The patented technology produces a nonwoven fabric made of 100% continuous Lyocell filament

The patented technology produces a nonwoven fabric made of 100% continuous Lyocell filament

Austrian cellulosic fibre producer Lenzing has developed a new nonwoven web formation process that starts with botanic wood pulp and produces a nonwoven fabric made of 100% continuous Lyocell filament.

Currently, most nonwoven products are made with plastic-based materials like polyester or polypropylene, which take hundreds of years to decompose. Coupled with inadequate disposal techniques, the nonwoven industry is a leading contributor to landfill issues globally, the company says.

Its new Lenzing Web Technology process can be integrated with standard non-thermal based nonwoven bonding technologies, such as hydroentangling and needlepunching. In addition, the patented technology enables a unique self-bonding mechanism where filaments bond into a fabric during the laydown process. This self-bonding mechanism enables a product range with a much wider variety of surface textures, drapeability and dimensional stability than other nonwoven technologies utilising 100% cellulosic fibres, the company claims.

The nonwoven fabrics produced in 15gsm to 80gsm basis weights with a wide range of surface textures and drapeability properties will also be certified biodegradable, clean and safe.

Following an investment of EUR26m (US$30.2m) and several years of research and development, Lenzing has completed the commissioning phase for a one-metre wide pilot facility located at its headquarters in Lenzing, Austria.

"While the nonwoven segment currently represents 30% of our core business, we are committed to driving stronger growth through more active involvement in innovations across the value chain," says CEO Stefan Doboczky. 

"Given the nonwoven fabric market size is expected to reach close to US$35bn in 2022, with a staggering compound annual growth rate of 7.5% per year over that period, it is crucial to support eco-responsible development of the nonwoven industry by using sustainable raw materials," adds Wolfgang Plasser, VP of global business management nonwovens at Lenzing.

"Consumers have become more aware of the negative impact of plastics in waterways and marine ecosystems. It is therefore incumbent upon the disposable products industry to step up and address such concerns. We envision that our new Lenzing Web Technology will enable the value chain to create more innovative applications out of natural, biodegradable cellulose materials."