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Home > Metal Fabricating Tips & Facts > Embossing Process


Embossing is a metal forming process for producing raised or sunken designs or relief in sheet material by means of matched male and female roller dies, theoretically with no change in metal thickness, or by passing sheet or a strip of metal between rolls of the desired pattern.

Metal sheet is drawn through the male and female roller dies producing a pattern or design on the metal sheet. Depending on the roller dies used, different patterns can be produced on the metal sheet.

Characteristics of the metal embossing process include:

  • Its ability to form ductile metals,
  • Its use in medium to high production runs,
  • The ability to maintain the same metal thickness before and after embossing,
  • The ability to produce unlimited patterns, depending on the roll dies, and
  • The ability to reproduce product with no variation.

Located within the embossing stand itself are two engraved and mated hardened steel rolls, geared together to maintain top-to-bottom pattern registration. The width and diameter of these rolls depends on the strip width, material thickness, pattern depth, and material tensile strength and hardness.

In most machines, the upper roll blocks are stationary, while the bottom roll blocks are movable. The pressure with which the bottom roll is raised is referred to as the tonnage capacity. This figure also depends on the aforementioned parameters.

Embossing machines are generally sized to give 2" of strip clearance on each side of an engraved embossing roll. Many embossing machines are custom-manufactured, so there are no industry-standard widths. It is not uncommon to find embossing machines in operation producing patterns less than 6' wide all the way up to machines producing patterns 70"+ wide.

The illustration that follows provides a two-dimensional look at a typical embossing line setup with an embossing roller in the middle. The illustration shows the metal sheet entering the roller, and then the embossed sheet leaving toward the drawing rollers.

Embossed metals are used in industry for two reasons: (1) aesthetic, and (2) functional. Aesthetic applications also include appliance panels, building products, elevator panels, garage door panels, automotive trim, metal office furniture, and others.

Functional applications are those in which a performance characteristic is enhanced. This can include a metal products ability to disperse liquid more effectively, reduction friction and static, increase a metal panel’s stiffness and rigidity, increase a metal surface area for acoustic or heat transfer applications, and improve traction.

The embossing process can produce a variety of patterns. Some of the most common patterns include stucco, leather grain, wood grain, weather grain, and rough sawn cedar. Most embossers will tool to form any needed pattern, depending on the cost parameters involved.

Materials commonly used in the metal embossing process include:

  • Aluminum (All Alloys)
  • Aluminum (T1/T2)
  • Brass
  • Cold rolled steel
  • Copper
  • Galvanized steel
  • High strength, low alloy, steel
  • Hot rolled steel
  • Steel (All Alloys)
  • Zinc

View an overview of embossing services any of the metal forming processes offered by Advantage Fabricated Metals, or view a full table that matches the metals to the metal fabricating services we offer.

For more information about Advantage Fabricated Metals and the metal fabricating, metal forming, and welding services we provide, please fill out our contact form or call us at 1-815-323-1310.

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Advantage Fabricated Metals
a division of Corrugated Metals, Inc.
We invest in our customers.™
3575 Morreim Drive • Belvidere, Illinois 61008
Phone: 1-815-323-1310 • Fax: 1-815-323-1317