The Lenzing group, global market leader for cellulosic fibers, plans to significantly expand its production capacities and will invest EUR 120 million in both Europe and Asia. The projects will be complete by 2011. Key measures include the expansion of pulp supply and the increase in the Modal production capacity in Lenzing (Austria), a significant expansion of the site in Heiligenkreuz (Austria) and the reconstruction of the English site for TENCEL® in Grimsby (UK).
Strong demand for Lenzing fibers
Lenzing fibers are sought-after around the world as the recent effort to find new applications has borne fruit. Since the year 2000, applications for the individual fibers have more than tripled. The specialty fibers Lenzing Modal® and TENCEL® remain strong in the textile sector, however new applications have been found to add to traditional uses; children's clothing, home textiles, sports clothing and professional clothing, to name a few. “Our goal is to have our fibers play a role in many fields of application. While the fashion segments are important, we see our fibers catering to a variety of different applications. We open up new windows for new customers and do what’s best for our business as well“, Dieter Eichinger, the Business Unit Head of Textile Fibers, explains.
Dieter Eichinger sees the "Cellulosic Gap" trend as another reason for the good sales of Lenzing fibers. “Due to the world’s population explosion, areas of land used for cotton cultivation are directly competing with land used to cultivate foodstuffs. This fact will lead to a further rise in cellulose fibers since fibers based on crude oil will not be able to satisfy the demand for skin-friendly fibers. As a result, we expect moisture-managing cellulose fibers to be increasingly in demand in the future“, Dieter Eichinger states.
Expansion of special fibers
Global demand for the soft Lenzing Modal® fiber has steadily increased over the years and is showing no signs of slowing. In 2011, production capacities for Lenzing Modal® will be significantly increased at the Lenzing site itself. A strong and stable global demand for the fiber has made this move necessary and this will effectively make the Lenzing site, a Modal site.
Investments at Lenzing are not dedicated to production expansion alone. As always, innovation is a key to the long-term health of the company. The supply chain demands ‘newness’ and Lenzing responds by developing and successfully placing new innovations throughout the market. When it comes to innovation, Lenzing has a successful track record with the development of new special fiber types such as: MicroModal®, MicroModal® AIR, Lenzing Modal® BLACK, Lenzing Modal® LOFT and ProModal®.
Due to the enormous increase in demand, Lenzing is also expanding the production of TENCEL®. There are plans to extend capacity at the site in Heiligenkreuz (Austria) to 60,000 tonnes and to double the capacity in Grimsby (Great Britain). This constitutes a complete conversion to TENCEL® A 100 which has shown overwhelming strength and success, particularly in the sports segment. In recent years TENCEL® has established itself as the most versatile fiber in the market since it satisfies unique customer needs in a variety of applications. Due to the moisture management and skin-sensory properties, it is an ideal ingredient in many fields of application. An increasing number of applications in technical textiles and in the medical sector poise TENCEL® for continued growth.
Finally, at Lenzing, the group’s largest fiber site, pulp production was expanded in 2010 to include a new, eco-friendly ozone bleach. This guarantees the site‘s supply of pulp despite the increases in fiber production. In addition, to the company plans to further extend pulp production capacity to 260,000 tonnes.