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Home | Industry | Seyntex: A spectrum of military clothing and equipment
Seyntex: 100 years hi-tech textilesSeyntex: A spectrum of military clothing and equipment

Paul Vandenbroucke, International Sales Manager, discusses Seyntex’s role in military clothing and protection

Seyntex’s central manufacturing and research and development (R&D) hub is located in Belgium, supported by facilities in Romania and the Far East. In total, Seyntex directly employs about 1000 people with an annual turnover of €45-50m.

Paul Vandenbroucke, International Sales Manager, explained, “About two thirds of our business is with the military. Our customers belong to most of the ministries of defence in Europe, including: France, Italy, Holland Belgium, UK, Ireland, Greece, Turkey, the Nordic countries, as well as North Africa. We deliver rucksack systems, sleeping bags, combat clothing, bullet proof vests and fragmentation jackets. In fact we deliver the full range of military clothing and equipment and tentage.”


“Our main speciality is ballistics,” explained Vandenbroucke. “We weave Kevlar ourselves and we produce fragmentation jackets, bullet-proof vests and ballistic plates as well as soft ballistic panels for truck and jeeps. We do that both for the military and the police,” In terms of personal protection, Vandenbroucke believes however there is certain demand amongst customers for increased modularity for personal protection equipment, “However we don’t think there is benefit in taking the modular approach too far. There are already issues where soldiers are not wearing what they should. This is already a big discussion in the military about this issue.”


Seyntex is not a mask producer, but if that is required as part of the overall package, the company works with a number of international partners. Paul Vandenbroucke explained, “We only produce the suits. We produce the outer fabric ourselves in several ranges; normal or flame retardant, plain colour or printed camouflage with nearinfrared properties, whatever the customer wants. For the filter material we work together with different partners (spherical adsorbers, compressed foam …). We are also looking for new solutions which could include carbon fabrics.”

To ensure comfortable wearability, Seyntex are pursuing the difficult balance between weight and protection as Vandenbroucke explained, “For lightweight solutions Seyntex is combining an outer fabric of about 160 gr with a filter material of roughly 240 gr which gives the customer a CBRN complex of about 400 gr/m². Of course Seyntex is studying carefully the correct air permeability in order to comply with all NATO requirements. That is always a difficult balance to strike.”

Seyntex’s business in this area has been centred in Belgium and Holland. Recently the company has become a partner with the Turkish firm CAN, supplying CBRN suits to the Turkish military for the next 10 years.


More or less all camouflage nets today are multispectral, automatically providing camouflaged from infrared detection. Vandenbroucke argues that while effectiveness against radar detection and near infra-red sensors is significant amongst products generally in the market, the capability to preventing detection by far infra-red detectors world wide is more limited, despite what some may claim. Vandenbroucke continued, “Seyntex are involved in all these areas but, the problem with personal camouflage is that the offered solutions in the market have only a limited effect.”

Vandenbroucke explains why, “In terms of thermal infra-red camouflage on a soldier, you can have a good thermal signature if the soldier is in a certain environment for example bushes where his thermal emissions are more or less the same as the thermal emission of his surroundings. If however, the soldier is moving to another location with a different background such as woods or streets, with a different thermal emissivity than the first environment, the camouflaged soldier can be automatically discovered by thermal imagers.” New maturing technology is around the corner although delivering that in a fieldable application will be a challenge. “Nano-technology is coming and many expect that using this technology, heat could be adapted to the surroundings, although no-one knows exactly how and when that would be done yet.”


In R&D terms the company is focussing on ballistic and CBRN protection as well as load carrying systems. Vandenbroucke said, “They have to be integrated and compatible with the new PALS systems which are on the market.”

Seyntex has its own fully equipped, full spectrum textile lab capable of undertaking work up to an including assessments of infra-red protection, and an R & D team with up to seven people, solely tasked with new development. Seyntex R&D expertise also led it to cooperation agreements with militaries and government research bodies, which in the past have included those of France, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands and the UK.

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