Saturday, July 27, 2013

Introducing Tencel

Tencel* is a brand of fibre made by dissolving wood cellulose from tree-farms in an amine oxide solvent and spinning the resulting dope into fibres which are chemically identical to cotton and generically known as "lyocell".  

It was developed in Courtaulds Research in Coventry UK in the 1980's as a non-polluting route to the fibres which were expected to become increasingly important as the land used to grow cotton was switched to food production and the cheap oil for synthetic fibres ran out. 

The 1990's scale-up to multi-factory production probably occurred a decade too soon, Courtaulds being unable to sustain the investment when the market for the fibre took longer to develop than the Stock Market expected.  

Akzo Nobel bought Courtaulds in 1998 forming Acordis** Fibres which they later sold to Private Equity in 1999 (CVC Partners).  When the EU forbade CVC's attempt also to buy the Austrian cellulosics company Lenzing (2001), they broke up Acordis and regained their investment by selling Tencel Ltd to Lenzing (2004).

This blog is compiling a detailed history of the development from the publications of those years and the recollections of those involved by adding them as Posts and in Year folders. 

Click on the other Page Tabs above or the Year folders on the right for more information.  It has not been possible to maintain strict date order, but tidying up is now in progress, and a more chronologically accurate flow of posts will eventually emerge.

Links to basic information about Tencel follow and these contain several of the articles written to introduce Tencel over 20 years ago.  Hopefully more will be added as they come to light so check back occasionally.

"The Genesis of Sustainable Fibres" is a recent article written for the 25th anniversary of Tencel's commercial production in Grimbsy UK now published in Sustainable Nonwovens magazine with a link to this blog.

Tencel from Birth to Mainstream was written by Pat White, Tencel's Technical Director and presented at TITK 2004 at the time of the Lenzing takeover.

"The environmental aspects of solvent-spun cellulose production and use", was given at the Cellulose 91, Cellucon Conference, New Orleans, and later reprinted in Nonwovens Industry magazine.

All you need to know about Tencel is a comprehensive 2 page article from Textile Horizons written by Stan Davies based on an interview with Barrie March and Alan Jones in 1988.

A more recent and scholarly review of Tencel history has been written by Geoffrey Owen and appears at:

An excellent 2010 Life Cycle Assessment of Tencel and other cellulosic fibres is provided by the Copernicus Institute on the Lenzing website.

"Solvent Spun Fibre: a new member of the cellulose fibre family" by David Cole and Alan Jones given at the 1989 Dornbirn Conference and reprinted in Lenzinger Berichte in 1990 is also on the Lenzing website.

* "tencel" was originally chosen as the generic name for solvent-spun rayon and used as such until the US FTC decided it was too closely associated with Courtaulds PLC to be acceptable.  Lyocell then became the generic name and Tencel became the brand name for Courtaulds lyocell fibre and the name of the Courtaulds Division producing it. 

Since 2004, "Tencel" has been a Lenzing AG registered Trade Mark. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Innovation: Product Development with Courtaulds Lyocell (1994-1999)

"Courtaulds Lyocell", a cut-price version of Tencel finished to discourage its use in premium apparel applications, was launched at Tech Textil in June 1995 and with it came a proliferation of developments in nonwovens, special papers and industrial textiles.  "HF100", a version intended to be easier to fibrillate in papermaking and hydroentanglement was also launched.  Between 1995 and 1998 over 400 separate developments with these fibres were initiated.  
Some of the key markets and trialists are listed below:

Click here for earlier developments under the Tencel brand.

Abrasives: Backing cloths and papers for belt and disc sanders and polishers: 3M, Sumitomo 3M, English Abrasives and Chemicals Ltd.

Absorbent Wadding: Brannoc Fibres, Edward Hall

Air-laid Papers and Nonwovens: (for absorbent cores, wipes, tissues, filters, separators): United Paper Mills, Metsa Serla, Walkisoft, Laroche, Sofrance, Papeteries Canson & Montgolfier SA, Bernard Dumas SA, Fort James, Duni AB.

Automotive Felts: Borgers GmbH, Vereinigte Wollwarenfabriken GmbH, Fiberduk

Automotive Filters:  Toyo Tokushi, Sommer Alibert GmbH

Automotive Upholstery: Courtaulds Textiles Auto Products

Baby Diapers:  Linostar SpA, Procter and Gamble, Personalidzados

Bandages: Thuasne et Cie

Battery Separators: Nippon Kodoshi, Kuraray, Varta Batterie AG, Papetries de Mauduit

Biocomposites: Institut for Structurmechanik, DLR (German Aerospace R&D)

Belting (Conveyors): Marathon Belting Ltd.,

Building Nonwovens:  Dexter AB

Cabin Air Filters: British Filters Ltd

Calendar Bowl Papers: Buhl GmbH

Carpets:  Arlex

Cigarette Filters:  Papeteries de Mauduit, Filtrona International, Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco, Austria Tabak, Papierfabrik Wattens GmbH, Rothmans International

Cleaning Cloths: Lever GmbH, Textilwerke Emsdetten, Freudenberg Haushaltproduckte KG, Rydals Garn AB, Guldner GmbH, Spontex International, Jean Kraut AG

Coating Bases/Artificial Leather: Syntz, ORV, ORSA, Redbridge International, Sangular, Corexim SRL

Composite Reinforcement: Matsushita Denko, ETH, Tufnol, Owens Corning fibreglass, Coventry University, Les Fils d'A Chromarat et Cie, Moy Nonwovens, LNP Engineering Plastics, Fothergill Engineered Fabrics

