Flexible roll forming machine for automotive parts also produces solar profiles

n the past a large part of the turnover of one of our customers in France was generated from parts for the automotive industry. In November 2010 the CEO decided to enter the "solar" business. Just one year later it was possible to realise the first major project with a world-leading photovoltaic provider. The Dreistern customer was involved in the construction of Europe's largest solar park with a capacity of 91 MW. The challenge was enormous. It was necessary to produce 500,000 profiles in a record time of eight weeks.

The customer provided a few proposed profile designs to Dreistern in advance for analysis. In joint project meetings it very quickly became clear that a closed profile was the ideal solution for stability reasons. A welded solution was discussed, but could not be implemented above all for two reasons.

  • The rate of part production was too low for producing 500,000 parts in only eight weeks.
  • Damage to the corrosion protection could not be excluded.


The solution from the Dreistern engineers was simple but effective. The welded joint was replaced with a mechanically folded joint.

The advantages of this solution were clear. A significant speed advantage in production, no damage to the corrosion protection and no additional investment in a new welding system.  The Dreistern customer was very satisfied with this solution, as a very economical to manufacture steel profile with all the necessary structural features had been developed. Success came very quickly. In the middle of March 2011 Dreistern received the order for the tool for the manufacture of the solar profile. The race against time then began. The schedule was extremely tight and challenging, as the start of production on site was scheduled for the middle of July.

Due to the modular design of the Dreistern cutting and profile forming system, it was possible to very quickly and very easily integrate a metal circular saw for cutting the closed profile as well as to increase to 32 the number of forming stations in the existing Dreistern automotive system. Due to full pre-testing on a trials machine internally at Dreistern as well as the verification of the required tolerances during pre-acceptance, the start of production on site on schedule was ensured.

This example demonstrates the flexibility of Dreistern cutting and profile forming systems for a very wide range of applications with one and the same system. It also shows how Dreistern's expert knowledge can be used during product development to generate competitive advantage via innovative solutions.

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