By  on July 29, 2014

The Lenzing Group has successfully initiated production at its new Tencel “jumbo” production facility, the largest in the world, at the Lenzing site in Upper Austria.

This factory marks the first time in which a single production line with an annual nominal capacity of 67,000 tons was installed. Previous Tencel production lines were usually only 25 percent as large. The new plant design incorporates lessons learned from the experience at its three existing Lenzing Group Tencel production plants located in Heiligenkreuz, Austria; Grimsby, U.K., and Mobile, Ala., and will represent the newest Tencel technology. The design of the jumbo production line also enables investment costs to be maintained at about 150 million euros, or about $201 million at current exchange, equaling 2,200 euros, or $2,950 per ton of capacity.

“We are more than satisfied with the progression of the start-up curve,” said Lenzing chief executive officer Peter Untersperger. “Based on the production process in the past days and weeks, we have reasonable grounds to believe that this latest generation of Tencel technology will completely fulfill our expectations….We are optimistic that we will be able to achieve the planned production target of 30,000 tons by the end of 2014.”

The plant took two years to construct and will secure 140 jobs. With the new facility, annual nominal Tencel production capacity of the Lenzing Group will rise to about 220,000 tons from 155,000 tons. Lenzing said this will offer its global customers new expansion opportunities in the textile and nonwovens segments, as well as new and innovative applications.

Lenzing is the only industrial-scale supplier in the world of Tencel, a man-made cellulosic fiber manufactured in an award-winning closed-loop production process. Typical applications of Tencel, also called Lyocell, include sportswear, denim and home goods, as well as baby and cosmetic wipes. Tencel is also used in technical applications, such as a powder added to construction materials.

Lenzing also produces cellulosic fibers Viscose and Modal. The company had sales of 1.91 billion euros, or $2.56 billion, in 2013, with fiber sales of 890,000 tons. It employs 6,675 people worldwide.

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