Friday, December 12, 2014

Jumbo Tencel plant doing well - 1997 projection was right (2014)

Proud of the successful half-year track record of the new TENCEL® fiber plant in Lenzing: TENCEL® Plant Manager Franz Bauhofer, Board Member Robert van de Kerkhof (CCO) and Head of TENCEL® Operations Andrew Ronchetti.

As of the end of 2014, total annual TENCEL® production capacity of the Lenzing Group amounts to about 220,000 tons manufactured at the Austrian sites in Lenzing and Heiligenkreuz, in Mobile, Alabama in the USA and in Grimsby, Great Britain. Thanks to the new “jumbo production line” at the Lenzing site, investment costs could be maintained at a very competitive level of approximately EUR 150 mn (or about EUR 2,200 per ton of capacity). This gives Lenzing the opportunity to achieve a further competitive scaling of TENCEL® fibers as a universally deployable textile and nonwoven fiber.  

(*Andy Ronchetti, then in Courtaulds Research, was present at Courtaulds Fibres 3rd Oct 97 Strategic Review of Tencel where the projected costs of a future jumbo Tencel plant were estimated to be $2500/AT by Dave Hignell and $3000/AT by Dave Watson.  Taking the mid-range $2750 figure, that just happens to be Lenzing's €2200/AT at today's exchange rates. Ed.)

“The plant has already successfully operated at full capacity and in a trouble-free manner for the past months, and the quality of the manufactured fibers fulfills our high expectations”, says Peter Untersperger, Chief Executive Officer of Lenzing AG. “Our new second generation TENCEL® fiber production facility is a technological milestone for lyocell technology, and proof that we are several years ahead of all our competitors.” It enables more than 67,000 tons of TENCEL® fibers to be manufactured p.a. by one jumbo production line. This significantly increases efficiency compared to the existing technology. 

Lenzing is still the only company in the world with the capability of implementing the complex lyocell technology on an industrial scale and mastering safety requirements. “Over the past few years TENCEL® has secured a permanent place on the market for a whole range of attractive applications”, says Lenzing Management Board member and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Robert van de Kerkhof. “TENCEL® can exploit its advantages in the apparel, home textile and innovative technical segments. The fiber offers good breathing properties, excellent wearing comfort, high fiber strength and above all its environmentally-compatible production on the basis of the natural raw material, wood. For these reasons TENCEL® is also the premium cellulose fiber of the future”, he adds. 

Both CEO Untersperger and COO van de Kerkhof emphasize the fact that Lenzing will continue to fully concentrate on TENCEL® in the coming years. “We are continuously developing this market. Our technological know-how will also help us to open up new markets”, van de Kerkhof says. For this reason, TENCEL® is and will remain a top research and development priority at Lenzing. In the past five years, Lenzing spent around EUR 100 mn on research in lyocell technology. Lenzing has already been operating several pilot lyocell facilities at the Lenzing site for 25 years. If demand for TENCEL® fibers continues to develop as satisfactorily as expected, the Lenzing Group will likely construct an additional TENCEL® jumbo production plant based on this proven technology in the medium term. 

Source:  Lenzing Press Release

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