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)