Tuesday, December 4, 2012

“Jobs Through Innovation”: Lenzing Third in the Nationwide Rankings (2012)

The following news from Austria encourages us to print a short version of the history for those who have not followed the Tencel development (or this blog) from the start:
  • The first lyocell fibre (later called Tencel) was spun from an NMMO solution on a lab. scale by Akzo in North America in the late 70's.
  • Akzo balked at scale-up difficulties and costs, but Courtaulds Research (UK) developed an improved version of the process and moved on to a 1000 tpy scale 25 years ago.  The first commercial worldwide sales of Tencel were made from this pilot line at the Courtaulds Grimsby factory.
  • by 1997 Courtaulds capacity for Tencel was being expanded to 85,000 tpy by the construction of their 4th line, while Lenzing were starting their first 10,000 tpy semi-commercial line using the same "Filmtruder" dissolution technique operated by Courtaulds since 1990.
  • Courtaulds developed the US, European and Japanese Tencel markets in both fashion apparel and technical textiles before running into financial difficulties and being bought by Akzo Nobel in 1998.
  • Akzo sold the Courtaulds Fibres business to CVC Partners in 1999.  CVC agreed to buy an 80% stake in Lenzing from the Bank of Austria in 2001.  (EU competition authorities intervened)
  • In 2004  CVC Partners sold Tencel to Lenzing, who have done an excellent "patient management" job to keep the technology alive and expand the market through difficult times.
  • This year Lenzing started building their second commercial scale plant.
Monday, 03. December 2012
Additional award following top spot in Upper Austria
Doris Bures, the Federal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology, Reinhold Mitterlehner, the Federal Minister of Economic Affairs, Austrian Chamber of Labor President Herbert Tumpel, Dwora Stein, Managing Director of the Union of Salaried Private Sector Employees, and the two managing directors of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency, Henrietta Egerth and Klaus Pseiner, honored the winners of the nationwide competition “Jobs Through Innovation 2012” at a gala award ceremony held in the Museumsquartier in Vienna. Lenzing AG placed third in the national competition thanks to its project featuring the new man-made cellulose fiber “TENCEL®“.
Dieter Eichinger, Head of the Business Unit Textile Fibers, said that “TENCEL® represents a new, innovative fiber generation which Lenzing has been working on for close to 30 years with great success. After reaching the industrial scale production of TENCEL®, our priority is now to continually develop other applications and market them globally. These innovations arise at our research center in Lenzing, which employs 161 people. After winning the award for the province of Upper Austria, we are very pleased that our achievements have also been recognized and honored on a national level.”
Why was Lenzing honored?
The Lenzing Group was able to convince the jury for several reasons on the
basis of its project “TENCEL® – the latest fiber technology creates jobs”. In comparison to its competitors, Lenzing makes disproportionately high investments in research and development, namely 3.2% of consolidated sales in Austria (1.3% worldwide). Moreover, Lenzing is currently implementing a series of research projects together with university partners, and ranks among the most active companies in Austria when it comes to patent approvals.
In Austria alone, research on TENCEL® directly secures about 405 highly qualified jobs (including production), not to mention considerable indirect job-preserving effects thanks to the marketing and headquarter functions located in Austria, and a large number of jobs in providing industry-related services.
TENCEL® is a man-made cellulose fiber. The starting point is the renewable raw material wood. The fiber is manfuactured in a particularly environmentally-compatible process with the help of an organic solvent. Due to its role as an ecological pioneer, TENCEL® was given the European Award for the Environment. Lenzing is the only global producer of this fiber on an industrial scale. TENCEL® is produced in Austria, Great Britain and the USA. At present the world’s largest and most modern TENCEL® plant (an investment of EUR 130 mn, planned start-up in 2014) as well as a pilot facility are being built at the Lenzing site.
“Jobs Through Innovation“
“Jobs through Innovation“ is a joint initiative of the Austrian Chamber of Labor, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology, the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency. One company is chosen as the winner for each federal province. Three national winners are subsequently selected and honored at a gala award ceremony held at the end of November 2012.
Pictures from the certificate award ceremony are available on the Website of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency at
For more information please contact:
Angelika Guldt
Head of Corporate Communications
Phone: +43 (0) 7672 701-2713
E-mail: a.guldt@lenzing.com
Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft mbH
Alexander Kosz, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Sensengasse 1,1090 Wien
Telefon: +43 (0) 5 7755-6012
Mobil +43 (0) 664 85 69 010
E-Mail: alexander.kosz@ffg.at

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