Corrugation Then and Now

When we look at neighbourhood rooftops,
It’s the colour, roof configuration and profile that defines them
and gives them their unique character.

In the great scheme of things, we take this for granted and disregard
the collectively rich history which created our present environment.

By the time that corrugated galvanised iron, or CGI, was invented by Henry Palmer, in the 1820s, engineers already knew the potential long term benefits of corrugation. Corrugations increase the bending strength of the sheet material,
in the direction perpendicular to the corrugations, but not parallel to them.

This is in itself a singular discovery which has profoundly impacted the world as we know it.

Early manual corrugated iron roller.

Early manual corrugated iron roller.

brunels hat

Civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, second from right, at the attempted launch of the steamship Great Eastern, November 1857.

As far back as 950BC, the ancient Egyptians, using plant stems pasted together, created the first papyrus; Chinese using bamboo, searched for a way to create
a strong, but adaptable sheet material.

Through the centuries, many industries and countless materials were utilized in search of simple strength with controlled flexibility.  The paper and packaging industry laminated and glued, cut and folded in search of this goal.

By the 1800s a corrugated material was used as
a sweatband lining in tall Victorian men’s hats. Corrugation had arrived.

This simple and sound manner to strengthen
otherwise loose and floppy surfaces, allowed lightweight materials to have rigidity and resistance.

From cardboard packaging to roofing materials
our world became strengthened and infinitely
more versatile.

The industrial age demanded materials which were easily manufactured in extreme volume, to meet the global expansion of industry and commerce.  Corrugated roofing material became front and centre, as even the family
of modest means could now afford a reliable roof.

Presently, the material has evolved to encompass the practical characteristics of being durable, versatile, lightweight, with a high strength-to-weight ratio, sustainable, environmentally responsible, customizable, protective, cost-effective and visually appealing.

form rolling process

Form Rolling Process . Feeding the sheet steel | forming the corrugations form dies | cutting the sheets to length

The corrugation is created using the process of roll forming.  Sheet metal is pulled off huge rolls and passed through rolling dies which form the corrugation.  After the sheet metal passes through the rollers it is automatically sheared off at a desired length.  This process is highly automated to achieve high productivity
and low costs associated with labour.  This uniform roll forming, or profile, allows for the interlocking of pieces, creating infinitely large areas of coverage at the best possible price and a whole world of new and potentially profitable economic and social possibilities.

Sinusoidal (or '10/3' ) profile

trapizoidal profile

Trapezoidal (or '107' ) profile

The traditional shape of corrugated metal material is a rounded, wavy style, sometimes referred to as ‘Sinusoidal’
(like a sine wave), but can be easily modified to a variety of shapes and sizes by simply changing the dies.

One of the most popular, in more recent times is made up of a series of corrugations, each in the shape of a trapezium, referred to as trapezoidal profile, which laps together, side to side and end to end, making it very easy to cover varying areas of roof quickly.  It should be noted, that profiled roof systems are best suited for roof pitches greater than five degrees.

As building materials, chemistry, science, styles and possibilities evolved, so did the need for those unique characterizations to step up.  Roof colour configurations and profiles now define our living and working spaces, adding our touch and identity to the otherwise mundane process of creating protection and shelter.

ECMIL supplies a comprehensive range
of those remarkable materials.

With a choice of thirteen superb Colorbond® colours and Zincalume®, three separate gauges of reliable,
durable steel, matching ridge caps, flashing and accessories in three different profiles, including traditional sinusoidal, clean modern trapezoidal and stylish Spanish Tile, making the opportunity to create your unique
roof only a contact away.

The company’s sales staff are extremely experienced and adept in finding the right combination of materials
to create attractive and long lasting success for your project, whether it be a timely adjustment or a complete makeover.

Spanish Tile process

Form Rolling Process for Spanish Tile Profile by ECMIL.

With a novel, creative flair and some assistance from ECMIL, you can allow corrugated steel sheeting to lend itself equally to internal and external aesthetics, with an ease and versatility that seems to belie its hard earned
and complex history.

NB. This article is for general information purposes only and is meant as an incentive to the reader, who should then research and seek advice from their architectural and construction professionals to confirm that the ideas expressed are possible within the building codes of their territory or within the limitations of their home's architecture. ECMIL only recommends their own products and third party products which they supply, as part of their company's roofing solutions to customers.

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