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Berndt Köll on the Stubai Glacier: Initial field tests showed convincing results. (c) Lenzing AG
22.11.2023

Glacier protection rethought: Nonwovens made of cellulosic fibers

Protection for snow and ice: Cellulosic LENZING™ fibers offer solution for preservation of glacier mass

In field trials on Austrian glaciers, nonwovens made of cellulosic LENZING™ fibers are being used to cover glacier mass. They are showing promising results and offer a sustainable solution for glacier protection. Nonwovens containing fossil-based synthetic fibers might cause negative environmental consequences such as microplastics on glaciers.

Protection for snow and ice: Cellulosic LENZING™ fibers offer solution for preservation of glacier mass

In field trials on Austrian glaciers, nonwovens made of cellulosic LENZING™ fibers are being used to cover glacier mass. They are showing promising results and offer a sustainable solution for glacier protection. Nonwovens containing fossil-based synthetic fibers might cause negative environmental consequences such as microplastics on glaciers.

Geotextiles are already widely used to protect snow and ice on glaciers from melting. The use of nonwovens made from cellulosic LENZING™ fibers is now achieving a sustainable turnaround. Geotextiles show great success in Austria in protecting glaciers, which are highly endangered by global warming. By covering glacier mass, its melting is slowed down and mitigated. So far, the nonwovens used to protect glaciers are usually made of fossil-based synthetic fibers. The problem with that might occur as microplastics left behind after the summer flow down into the valley and can enter the food chain through small organisms and animals.

Sustainability from production to reuse
An innovative and sustainable solution for the protection of snow and ice is now possible with the help of nonwovens made of cellulosic LENZING™ fibers. "LENZING™ fibers are derived from renewable, responsibly managed wood sources and are produced in an environmentally responsible process. Thanks to their botanic origin, they have the ability to break down, returning into nature after use" explains Berndt Köll, Business & Innovation Manager at Lenzing.

In a field trial on the Stubai Glacier, the covering of a small area with the new material containing cellulosic LENZING™ fibers was tested for the first time. The result was convincing: 4 meters of ice mass could be saved from melting. Due to its success, the project is now being expanded. In 2023 field tests started in all Austrian glaciers, which are used for tourism.

"We are pleased with the positive results and see the project as a sustainable solution for glacier protection - not only in Austria, but beyond national borders," Berndt Köll continues. There should also be a possibility to explore for recycling after the nonwovens are used: These geotextiles can be recycled and ultimately used to make yarn for textile products.

Awarded with the Swiss BIO TOP
The sustainable glacier protection and its results also convinced the jury of industry experts of the BIO TOP, a major award for wood and material innovations in Switzerland. With this award innovative projects in the field of bio-based woods and materials are promoted and supported. At the award ceremony on September 20, 2023, Geotextiles containing LENZING™ fibers were honored with the award for its solution.

Source:

Lenzing AG

(c) nova-Institut GmbH
14.03.2023

Bacteria instead of trees, textile and agricultural waste

For the third time, the nova-Institut awarded the "Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year" prize at the "Cellulose Fibres Conference 2023" in Cologne, 8-9 March 2023.

The yearly conference is a unique meeting point of the global cellulose fibres industry. 42 speakers from twelve countries highlighted the innovation potential of cellulosic fibres and presented the latest market insights and trends to more than 220 participants from 30 countries.

Leading international experts introduced new technologies for recycling of cellulose rich raw materials and practices for circular economy in textiles, packing and hygiene, which were discussed in seven panel discussion with active audience participation.    

Prior to the conference, the conference advisory board had nominated six remarkable innovations. The winners were elected in an exciting head-to-head live-voting by the conference audience on the first day of the event.

For the third time, the nova-Institut awarded the "Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year" prize at the "Cellulose Fibres Conference 2023" in Cologne, 8-9 March 2023.

The yearly conference is a unique meeting point of the global cellulose fibres industry. 42 speakers from twelve countries highlighted the innovation potential of cellulosic fibres and presented the latest market insights and trends to more than 220 participants from 30 countries.

Leading international experts introduced new technologies for recycling of cellulose rich raw materials and practices for circular economy in textiles, packing and hygiene, which were discussed in seven panel discussion with active audience participation.    

