Since 1897, Victorinox has stood for the “Original Swiss Army Knife“, developed by Karl Elsener. It embodies functionality, innovation and quality in a distinctive design. The famous little red pocketknife with the well-known cross emblem fits into every trouser pocket and is in regular use: Whether a bush is blocking the path, or a stubborn plastic bag has to be cut open – the blades are tested to the utmost in the course of their lives. Victorinox relies on Outokumpu as a dependable stainless steel supplier, so that the blade remains permanently sharp and does not rust.
The same applies to the kitchen knives from Victorinox. Because one thing is clear for the company: every task is completed more easily with the right tool – particularly in the kitchen. The premium blades slice effortlessly through tomatoes, tender meat and crisp vegetables and have to be just as sharp coming out of the dishwasher, and cut just as precisely, as they did in the beginning.
Victorinox knife blades are made of Outokumpu steel
Whether pocketknife or kitchen knife – in order to ensure that the blade permanently retains its sharp edge, the balanced carbon content in the material, the optimum heat treatment and the right grinding of the cutting edge are the decisive factors. Some of the reasons why swords and knives used to be worked over a coal fire. But the harder the steel, the sooner rust occurs. In particular kitchen knives which regularly land in the dishwasher have to be corrosion resistant.
The same applies for the blade of a pocketknife, which is often just given a quick wipe. In order to achieve permanent edge retention whatever the treatment, blades are made of temperable, martensitic chrome steel containing molybdenum. This allows the steel to achieve the desired hardness and flexibility typical for knives.
The right mix for sharp, long-lasting blades
The particularly high tempering and the excellent corrosion resistance are what characterise the martensitic grades Dura 4110 and Dura 420/4031 from Outokumpu – the material which the Swiss family company uses successfully, both for pocket knives and kitchen knives.
“Knife blades used to be polished up with special knife-cleaning machines and polishing paste to give them back their shine. This naturally involved a lot of hard work. The optimum grinding and polishing of the knife blades saves time and is more hygienic,” explains Erwin Müller, Production Manager at Victorinox.
“Kitchen knives from Victorinox are all rustproof. We ensure this by using only the best steel. For many years now, Outokumpu has been a reliable partner, supplying us with high-quality martensitic steel. Even so, permanent exposure to moisture, high salt content in the air or water, and acids in foodstuffs can negatively impact on even the best of steel in the long run. That’s why the consumer should always clean the knife correctly after use,” says Müller.
Quality management at its finest
The special alloys used such as Dura 4110 and Dura 420/4031 from Outokumpu possess properties which are ideally tailored to their areas of use and thus guarantee the uniform high quality of the Victorinox products.
“For the blades of our kitchen knives we use rust-free chrome and molybdenum alloyed cutlery steel. We analyse every metal delivery and test to determine which hardening and temperatures produce the best edge retention and rustproofing. Hardening at 1,010°–1,060°C and the subsequent tempering make the blade tougher, more elastic and edge retaining“, explains Müller.
Every year, Victorinox sells over seven million vegetable, table and kitchen knives around the world. The rate of complaints about insufficient rust and acid resistance lies at under 0.0001%.
“We are proud that our stainless steel regularly passes the Swiss quality test at Victorinox with flying colours and is a trusty companion in life’s big and small everyday adventures,” says Andrea Volkert, Head of Appliances – Technical Market Dev. & Customer Service at Outokumpu.