The Swedish outdoor company, Lundhags, have developed a new type of long-distance skate, the Lundhags EXA, which is made of a single piece of steel. The EXA has been designed by Stephen Copp of Lundhags and Outokumpu delivered the material.
The idea for the EXA was to design a skate that would be reliable on long-distance runs and avoid a type of breakdown that is common for traditional long-distance skates, separation of the blade from the profile. Traditional skates are often made from an aluminium profile with a steel blade and the risk of separation break-down forces skaters to bring an extra skate for long runs and if a big party is out skating, they often bring several extra skates.
To eliminate this problem, Lundhags came up with the idea to produce the skate from one piece instead of two and a challenge would be to find the right material. The shape of the skate was decided quite soon and it was obvious that the material had to have a tensile strength of 1200 MPa, have a surface hardness that would allow the material to work as a blade and be suitable for bending to the right profile. After failing in finding the right material, the project came to a halt until Lundhags came in contact with Henrik Ahrman at Outokumpu Research Centre. Lundhags learned about HyTens 1200® and realized that the material had all the qualifications needed. Outokumpu Thin Strip Nyby delivered the temper-rolled HyTens 1200® (EN 1.4310, surface 2H) for the new skate.
Two weeks after the initial contact, a prototype was ready to take for a test run. After 8 months and some modifications, the skate was included in Lundhags range of skates and became available to customers. “During the entire process, Outokumpu have been very obliging and professional” says Stephen Copp. “We have received quick answers to our questions and the deliveries have been fast and without problems.”
EXA have some additional benefits that were not foreseen, for instance the simplicity in the production. There are three stages in the production of EXA compared to seven for a traditional skate. No glue is needed for the EXA which makes it friendlier for the environment and it is also 100 % recyclable. The open profile creates a very smooth run which is a great advantage when skating on natural ice that has a tendency to be very uneven.
The design of the EXA adds a new dimension to the sport, a new way of expressing that hopefully will attract new skaters to the sport. “The design and the properties of the EXA overthrow the truth about how a skate should be built and this is very interesting” adds Stephen. The innovative design has been recognised and has won some prestigious awards such as:
Ispo Outdoor Award 2010 (category “Hardware”)
SOA (Scandinavian Outdoor Award 2010)
Materialica Design Award 2010 (category “Product”)