Wednesday, August 21, 2013

75 Years of Lenzing Fibres (2013)

The Lenzing website now provides a version of Tencel development story containing the following paragraphs:

On the Cover:
Lenzing succeeded in helping the viscose technology which is already 100 years old to reach new heights. At the same time Lenzing developed a completely new technology, Tencel(r), which will also shape the cellulose fibre industry in the coming 100 years.


As of the 1970s the global cellulose fiber industry began searching for alternative production processes for viscose fibers. The most successful results were attained by researchers at the Dutch Akzo Group. After years of research work, its subsidiary American ENKA managed to dissolve pulp in the organic solvent N-methylmorpholine oxide, in short NMMO, and to produce fibers from this solvent. Akzo-ENKA operated a pilot plant using this process. The company patented its know-how but terminated any further development work.

Later these fibers were given the generic name “lyocell“.

Lenzing also carried out research on alternatives and ultimately came across the NMMO solvent process. After Lenzing had successfully manufactured fibers on a small scale using this technology, it licensed the know-how from Akzo in the year 1987.

Lenzing’s competitor Courtaulds also acquired an Akzo license.

In 1990, Lenzing started on construction on a semi-commercial pilot plant.

No company with the exception of Lenzing has decades of experience with the technology for TENCEL®, the fiber of the 21st century. TENCEL® remains the research and development priority of Lenzing. It is essential to further discover, spread and commercialize the extensive potential applications of the TENCEL® technology.

Here's the link to the relevant pages.  

While Lenzing continue to gloss over the Courtaulds contribution to Tencel development*, the new history is commendably candid about the Third Reich origins of their viscose operation:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tencel Sales to Nonwovens Increase (2013)

The following paragraphs are extracted from Lenzing's 2nd quarterly report for 2013.  

The global nonwovens fiber market developed robustly in the first half of 2013 against the backdrop of very good volume demand. However, the declining textile fiber selling prices, also in the nonwovens sector, also led to some price pressure.

Lenzing set new sales priorities in its nonwovens business in the first half-year, for example in Europe, where demand developed well. On balance, shipment volumes in the first half of 2013 climbed to about 131,000 tons (H1 2012: 115,000 tons). There was a significant volume increase for TENCEL® of approximately 5,000 tons to close to 23,000 tons.

Average fiber selling prices for Lenzing nonwoven fibers remained stable in the first half-year at EUR 1.75 per kilogram, but were below the comparable level in 2012 (EUR 1.84/kg) in line with the general price trend. As expected, the price decrease was not as pronounced as in the textile segment.

Demand for TENCEL® used in textile applications could also be maintained at the same high level by implementing corresponding marketing campaigns. These measures related to all types of TENCEL® fibers, serving as the basis for full capacity utilization at the TENCEL® production plants. In spite of the disruption in production at the TENCEL® factory in Heiligenkreuz, total volume reached a level of 43,000 tons in the first six months of this year, slightly above the prior-year figure of about 42,000 tons. TENCEL® selling prices developed stably throughout the entire first half of 2013, featuring price premiums of about 50% vis-à-vis viscose, but significantly below the premiums attained in the first half-year 2012. 

Lenzing's full quarterly report is now available for download here.

Presentation slides are also available here