A close co-operation between Philips
and materials specialists from Sandvik Materials
has led to the development and manufacture of a unique stainless
strip steel, called Sandvik Nanoflex™, for use in key shaver components
- the stationary cutter head, the rotating cutting knife and the hair lifter.
The initial development of the Cool
Skin Electric Shaver, designed to be used with a shaving cream and then
cleaned in running water placed extra demands on corrosion resistance and called
for a steel which also would have strength as well as formability.
Co-operation between Sandvik and Philips R & D departments led to the sampling
and trialling of several materials and different processing techniques over
a period but failed to find an existing suitable strip material.
A nanotechnology based stainless wire material, developed for the manufacture
of needles, particularly medical needles, displayed encouraging characteristics
and was produced specially by Sandvik as a strip material.
Process development of strip steel by Sandvik has achieved a balance between
formability and hardenability i.e. its capacity to be heat-treated to final
Sandvik claims that the resulting Sandvik Nanoflex™ strip product is
unique in achieving high strength, good formability and high corrosion resistance.
It is ideal for parts with complicated forms and shapes.
Over a period of about 3 years, a combination of Sandvik's metallurgical and
material development capability and Philips sophisticated manufacturing and
processing techniques resulted in finished components which met all of the performance
The initial 'soft' material for forming into a finished blade shape, involving
advanced electrochemical machining methods, requires a subsequent and complex
heat treatment to increase the inherent material strength. Development by the
two companies has resulted in a joint patent for heat treatment, which is carried
out in the Philips production process.
After the launch of the Cool Skin model with shaving cream, Philips launched
Quadra Action and later on Sensotec. These models can be rinsed in running water.
Further development of the cutter head manufacturing technology offered improved
Co-operation between Philips and Sandvik is ongoing for the next generation
of models, which involve ever more complicated shaving technologies. Continued
development is refining and developing processes to produce more sophisticated
and improved material properties.
Says Peter Gossas, President Sandvik Materials Technology "Our co-operation
with Philips in developing Sandvik Nanoflex™ is one of the best demonstrations
we have of our key strengths. Our policy is to be a key player in niche markets
and, working in close co-operation with our customers, to use our research,
development and manufacturing skills to provide materials solutions. This is
a classic example of where close co-operation has benefited both companies."