Partnership brought to life  
 Lenzing moves south 

With its broad range of products, such as Modal or TENCEL® lyocell fibres, Lenzing has become the epitome of fibre production. TENCEL® is a natural fibre which is far superior to conventional cotton, offering a fibre yield which is ten times higher. While the yield of a cotton field of 6m² will suffice only to produce one T-shirt, the yield of a strip of eucalyptus forest of the same size could be used to produce ten TENCEL® T-shirts. Only wood from sustainable forests is used for the production of TENCEL®. Yet, not only the fibre, but also its production is revolutionary. The unique, closed-circuit production process makes TENCEL® the fibre of the future, as the solvent used in the process is nearly 100% recycled. This closed-circuit process has received the European Union’s “European Award for the Environment”. Moreover, textiles made of TENCEL® are more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk and cooler than linen.

And where is this “intelligent fibre” being produced? At Businesspark Heiligenkreuz in Southern Burgenland, where the plant started production in mid-1997. When evaluating different locations, Lenzing also considered alternatives in Germany and near its headquarters in Upper Austria, but finally decided to set up its new production plant at Businesspark Heiligenkreuz. “The overall package was simply perfect. A fully developed industrial park with full access to energy supply and wastewater disposal services as well as room for expansion convinced us to choose this location. We are an energy-intensive industry and need to pay attention to reducing our costs“, says Bernd Zauner, Managing Director of Lenzing in Heiligenkreuz. However, this has never been a problem because of the energy and media centre located on site. In the meantime, Lenzing has purchased the centre and now owns a power plant with two gas turbines, where it produces electricity which is also fed into the local grid.

The investment volume then amounted to more than 100 million euros, which was a considerably high amount, given an initial production of 10,000 tons. Today, Lenzing produces as much as 60,000 tons of the state-of-the-art lyocell fibre TENCEL® at its plant in Heiligenkreuz.

The required pulp is transported to Heiligenkreuz by rail. “This has many advantages for us. If the raw material was transported by road, we would have to unload the goods much faster, as trucks cost a lot of money, even during dwell times“, explains Zauner, who has moved with his family to Southern Burgenland. 

95 percent of the Lenzing employees in Heiligenkreuz come from the region. However, at the beginning it was very difficult to find qualified workers, but Lenzing tackled this problem pragmatically. People from the region who were interested in a job with Lenzing were trained at the Lenzing headquarters in Upper Austria and were then given the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship to become chemical process engineers. Many people looking for jobs in the economic development area of Southern Burgenland made use of this opportunity. Today, 90 employees have completed their training with Lenzing and are happy that they no longer have to commute long distances, for example to Vienna.

Today, Lenzing is one of the leading industrial companies at Businesspark Heiligenkreuz.