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The Latest in Textiles: Lenzing to Make Tencel in Thailand, Mills Adopt Lycra Sport PCE, Ethiopia Opens Industrial Park

Lenzing grows Tencel in Thailand, Lycra Sport expands its brand reach and Ethiopia opens an apparel and textile industrial park.

Lenzing turns to Thailand

The Lenzing Group has plans to construct a state-of-the-art lyocell fiber production plant in Prachinburi, Thailand by the end of 2020 to produce its Tencel branded fiber.

The company said the decision is part of its aims to substantially increase its share of specialty fibers as a proportion of total revenue. The move to Thailand follows an expansion drive already underway in Lenzing and Heiligenkreuz, Austria, and also in Grimsby, U.K., and Mobile, Alabama.

Lenzing is establishing a subsidiary in Thailand and purchasing a commercial property in Industrial Park 304 in Prachinburi near Bangkok as part of building the new facility. In the coming months, the required permits and licenses are expected to be finalized, as will all technical planning. The selection of the site was based on its overall strong infrastructure, expansion opportunities and a sustainable biogenic energy supply. Similar to the plant in Mobile, the planned production facility will be constructed on the basis of the latest state-of-the-art technology and feature a capacity of up to 100,000 tons annually. This site will strengthen the worldwide lyocell network of the Lenzing Group and enable its global customers to source Tencel branded fibers from Europe, North America and Asia.

“The planned expansion underscores our commitment to support the business growth of our customers, which will result in their offering even more environmentally friendly products by using Tencel fibers,” said Lenzing chief executive officer Stefan Doboczky. “The expansion to Thailand represents the next consistent step in the implementation of our sCore TEN strategy as a means of increasing the share of specialty fibers and expanding our geographical footprint. With Asia accounting for 70 percent of total Lenzing Group revenue, it is logical that we will construct the next production plant for Tencel fibers in Asia.”

Lycra stretches brand partnerships

Invista’s Lycra brand has joined forces with a trio of textile makers to market its innovative products.

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Two of the companies are integrating Lycra Sport’s Power-Comfort-Energy index criteria.

Taiwan’s technology-driven Eclat Textile is launching an “Intentional Knit” initiative designed to offer customers customized, application-specific fabrics to meet specific performance parameters. Eclat’s Intentional Knit approach capitalizes on the industry trend toward athleisure wear by integrating casual, activewear and performance fabrics with Lycra Sport technology and using the PCE certification to develop and document fabrics that meet customers’ needs.

Ecalt’s new fabrics focus on three key themes: Relax, a new performance concept with built-in deodorizing and moisturizing capability; Connect, a refined, high-performance knitted concept that is windproof and water repellent, and Play, a rich mix of yarns and patterns that create a variety of jacquard designs.

“In today’s global-competitive marketplace, innovation alone isn’t enough,” said Huw Williams, Invista’s global segment director, activewear and outdoor. “You also have to be able to clearly and concisely communicate to customers the advantages of fabrics employing a technology like Lycra Sport. That’s what the Power, Comfort and Energy index enables mills to do.”

Fabrics with Lycra Sport technology are scientifically engineered to deliver high levels of comfort, fit and support to stretch activewear. They combine the proven stretch technology of Lycra fiber with demanding testing standards that measure fabric performance across the three key PCE indexes: Power, which measures the shaping or compression effect; Comfort, determining how consumers feel in compression or shaping garments, and Energy, indexing the effort needed to move the fabric during sports activities.

Also using Lycra Sport PCE is Best Pacific, a lingerie specialist. The new fabrics leverage the recovery performance of Lycra Sport technology and Best Pacific’s high-gauge, double-knit construction to deliver a high stretch modulus that’s well suited for the high-growth active-sportswear sectors.

Kevin Zan, general manager of Best Pacific’s sports division, said Lycra Sport PCE, launched last year, has been a game changer when it comes to designing, producing, differentiating and selling performance fabrics.

Rounding out the new collaborations, Taiwan’s Toung Loong Textiles is introducing a line of fabrics consisting of a blend of Invista’s Coolmax Air technology with Lycra fiber and designed to meet the needs of brands focused on women’s fitness wear.

“As interest in health and fitness continues to gain ground, demand for performance activewear is accelerating,” said Richard Yu, chief of marketing at Toung Loong Textile. “Launching new fabrics specifically designed to work best in women’s fitness wear, using Invista’s industry-leading Coolmax Air technology with Lycra fiber, represents a tremendous opportunity to stand out in a crowded market and win new business.”

Coolmax Air technology with Lycra fiber is made from high-performance fibers engineered to maximize consumer comfort with strong moisture-management performance, breathability and faster drying times. The high air permeability results in the exchange of the microclimate, adding the potential for additional cooling.

The new fabrics will be rolled out at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Show at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City from July 26 to 29.

A new industrial park for Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Hawassa eco-industrial park has attracted 18 global apparel and textile companies as operations get under way.

Construction of the park, the first in its kind in the country, cost more than $250 million and was built in less than a year. Covering an area of 1.3 million square meters, the addition of the park is expected to bring Ethiopia’s revenue derived from textiles and garments to $1 billion over the long term from the current $150 million annually, according to the Ethiopian Investment Commission.

Consistent with the Ethiopian government’s commitment to build a green-economy, Hawassa industrial park is designed, constructed and operated as an eco-friendly park. It has a water and waste treatment plant that uses the latest technology for treating and recycling about 90 percent of the water used in the park. To this end, a zero-liquid discharge facility has already been set up with a daily processing capacity of 11 million liters of effluent.

PVH Corp. is among the companies already establishing operations there, and six local companies are ready to start operations there, too. When fully operational, industries within the park are expected to create 60,000 jobs, EIC noted.

The Ethiopian government plans to construct 10 industrial parks across the country to enhance job opportunities, bring in revenue and promote technology transfer. Modeled after the Hawassa Industrial Park, the government has already moved ahead with development of similar parks, two of which will soon open in Kombolcha and Mekele.