05 August 1995 00:00 [Source: ICB]
COURTAULDS HAS made what it claims is a 'major technical breakthrough' in the production of its solvent-spun cellulosic fibre Tencel. The development - which the company is otherwise keeping close to its chest - makes possible substantially increased spinning rates, enabling it to increase output at existing and planned Tencel facilities at low capital cost.
The advanced process, which 'results from improved understanding of the interactions of the variables in the spinning cell', will be retrofitted to the first unit at Mobile, Alabama, US, and used in the second Tencel plant currently under construction there, raising capacity at the site by 30% to 55 000 tonne/year.
The technology will also be incorporated into the Tencel plant planned for Grimsby, UK, for which construction is imminent.
Courtaulds notes that the Tencel expansion timetable will remain unchanged: the second Mobile unit, costing $143m, will startup in December 1995 and Grimsby is now expected to be operational in two phases of 20 000 tonne/year each, with the first coming onstream by end 1997. It was originally scheduled to be a 30 000 tonne/year single investment. No date has been set for the completion of the second phase, which will depend on market growth in Europe.
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