Prior to the conference, the conference advisory board had nominated six remarkable innovations. The winners were elected in an exciting head-to-head live-voting by the conference audience on the first day of the event.

The collaboration between Nanollose (AU) and Birla Cellulose (IN) with tree-free lyocell from bacterial cellulose called Nullarbor™ is the winning cellulose fibre innovation 2023, followed by Renewcell (SE) cellulose fibres made from 100 % textile waste, while Vybrana – the new generation banana fibre from Gencrest Bio Products (IN) won third place.
    
Winner: Nullarbor™ – Nanollose and Birla Cellulose (AU/IN)
In 2020, Nanollose and Birla Cellulose started a journey to develop and commercialize treefree lyocell from bacterial cellulose, called Nullarbor™. The name derives from the Latin “nulla arbor” which means “no trees”. Initial lab research at both ends led to the joint patent application “production of high-tenacity lyocell fibres made from bacterial cellulose”.
Nullarbor is significantly stronger than lyocell made from wood-based pulp; even adding small amounts of bacterial cellulose to wood pulp increases the fibre toughness. In 2022, the first pilot batch of 260 kg was produced with 20 % bacterial pulp share. Several high-quality fabrics and garments were produced with this fibre. The collaboration between Nanollose and Birla Cellulose now focuses on increasing the production scale and amount of bacterial pulp in the fibre.  

Second place: Circulose® – makes fashion circular – Renewcell (SE)
Circulose® made by Renewcell is a branded dissolving pulp made from 100 % textile waste, like worn-out clothes and production scraps. It provides a unique material for fashion that is 100 % recycled, recyclable, biodegradable, and of virgin-equivalent quality. It is used by fibre producers to make staple fibre or filaments like viscose, lyocell, modal, acetate or other types of man-made cellulosic fibres. In 2022, Renewcell, opened the world’s first textile-to-textile     
chemical recycling plant in Sundsvall, Sweden – Renewcell 1. The plant is expected to reach an annual capacity of 120,000 tonnes.

Third place: Vybrana – The new generation banana fibre – Gencrest Bio Products (IN)
Vybrana is a Gencrest’s Sustainable Cellulosic Fibre upcycled from agrowaste. Raw fibres are extracted from the banana stem at the end of the plant lifecycle. The biomass waste is then treated by the Gencrest patented Fiberzyme technology. Here, cocktail enzyme formulations remove the high lignin content and other impurities and help fibre fibrillation. The company's proprietary cottonisation process provides fine, spinnable cellulose staple fibres suitable for blending with other staple fibres and can be spun on any conventional spinning systems giving yarns sustainable apparel. Vybrana is produced without the use of heavy chemicals and minimized water consumption and in a waste-free process where balance biomass is converted to bio stimulants Agrosatva and bio-based fertilizers and organic manure.

(c) Toray
23.11.2021

Toray Industries: A Concept to change Lives

Founded in January 1926, Tokyo-based Japanese chemical company Toray Industries, Inc. is known as the world's largest producer of PAN (polyacrylonitrile)-based carbon fibers. But its overall portfolio includes much more. Textination spoke with Koji Sasaki, General Manager of the Textile Division of Toray Industries, Inc. about innovative product solutions, new responsibilities and the special role of chemical companies in today's world.

Toray Industries is a Japanese company that - originating in 1926 as a producer of viscose yarns - is on the home stretch to its 100th birthday. Today, the Toray Group includes 102 Japanese companies and 180 overseas. They operate in 29 countries. What is the current significance of the fibers and textiles business unit for the success of your company?

Founded in January 1926, Tokyo-based Japanese chemical company Toray Industries, Inc. is known as the world's largest producer of PAN (polyacrylonitrile)-based carbon fibers. But its overall portfolio includes much more. Textination spoke with Koji Sasaki, General Manager of the Textile Division of Toray Industries, Inc. about innovative product solutions, new responsibilities and the special role of chemical companies in today's world.

Toray Industries is a Japanese company that - originating in 1926 as a producer of viscose yarns - is on the home stretch to its 100th birthday. Today, the Toray Group includes 102 Japanese companies and 180 overseas. They operate in 29 countries. What is the current significance of the fibers and textiles business unit for the success of your company?

