As ceramic blades become more popular, more industrial customers are deciding whether to make the switch from metal. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation about how ceramics compare to steel. In a recent Martor blog post, we found a number of errors and omissions. We’d like to set the record straight.
Hardness and Sharpness
“Because ceramics are harder than steel, their blades are typically sharper. . . . Ceramic blades are stronger and sharper than steel blades.”
Repeat after me: Hardness (or strength) is completely separate from sharpness.
Hardness is an inherent property of zirconium oxide, while sharpness depends entirely on how the manufacturer grinds the blade. It’s possible that Martor’s ceramic blades are sharper than their metal blades, but blade edges differ with every manufacturer. Slice developed a proprietary grind that is effective and safe to the touch, but this finger-friendly grind is unique to Slice.
Ceramic blades are only sharper if the manufacturer grinds them that way.
Industrial Vs. Kitchen Use
“Ceramic blades are strong, stainless steel blades are versatile.”
“Ceramic blades are great in the kitchen, especially for cutting fruit and vegetables, and steel blades work particularly well for cutting through industrial materials.”
The claim that ceramic blades are better for the kitchen while metal is better for industry is a false comparison. Ceramic blades work well for industrial use if that’s what they’re designed for (as Slice blades are). And, if they’re designed for kitchen use (Slice blades are not), that’s where they work best. It’s not about one or the other; it’s about the design and manufacture.
When ceramic blades were introduced to the market, they were intended for kitchen use only. As such, they were made very thin and sharp (and subsequently developed a reputation for chipping or shattering—more on that later). Slice blades were designed specifically for industrial safety use, so our blades are thicker and have a proprietary double-angle grind that cuts effectively and is finger friendly. We take advantage of zirconium oxide’s superior strength and wear resistance to make industrial-grade tools.
The one exception is in industrial food processing. There is a chance (with any knife) that bits of a blade could break off into the food. Therefore, as a public safety measure, all blades used to process food must legally be metal detectable. Ceramic is not, so it should never be used for such an application.
Slice blades are designed for industrial use and they’ve proven to be just as versatile as steel blades. When it comes to the claim that ceramic can’t be used industrially, Slice’s customers (over half the Fortune 1000) respectfully disagree.
Learn more here:
Slice’s Industrial Success Stories
Ceramics and Breakage
“One disadvantage to ceramic blades is that they are brittle, which means they chip or break more easily than stainless-steel blades. This is especially true with ceramic blades used for industrial purposes.”
“Unlike ceramic blades, stainless steel blades are difficult to break”
Compared with steel, zirconium oxide (advanced ceramics) is a brittle material. But that’s not the whole picture. Again, the issue comes down to how a blade is manufactured. When companies replicate the design of a thin steel blade with ceramics, they run into trouble because of brittleness.
Our thicker blades and proprietary grind turn ceramic properties into assets
That’s why Slice designs blades to suit the material. Our thicker blades and proprietary grind turn ceramic properties into assets rather than liabilities. And while microscopic nicks can occur along the edge of a Slice blade, this doesn’t affect performance. Metal blades dull an average of 11 times more quickly than ceramics.
Once again, it comes down to knowing that not all ceramic blades are made equal.
Learn more here:
Do Slice Ceramic Safety Blades Break Easily?
Bonus Ceramic Fun Facts
- Ceramic blades are non-magnetic, non-conductive, and non-sparking
- Ceramic blades are chemically inert and never rust
- Unlike metal, no oil coating or maintenance is required for ceramics
- Zirconium oxide is safe up to 1600 degrees Celsius
- Only Slice makes safer blades, and our safety is in the design.
More info here:
Are All Ceramic Blades Safer?
How can I successfully implement new safety initiatives?
How do I get buy-in from management and workers?
What’s the best way to build trust and rapport?
Should EHS be a C-Suite position?
We explore these questions and more on the Safety Labs by Slice podcast. Check us out using the links below.