For over 30 years our company has provided the industry with both comfortable and agile PPE. Through protective clothing and workplace safety solutions, we have saved countless lives, just as our motto states. But where did it all start, and what does our future hold? Let’s have a look at the success story of a small Swedish company that now protects and dresses waterjet operators all over the world in their distinguished red protective clothing.

TST Sweden was founded way back in 1990 in the region of Sjuhäradsbygden, in the southwest of Sweden. In the beginning, we created protective clothing against radiant heat and molten metal. However, after encountering a new fabric called Dyneema®, an ultra-light and ultra-strong fiber, we saw an opportunity to create protective clothing that could benefit even more demanding industries.

JJörgen Lillieroth founded TST Sweden – short for Textil SkyddsTeknik (“Textile Safety Technology”) – back in 1990.

– After encountering Dyneema®, we started looking for extreme work environments with harsh conditions. Places where we felt that we could, by use of this fabric and innovative design, make a difference – and in the long run also save lives. When we visited a worksite where operators were working with high water pressure, we knew that we had found just that, says Jörgen Lillieroth, founder and CEO of TST Sweden.

We still operate from Sjuhäradsbygden in the city of Borås, and our production is in the nearby area in Sweden, and in Latvia. Sjuhäradsbygden has been the home of textile production for over a century – and still is today. Several of Sweden’s biggest fashion and textiles companies are based in the region. Meaning that there are many benefits of being here as invaluable experience and sound knowledge of the textiles industry converge here in a single place.

– We could not do the work we do anywhere else in Sweden, if even anywhere else in the world. Here we are a natural part of the future of textiles. Recruiting in the area is also a breeze, there’s a lot of talent and experience with textiles here, making it easy to find the specific type of profile we are looking for, says Jörgen Lillieroth.

By developing all our products ourselves and keeping the production local, we have better control over the entire production chain. This enables us to be innovative and at the forefront of development, which in turn ensures that we can uphold the highest of standards and offer the best functionality – down to the smallest detail.

TST’s journey hasn’t just been smooth sailing. The industry has historically been, and still is in many ways today, hesitant towards the use of protective clothing.
– We frequently encounter companies at fairs who are initially hesitant to invest in our products, and we fully understand their cautious approach, considering it’s a significant investment. However, it’s all too common that when we reconnect with them after a year or two, they’ve decided to make a purchase due to firsthand experience with accidents. Water jetting safety is much like traffic safety – accidents must often first happen before they widen the road or add a traffic light, says Jörgen Lillieroth.

Dyneema® is the world’s strongest fiber, 15 times stronger than steel at the same weight.

It’s hard to learn from other’s mistakes but we have found a way to tackle that problem. By continuously educating our distributors we hope that no operator would come to harm in the future.

Being founded in Sweden it may not come as a surprise that safety is our top priority. Sweden is known for companies like Volvo Cars, which was founded upon the concept of safety in 1927. And Autoliv, which is one of the world’s largest companies in Automotive safety.

For us safety isn’t just a concept; it’s our guiding mission. The driving force for us to continue our work is that all our customers come home to their families and loved ones safe and sound every day. “Saving lives” isn’t just our motto or our duty but what keeps us going and what makes our work meaningful.

Something we have found is almost just as important as the safety of protective clothing, is their comfort. While our protective clothing already had the highest mobility and compliance on the market, end users still requested higher comfort. Wanting to meet their wishes, our research and development team went back to the drawing board. It resulted in a new technique and philosophy Athletic Design. And, a whole new product range, called EliteOperator. Since its launch, the EliteOperator product series has been overwhelmingly well-received as it is a revolution of mobility and compliance at this high level of protection (3000 bar / 43 500 psi).

Today around 90% of our PPE is exported, and our clothing can be found worn by operators across the world. The future looks bright, as our pursuit to always improve, develop, and expand their range of PPE has put us at the forefront of the industry. Looking forward we have no plan to stop doing what we do best – saving lives.

Our products are represented at the Smart Textile showroom, at the University of Textiles in Borås, Sweden.

TST Sweden article published in WJTA Jet News, reprinted with permission.