Angle irons are built to bear heavy loads indefinitely; they are used in building reinforcements, drawer slides, athletic flooring systems, joists, studs, control joints and expansion joints.
Construction, aerospace, automotive, railroad, furniture, HVAC, hardware and storage operations all make use of angle irons. Materials that are used in angle irons include iron, steel, brass and aluminum.
Iron and steel angle irons are the most common, but brass and aluminum are also used in angle iron fabrication. Brass, for example, is used as a light load bearing element when the element will be highly visible.
Angle irons can be produced by a variety of fabrication processes, but roll forming is the simplest and produces a quality, uniform product. A roll former is a machine that features a long series of rollers; these rollers can turn a metal rod into an angle iron. The process begins with a stock of metal.
The metal is fed into the first rollers, which grip the metal tightly. Each subsequent set of rollers is positioned in a way that changes the shape of the metal slightly. As the metal rod moves through the machine, the rollers bend the rod along the linear axis, pressing and shaping the rod. By the time the metal reaches the last roller, it has been shaped into a new angle iron.
It can then be ejected, cut and prepared for shipment. Roller dies may also include punches that punch holes or shapes into the metal; punches are often used to form slotted angle irons. The roll forming process creates very little scrap material while improving the structural integrity of the product and can be used to create angle irons and many other metal shapes of almost any size and shape.