Kelheim Fibres has been selected as a finalist for the Sustainability Heroes Award in the category “Sustainable Innovation”. The award is presented by DQS (German Association for Sustainability) and DGQ (German Association for Quality) to pioneers in sustainability and aims to further encourage active involvement in this field.
The viscose speciality fibres manufacturer has secured the selection with its innovative plant-based fibres that can substantially contribute to a plastic-free future in absorbent hygiene products such as femcare or incontinence products.
In contrast to other plant-based fibres, viscose fibres can be precisely modified and functionalised during the production process. They can be adapted to meet the exact requirements of the single components of a hygiene product in terms of their liquid management properties (from water repellent to highly absorbent) and so match the performance of synthetic fibres that are still used in the majority of these single-use products.
Whereas today, environmentally conscious consumers must often decide between feeling safe and a clear conscience, the Bavarian fibre experts are actively developing more and more products that do justice to both: Kelheim combines sustainably manufactured and completely biodegradable fibres with the technical performance of synthetic fibres. The aim is to help to reduce the use of crude-oil-based plastics in single-use products and their negative impact on the environment.
Dr. Marina Crnoja-Cosic has been appointed Head of New Business Development at the viscose speciality fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres. She will also serve as a member of Kelheim’s Management Board.
The chemist with a doctorate degree brings with her long-time experience in fibre and application development as well as in business development. Customised and market-oriented solutions, cross-company cooperation along the value chain and constant attention to long-term industry and particularly to textile trends have shaped her career path for the past 20 years.
“Dr. Crnoja-Cosic is highly competent. She has an enormous wealth of experience as well as a comprehensive network. At the same time, she has repeatedly proven that she is not afraid to tread new paths – a perfect match with our philosophy! Together with Dr. Crnoja-Cosic we will intensify our focus on innovation even more. We are very pleased to have her on board!”, says Craig Barker, CEO at Kelheim Fibres.
At the place2tex future-innovation-festival, innovation manager Ilka Kaczmarek speaks about Kelheim Fibres’ innovation activities.
Openness to external cooperation and partnerships with inspired, innovative companies opens new doors and helps to find solutions for today’s challenges, for example for the problem of plastic in hygiene products.
Kelheim Fibres’ environmental policy is based on three pillars:
Efficiency, Credibility and Sustainability.
Today, environmental not-for-profit organization Canopy, third-party auditor NEPCon, and Kelheim Fibres released the results of Kelheim’s CanopyStyle Audit. The company’s current supply chain is confirmed as low risk of sourcing wood from Ancient and Endangered Forests or other controversial sources.
“Canopy congratulates Kelheim Fibres for its low risk audit results,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s Executive Director. “Producers are increasingly hearing from brands that they will no longer source Ancient and Endangered Forest textiles by the end of 2020. This audit result is a validation of Kelheim’s efforts in that direction and positions it well in a competitive market place.”
“Future-oriented fibre materials cannot come at the cost of Ancient and Endangered forests and other valuable resources. Therefore, we are committed to focus on sustainability at every step from raw material sourcing and state-of-the-art closed-loops production processes,” said Craig Barker, CEO of Kelheim Fibres. “As a small producer, we are proud to have accomplished low-risk audit results. We welcome the recommendations the audit report has given us for further improvements and we will actively work towards implementing them.”
NEPCon is pleased to be the independent auditing body for the CanopyStyle initiative and in particular making it possible to meet the growing demand for CanopyStyle audits throughout Europe,” stated Jon Jickling, Director, NEPCon Solutions. “Kelheim Fibres was committed to this third-party assessment of their raw material sourcing.”
Key findings of the audit include:
- The company is at low risk of sourcing from Ancient and Endangered Forests;
- The company has a limited fibre basket and uses a significant proportion of FSC-certified fibres in its viscose products; and
- The company has begun supporting forest conservation solutions in key areas of Ancient and Endangered Forests.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, Canopy recommends that the company increase the proportion of FSC-certified fibre, and make efforts to source 100% FSC, as well as continue to invest in research and development of low-impact alternative fibres, with the goal of launching a fibre line that contain these products.