The fibers’ and textiles’ business is both the starting point and the foundation of Toray's business development today. We started producing viscose yarns in 1926 and conducted our own research and development in nylon fibers as early as 1940. And since new materials usually require new processing methods, Toray also began investing in its own process technology at an early stage. On the one hand, we want to increase our sales, and on the other hand, we want to expand the application possibilities for our materials. For this reason, Toray also began to expand its business from pure fibers to textiles and even clothing. This allows us to better respond to our customers' needs while staying at the forefront of innovation.

Over the decades, Toray has accumulated a great deal of knowledge in polymer chemistry and organic synthesis chemistry - and this know-how is the foundation for almost all of our other business ventures. Today, we produce a wide range of advanced materials and high-value-added products in plastics, chemicals, foils, carbon fiber composites, electronics and information materials, pharmaceuticals, medicine and water treatment. However, fibers and textiles remain our most important business area, accounting for around 40% of the company's sales.

What understanding, what heritage is still important to you today? And how do you live out a corporate philosophy in the textile sector that you formulate as "Contributing to society through the creation of new value with innovative ideas, technologies and products"?

Toray has consistently developed new materials that the world has never seen before. We do this by focusing on our four core technologies: Polymer chemistry, organic synthetic chemistry, biotechnology and nanotechnology. We do this by focusing on our four core technologies: Polymer chemistry, organic synthetic chemistry, biotechnology and nanotechnology. For textiles, this means we use new polymer structures, spinning technologies and processing methods to develop yarns with unprecedented properties. We always focus on the needs and problems of the market and our customers.

This approach enables us to integrate textiles with new functions into our everyday lives that natural fibers and materials cannot accomplish. For example, we offer sportswear and underwear that absorb water excellently and dry very quickly, or rainwear and outdoor clothing with excellent water-repellent properties that feature a less bulky inner lining. Other examples include antibacterial underwear, uniforms, or inner linings that provide a hygienic environment and reduce the growth of odor-causing bacteria. People enjoy the convenience of these innovative textiles every day, and we hope to contribute to their daily comfort and improve their lives in some way.

In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 sustainable development goals – simply known as the 2030 Agenda, which came into force on January 01, 2016. Countries were given 15 years to achieve them by 2030. In your company, there is a TORAY VISION 2030 and a TORAY SUSTAINABILITY VISION. How do you apply these principles and goals to the textile business? What role does sustainability play for this business area?

Sustainability is one of the most important issues facing the world today - not only in the textile sector, but in all industries. We in the Toray Group are convinced that we can contribute to solving various problems in this regard with our advanced materials. At the same time, the trend towards sustainability offers interesting new business approaches. In our sustainability vision, we have set four goals that the world should achieve by 2050. And we have defined which problems need to be addressed to achieve this.

We must:

  1. accelerate measures to combat climate change,
  2. implement sustainable, recycling-oriented solutions in the use of resources and in production,
  3. provide clean water and air, and
  4. contribute to better healthcare and hygiene for people around the world.

We will drive this agenda forward by promoting and expanding the use of materials that respond to environmental issues. In the textile sector, for example, we offer warming and cooling textiles – by eliminating the need for air conditioning or heating in certain situations, they can help reduce energy costs. We also produce environmentally friendly textiles that do not contain certain harmful substances such as fluorine, as well as textiles made from biomass, which use plant-based fibers instead of conventional petrochemical materials. Our product range also includes recycled materials that reduce waste and promote effective use of resources.

The TORAY VISION 2030, on the other hand, is our medium-term strategic plan and looks at the issue of sustainability from a different angle: Toray has defined the path to sustainable and healthy corporate growth in it. In this plan, we are focusing on two major growth areas: Our Green Innovation Business, which aims to solve environmental, resource and energy problems, and the Life Innovation Business, which focuses on improving medical care, public health, personal safety and ultimately a longer expectancy of life.

Innovation by Chemistry is the claim of the Toray Group. In a world where REACH and Fridays for Future severely restrict the scope of the chemical industry, the question arises as to what position chemistry can have in the textile industry. How do chemistry, innovation and sustainability fit together here?

