Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Courtaulds and Lenzing are developing new processing systems to circumvent the environmental drawbacks of the traditional viscose process. Courtaulds' Tencel fibre is to be produced commercially at a new plant being built in Alabama, USA. Lenzing's NMMO solvent-spinning process has reached the pilot plant stage. 

Although the use of viscose rayon fell in percentage terms in the 1980s, industry's increased output means that as much viscose rayon is used now as in the late 1970s. The three main West European suppliers are Lenzing, Courtaulds and Kemira Fibres with Hoechst AG, Svenska Rayon and Sniace of Spain also in production. Kemira Fibres and Lenzing are both marketing chlorine-free viscose rayon fibres which have been welcomed by nonwovens manufacturers. 

Anon: Nonwovens Rep. Int., no. 2151, Feb. 1992, pp 11-12
N.B. 2012: Viscose began a revival at the turn of the century and more than a million tonnes/year of new capacity were added between Courtaulds construction of their last Grimsby Tencel Line (SL3 - 1998) and the construction of the new 60,000 tonner in Lenzing.  
Furthermore an extra 1 million tonnes per year of dissolving pulp capacity started just in the final quarter of 2011 and another 400,000 tonnes per year started in the first quarter of this year. A further million tonnes per year of new viscose pulp capacity will start up in 2013, half of this coming from the largest producer, Sappi - i.e. from what used to be the SAICCOR division of Courtaulds, which used a uniquely economical pulping process developed in Courtaulds Research in Coventry.

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