The Process of Bending Steel

In order to expand the applications in which steel can be used, it is often necessary to alter the steel through bending. This quick guide will provide you with more information on the steel bending process and the benefits of bending steel.

How Is Steel Bent?

There are five main methods that are used in bending steel for industrial purposes. These methods are rolling, incremental bending, hot bending, rotary-draw bending, and induction bending. Some of the methods are more suited for industrial purposes, while others are more suited for the automobile industry or manufacturing. Let’s take a deeper look at each method.


Rolling, also known as cold bending, is a method that uses a continuous bending operation. During this method, a long strip of metal is moved through a set of rollers. Each roller will perform an incremental part of the bending process. This will be repeated until the desired cross-section has been created. This method is often used to produce parts with long lengths. This is often an affordable bending method.

Incremental Bending

This type of method is often used for cambering or curving to a large radius. This method is completed by applying point loads that have a hydraulic ram on the third point. This is a very flexible manufacturing process. It is used for low-volume or rapid prototype production of primarily sheet metal.

The term incremental bending is used because during the process only a small part of the metal is being processed at a time. This method is ideal for small series production as it only requires simple, cheap tools.

Hot Bending

Hot bending is a method in which a piece of metal is directly heated and then directly bent. Direct flames or a furnace can be used to apply heat. This method is often used for repairs.

Rotary Draw Bending

This process allows the piece of metal to be bent by rotating it around a die. The piece is clamped into the form and moved through the machine as the bend is created. This is used when a tight radius is needed. It is also used when there will be complicated bends.

Induction Bending

Induction bending is performed by using an electric coil to heat up sections of the piece of metal. That piece is then moved through a process like a rotary draw and also cooled with water immediately after. This can be used to create tight radii. This process is also sometimes called hot rolling, but there are certain differences between the two methods.

Induction bending is a great way to create a bend if you only need a certain area of the metal tube bent.