The chemical industry is at a turning point today. The benefits that this industry can bring to civilization are still enormous, but at the same time, disadvantages such as the waste of resources and the negative impact on the environment and ecosystems are becoming increasingly apparent. In the future, the chemical industry will have to work much more towards sustainability - there is no way around it.

As far as textiles are concerned, we believe there are several ways to make synthetic materials more sustainable in the future. One of these, as I said, is materials made from plants instead of petrochemical raw materials. Another is to reduce the amount of raw materials used in production in the first place – this can be achieved, for example, by collecting and recycling waste materials from production or sales. Biodegradable materials that reduce the impact of waste products on the environment are another option worth pursuing, as is the reduction of environmentally harmful substances used in the production process. We are already looking at all of these possibilities in Toray's synthetic textiles business. At the same time, by the way, we make sure to save energy in our own production and minimize the impact on the environment.

Toray's fibers & textiles segment focuses on synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester and acrylic, as well as other functional fibers. In recent years, there has been a clear trend on the market towards cellulosic fibers, which are also being traded as alternatives to synthetic products. How do you see this development – on the one hand for the Toray company, and on the other hand under the aspect of sustainability, which the cellulosic competitors claim for themselves with the renewable raw material base?

Natural fibers, including cellulose fibers and wool, are environmentally friendly in that they can be easily recycled and are rapidly biodegradable after disposal. However, to truly assess their environmental impact, a number of other factors must also be considered: Primarily, there is the issue of durability: precisely because natural fibers are natural, it is difficult to respond to a rapid increase in demand, and quality is not always stable due to weather and other factors.

Climatic changes such as extreme heat, drought, wind, floods and damages from freezing can affect the quantity and quality of the production of natural fibers, so that the supply is not always secured. In order to increase production, not only does land have to be cleared, but also large amounts of water and pesticides have to be used to cultivate it – all of which is harmful to the environment.

Synthetic fibers, on the other hand, are industrial products manufactured in controlled factory environments. This makes it easier to manage fluctuations in production volume and ensure consistent quality. In addition, certain functional properties such as resilience, water absorption, quick drying and antibacterial properties can be embedded into the material, which can result in textiles lasting longer in use.

So synthetic fibers and natural fibers, including cellulose fibers, have their own advantages and disadvantages – there is no panacea here, at least not at the moment. We believe: It is important to ensure that there are options that match the consumer's awareness and lifestyle. This includes comfort in everyday life and sustainability at the same time.

To what extent has the demand for recycled products increased? Under the brand name &+™, Toray offers a fiber made from recycled PET bottles. Especially with the "raw material base: PET bottles", problems can occur with the whiteness of the fiber. What distinguishes your process from that of other companies and to what extent can you compete with new fibers in terms of quality?

During the production of the "&+" fiber, the collected PET bottles are freed from all foreign substances using special washing and filtering processes. These processes have not only allowed us to solve the problem of fiber whiteness – by using filtered, high-purity recycled polyester chips, we can also produce very fine fibers and fibers with unique cross sections. Our proven process technologies can also be used to incorporate specific textures and functions of Toray into the fiber. In addition, "&+" contains a special substance in the polyester that allows the material to be traced back to the recycled PET bottle fibers used in it.

We believe that this combination of aesthetics, sustainability and functionality makes the recycled polyester fiber "&+" more competitive than those of other companies. And indeed, we have noticed that the number of requests is steadily increasing as companies develop a greater awareness of sustainability as early as the product planning stage.

How is innovation management practiced in Toray's textile division, and which developments that Toray has worked on recently are you particularly proud of?

The textile division consists of three sub-divisions focusing on the development and sale of fashion textiles (WOMEN'S & MEN'S WEAR FABRICS DEPT.), sports and outdoor textiles (SPORTS WEAR & CLOTHING MATERIALS FABRICS DEPT.) and, specifically for Japan, textiles for uniforms used in schools, businesses and the public sector (UNIFORM & ADVANCED TEXTILES DEPT.).

In the past, each division developed its own materials for their respective markets and customers. However, in 2021, we established a collaborative space to increase synergy and share information about textiles developed in different areas with the entire department. In this way, salespeople can also offer their customers materials developed in other departments and get ideas for developing new textiles themselves.

