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History of rolling (metalworking)_PART 4
History of rolling (metalworking)_PART 4


A rolling mill, also known as a reduction mill or mill, has a common construction independent of the specific type of rolling being performed: 

 Rolling mills
Rolling mill for cold rolling metal sheet like this piece of brass sheet 
 Work rolls

Backup rolls - are intended to provide rigid support required by the working rolls to prevent bending under the rolling load

Rolling balance system - to ensure that the upper work and back up rolls are maintained in proper position relative to lower rolls

Roll changing devices - use of an overhead crane and a unit designed to attach to the neck of the roll to be removed from or inserted into the mill.

Mill protection devices - to ensure that forces applied to the backup roll chocks are not of such a magnitude to fracture the roll necks or damage the mill housing

Roll cooling and lubrication systems

Pinions - gears to divide power between the two spindles, rotating them at the same speed but in different directions

Gearing - to establish desired rolling speed

Drive motors - rolling narrow foil product to thousands of horsepower

Electrical controls - constant and variable voltages applied to the motors

Coilers and uncoilers - to unroll and roll up coils of metal

Slabs are the feed material for hot strip mills or plate mills and blooms are rolled to billets in a billet mill or large sections in a structural mill. The output from a strip mill is coiled and, subsequently, used as the feed for a cold rolling mill or used directly by fabricators. Billets, for re-rolling, are subsequently rolled in either a merchant, bar or rod mill. Merchant or bar mills produce a variety of shaped products such as angles, channels, beams, rounds (long or coiled) and hexagons.

Various rolling configurations. Key: A. 2-high B. 3-high C. 4-high D. 6-high E. 12-high cluster & F. 20-high Sendzimir Mill cluster 

Mills are designed in different types of configurations, with the most basic being a two-high non-reversing, which means there are two rolls that only turn in one direction. The two-high reversing mill has rolls that can rotate in both directions, but the disadvantage is that the rolls must be stopped, reversed, and then brought back up to rolling speed between each pass. To resolve this, the three-high mill was invented, which uses three rolls that rotate in one direction; the metal is fed through two of the rolls and then returned through the other pair. The disadvantage to this system is the workpiece must be lifted and lowered using an elevator. All of these mills are usually used for primary rolling and the roll diameters range from 60 to 140 cm (24 to 55 in).

To minimize the roll diameter a four-high or cluster mill is used. A small roll diameter is advantageous because less roll is in contact with the material, which results in a lower force and power requirement. The problem with a small roll is a reduction of stiffness, which is overcome using backup rolls. These backup rolls are larger and contact the back side of the smaller rolls. A four-high mill has four rolls, two small and two large. A cluster mill has more than 4 rolls, usually in three tiers. These types of mills are commonly used to hot roll wide plates, most cold rolling applications, and to roll foils.

Historically mills were classified by the product produced:

Blooming, cogging and slabbing mills, being the preparatory mills to rolling finished rails, shapes or plates, respectively. If reversing, they are from 34 to 48 inches in diameter, and if three-high, from 28 to 42 inches in diameter.

Billet mills, three-high, rolls from 24 to 32 inches in diameter, used for the further reduction of blooms down to 1.5x1.5-inch billets, being the nubpreparatory mills for the bar and rod

Beam mills, three-high, rolls from 28 to 36 inches in diameter, for the production of heavy beams and channels 12 inches and over.

Rail mills with rolls from 26 to 40 inches in diameter.

Shape mills with rolls from 20 to 26 inches in diameter, for smaller sizes of beams and channels and other structural shapes.

Merchant bar mills with rolls from 16 to 20 inches in diameter. 
 Small merchant bar mills with finishing rolls from 8 to 16 inches in diameter, generally arranged with a larger size roughing stand.

Rod and wire mills with finishing rolls from 8 to 12 inches in diameter, always arranged with larger size roughing stands.

Hoop and cotton tie mills, similar to small merchant bar mills.

Armour plate mills with rolls from 44 to 50 inches in diameter and 140 to 180-inch body.

Plate mills with rolls from 28 to 44 inches in diameter.

Sheet mills with rolls from 20 to 32 inches in diameter.

Universal mills for the production of square-edged or so-called universal plates and various wide flanged shapes by a system of vertical and horizontal rolls.

Tandem mill

A tandem mill is a special type of modern rolling mill where rolling is done in one pass. In a traditional rolling mill rolling is done in several passes, but in tandem mill there are several stands (>=2 stands) and reductions take place successively. The number of stands ranges from 2 to 18. Tandem mills can be either of hot or cold rolling mill types.


In hot rolling, if the temperature of the workpiece is not uniform the flow of the material will occur more in the warmer parts and less in the cooler. If the temperature difference is great enough cracking and tearing can occur.

