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Lenzing Expands Tencel Luxe Reach With New $32 Million Pilot Plant

The Lenzing Group has completed the second pilot production plant for its innovative filament yarn Tencel Luxe, after plans to build the site were first announced in May 2018.

The fiber maker said construction of the facility at the Lenzing, Austria, site involved an investment of 30 million euros ($32.92 million) and should be concluded on schedule and within budget after 20 months of intensive work. The new pilot production line gives Lenzing sufficient capacity for commercial programs and further application development.

Tencel Luxe enables Lenzing to “embed the issue of sustainability in the premium luxury market in combination with superior aesthetics,” the company said. The properties of the fine filament yarn are similar to silk due to what it claims is an airy feeling on the skin and the matte finish.

At the same time, Tencel Luxe also has extensive strength and a high level of environmental compatibility. Tencel Luxe lyocell filaments are made from wood pulp sourced from sustainable wood in line with Lenzing’s strict Wood and Pulp Policy. They are produced using Lenzing’s closed-loop lyocell production process, which has received the European Award for the Environment from the European Union. This process ensures minimal environmental impact due to low process water, energy use and raw materials consumption.

Tencel Luxe is suited for fine fabrics and as a blending partner for silk, cashmere and wool. The yarn, first introduced in 2017, is used for making blouses and shirts, dresses, scarves, ties and the inner lining of suits.

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“Tencel Luxe opens up new markets for Lenzing and thus contributes to the successful implementation of our sCore Ten corporate strategy,” Stefan Doboczky, CEO of the Lenzing Group, said. “At the same time, we are setting new standards in the luxury segment of the fashion industry with respect to sustainability. Many luxury brands have already realized what opportunities they would have by using this yarn made of the renewable raw material wood. The second pilot plant enables us to further press ahead with opening up new areas of application in collaboration with our customers.”

Last year, Tencel Luxe fibers were featured in an Under Armour and Virgin Galactic spacewear collaboration. The exclusive technical spacewear for the “Future Astronauts of Virgin Galactic” marked a milestone for Lenzing, as the spacesuit incorporated Tencel Luxe lyocell filament yarn as a key fabric.

The new pilot production line will build upon the knowledge gained from operating the predecessor facility and leverage new and innovative automation models, the company said. The pilot plant developed by Lenzing and the know-how acquired during the construction phase will comprise the basis for the company’s further expansion in the field of sustainable filament yarns. This will also comprise the starting point for the planned construction of a large commercial production plant at the Lenzing site.