I believe that the new structure will also help us to respond better to changes in the market. We see, for example, that the boundaries between workwear and outdoor are blurring – brands like Engelbert Strauss are a good example of this trend. Another development that we believe will accelerate after the Corona pandemic is the focus on green technologies and materials. This applies to all textile sectors, and we need to work more closely together to be at the forefront of this.

How important are bio-based polyesters in your research projects? How do you assess the future importance of such alternatives?

I believe that these materials will play a major role in the coming years. Polyester is made from purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which again consists of paraxylene (PX) and ethylene glycol (EG). In a first step, we already offer a material called ECODEAR™, which uses sugar cane molasses waste as a raw material for EG production.

About 30% of this at least partially bio polyester fiber is therefore biologically produced, and the material is used on a large scale for sportswear and uniforms. In the next step, we are working on the development of a fully bio-based polyester fiber in which the PTA component is also obtained from biomass raw materials, such as the inedible parts of sugar cane and wood waste.

Already in 2011, we succeeded in producing a prototype of such a polyester fiber made entirely from biomass. However, the expansion of production at the PX manufacturer we are working with has proven to be challenging. Currently, we are only producing small sample quantities, but we hope to start mass production in the 2020s.

Originally starting with yarn, now a leading global producer of synthetic fibers for decades, you also work to the ready-made product. The range extends from protective clothing against dust and infections to smart textiles and functional textiles that record biometric data. What are you planning in these segments?

In the field of protective clothing, our LIVMOA™ brand is our flagship material. It combines high breathability to reduce moisture inside the garment with blocking properties that keep dust and other particles out. The textile is suitable for a wide range of work environments, including those with high dust or grease levels and even cleanrooms. LIVMOA™ 5000, a high quality, also demonstrates antiviral properties and helps to ease the burden on medical personnel. The material forms an effective barrier against bacteria and viruses and is resistant to hygroscopic pressure. Due to its high breathability, it also offers high wearing comfort.

Our smart textile is called hitoe™. This highly conductive fabric embeds a conductive polymer – a polymer compound that allows electricity to pass through - into the nanofiber fabric. hitoe™ is a high-performance material for detecting biosignals, weak electrical signals that we unconsciously emit from our bodies.

In Japan, Toray has developed products for electrocardiographic measurements (ECGs) that meet the safety and effectiveness standards of medical devices. And in 2016, we submitted an application to the Japanese medical administrative authorities to register a hitoe™ device as a general medical device – this registration process is now complete. Overall, we expect the healthcare sector, particularly medical and nursing applications, to grow – not least due to increasing infectious diseases and growing health awareness among the elderly population. We will therefore continue to develop and sell new products for this market.

In 1885, Joseph Wilson Swan introduced the term "artifical silk" for the nitrate cellulose filaments he artificially produced. Later, copper, viscose and acetate filament yarns spun on the basis of cellulose were also referred to as artifical silk. Toray has developed a new innovative spinning technology called NANODESIGN™, which enables nano-level control of the fineness and shape of synthetic fibers. This is expected to create functions, aesthetics and textures that have not existed before. For which applications do you intend to use these products?

In NANODESIGN™ technology, the polymer is split into a number of microscopic streams, which are then recombined in a specific pattern to form a new fiber. By controlling the polymer flow with extreme precision, the fineness and cross-sectional shape of the fiber can be determined much more accurately than was previously possible with conventional microfiber and nanofiber spinning technologies. In addition, this technology enables the combination of three or more polymer types with different properties in one fiber – conventional technologies only manage two polymer types. This technology therefore enables Toray to specify a wide range of textures and functions in the production of synthetic fibers that were not possible with conventional synthetic fibers – and even to outperform the texture and feel of natural fibers. Kinari, our artificial silk developed with NANODESIGN technology, is a prime example here, but the technology holds many more possibilities – especially with regard to our sustainability goals.

What has the past period of the pandemic meant for Toray's textile business so far? To what extent has it been a burden, but in which areas has it also been a driver of innovation? What do you expect of the next 12 months?

