A Century of Stainless Steel Manufacturing with Sandvik



The name Sandvik has become synonymous with advanced stainless steel, and for good reason. This year marks a century since the first cast in April 1921, which began the journey for Sandvik to expand its capabilities across multiple industries and become the Sandvik Group we know today.

As early as the 1860s, the Sandvik product line included drill steel for rock drilling, so stainless steel was a natural introduction. The company’s steel lab has been expanded to prepare for new grades of steel, as well as other production investments, with many acquisitions and business expansions to follow.

Stainless steel manufacturing grew exponentially in the 1930s following the reconstruction of the steel mill’s cold rolling operations, which included the establishment of a sintering plant and new electric arc furnaces. At this point, Sandvik was producing 30 grades of stainless steel as its metallurgists worked hard to push for innovation, including developing the method of cold rolling steel tubing to help reduce both outside diameter and thickness of the tube material. in a single rolling operation.

According to Tom Eriksson, vice president and head of strategic research at Sandvik: “Even though we upgraded the equipment from that time on and added processes like continuous casting and extrusion, some of the fundamental processes like rolling , ingot rolling and forging are the same. ”

These upgrades and new capabilities have enabled Sandvik not only to continually improve its product lines in rock drilling, but also to expand into entirely new industries, including the production of fine wire components. This was marked by the acquisition of Kanthal in 1997, a company that has been drawing resistance and conductor wires for decades. By combining its expertise in stainless steel and its experience in wire drawing, Sandvik has manufactured fine wire for electronic discs, which are data storage units used for products such as portable music and game devices. Despite the decline in demand for electronic drives with the advent of smartphones, the development of its high-quality fine wire took off when the company was approached by a manufacturer of pacemakers.

In 2003, Sandvik’s Specialty Steels business area was renamed Sandvik Materials Technology and incorporated five product areas: tube, strip, wire, Kanthal and process systems. The EXERA brand was introduced in 2016 to focus on the production of custom medical device wire components.

Today, Sandvik Materials Technology is known worldwide for its advanced duplex stainless steels. EXERA® brand includes a range of stainless steel medical wires, such as EXERE® 12R10, EXERA® 11R51 / 11R51 HV / SH, EXERA® 5R10 / 2R25, EXERA® High-N medical wire, EXERA® SAF 2205, and EXERA® 4C27A. The brand also offers carbon steels, precious metals, cobalt-chromium-molybdenum alloys, sensor alloys and Kanthal resistance alloys. This wide range of materials, in addition to configurations such as wire coatings, which now also include extruded coating capabilities, allows Sandvik to work with medical device manufacturers to design and produce perfectly calibrated medical wire components for application, from cochlear implants to pacemaker. wires, catheters and guidewires.

For more information on EXERA® fine medical wire, including a complete list of materials, or to contact Sandvik regarding the development of a field medical device, visit their website or download the white paper below.

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