil in the hydraulic system, or if there’s a leak. Also, if the shear is not cutting straight or clean, it may be out of alignment or need lubrication.

Check all of these possible causes if the problem doesn’t correct itself when the machine is brought to a moderate temperature. Otherwise, the fluid should return to its normal consistency.

Note: The shear is extremely dangerous and can cause serious bodily injury or death. For this reason, the machine is provided with a guard to prevent the operator from reaching into the shear. It is crucial that the guard remains in place at all times when the machine is in operation. The guard should only be removed for maintenance and adjustment of the shear when the machine is unplugged/unpowered or locked out/tagged out.

A man standing on a ladder, installing a gutter with snow on the roof.

The controller—The controller may respond slowly in the cold. This should correct itself once the machine is warmed up or stored at normal temperatures. If it doesn’t, it could be due to another problem. In this case, it may need servicing or parts.

If the material isn’t cutting to the correct length, it could also be due to the encoder. The encoder tracks the length of the material as it goes through the machine. Be sure your encoder is making contact with the material and that the tension is set correctly. You may have to align and tension the encoder. Another cause may be a bad connection in the wiring. This is especially true if you’ve removed the controller from the machine and handled it roughly or dropped it.

If the sun hits the screen directly, it may be difficult to read. One thing you can do is purchase a small umbrella to attach over it so that it’s not in direct sunlight. Keep the machine in the shade or use a yard umbrella to block out the sun if possible.

Lastly, if you’re using the NTM UNIQ® Automatic Control System, ensure the software is up to date.

The rollers—The upper and lower drive rollers press together to move the material forward when the machine is operating. When cold, the polyurethane rollers flatten, leaving an impression on the metal material feeding through the machine. If the machine has been stored in extreme cold, running the flat spots out may take longer. Run the machine empty for a few minutes until they return to normal. In regular conditions, while there may be some flattening, the rollers will quickly correct themselves once the machine is operating.

A group of men standing around a rollformer on a trailer, their heads covered to protect them from the heat.

The battery—With a gas engine, the motor relies on the battery. The battery can drain out in cold weather. You may want to keep a trickle charger or battery tender on it when it’s not in use to maintain the charge. If your battery dies, we recommend purchasing a new one rather than attempting to recharge it.

Rusting—Rust can accumulate in damp conditions and damage parts that will then need replacement. This can get expensive and cause downtime. You should store your machine in well-ventilated areas to prevent rust from occurring. Keep in mind, this is also true for storing extra profiles. If you store them in a humid area without ventilation, they can develop rust. Even if covered, your machine and accessories should always be stored in a dry, well-ventilated area. 

If you’re using your machine out in the rain, you can use compressed air to blow out the moisture before storing it at the end of the day. This will help prevent rust from developing.

In any conditions, keep your machine in a dry, well-ventilated area. An insulated trailer or heated garage would preserve the battery and prevent the hydraulic fluid from thickening in cold weather.

Job camp set up in Antartica with an igloo style tent and equipment on a sled.

Preventing Problems With NTM Machines in Extreme Temperatures

Besides storing your machine in a dry, well-ventilated area, regular maintenance is the best way to prevent problems with rollformers and gutter machines in extreme temperatures. For maintenance information, refer to your owner’s manual. You can also find information in our Learning Center. Keeping your machine well-maintained will help ensure it will last a long time.

To properly store your machine for an extended period in any climate, you should do the following:

  • Clean the machine thoroughly before storing it. This will help prevent any corrosion or damage caused by dirt, dust, or debris that may accumulate over time.
  • Store the machine in a dry, well-ventilated area. This will help prevent moisture from accumulating and causing damage to the machine’s electrical components or metal parts.
  • Cover the machine with an NTM machine cover, tarp, or other protective covering to prevent dust, debris, and other contaminants from entering the machine and causing damage.
  • If you’re storing your machine for an extended period, such as several months, we recommend that you take additional steps to protect it. This may include applying a protective coating to the metal surfaces, removing the battery, running fuel out of the carburetor, adding a stabilizer, and storing the machine in a climate-controlled environment.
  • Regularly inspect the machine for any signs of damage or wear and tear. This will help identify any potential issues before they become more serious problems.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your New Tech Machinery remains in good condition no matter the temperature, ready for use when you need it.

Final Thoughts

Using NTM roof and wall panel and gutter machines should not be a problem in any temperature, given you take care of the machine and store it properly. This advice extends to contractors working in normal temperatures as well. Otherwise, you should feel confident using your machine in extreme climates, or anywhere in between.

New Tech Machinery regularly trains contractors and operators on proper machine usage and care both at our facility in Aurora, Colorado and on location all over the world. We are always available to answer questions about our machines. If you are having issues or just want information, start by checking out the Learning Center and Resources pages of our website.

NTM built your machine to last many years. Regular maintenance and care will preserve the parts, preventing downtime. See the NTM Service & Support Center on our website for any questions or concerns. Contact our support team if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for on our site. At NTM, we pride ourselves on the quality of service we provide our customers.

Visit our Rollforming Learning Center