TenCate Advanced Armour is a body armor manufacturer based in the eastern part of The Netherlands. With a primary focus on developing hard armor plates, the company supplies body armor to many national armies, with clients including France, North America and other full nation-scale programs in Europe.
BodyArmorNews.com had the opportunity to interview Mr. Jens Christian Falkenberg, Marketing Manager at TenCate to learn more about the company and the products they offer.
The company started out in the 90s by producing manufacturing rubber for braking applications. This was then translated into creating products with ballistic capabilities. TenCate Advanced Armour is now a freestanding group with global capability to provide armor solutions. Outside the personal protection spectrum, they also supply protection for naval ships and helicopters.
“The company’s mission,” Mr. Falkenberg explained, “is to provide protection to people in harm’s way. That’s our ethos. In this industry, you have different methods of evading or protecting, and we’re at, the inner core. We make sure that when you actually get hit, you still survive.”
“We use basically everything that’s on the market at the moment,” Mr. Falkenberg said, “we use the materials we need to use. This means that we use composites. We use ceramics and we use metallics.
There are a lot of different requirements that we need to meet in terms of body armor. We don’t have a pre-set requirement for using one type of fiber. We find different solutions to n reach the end product.”
A move away from NIJ
Some body armor companies are beginning to create products that cater to a wider spectrum of protective standards. While the NIJ Standard is reliable and trustworthy, manufacturers find it somewhat limiting.
“The NIJ is a very good scale,” Mr. Falkenberg elaborated, “It is a very simple scale and it’s a very trustable scale but if you look at a scale such as VPAM, it’s much more diverse in protection levels. It has a slightly harder completion standard procedure that you need to deal with before you can get the certificate.
What sets TenCate apart?
“TenCate is one of the only companies in the business right now that is not selling vests as well,” Mr. Falkenberg said, “We’re an independent partner with a lot of customers out there that have soft armor products, but don’t necessarily have their own hard armor capacity to meet the requirements for users.
“That’s where we come into the picture because we’re capable of supplying it to a scale that they need. We’re capable of supplying hard body armor to a standard that is expected by most Western countries.”
Developing lightweight armor plates
“There’s always a big emphasis on achieving a lightweight thin plate,” Mr. Falkenberg said, “because it alleviates the user from the burden involved in carrying protection. A thin plate doesn’t obstruct movement and ability of the user, especially when you need to fire, or you need to move.”
New ballistic threats
“We have also seen new military ammunition threats that are coming in,” Mr. Falkenberg added, “There is a lot of uncovered news, especially in the law enforcement market, about hunting rifles out there that shoot ammunition that’s not in the standards. They still pose a significant threat because they have a special construction. It’s more difficult for the hard armor to resist the impact.”