The Corona catastrophe had a dramatic impact on the company's results: The Corona catastrophe had a dramatic impact on the company's results: In the financial year 2020, Toray's total sales fell by about 10% to 188.36 billion yen (about 1.44 billion euros) and operating profit by about 28% to 90.3 billion yen (about 690 million euros). The impact on the fiber and textile business was also significant, with sales decreasing by around 13% to 719.2 billion yen (approx. 5.49 billion euros) and operating profit by around 39% to 36.6 billion yen (approx. 280 million euros).

In the financial year 2021, however, the outlook for the fibers and textiles sector is significantly better: So far, the segment has exceeded its goals overall, even if there are fluctuations in the individual areas and applications. In the period from April to June, we even returned to the level of 2019. This is partly due to the recovering sports and outdoor sector. The fashion apparel market, on the other hand, remains challenging due to changing lifestyles that have brought lock-downs and home-office. We believe that a full recovery in business will not occur until the travel and leisure sector returns to pre-Corona levels.

Another side effect of the pandemic that we feel very strongly, is the growing concern about environmental issues and climate change. As a result, the demand for sustainable materials has also increased in the apparel segment. In the future, sustainability will be mandatory for the development and marketing of new textiles in all market segments. Then again, there will always be the question of how sustainable a product really is, and data and traceability will become increasingly important. In the coming years, the textile division will keep a close eye on these developments and develop materials that meet customers' needs.

About the person:
Koji Sasaki joined Toray in 1987. In his more than 30 years with the company, he has held various positions, including a four-year position as Managing Director of Toray International Europe GmbH in Frankfurt from 2016 to 2020. Since 2020, Koji Sasaki has been responsible for Toray's textile division and serves as acting chairman of Toray Textiles Europe Ltd. In these roles, he supervises the company's development, sales and marketing activities in the apparel segment, including fashion, sports and work or school uniforms.

The interview was conducted by Ines Chucholowius, Managing partner Textination GmbH

 IVC introduces the 16th Edition of the Study "The Fiber Year" with Key Sector Data © The Fiber Year GmbH
10.05.2016

IVC INTRODUCES THE 16TH EDITION OF THE STUDY "THE FIBER YEAR" WITH KEY SECTOR DATA

  • Fiber Production for the first Time in five Years lower than Consumption
In a press conference on May 3rd 2016, the industry association IVC published in an established tradition both the national and the global sector data: Andreas Engelhardt, CEO of The Fiber Year GmbH left no question about all important raw materials, natural and synthetic fibers and nonwovens unanswered and presented In his study a forecast horizon till 2020. 20 country profiles of leading production as well as consuming nations completed next to statements from sector experts and an extensive statistical annex the new edition. The key messages were focused on production, consumption and trading volume.
 
For the first time in five years fiber production is less than consumption
 
Since 2008 the global fiber production dropped again for the first time.
  • Fiber Production for the first Time in five Years lower than Consumption
In a press conference on May 3rd 2016, the industry association IVC published in an established tradition both the national and the global sector data: Andreas Engelhardt, CEO of The Fiber Year GmbH left no question about all important raw materials, natural and synthetic fibers and nonwovens unanswered and presented In his study a forecast horizon till 2020. 20 country profiles of leading production as well as consuming nations completed next to statements from sector experts and an extensive statistical annex the new edition. The key messages were focused on production, consumption and trading volume.
 
For the first time in five years fiber production is less than consumption
 
Since 2008 the global fiber production dropped again for the first time. The global volume fell by 0.7% to 94.9 million tons. The decline was decisive caused due to cotton which experienced its steepest decline in forty years. The production in the current season is estimated with 22.0 million tons, a decrease of 15.6% compared to the previous season.  With a slight decrease in demand by 2.2% at the same time the stocks remain with over 20 million tons still at an enormous height. High growth rates of China's chemical fiber industry let expect a massive supply surplus. The global fiber demand in the past year has grown to 96.7 million tons. This represents an increase of 3.1% over the previous year, the weakest growth in four years due to a continuously decreasing growth of demand.
 
