Aussie-made armoured wetsuit to protect divers from shark bites

Sydney-based metal componentry manufacturer, Sevaan Group, has been selected by Australian company, ironskinn, to help create an armoured wetsuit for protecting commercial divers, scuba divers, free divers and spear fishing enthusiasts.

Made of extremely tough aluminium platelets held together by an elastic in-form setting, the ironskinn dive suit is designed to protect divers from a wide range of marine hazards such as an unexpected shark bite, oysters, mussels, barnacles and rotten metal from boats when working on them underwater.

The platelets are rated as being harder than shark teeth, which means that an individual wearing the Ironskinn would likely sustain a scratch rather than a lost limb in the event of a bite from a regular sized shark.

ironskinn managing director, John Sundnes, said Sevaan Group was very inquisitive about what was required and were excited about making a significant part of that product.

“We are making the entire suit in NSW, so Sevaan’s Sydney base was a good start and ultimately as a company they showed patience as this was something that was never made before,” said Sundnes.

“It took probably four to five months because we had some tooling we needed made and Sevaan Group had good contacts to make that tooling a reality.

“The platelets have a particular shape and particular curvature; thin metal can behave in unexpected ways so that part may come out a little differently compared to its CAD so we needed expertise to handle that.”

Sevaan Group managing director, Jim Tzakos, said they initially analysed and provided costings for the prototype manufacture, and then proceeded to come up with a new design at a particular price point.

“But a key designed principle was that the platelets are made so the suit doesn’t get in the way of kinetic movement of humans in the elbows, knees, hips etc,” Tzakos noted.

Sundnes said Sevaan Group has been the perfect partner to help get the product over the line.

“The other thing for us was we looked at many potential manufacturers overseas and saw there was concern over intellectual property protection, so it made sense to use an Australian company to protect our intellectual property,” he explained.

“What we are making also needs a high degree of quality because if it is made wrongly it just won’t work.”

Currently, the suit is on a pilot program with some professional divers before going for commercial sale.