Flatness and shape

In a flat metal workpiece, the flatness is a descriptive attribute characterizing the extent of the geometric deviation from a reference plane. The deviation from complete flatness is the direct result of the workpiece relaxation after hot or cold rolling, due to the internal stress pattern caused by the non-uniform transversal compressive action of the rolls and the uneven geometrical properties of the entry material. The transverse distribution of differential strain/elongation-induced stress with respect to the material's average applied stress is commonly referenced to as shape. Due to the strict relationship between shape and flatness, these terms can be used in an interchangeable manner. In the case of metal strips and sheets, the flatness reflects the differential fiber elongation across the width of the workpiece. This property must be subject to an accurate feedback-based control in order to guarantee the machinability of the metal sheets in the final transformation processes. Some technological details about the feedback control of flatness are given in.


Profile is made up of the measurements of crown and wedge. Crown is the thickness in the center as compared to the average thickness at the edges of the workpiece. Wedge is a measure of the thickness at one edge as opposed to the other edge. Both may be expressed as absolute measurements or as relative measurements. For instance, one could have 2 mil of crown (the center of the workpiece is 2 mil thicker than the edges), or one could have 2% crown (the center of the workpiece is 2% thicker than the edges).

It is typically desirable to have some crown in the workpiece as this will cause the workpiece to tend to pull to the center of the mill, and thus will run with higher stability.

Roll deflection 

Maintaining a uniform gap between the rolls is difficult because the rolls deflect under the load required to deform the workpiece. The deflection causes the workpiece to be thinner on the edges and thicker in the middle. This can be overcome by using a crowned roller (parabolic crown), however the crowned roller will only compensate for one set of conditions, specifically the material, temperature, and amount of deformation.

Other methods of compensating for roll deformation include continual varying crown (CVC), pair cross rolling, and work roll bending. CVC was developed by SMS-Siemag AG and involves grinding a third order polynomial curve into the work rolls and then shifting the work rolls laterally, equally, and opposite to each other. The effect is that the rolls will have a gap between them that is parabolic in shape, and will vary with lateral shift, thus allowing for control of the crown of the rolls dynamically. Pair cross rolling involves using either flat or parabolically crowned rolls, but shifting the ends at an angle so that the gap between the edges of the rolls will increase or decrease, thus allowing for dynamic crown control. Work roll bending involves using hydraulic cylinders at the ends of the rolls to counteract roll deflection.

Another way to overcome deflection issues is by decreasing the load on the rolls, which can be done by applying a longitudinal force; this is essentially drawing. 

Other method of decreasing roll deflection include increasing the elastic modulus of the roll material and adding back-up supports to the rolls.

The different classifications for flatness defects are:

Symmetrical edge wave - the edges on both sides of the workpiece are "wavy" due to the material at the edges being longer than the material in the center.

Asymmetrical edge wave - one edge is "wavy" due to the material at one side being longer than the other side.

Center buckle - The center of the strip is "wavy" due to the strip in the center being longer than the strip at the edges.

Quarter buckle - This is a rare defect where the fibers are elongated in the quarter regions (the portion of the strip between the center and the edge). This is normally attributed to using excessive roll bending force since the bending force may not compensate for the roll deflection across the entire length of the roll.

It is important to note that one could have a flatness defect even with the workpiece having the same thickness across the width. Also, one could have fairly high crown or wedge, but still produce material that is flat. In order to produce flat material, the material must be reduced by the same percentage across the width. This is important because mass flow of the material must be preserved, and the more a material is reduced, the more it is elongated. If a material is elongated in the same manner across the width, then the flatness coming into the mill will be preserved at the exit of the mill.


The difference between the thickness of initial and rolled metal piece is called Draught.

This is the case when the frictional force on the metal from inlet contact matches the negative force from the exit contact.

Surface defect types

There are six types of surface defects:  

This type of defect occurs when a corner or fin is folded over and rolled but not welded into the metal. They appear as seams across the surface of the metal.


These defects occur as a feather-like lap.

Rolled-in scale 

This occurs when mill scale is rolled into metal.


These are long patches of loose metal that have been rolled into the surface of the metal.


They are open, broken lines that run along the length of the metal and caused by the presence of scale as well as due to pass roughness of Roughing mill.


Prominent surface ruptures.

Surface defect remediation

Many surface defects can be scarfed off the surface of semi-finished rolled products before further rolling. Methods of scarfing have included hand-chipping with chisels (18th and 19th centuries); powered chipping and grinding with air chisels and grinders; burning with an oxy-fuel torch, whose gas pressure blows away the metal or slag melted by the flame; and laser scarfing.  
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