Swedish steel prize nominee 2009
Steel is right "wax" for snowless ground
2009 | Hydroform Design Light AB | Sweden 6 min read
Advanced high-strength steel has proved to be the unexpected solution to a long-standing need of cross-country skiers. Due to the properties of the material and a new design, the new roller ski that will be presented before 2010 will have the characteristics that are virtually identical to those of regular snow skis. Adjustable kick zone, high torsional stiffness and good elasticity provide the same skiing experience on tarmac as that of regular skis on snow. The ski has been nominated for the Swedish Steel Prize 2009.
The idea behind the design and the material used originate from the automotive world and the Hydroforming Design Light company in the township of Vansbro in central Sweden. The company has achieved success by producing car door collision protection beams of advanced high strength steel. Hydroforming has developed the new roller ski by putting to use the experience they gained and the materials used for the automotive industry.
”We saw an opportunity for using the same material and design for the roller ski, and we got in touch with the material supplier,” recalls Nils Fagerberg at Hydroforming Design Light.
The steel determines the skiing experienceThe steel used is a cold-rolled, ultra-high strength, dual phase steel of 1000 MPa grade. The material provides the required resilience properties, which is decisive to obtaining the same properties on tarmac as those provided by regular skis on snow.
”The flexibility in the kick zone is used in turning, which was unavailable in the past on rigid roller skis of aluminium,” continues Nils Fagerberg. “The problem has now been solved by the steel, which provides the right skiing technique, regardless of the season of the year or the snow cover.”
The central core in the ski is a channel section with a pressed pattern on the top and longitudinal grooves that enhance the properties of the steel. Production comprises a number of operations, including laser cutting, laser welding and bending. The result is a tapering ski with an enclosed, torsionally very stiff profile.
More flexible ski at the same priceHydroforming Design Light is very pleased with its new product.
“We have achieved the targets set up by our customer and even exceeded the expectations,” declares Nils Fagerberg. “Many will probably perceive roller skiing as more enjoyable, since it is now more similar to skiing on snow.”
To make them suitable for different skiers, the company has provided the skis with an adjustable kick zone. Adjustable tensioning screws enable the stiffness to be adjusted to suit the weight of the skier – between 50 and 130 kg.
The production cost is roughly of the same order as earlier models, in spite of the more advanced design. This is because the steel costs less than the aluminium that has been used so far for roller skis. The weight is also comparable since high strength steel enables thinner material to be used.
”It is pleasing and flattering that a roller ski can compete among the world’s foremost high strength steel products,” comments Nils Fagerberg on the nomination for the Swedish Steel Prize 2009.