Monday, May 5, 2014

Lyocell in Lenzing Annual Reports (1999)

These are the relevant paragraphs from the Lenzing Annual Report of 1999. Pre-blending lyocell with viscose emerges as a way to tackle some of the processing issues and presumably to introduce some lyocell to textiles at a lower price. The idea seems to have been revived this year as Eurocel(tm) for the nonwovens market.

Dr Haio Harms, Head of Research and Development at Lenzing since 1983...

"It is part of our strategy for success to invest a certain amount of our
resources into medium and long-term targets. Lenzing's research made a
decisive contribution to the company's competitiveness, while competitors
who lacked that farsightedness had to give in to crowding-out competition.
The broad product range, the value-added by spinoff products of the pulp
production, the solutions to pollution-control issues and the ongoing
improvements in efficiency would be impossible without constant efforts.
This also applies to innovations that pay off in the longer run."

Again this year, the top priority regarding Lyocell developments was on optimizing the Lyocell technology. In this connection, we were able to achieve major progress in broadening the primary-material base, in making more efficient use of our plants and in making the quality level more even. On account of efforts to expand the range of types and to make processing and finishing methods easier, we were able to expand our market base. The spectre now ranges from a Lyocell micro fiber to coarse-titer wool types and matted fibers. Special scope was given to further developing the technology used to produce Lyocell fibers with a reduced fibrillation tendency.

Dr Franz Raninger, Member of the Board of Management with Lenzing since 1994...

“Lyocell offers good growth opportunities. However, the traditional technology, based on viscose, still contains further potential for innovation. The numerous product developments at Lenzing in recent years are a clear proof of this point.”

In 1999, Lenzing took another important step in the direction of focussing on high-quality special fibers by developing new fiber blends, consisting of Modal/Lyocell and Viscose/Lyocell that can be used for textile applications.
With this combination of three generations of cellulose fibers, all the positive attributes of the individual product can be exploited, while the product and care features are thus clearly improved for the end consumer. 

With the introduction of “ProViscose“ and “ProModal“, Lenzing is also moving in a new direction with its branding strategy. The fiber blends are launched on the market as separate trademarks, complete with quality seal, and in close cooperation with our customers.  

At the beginning of the year, the marketing organization for Lyocell fibers became part of the fiber sector. Our aim is to market Lyocell faster and more dynamically, within the overall marketing effort for all Lenzing fibers. We have also made major investments to expand our pulp production capacity to 155,000 tonnes .

In 1999, Lenzing Lyocell increased its sales by more than 50 %, as compared to the previous year. Here, the recovery of the market, especially during the second semester, was clearly noticeable. On the one hand, this was due to the slightly more favorable economic climate in Europe and the Far East, while on the other hand, this can also be attributed to the integration of its marketing efforts into the overall Lenzing fiber activities. In addition, the introduction of more intensive marketing activities is now bearing fruit. We were clearly able to improve the quality of our fibers. However, the result of Lenzing Lyocell Ges.m.b.H. & Co KG continues to be negative. 

A growing number of opinion-leaders and trend setters of the textile industry – such as, for example, Armani, Triumph, Schiesser, Banana Republic, DKNY, etc. – are now beginning to include Lenzing Lyocell fibers in their collections. Nevertheless, a few still open questions regarding dyeing and finishing are obstacles to a quicker expansion. The main activities in 1999 therefore focussed on developing finishing steps that are easier to implement, as well as further developing non-fibrillating fibers. The use of Lyocell in fiber blends was extremely well received by customers. Especially the blending of Lyocell to create “ProModal“ and “ProViscose“ attracted attention. A better persistance of shape and less pilling (very fine hair detaches from the textile surface) help to maintain the shape and visual appearance of garments also after frequent washing. The range of commercially available fibers was enlarged by “Micro-Lyocell“ and a non-woven type. This is to create the basis for a continuous expansion of sales.

We can certainly see opportunities for expansion in the leisure-wear sector, especially denim items. Another focus of our activities in 2000 will be the sensitive sector of non-woven products for the use of Lyocell fibers for hygiene applications. Encouraged by initial successes regarding bed linen and terry-cloth items, we will also explore further possible applications for the home textile industry. A review by the European Union regarding agreements on grants to build the large-scale plant at Heiligenkreuz in Burgenland, Austria, is still in process. The decision by the EU authorities on competition issues is expected for spring 2000. From the ongoing procedure, we can be confident as to receiving a confirmation on the correct flow of funds.

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