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Coated Coil
Friday | 06 August, 2010 | 3:32 am

Smooth operator

By Lisa Rummler

August 2010 - Lesjofors AB, Varnamo, Sweden, has come a long way since 1852, when it started producing springs.

Today, the company ranks among Europe's leaders in the manufacture of spring products, including tension springs, torsion springs, gas springs, and stampings and strip components.

Lesjofors serves a variety of industries: electronics, rail, agriculture, automotive, defense and pharmaceutical, among others. For about a year, the company has used Sandvik Santronic, a coated stainless steel strip from Sandvik AB, Sandviken, Sweden.

Marcus Hartvigsson, chief technology officer of Lesjofors, says the company uses Sandvik Santronic mainly for electromagnetic shielding. This process uses conductive material, often sheet metal, to reduce the amount of electromagnetic waves an electric device emits, according to "Electromagnetic Shielding" by Kenneth L. Kaiser.

"We were looking for rationalizations for some products," says Hartvigsson. "One option was to use precoated material."

Team effort
Lesjofors and Sandvik worked together for several years to determine the optimal way for Lesjofors to implement Sandvik Santronic. Jeremy Gaspard, marketing specialist for Sandvik Materials Technology NAFTA, says the investment ultimately paid off for all involved parties.

"The company has been able to keep its domestic facility for this application and strengthen its position as a continuous innovator in electronic components stamping," he says. "As with most new materials, because it is an advanced technology, it takes some time to [develop and implement]--testing and total understanding of the technology is required."

The rundown
With the goal of improving production flow and electrical and/or soldering properties, Sandvik Santronic can be coated with single-sided or double-sided layers of nickel, tin, silver or other metals.

This, in turn, improves productivity and product performance through high surface conductivity and corrosion protection, says Gaspard. "The product meets the higher demands on smaller stamped parts for contact applications in electronic devices," according to a release from the company. "Sandvik Santronic has excellent adhesion properties, and [its] coating process offers unique flexibility."

Specifically, in addition to the opportunity for standard single-sided coating, Sandvik Santronic offers double-sided, multilayer and differentiated coating options.

Sandvik Santronic has coating widths up to 370 millimeters, and the material's maximum thickness variation is ±10 percent along and across the strip versus up to 50 percent for most electroplated strip.

The strip thickness ranges from 0.04 to 0.8 millimeter, and for slitting, Sandvik Santronic's widths can run from 6 to 370 millimeters.

The material's coil weight runs up to 200 kilograms, and the coil's inner diameter can be 250, 300 or 400 millimeters.

In addition to contact springs and certain stainless shielding components, Sandvik Santronic can be used in tactile domes found in mobile phones, remote controls, cameras and household tools, among other products, according to a release from Sandvik. MM

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