What makes these runners for hockey unique?
Their uniqueness lies in the combination of the material used and especially the sharpening system. The blades themselves are made of special stainless steel of great hardness and strength. We were able to coat their surface with an incredibly hard and relatively thick layer that is about 20 times harder than surgical stainless steel - 2,900 units according to the Vickers scale! For adult professional hockey players, we managed to extend the interval of blade sharpening to 4-8 weeks in the hockey season (if the blade is not damaged by contact with metal), and younger hockey players only need one to two sharpenings in the whole season.
We also primarily focused on the physical properties of the blades and the sharpening itself, and we developed a revolutionary device with our own system of blade sharpening with many patented functions, including special sharpening discs that can significantly increase the speed of hockey players. How is this possible?
You may know that the principle of ice skating lies in the fact that the pressure between the blade and the ice increases, thus increasing the temperature and causing a microlayer of ice under the blade to melt; this means that ice skaters are always skating on water. This may sound simple, but there are many more mechanisms in ice skating that skaters fortunately don’t need to know about. Not even contemporary physicists know all the principles that affect ice skating.
However, we managed to find a connection between speed and the mechanicochemical treatment of the blade. When a diamond or tungsten carbide layer with special hydrophobic treatment is applied to a surface treated in this way, everything changes.
We’re changing the world of ice skating
It all starts with the Pikatec nano-groove. Its special treatment increases the buoyancy surface area by more than 30%. In order to achieve ideal properties, we established a uniform groove radius after challenging tests. All this, combined with excellent hydrodynamic properties, significantly changes the properties of the blades in perhaps all respects. As soon as you step onto the ice, you will feel the blades “go” on their own. On one push you can cross the entire length of the hockey rink. But when you make the first turn you will know it is as it should be; the skates will hold you much better.
Not even professional hockey players were able to tell what exactly was different, except for the feeling that it “glides better”. But they all agreed that there is a huge difference.
Properties of PIKATEC Nanoblade
Significally faster – reduced friction makes skaters significantly faster, and not only in single percentage digits. This is also thanks to the patented change in the geometry of the blades.
Improved agility – when the blades are aligned perpendicular to the ice, you have no trouble turning freely and changing direction without the known feeling of the “grinding” edge of the blade.
Flexibility and improved gliding in the transverse direction – over time, many adult hockey players move on to a greater groove radius. This is because they don’t just need to skate forward, but often also transversely (sideways). A small radius does not allow this, as the sharp edges cause the blades to stop sharply. Conversely, grooves around 25 mm (1/1”) glide significantly better in the transverse direction, allowing hockey players to move sideways. With their uniform radius, Pikatec blades with nano-grooves have properties that cannot be achieved with conventional sharpening.
Increased stability – thanks to these properties, we could afford to completely change the geometry of the blades and significantly extend and straighten the edges (by up to 56%) at the heel and toe. This gives hockey players an increased feeling of stability compared to regular blades.
Stronger edges – with all the modifications, we have significantly sharpened the edges of the blades, which are about 6x-8x sharper than standard. This allows skaters to better hold the skates on an incline and to make sharp turns. It also allowed us to increase the height of the blade by about 4 mm compared to standard blades, allowing skaters a greater incline in turns and thus significantly reducing the turning radius. This will allow hockey players to escape their opponent faster when chased, or to reach their opponent faster when maneuvering. The only thing that must be observed is proper skating, i.e. to “push on the toes” of the blades in turns and not on the “heels”! To allow this, the skates should be loosened in the ankle area to allow players to bend their legs in turns.
Width – the wide surface of the blade (4,5 or 5 mm instead of 3 mm) changes the physical mechanisms of skating and prevenst skaters from getting stuck in soft ice , causing them to lose speed and increasing their effort.
Increased hardness – thanks to their unique properties, as well as the nano-groove, Pikatec ice skates last significantly longer without sharpening. By “significantly longer” we mean at least 5x, provided that the hockey player does not damage the edge by hitting another hard object, such as a hockey goal or the blades of another skater.
Ideal proportions – these include proportional changes at the edges and 3D trajectories, with these parameters differing from those of blades with a uniform thickness. This further improves gliding properties.
Less effort – with a significantly better glide, skaters won’t get as tired during skating and will be able to last longer at a fast pace. This is crucial in matches. The blades also don’t put as much strain on parts of the body that are extremely stressed by overcoming resistance and skating itself (hips, groin, etc.).
Greater endurance of the skater – “less effort” logically results in a crucial factor in matches - greater endurance of the skater.
Longer – the Pikatec nano-groove did not only allow us to change the geometry, it also allowed us to extend the blade and thus improve its gliding properties.
Longer durability of the blade – thanks to the reduced frequency of blade sharpening, the blade lasts significantly longer while maintaining its improved gliding properties. It is well known that frequent sharpening reduces the height of the blade, limiting skaters on an incline and therefore their agility. Moreover, when the critical height (thinness) is reached, the blades must be discarded and new ones must be purchased. This logically indicates that Pikatec blades last many times longer than standard blades. In addition to a lower sharpening frequency, the height of the blade is also significantly increased, reducing operating costs.
Reduced sharpening costs - although the creation of a nano-groove is more expensive than standard sharpening, the subsequent need for sharpening is about 5x smaller, reducing operating costs. The time spent on transporting the blades to be sharpened and transport costs associated with each sharpening, which often significantly exceed the cost of sharpening itself, must also be taken into account. Standard blades must also be sharpened when purchased before they are used. With Pikatec blades you can go straight from the store to the ice.
However, because we don’t like compromises, we did not try to make an economical version of the blades. We chose first-class knife steel, which widens to 4.5 mm in the lower part of the blade. Each blade is therefore spatially machined in 3D! All emphasis was placed on an ultimate solution without compromise. The result of our development is the following blade: