Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports (2008)

More extracts from Lenzing's Annual Reports...

In "Business Unit Textiles" the main message on Tencel appears in the photo below. 

 Sportswear is the key, but Home Textiles also gets a brief mention:

Tencel® Eco Bed, a special application for natural bed-linen, received the award as the best organic ecological product in the home textile sector in the USA.

Of more interest once again is "Business Unit Nonwovens" with the first mention in Annual Reports of Robert Smith and Malcolm Hayhurst's work on TencelWeb(tm):

Lenzing and the US company Weyerhaeuser, a global leader in forestry products, came to a basic agreement on the development of novel lyocell-based nonwovens products. The goal is to create an alternative to petrol-based plastics in the nonwovens sector by manufacturing convenience products for industry and hygiene on an industrial scale.

This project is the latest manifestation of "spunlaid cellulose" which first appeared in Courtaulds Research in the 1960's and was proposed for Tencel in 1988.  However I don't think anyone in Courtaulds saw it as an "alternative to petrol-based plastics in nonwovens".  We saw it as a way of making high-value 100% cellulose absorbent nonwovens for medical, hygiene and wiping markets at lower cost by virtue of direct-from-dope production in a Tencel plant.

Alluded to for the first time is the highly successful carboxymethylation of Tencel carried out by Hardev Bahia and Tom Burrow and commercialised by Courtaulds Research during the 90's.  The resulting hydrogel appeared first as the superabsorbent "SuperNova" fibre for tampons, and then "Hydrocel" which Convatec used to make the Aquacel range of wound dressings:

Product group medical applications manufactures upmarket cellulose fiber specialities. The focus of activity was placed on the successful implementation of innovative products, such as cellulose hydrogels for demanding wound care and also in cosmetics.

(More to come on these specialities)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports (2007)

More paragraphs extracted from the Lenzing annual reports...

There's no mention of Tencel in the section on "Business Unit Textile Fibres" or in the section on R&D. However under "Business Unit Nonwovens" we read:

The success of products based on TENCEL® nonwovens was remarkable. The convenience product sector grew considerably. Wipes for a broad range of applications – from hygiene and cleaning to medical applications – were much in demand. Sales of Lenzing fibers for technical applications increased as well. The unique properties of cellulose fibers, in particular TENCEL® enabled the implementation in new market segments such as the automotive industry, filtration technology and medical technology.  (see also Tencel Product development 1985-94)

In "Competition Rulings in Favour of Lenzing"...
The European Court of Justice, as court of last resort, ruled in favor of Lenzing...and that Lenzing had not received unjustified subsidies for its [Lyocell] production site at Heiligenkreuz (Austria)

Also, in "The evaluation of fiber sustainability" we read of a study showing Lenzing's viscose and modal to have less environmental impact than Tencel, all being better than cotton:

A comprehensive evaluation of fiber sustainability with regard to consumption of non-renewable resources, emission of greenhouse gases, impact on human well-being and impairment of ecosystems requires a holistic approach, in other words the compilation of a life cycle assessment. Using standardized methodology, a life cycle assessment for Lenzing Viscose®, Lenzing Modal® and TENCEL® in direct comparison with cotton, polyester and propylene fibers was carried out in collaboration with Martin Patel and Li Shen of the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht

The evaluation of environmental impact was conducted according to the CML* method, developed at Leiden University considering the following indicators:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports (2005,2006)

Apart from photos of Naomi Campbell being replaced by, amongst others, Robert Smith and Dave Hoyland (see below) the 2005 Annual Report was notable for the paucity of anything worth extracting on lyocell or Tencel.

The revisionist definition of lyocell appears...
A novel fiber, developed by Lenzing, produced by an environmentally very 
sound solvent process. Its properties enable the design and production of new and innovative products. TENCEL® is the Lenzing brand for lyocell fibers.

...and the resolution to last year's cliff-hanger...
The Austrian cartel court approved the acquisition of the Tencel group at the beginning of April 2005. The approval was preceded by an agreement with Austrian cartel offices including several conditions and reservationsThe protracted proceedings, however, lead to a EUR 1.5 mill. fine for Lenzing, affecting the 2005 result. 

The 2006 report was less interesting with the usual Tencel puff and mention of R&D developing a non-fibrillating version for textiles - see also A100; Grimsby 1999

Robert Smith

David Hoyland in front

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Reports - (2004 - part 2)

More paragraphs extracted from the 2004 Lenzing annual report.  The Austrian Supreme Court's decision against the take over of Tencel must have made it a difficult one to write...

By taking over the Tencel group of companies in early May 2004, Lenzing marked a milestone.  On the one hand, this step means that the Group has secured its position regarding the Lyocell fibers technology, which is the technology of the future in the cellulose fiber sector; on the other hand, it is another major step towards becoming a global group. In addition to the two production sites in Grimsby, UK, and Mobile, Alabama, USA, Lenzing acquired a number of international marketing offices, an international sales team and the excellently positioned TENCEL® brand.

Although the competent international merger-control authorities did not have any objections regarding this take-over, Austria’s Higher Cartel Court (Supreme Court) issued a decision against the merger. However, while the proceedings before the Higher Cartel Court were still pending, Lenzing already reached a comprehensive agreement on the conditions and restrictions that will address all possible anti-trust concerns. It is therefore expected that a new notification of the merger can be processed swiftly and positively, since it will incorporate the arguments of the supreme-court decision.

Whenever activities overlapped, it was possible to achieve savings through integration. This applies especially to international marketing activities. Concerning production, combining the available expertise helped to achieve considerable improvements within a few months, both at the Austrian Lyocell site at Heiligenkreuz and at the sites in the United Kingdom and the USA.

Research and development for Lyocell fibers was integrated into one effective team (see also the chapter on “Research and Development”). The restructuring costs incurred were included in the result for the year.

R&D activities were thoroughly re-organized in the course of acquiring the Tencel group of companies in the course of the 2004 business year. It was decided to concentrate all Lyocell research and development activities at the Lenzing site. This combination of all forces ensures an efficient and intensive further development of this promising fiber in the years to come. In the wake of this consolidation, research activities at Spondon, UK, were discontinued. Some of the staff are now working in research and development at Lenzing. The efficient Lyocell pilot plant at Lenzing worked to full capacity during the 2004 business year.

With the concentration of R&D activities at the Lenzing site, Lenzing has now become the world’s largest research center for cellulose chemistry, focusing on cellulose fibers. It has about 130 staff members; another 50 persons are engaged in external cooperation projects.

Source: http://www.lenzing.com/fileadmin/template/pdf/konzern/geschaftsberichte_gb_ugb_jfb/GB_EN/GB_2004_EN.pdf

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tencel in Lenzing Annual Report (2004)

The report for the year Lenzing acquired Tencel contains an acknowledgement of the contribution made immediately by Courtaulds Tencel staff.

From the Chairman's Statement...

The third milestone of the 2004 business year was the take-over of the Tencel group of companies*). With Tencel the Lenzing Group has become the leading manufacturer of cellulose fibers worldwide. This step has helped us secure our world-market position on a long-term basis. We will now further improve the Lyocell technology for our customers, last but not least because it is a technology for the future, due to its compatibility with the environment. 

Moreover, Lenzing is now the only global supplier that accommodates all important qualities and types of cellulose fibers under one roof. Only Lenzing is able to offer its customers this complete range of products at absolute top quality and with top service. 

In addition, with Tencel we have been able to expand our human resources to include experienced staff members and to reinforce our impact on the international fiber market.

Within only a few weeks, cooperation between the Lenzing Lyocell team and the Tencel staff led to measurable improvements of our productions results.

The new corporate structure, which we introduced in 2004, consists of business units that comprise several sites. In the course of integrating Tencel, this structure demonstrated its merits within the first year.

(More to come from 2004)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Lyocell in Lenzing Annual Reports (2003)

Another extract from the Lenzing annual reports...

The demand for Lenzing Lyocell fibers developed very positively during fiscal 2003; the intensive marketing activities proved successful. Production lines worked to full capacity, handling orders both in the textile area and for nonwovens. Lenzing Lyocell has succeeded in opening up new, promising growth markets concerning home textiles. Thanks to its outstanding properties as a particularly pure fiber made of wood, a natural raw material, there is a strong demand for Lyocell in this market segment.

Against this background of a lively demand, completing the expansion program at the Heiligenkreuz site during fiscal 2003 came just in time. A total amount of EUR 36 mill. was invested into building a second production line. The new facilities were successfully taken into operation at the beginning of 2004, which doubled the production capacity at Heiligenkreuz to 40,000 tons per year. The bigger production quantity is also the basis for sustainable improvement of the earnings situation regarding Lyocell, since this makes it possible to achieve the corresponding reductions in specific production costs.

In the course of expanding capacities, the staff level was raised to 180 employees at the Heiligenkreuz site. Furthermore, the energy supply center of the Heiligenkreuz industrial park was bought in 2003, in order to secure energy supplies at favorable prices.

In September 2003 a deflagration occurred on the first production line, which caused a fire and considerable material damage. The incident was due to the faulty operation of an ancillary unit. The incident did not occur during normal operations, but when the existing production line was started up after a scheduled standstill, required in the course of the construction work on the second production line. The material damage and the costs of the temporary production standstill were covered by insurance policies.

The first months of 2004 were characterized by the start-up of the second production line at Heiligenkreuz. Since demand for Lenzing Lyocell fibers continues to be positive and expanded production capacities are available, one can expect a corresponding improvement in sales and earnings in comparison to 2003.

Lenzing AG operates a Lyocell pilot plant at the Lenzing site. This has helped to develop quality assurance steps for the big production volumes of the large-scale plant at Heiligenkreuz. Moreover, the production processes were improved, which will make it possible to use different pulp qualities.