Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tencel Expansion Update (2013)

An extract from the Lenzing 2013 Annual Report...

The global challenges facing the business world and the environment are formidable, and solutions are urgently needed. In the world of man-made cellulose fibers, TENCEL® is the predominant product of the 21st century in every respect, the true New Age fiber. Its natural raw material, the modern and environmentally compatible production technology and the enormous performance potential of the fiber itself make it unequalled in modern times. Only Lenzing successfully manages the industrial-scale production of TENCEL®, in which more than 99% of the solvent used is recycled in the closed-loop process. This means the ecological footprint of the fiber is unparalleled.Construction of the first TENCEL® jumbo production facility at the Lenzing site continued on schedule in 2013. The company was able to make up for weather-related delays in the first quarter. Almost all the technical equipment had been installed by the end of 2013. All piping and cabling work were well on track, so that the first tests of individual parts of the plant were already initiated. Lenzing plans to keep to its timetable, with the first TENCEL® fibers likely to leave the production lines of the new plant sometime around the middle of 2014. After the initial start-up phase, the new plant will boast a nominal annual capacity of 67,000 tons of TENCEL ® fibers. Investment costs are expected to total EUR 150 mn due to adjustments made to the original plans in connection with improved plant safety and an increased production volume.

The new TENCEL® facility reflects next generation TENCEL® technologies.
The longstanding experience of all existing TENCEL® factories of the Lenzing Group was incorporated in the plant design. Thanks to the single production line featuring high capacity, Lenzing expects lower specific operating costs during continuous operation, an enhanced high level of plant safety and availability and thus additional competitive advantages. TENCEL® production at the Lenzing site will create 140 new high-quality jobs. This will significantly cushion the separately planned downsizing at the main site in Lenzing.

With the new TENCEL® plant, the fiber technology of the future and the next generation of man-made cellulose fibers are returning to our corporate headquarters in Lenzing. The Lenzing pilot plant was the place where the first marketable, industrial-scale lyocell fibers in the history of the Lenzing Group were produced 20 years ago. Today they are marketed around the world under the TENCEL® brand name. The new TENCEL® facility is of major strategic importance to the Lenzing site due to the fact that TENCEL® will also be produced on the premises in addition to the specialty fibers Lenzing Modal® and Lenzing FR®. As a consequence, the facility in Lenzing will further expand its position as the main specialty fiber production site for the Lenzing Group.

This new TENCEL® factory represents the next generation of TENCEL® technology. The longstanding experience of the Lenzing Group in the design and operation of TENCEL ® plants is reflected in the landmark implementation of a facility with only one production line boasting a nominal capacity of 67,000 tons annually. Thanks to this new plant concept, Lenzing will be able to leverage lower specific operating costs, enhanced plant safety and availability and thus enjoy important competitive advantages. The proximity of the new facility to Lenzing‘s main research capabilities and the TENCEL® pilot plant also comprises a major advantage with respect to the further development of TENCEL® in the future. 

The range of applications and product features (biodegradable, silky-soft to the touch but high-strength for technical uses) is far from being fully realized. On the basis of its 20 years of experience with TENCEL®, Lenzing will continue to draw upon the full potential of its innovative capabilities to focus on this fiber and its promising future.

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