Textile Technology section
Südwolle: merino base-layer clothing for medical personnel
In hospitals where Covid-19 patients are treated, medical staff must wear protective clothing. Under this protective clothing, the skin sweats easily, is in discomfort, itches, and possible skin irritation and rashes can develop. For this reason, the manufacturer of worsted products Südwolle Group, Nuremberg/Germany, supports the medical staff in hospitals in Romania and China with high-performance base-layer clothing worn underneath protective clothing.
Conventional base-layer garments, which were primarily made of synthetic fibers, showed poor performance in moisture management and thermal regulation in these compromised conditions. Südwolle Group produced base-layer clothing that were initially intended for sports, outdoor or technical end-uses at their spinning mill Silvania Worsted Spinning (SWS) in Simleu Slivaniei/Romania.
They also joined forces with the producer of cellulosic fibers, Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria, and the Rainbow Company to produce base-layer garments from merino-lyocell blends to supply the medical team at the hospitals in Wuhan/China.
With their good thermo- and moisture-regulating properties, merino wool and Tencel lyocell are convenient natural fibers to be worn under such protective clothing to offer exceptional comfort.
Lenzing: Canopy award for sustainable wood sourcing
The non-profit-organization Canopy Planet Society, Vancouver/Canada, particularly highlights the commitment of the producer of cellulosic fibers, Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria, over the last few years.
The Lenzing Group scored a total of 30.5 points (4 points more compared to 2019) and received a dark green shirt for the first time, the highest Hot Button category.
Lenzing once again convinced Canopy with its innovative vision with regard to circular economy and Refibra technology, its high level of transparency in wood and pulp sourcing, as well as its active contribution towards protecting forests and preserving biodiversity.
Lenzing’s lyocell fiber produced with the Refibra technology (Eco Cycle technology for nonwovens applications) uses textile waste as part of the feedstock and is an important step towards a circular economy. The technology uses textile waste as part of the feedstock. Until now, textile waste has turned out to be the most promising alternative feedstock for scaled commercial use.
As a long-standing player in the industry, Lenzing has undertaken extensive research into many different alternative non-wood cellulose sources such as annual plants, like hemp, straw, and bamboo.
In addition to supporting a number of Canopy’s conservation projects Lenzing has set up a European social impact and afforestation project in Albania.
For its latest investment in a pulp mill in Brazil, Lenzing actively collaborates with Canopy to ensure that the wood sourcing is in line with sustainable practices.
Also the cellulose fiber producer Kelheim Fibres GmbH, Kelheim/Germany, has has achieved a leading score in Canopy’s 2020 Hot Button Report. Kelheim Fibres ranks overall among the top 5 producers and was even able to improve their good previous year’s result.
Lenzing: new blockchain-enabled traceability platform
Since 2019, the producer of cellulosic fibers, Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria, has been using the blockchain technology powered by the start-up company TextileGenesis, Hong Kong/China, to ensure the traceability of textiles from fiber to production and distribution.
After several successful pilot projects, the digital platform for blockchain-enabled supply chain traceability, TextileGenesis, was launched on November 5, 2020 for the lyocell fiber Tencel and viscose fiber Lenzing Ecovero. The platform provides customers and consumers with an overview across the entire textile supply chain.
A follow-up of a 12-month pilot program and field trials with 4 leading sustainable brands and supply chain players from 10 countries in 3 regions, the global roll-out of Lenzing’s traceability platform will be conducted in phases.
One of the core components of the platform powered by TextileGenesis is integration with the Lenzing E-Branding fabric certification system, which allows brands and retailers not only to access the full supply chain traceability for Tencel and Lenzing Ecovero branded fibers but also to view the results of forensic (physical) verification of fabric samples via the digitally signed Lenzing E-Branding fabric certificates.
Through using the innovative Fibercoin technology of the TextileGenesis platform, Lenzing and other brand partners are now able to issue digital tokens (blockchain assets) in direct proportion to the physical shipments of fibers. These digital tokens provide a unique “fingerprint” and authentication mechanism, preventing adulteration, providing a more secure, trustworthy, digital chain-of-custody across the entire textile supply chain.
Lenzing: improved results in Q3/2020
In the first 3 quarters (Jan.-Sept.) of 2020, the producer of cellulosic fibers, Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria, successfully responded to the extremely difficult market environment due to the corona crisis. The immediate effects of the Covid-19 crisis increased the pressure on prices and volumes in the textile fiber segment, in particular in the 2nd quarter of 2020. The increase in demand towards the end of the 3rd quarter, primarily for wood-based specialty fibers such as Tencel Modal and Lenzing Ecovero, had a positive impact on the revenue and earnings development, but was still below the level of the previous year. As a result, sales declined by 26.1% to € 1.19 billion in the first 3 quarters of 2020 (2019: 1.62 billion). EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) fell by 47.4% to €140.4 million in the first 3 quarters of 2020 (2019: €266.9 million). Lenzing’s investment activities continued to focus on expanding the internal production of pulp, increasing the share of specialty fibers and implementing the climate targets in line with the sCore Ten corporate strategy during the reporting period. The construction of the dissolving wood pulp plant in Brazil continues to progress according to plan. Expenditure is expected to be US$1.38 billion, and commissioning is scheduled for the 1st half (H1) of 2022. The strategic target to generate roughly 50% of revenue with specialty fibers in 2020 has been met. The focus of the coming years will clearly be on the construction of the new, state-of-the-art lyocell plant in Thailand, with the objective to increase the share of specialty fibers in the revenue generated by the Segment Fibers to more than 75% by 2024. Production is expected to be launched at the end of 2021. The investment for the new plant with a capacity of 100,000 tons amounts to roughly € 400 million.