The track record of the new Tencel fiber production plant at the Lenzing site in Upper Austria during the initial six-month ramp-up phase has been a positive one.
Peter Untersperger, Chief Executive Officer of Lenzing AG says, “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. 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.”
Robert van de Kerkhof, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) and Lenzing Management Board member says, “Over the past few years Tencel has secured a permanent place on the market for a whole range of attractive applications. 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.”
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 additionalTencel jumbo production plant based on this proven technology in the medium term.
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.