Sioen Ballistics is a body armor manufacturer based in Belgium and Finland. They specialize in the manufacture of ballistic vests and other protective product, designed primarily for members of the military and law enforcement.
In 2017, the company was acquired by Sioen Industries, which is a Belgian group specializing in coated technical textiles and apparel. BodyArmorNews.com interviewed Mr. Claes Björkstén, CEO of Sioen Ballistics and Mr. Janne Lempinen, Sales Manager to learn more about the company and the products they offer.
Lifesaving design and innovation
When asked about the mission of Sioen Ballistics, Mr. Björkstén explained their emphasis on lifesaving design. “The company aims to manufacture products which meet and exceed the expectations of customers. We want to provide a safe environment for them to work in, whether it’s military, law enforcement or private sectors.
“We also supply security companies, NGOs and humanitarian organizations. It’s about providing safety to the user in a potentially hostile environment. We are primarily focusing on ballistics, knife and spike protection.”
“We cooperate with many European and American factories as much as we can,” Mr. Lempinen explained, “and we use different types of polyethylene and aramids in our ballistic products.”
“In our R&D,” Mr. Björkstén added, “we continuously strive to increase the protection level of our products while simultaneously achieving lighter and more flexible solutions. We tailor them all to the individual customer’s needs.
“We try to find new, innovative ways of combining different materials. In addition to the aramids and polyethylene, we also work with ceramics, aluminum carbide and boron carbide for our hard ballistic solutions.”
Sioen ballistics works primarily with the VPAM standards and the NIJ standards. They also work with the HOSDB and CAST, which are the ballistic standards in the UK.
“They all vary slightly,” Mr. Björkstén said, “depending on your threat levels. Often, the customers also have additional needs for different projectiles or other threats which exceed the basic standard. It’s a continuous development project.”
The biggest clients of Sioen Ballistics are mainly from the European market. The company also works extensively with the Nordic market, the Baltics, the DACH region which is made up of the German-speaking European countries: Austria, Germany and Switzerland. France is also a large customer, along with the UK and Spain
Sioen Ballistics also works with the UN on a global scale. They also have some additional customers in the Middle East and Africa. However, their primary focus is on mainland Europe and the Nordic countries.
“We have several hundred products,” Mr. Björkstén said, “and every product is bespoken to specific customer needs. We don’t really have off the rack products, but we divide them into categories. We have overt vests and covert vests, which are more discreet. And then you have the tactical line, which is for higher threat levels.
“It all depends on the customer and their operational environment. I would say that the tactical vests are probably our most iconic products and of which there are derivatives that we sell both to the UN the police and to the military. It has a modular aspect to it. You can tailor it to each individual operation.
“On the covert side, the Comfort XP, with a plate pocket inside is our most sold covert vest. We also manufacture both hard and soft and soft shields. This includes flexible shields, foldable shields, and different shields of different sizes. It all comes down to what the operative needs, what kind of threat environment they are working in and how large or small they need it.”
When asked about Sioen Ballistics’ plans for the future, Mr. Björkstén replied with the following. “Apart from developing lighter, thinner and more flexible products,” he said, “We are also looking to take sustainability into the equation.
“Whether it’s circular sustainability and recycling, or decreasing the carbon footprint in actual manufacturing process, we want to make a difference. We are working towards the recycling of the carriers as well as the ballistic materials used.”