With a world population of about 7.3 billion people, this results in an average consumption per capita of 13.3 kg of textile materials for garments, home textiles, carpets and technical textiles. Synthetic fibers showed an increase of 6.6% to 60.7 million tons, significantly driven by a growth of polyester. The increase is largely caused by the area of filament yarn, as staple fibers achieved a moderate growth of 2.4% only. This can be seen as a recovery after this part of the sector showed in the last year a decline for the first time since 2008.
 
Cellulose fibers showed for the first time after seven years with strong growth a slight fall in production of 1.2% to 6.1 million tons. The market is almost completely dominated by staple fibers. Due to a growth across Europe and Asia viscose fibers could increase their volume by 1.1% to 4.9 million tons. In contrast Acetate showed a loss in a second consecutive year. A decreasing production activity was seen in all markets and regions with a global slump of 7.5% to 0.9 million tons. This drastic cut was significantly stronger than the losses in the end-use consumption, which can be seen as a clear indication of global destocking. The long-term shrinkage of cellulosic yarns for textile applications has developed further, so that the global supply of about 350 000 tons is equivalent to the level of the early 1930s.
 
The market for natural fibers experienced with a reduction of 13.2% to 28.1 million tons the biggest annual decline since 1986, which is mainly due to cotton. The production of wool was unchanged at 1.1 million tons while for bast fibers a reduction of about 5% is expected.
 
In a focus on the different countries, the People's Republic of China could further strengthen its dominant position with an increase in production output by 8.9% to more than 47 million tons. The United States could consolidate their second place despite a slight  decline of 2.5% to 2.9 million tons, while India experienced a continued decline in the fifth following year to 2.6 million tons.
 
Trading volume grows unabated
 
According to the World Trade Organization (WTO) during the year 2014 the textile and clothing exports reached around USD 820 billion. The for the yearbook researched trade flows of 26 countries and the EU (28) estimate that the worldwide export will fall to USD 780 billion in 2015. While the Chinese exports developed a first decrease in six years, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam were able to continue to raise their export value. The dynamic development particular of Vietnam with its booming textile industry can be attributed to the influence of free trade agreements.
 
Fiber production in Germany
 
Despite international trends and many political challenges, which increasingly plague the German chemical fiber producers, man-made fibers "made in Germany" are still no dying species, Dr. Wilhelm Rauch, managing director of the industry association said.
 
While in 2014 the chemical fiber industry in Germany suffered a decline in production volumes of 6.1%, the production volume stabilized at almost the same prior-year level. The production of cellulosic fibers remained with a reduction of - 6.8% (previous year - 8.6%) - conform to the worldwide slump of cotton. Synthetic fibers (in particular Polyester) however achieved a slight increase of + 1.6% (last year - 4.9%). Thus the reduction in production volumes kept with - 0.9% in limits.
 
As consequences of this a sales decline of - 4.8% and associated necessary personnel adjustments with -1.4% are alarming signals, that the site conditions for chemical fiber producers in Germany (and Europe) are urgently in a need of improvement. A positive turnaround could certainly bring a fair competition protecting and an industry-friendly approach of the EU business policy. But the emphasis of the current policy debates - about the recognition of the market economy status of China as an example of politically motivated developments let suppose a very different intension, so Mr. Rauch. Despite unfavorable economic expectant conditions it is to owe the commitment and innovation power of the local manmade fiber sector that they claim to withstand the international competition.  
 
Nevertheless, the sector would appreciate a somewhat lower political headwind.
 
Fiber processing
 
In 2015 the processing of all types of fiber in Germany could not keep the level of the previous year and suffered a decrease of -11.6%. The total imports of chemical fibers - mostly from the 28 EU countries with +54% followed by Asia with + 40% - show a plus of 1.1% (synthetic staple fibers +1.9% and filaments +1.7%), while cellulosic fibers suffered a slump of -7.4%. The total export is declining slightly (- 2.0%). Despite the reduction of total exports, here the shares in the various regions of the world compared to the previous year stood unchanged.
 
Further information is available at:
 
Andreas Engelhardt 
CEO
The Fiber Year GmbH 
Hauptstraße 19 
9042 Speicher, Schweiz 
Tel.: + 41 / 71 / 450 06 82 
 
Creta Gambillara
Economics and Public Relations
Industrievereinigung Chemiefaser e.V.
Mainzer Landstraße 55
60329 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: 069 / 279971 – 39