Here's an outline of the processes Bont implemented to help create, what they believe is, the fastest short track blades available today.
Normally, when you buy blade steel, it comes on a roll. When the blade is made, Bont would take the steel and insert it into the slot in the same direction the steel is curved on the roll. But, it is not ideal because it has way too much curve and it is wavy. For the Platinum short track blade, Bont paid an additional cost to receive their blade steel in flat sheets rather than buy it on a roll. The steel is flat to start with even before they grind it. Even after grinding, rolled steel will still have a memory of being bent.
- Bont buy their steel 1.3mm thick and then cut it to shape and then it gets attached to a plate where the grinding stone grinds 0.1mm off it, it is flipped and 0.1mm is ground off the other side. It does not sound like much, but with such hard steel, it takes quite some time to grind it perfectly flat. It is common in short track blade manufacturing to put 10 blades on the plate and grind them down quickly using cheap stones to save costs. When you grind the steel quickly it heats the metal and causes it to warp. Machining time is expensive so this cuts costs. For the Bont Platinum short track blade, Bont imported special high-end grinding stones from Germany and then slow grind just two blades at a time. This adds a number of additional costs, but it helps to create the same high-end blade for every skaters. If it is not already clear, Bonts mandate for this blade is to create the best blade at any cost. There should not be good and bad blades, only the best short track blades.
The slot that holds the blade has a gap on each side to give room for the glue. This gap leaves room for the blade to warp. Bont tested many many types of glue to find one that bonds better than on previous blades and when they found a new improved glue they found they were able to reduce the size of the slot by 0.1mm. This doesn't sound like much but it means less warping as there is less gap for the steel to warp.
While the glue sets, there is another chance that the blade can warp. The glue Bont is using takes many hours to dry. Depending on the length of the blade, Bont are hold the whole blade at a minimum of nine different points to perfectly maintain the blades bend for the 14 hours it takes for this glue to dry. These jigs are incredibly expensive and Bont are using a number of them to complete a production run.
- Bont also do a 'brilliance polish' on the side of the blade so when you lean over and the side of the blade is touching the ice, there is as little friction as possible.
For the tube stiffness, Bont worked with a number of the world's best national teams. If the tube is too stiff it can cause skaters to crash. If it is too flexible, it will absorb the skater's power. Using a combination of CAD-CAM software, mixed with real-life testing Bont have arrived at the best tube stiffness. Platinum for Elite and Platinum X for World Class skaters.
- The tube is made of 7075 T6 aluminium which is why the Bont Platinum is a silver colour as it is very difficult to anodise 7075 aluminum. The stiffer Platinum X tube is a black colour.
The result of all this work is the best and fastest short track blade every produced. We are as certain as Bont is, that you will appreciate the effort they put into this blade, to allow you the opportunity to perform at your best.