This audit, which reflects a snapshot in time, is to be conducted annually to ensure that the company continues to meet the expectations of the CanopyStyle initiative. The audit findings contribute to Hot Button Issue Report.
The public report from Kelheim Fibre’s audit evaluations is available for download here: www.kelheim-fibres.com/en/sustainability/certificates/
NEPCon is an international, non-profit organisation working to support better land management and business practices that benefit people, nature and the climate. For 25 years, we work with businesses, smallholders, non-profit organisations and governments on developing solutions to major global challenges such as deforestation and climate change. We focus on forest and climate impact commodities and related sectors. Through a well-developed network of local representatives and contractors, NEPCon offers timely and cost-effective certification services around the world. Our focus on mission and impact differentiates our services and strengthens our credibility.
Canopy is an international not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting our forests, species and climate. Canopy collaborates with more than 750 companies to develop innovative solutions, to make their fibre supply chains more sustainable, and to help protect our world’s remaining ancient and endangered forests. Canopy’s partners include H&M, Sprint, Penguin Random House, Zara, TC Transcontinental, The Globe and Mail, and Scholastic. Canopy’s work relies on the support of individual donors who share our passion for the planet.
Because of the unpredictable risks arising from the Corona virus, the viscose speciality fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres has decided to stop all business trips to and from China for the time being.
“We recognise our responsibility towards our customers and our employees. Their health and safety come first”, explains Matthew North, Commercial Director of Kelheim Fibres. Among other things, Kelheim Fibres manufactures hygiene fibres that are used, for example, in tampons and other personal care products. These highly sensitive products have been also taken into account in making this decision.
The Bavarians operate their own representative office in Shanghai and are supplier for many Chinese companies.
“We wish China and its population that the measures taken will lead to a rapid containment of the virus”, adds Matthew North.
Kelheim’s premium tampon fibre Galaxy® has proven effective in sanitary pads: It can substitute up to 70% of the synthetics in ADL (Acquisition-Distribution-Layers) in feminine hygiene pads.
The amount of feminine hygiene waste is enormous – and often the time it takes for these products to degrade is hundreds of years longer than the lifespan of the woman who used it, because the synthetic components are not bio-degradable. Changing consumer behavior drives the need for environmentally friendly yet safe alternatives.
The viscose hygiene fibres from Kelheim offer significant ecologic advantages: they are made from cellulose, which means they are based on renewable wood and they are fully biodegradable.
These fibres are manufactured exclusively in Germany, in one of the most environmentally friendly plants worldwide.
Galaxy® in sanitary pads offers not only a benefit for the environment. Due to its excellent wicking and absorption capacity it conducts liquids quickly and efficiently away from the body and leaves a pleasant feeling on the skin – in other words, it does exactly what the ADL layer is made for. In addition, Galaxy® helps to distribute the liquid evenly in the absorbent core enhancing so the overall performance of the pad.
In comparison to other sustainable and conventional (synthetic) materials Galaxy® excels by
+ faster acquisition
+ lower rewetting
+ enhanced distribution.
“Plastic must disappear from these single-use products. The substitution of single synthetic components in sanitary pads is the first step”, says Dominik Mayer from the Bavarian fibre expert’s R&D team. “Down the road we want to offer a completely bio-based solution for sanitary pads and for various other hygiene applications.
Our advantage – besides the functionality of our patented Galaxy® fibre: Kelheim Fibres has been a renowned partner of the hygiene industry for decades; our production fulfils highest hygiene requirements. We offer our customers fibres that are ideally suited for the specific needs of their products and their processes.”
