Lenzing, leading supplier of high-quality, botanic cellulose fibres to the textile and nonwovens industry, has announced that the company is expanding production capacities for its specialty fibre Tencel at its site in Heiligenkreuz, Burgenland in Austria. After obtaining all approvals and permits, the expansion project was initiated on March 21, 2017.

Annual production capacities for fibres will be increased by about 25,000 tonne as a result of the investment. The fibres will be available to customers starting at the end of the first quarter of 2018. Lenzing put its first industrial-scale lyocell fibre production facility into operation 20 years ago. Today, the fibres are sold under the Tencel brand name. A recent study carried out under the scientific supervision of Friedrich Schneider, professor at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, concluded that the Lenzing plant in Heiligenkreuz generates considerable regional economic effects. In addition to the approximately 230 jobs at Lenzing itself, around 940 additional jobs are secured on a long-term basis thanks to the company’s economic activities in the region. The additional value creation equals about 102 mn euro per year.

The factory in Heiligenkreuz has been continuously expanded due to rapidly growing demand. Up until now, Lenzing has invested a total of roughly 750 mn euro to build and extend production capacities for Tencel fibres. In addition to the Heiligenkreuz facility, these specialty fibres are also manufactured at the Lenzing site, in Mobile (US), and Grimsby (Great Britain).

The lyocell technology applied in Heiligenkreuz is characterised by a very good environmental performance. The cellulose fibres are derived from the renewable raw material wood in a closed-loop process, resulting in a minimal amount of environmentally harmful emissions. Due to their outstanding properties, Tencel fibres boast a particularly broad range of applications, both in the world of fashion as well as technical areas and nonwovens.

Lenzing CEO Stefan Doboczky said, “We will invest about 70 mn euro over the coming twelve-month period to expand production capacities for our high-quality botanic specialty fibres. With this investment, we are responding to strong global demand for new types of Tencel premium fibres such as the Refibra fibre, using cotton scraps from the manufacturing of cotton garments and wood as raw materials.”