Saturday, May 3, 2014

Lyocell in Lenzing Annual Reports (1998)

1998 saw the last appearance Courtaulds annual report and is currently the first available year for Lenzing Annual Reports on their website.  Here are the paragraphs relevant to what was then called Lenzing Lyocell, the production of which was started at the Heiligenkreuz site during that year. Industrial scale Tencel production was started by Courtaulds 6 years earlier in Mobile Alabama. (This report is notably devoid of photographs.  Two years later, the 2000 report had photos of Naomi Campbell throughout.)

...Although numerous  intensive marketing efforts  and technical improvements  were made, the sold quantities  of the new fiber fell considerably short of the budgeted  figures. The introduction  of Lyocell to the market  must be expected to require  considerably more time than  was originally assumed and  will require additional funds.  The Board of Management  is, however, convinced that  this fiber of is great potential  for the future, although  Lyocell will continue to generate  a sometimes considerable  burden on the business  result in the years to come.

...The research expenditure of Lenzing AG amounted to ATS 157.4 million (after ATS 200.1 million). The amount represents 2.6 per cent of the Lenzing sales, which is a remarkable figure also by international comparison. As before, research in 1998 focussed on the further development of the Lyocell technology, especially in the transition of a low-fibrillation Lyocell fiber to large-scale technical production and market maturity, as well as on...
...successfully completing the development of a flat film on NMMO basis (Lyocell films). A full range of additional research projects are currently at an advanced stage or will soon be ready to be launched on the market.

Lenzing Lyocell GmbH:
Activities focused on stepping up the market launch of the Lenzing Lyocell fiber. We were able to obtain good results with our product, especially with the Haute Couture sector, with applications ranging from comfortable leisure - wear garments for men to upmarket lingerie collections for women. However, in spite of this success, the forecast sales quantities were not reached. One main reason for this development was primarily the dramatic decline of that textile segment where the Lyocell fiber would have created or enhanced novel surface effects on account of its special properties, such as for example the “soft denim“, “garment wash“ and “peach skin“ effects.

 In addition, the crisis in Asia caused an important export market like Japan to fall behind, which made it even more difficult to plan production and the accompanying operative situation. In November 1998, the Lyocell marketing and sales organization was integrated into the worldwide distribution of Lenzing AG. This created the basis for more effective and efficient marketing efforts.

 In 1998, the production of Lyocell fibers at Heiligenkreuz , Austria, was also successfully transformed to use chlorinefree bleached pulp as a new primary material. This is another important step in actively applying Lenzing AG’s pollution-control philosophy. In recognition of its especially environmentally friendly technology, Lenzing Lyocell Ges. m.b.H. & Co KG was awarded the ecology prize of Austria’s industry. We are proud of this recognition, which is the result of many years of innovative research activities at Lenzing AG.

 In 1998, the EU Commission began to review the Lyocell project at Heiligenkreuz in connection with the subsidies granted. This review is a necessary measure, which is prescribed and required under EU subsidization provisions. In this connection, Lenzing AG is cooperating very closely with all bodies involved. The review is expected to be completed at the end of 1999.

The focus was on the production-oriented optimization of the Lyocell technology. A new type of Lyocell fiber with low fibrillation is meant to make further processing along the textile chain easier. The development was successfully completed and is planned for full-scale technical implementation as of the middle of 1999.

Development work on flat films based on the Lyocell (NMMO) technology has been continued intensively. In December 1998, a cooperation agreement was signed with the Belgian company UCB, which is the market leader for cellophane films. Lenzing and UCB intend to join efforts in further developing this new product and bringing it to market maturity. The fact that this cooperation agreement was signed is a testimony of Lenzing AG’s high level of competence regarding the Lyocell technology. This type of cooperation serves as a pilot example of successful research activities by Lenzing AG, as well as a model for future cooperations and alliances.

In 1999, the intensified marketing efforts will be supported by further improved fiber qualities. In addition to conventional applications, nontextile applications will also be explored and developed in greater depth. With the market launch of the new Lyocell fiber types, the range of fibers offered on a large-scale technical basis will be expanded considerably. The introduction of the low fibrillation Lyocell FL type, which is easier to process along the textile chain and thus creates the prerequisites for a broader market acceptance, will be of special importance.

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