Fiber innovation company, Lenzing, recently celebrated the first sixth months of its newest and largest fiber production plant in Upper Austria. The plant, which is expected to raise annual Tencel production capacity from 150,000 tons to about 220,000 tons, has received much positive feedback.
Lenzing AG chief executive officer Peter Untersperger said, “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.”
The new facility is considered a technological milestone for lyocell technology. The technology allows more than 67,000 tons of Tencel fibers to be manufactured annually using one massive production line, significantly increasing efficiency, compared to the existing technology. Over the past five years, the company has spent approximately 100 million euros ($125 million) on research in lyocell technology, and has been operating pilot lyocell facilities for the last 25 years.
If the demand for Tencel fibers continues to increase as expected, the company said it would likely build another large Tencel production plant utilizing the lyocell technology. Lenzing AG chief operating officer Robert van de Kerkhof noted, “We are continuously developing this market. Our technological know-how will also help us to open up new markets.”
As of the end of 2014, total annual Tencel production capacity at Lenzing amounts to approximately 220,000 tons manufactured at its two Austrian locations, Lenzing and Heiligenkreuz, in Mobile, Ala. in the U.S. and in Grimsby, Great Britain. Due to the new production line at the Lenzing site, investment costs could be maintained at a very competitive level, approximately EUR 150 million ($187 million).