Paper Cutters — Honing a Competitive Edge
High-tech features are nice, but paper cutter performance really balances on the edge of the knife. The longer it stays sharp, the better.
Heat treating and carbide applications have become common practices for increasing knife durability. But now, Cryocore, in Wallingford, PA, is among the pioneering companies hoping the industry will warm up to the concept of cryogenic treatment. The process of slowly lowering the temperature of metal to -320°F in a computer-controlled cryogenic chamber realigns the material's molecules into a more orderly orientation, explains Bill Foth, operations manager. "This greatly extends the usable life of any metal item that rolls, impacts, cuts or slices," he adds.
The technology grew out of the space program, Foth says. NASA engineers noticed changes in the molecular structure of materials exposed to the extreme cold of space.
The improvement in wear resistance depends on the original quality of the knife and type of paper being cut, but edges of processed knives should withstand 60 to 125 percent more cuts, Foth claims. The treatment should only need to be applied once, since a sharpened knife will exhibit the same performance enhancement—if the blade isn't excessively ground until the point where it turns blue, he says. "Cryogenic processing actually makes it a little easier to true up the blade, since about 10 percent less material needs to come off the edge to make it sharp again."
Knives up to 60˝ can be treated at a cost of up to $120 for the maximum length. Customers can expect to have their treated items back within a week of receipt at the processing center.