If you ask the employees at TST Sweden, the answer to the question in the header is undeniably yes. Already from the start 30 years ago, we have combined a high level of protection with good compliance. Here is why.
To make it clear how important compliance is for PPE, you can exaggerate the question: What if the PPE for waterjetting consisted of something akin to a knight’s suit of armor, with full metal body armor? The protection would probably have been excellent, but an already heavy job would have been even heavier. And the mobility would probably have been severely limited. You would have difficulty moving, bending, etc. And not to mention the time it would take to get dressed before each work shift, and then change afterward. Most likely, it would have led to a less frequent use of PPE. Especially for shorter jobs.
The same question but set in reverse is equally interesting: What if waterjetting PPE was so comfortable you didn’t even know you were wearing it? These types of questions about compliance are of the utmost importance when we develop new products.
– The most important reason to make comfortable PPE is that you choose to wear them. It doesn’t matter how big and strong you are, a water jet can beat anyone. It’s a bit like the seat belt, says Peder Lindström, Market & Sales Director at TST Sweden.
So, even though our protective clothing for waterjetting already had the highest compliance in the industry, increased mobility and compliance were the guiding star when we started developing a brand-new clothing series. The aim was to redefine the comfort and mobility in PPE for waterjetting and keep the same protection level, up to 3 000 bar / 43 500 psi. To succeed we had to create a whole new philosophy and techniques. We call this Athletic Design, and it is the basis for the new series, EliteOperator.
EliteOperator has both areas with protection and areas without protection. One of the biggest challenges was making the protective areas more mobile and compliant. In protective areas, we use Dyneema®, an ultra-strong and ultra-light fiber. The fiber is 15 times stronger than steel and up to 40% stronger than aramids. Previously, the areas with Dyneema® were very stiff. In EliteOperator the Dyneema® is divided into several parts, in three layers, which follow the body’s movements and make it more compliant in all directions.
– By increasing comfort and compliance, even fewer people would hesitate to use the clothes. Also, by increasing mobility, you not only get a more comfortable work shift but also increased safety as you are not limited by the clothing, says Peder Lindström.
Other prominent innovations that increase mobility and comfort in the new EliteOperator series are a wedge-shaped part in the armpit area, pre-bent knees in their Trousers and Overalls, and a new design in the groin. Furthermore, stretch fabric in areas without protection increases the freedom of movement. We have also moved and changed seams, improving the balance of the clothing, to better fit and follow the body’s movement. Overall, the difference is incredible, according to the operators who have tried the new clothing.
– We know compliance increases the chances of our clothes being used. Equally important is our work to inform and educate companies and operators about the importance of using protective clothing in all situations. Even for the shortest and easiest job. This is something we will focus on even more in 2023. You will hear from us, says Peder Lindström.