Carbonless Paper: Carrs Paper Ltd.,

Currency Paper:  Tumba Bruk, Louisenthal, Thomas de la Rue, Crane, VHP Security

Decorative Felts:  Fytisa

Decorative Papers: Tokushu Paper, Oji Paper

Disposable wipes:   Spontex, J&J, P&G, BFF, Lohmann, Hainan Xinlong, Dupont, Sanwa, PGI-Chicopee, Veratec, Daiwabo Nonwovens, Unicharm, EFI Lahav, J W Suominen, Sage Products Inc. Ahlstrom Lystil OY, Arbora

Disposable Apparel: Dupont, Nisshinbo, PGI Chicopee

Dressings:  Smith and Nephew Medical

Durable Wipes:  Dupont

Duvets and Pillow Fillings:  Trendsetter Home Furnishings

Felts: FIR

Filters:  3M Filtrete bv, 3M UK, Purity Textiles PVT Ltd., Devon Valley Industries, Seitz Filter Werke, Steinbeis-Gessner, Hollingsworth and Vose, Fluid Dynamics, Cuno, Valeo - Division Fils Techniques, Unichem Corp., Schoeller and Hoesch, J C Binzer GmbH, J R Crompton, Ahlstrom Filtration, Memcor Filtertechnik GmbH, Electrolux AB, Alias Technology and Filtration, Technical Fibre Products, Humber Fabrics Ltd, UFI SpA, Lydall Inc., Technical Textiles Lorrach, Whatman Paper, Schleicher and Schuell, Sattler Textilwerke
Fine Papers:  Modo och Domsjo, Curtis Fine Paper 

Flame Retardant Fabrics: Mehler Technishe Textilien, Pincroft Dyeing and Finishing, Dorma, Carrington Career and Workwear, Dale A/S, Albright and Wilson (Proban Provider),Alfredo Grassi spa,

Flock: F H Wrigley, Schwarzwaelder Textil Werke, Fratelli Casati, Le Flockage, Hiva Products, John Peel and Sons

Flushable Wipes:  Ahlstrom Lystil SA

Home furnishings: Dranger Design AB, Kvadrat, Filatura Pettinata Alta Biella srl, CIPA Lin,.

Industrial Fabrics: Lantor UK, Gekatex SA, Perseverance Mills, DMC, Troll Safety, Ten Cate Advanced Textiles, , IPT Group, Casa Moda, K Stormark

Interlinings:  BFF, Freudenberg, Intissel

Knitted Fabrics: Soc. European de la Maille, Guilford Mills, Wykes, Chromarat Textiles, Karl Meyer, Bergham Weaving AB

Loudspeakers:  Tannoy Ltd., Kurt Mueller, Onkyo KK

Mattress Covers: Anallegro, Baekaert Textiles

Medical Fabrics and Papers: J&J, Smith and Nephew, Karl Otto Braun, Barlow Paper, Union Textil de Tourcoing, Arjo Wiggins SA, Molinier Industries, Beiersdorf AG, IPM Textiles, Vernon Carus, 

Military Uniforms: Quartermaster Department of the China Army, UK Ministry of Defence, Natick US Army Soldier Center, Spinnerei Kunz, 

Needlefelts: FILC Menges, Pro Tec GmbH, Sage Products Inc., Fritz Landolt AG, Kahnes and Co., Tharreau SA, Vita Fibres, BWF Textil GmbH, Tefisa SA, Dittrich and Sohne, Flytex Srl, Freudenberg (Weinheim), Freudenberg UK, Borkent Bv, Althoffer

Paintshop and Printing Wipes:  SCA Hygiene Paper

Parchment:  Sibille Dalle

Photobase Paper: Eastman Kodak,  Felix Schoeller, 

Rubber Reinforcement:  Dunlop Ltd, Akerlund & Rausing, Hutchinson SNC

Scrims: Fothergill Crenette Ltd, Chavanoz Industrie

Sewing Threads:  Levi Strauss, American and Efird, Coats (several divisions), Gutermann, Cousin Freres SA, Hilaturas y Tejidos de Levante SA, DMC Fils a Coudre, Empriss Mills, Belgian Sewing Threads, The Israeli Processing Co Ltd, Oxley Threads, Manila Bay Spinning Inc., Fil Man-Made, Vich Industrial, Werneth Ring Mills, Hilatoros Technicos

Shoe Construction: Nike, Western Board, Promocompo LDA, IS Supplies, BUSM/Texon, Service House Lahore

Speciality Paper: Neu Kallis Special Paper, Papierfabric Lahnstein, Fukuda Paper, La Papelera de Besos, Bollore Technologies,  James Cropper, MB Special Paper SA, Arjo Wiggins Appleton

Sponge Reinforcement:  Spontex Espana

Stitchbonding:  Cosmopolitan Textiles, Welbeck Technical Textiles

Tampons: Tambrands, J&J

Tarpaulins:  Borghorster Warpspinnerei

Tenting:  Ten Cate Technical Fabrics

Tea-Bags: Dexter Nonwovens, Miki Tokushu, Taylors of Harrogate, Papeteries de Cascadec

Vacuum Cleaner Bags:  MB Special Paper, Melitta Household Product

Waddings:  Libeltex bv

Workwear:  Carrington Career and Workwear, Klopman International, Weberei Wangi, Ten Cate Protect, Lauffenmuhle Textil GmbH, Boras Watveri AB, Beijing Public Security Bureau, Hironen Co., Taizhou Jitai Worsted Spinning, Boco GmbH, Textil Santanderina, Unit Products AB, Sagatex ASA, Landau Shamash Ltd., Patron Saint,

Wipes:  (see also Disposable Wipes) Lever Espana

Wound Care: Speciality Fibres and Materials, Nimrod, Lantor International, Johnson and Johnson, Bristol Myers Squibb, AM International, Veratec