In the 2019 `Hot-Button ́ report issued by the forest conservation organisation Canopy, Kelheim Fibres attained a “green shirt” ranking. This result underlines the company‘s excellent performance as regards to raw material sourcing. Many fashion brands already value the `Hot-Button ́ report as a reliable indicator for sustainability for viscose fibre producers.
Raw material wood sourced only from certified sustainable forestry
The CanopyStyle initiative aims to achieve that no wood from ancient and endangered forests is used to produce viscose fibres. The audited companies must prove that they avoid these fibres and have implemented appropriate rules and procedures to check the origin of the wood. Performance in the areas environmental protection and innovation have been examined and evaluated by qualified external auditors; the report will be posted publicly in the first quarter of 2020.
Sustainable fibres for a changing market
“For years now Kelheim Fibres has consistently recognised the importance of sustainability and environmental protection. Now that resource saving and alternatives to plastics are of focal interest to the public and to the economy, our products are meeting with an even better reception from the market. Fibres produced in Germany with low emissions from certified sustainable timber meet the needs of customers seeking products that have a low risk of sourcing from ancient and endangered forests. “Having been awarded a `green shirt ́ in the `Hot-Button ́ ranking once again underlines this absolutely clearly!” says Matthew North, Commercial Director at Kelheim Fibres.
The two German speciality manufacturers Märkische Faser and Kelheim Fibres are cooperating. Under the name “Clean Color Concept” the two renowned fibre producers offer spun dyed fibres in Polyester and in Viscose in a coordinated range of colours.
Spun dyed fibres have always been an important part of the range of products both of Märkische Faser and of Kelheim. Here, colour pigments are incorporated in the spinning mass before the spinning process and are therefore homogenously distributed in the whole fibre. These fibres – and the final product – offer a particularly high colour and light fastness. The colours do not bleed during washing and they keep their brilliance even after many washing cycles.
In contrast to a conventional dyeing process, the colours can be reproduced exactly. Besides the usually lower production costs and a shorter throughput time, this is one of the main advantages for the further processing chain.
The environment is however the main beneficiary of the “Clean Color Concept”: The addition of colour directly into the spinning mass saves up to 50% of colour pigments. Further chemicals, energy and above all an enormous amount of waste water from a conventional dyeing process are completely omitted thanks to this technology.
Textiles made from a blend of spun dyed polyester and viscose fibres combine the advantages of both fibres: They are easy-care and dimensionally stable yet feel pleasantly soft on the skin and offer high wearer comfort. They are ideally suited for all applications that need large quantities of fabric of a precisely defined shade and that must deliver comfort and wear qualities as for example professional clothing or uniforms, but also furnishing or upholstery fabrics.
The call to replace crude-oil based substances by materials made from renewable resources is getting steadily louder – even at the COMPOSITES EUROPE, a fair that focuses on functionality and performance of the latest high-tech materials.
Viscose speciality fibres from the Bavarian manufacturer Kelheim Fibres kill two birds with one stone: They are made from pure wood-pulp and bear the seal of the FSC® or PEFCTM, both standing for sustainable and responsible forest management. The fibres have been tested and certified as a compostable material. At the end of their life span they are completely biodegradable and therefore make an important contribution towards the reduction of plastic waste and pollution by microplastics.
At the same time, these speciality fibres can be tailor-made according to the customer’s specifications and enable the production of future-oriented materials with integrated functionality. Kelheim offers a variety of options, as for example short cut fibres that can be carbonised and integrated in compounds to create an electromagnetic shield or even electrical conductivity.
A similar effect is achieved by the speciality fibre Electra, a viscose fibre with an electrically conductive additive evenly distributed in the fibre matrix.
But the fibre experts are not restricting themselves to these developments: “At COMPOSITES EUROPE, we want to generate new ideas and promote development partnerships”, says Dr. Roland Scholz from Kelheim’s R&D team. “For this, we are geared up with our laboratories and pilot plants in Kelheim – and our customer benefits from the added value of a fibre that is tailor-made for his requirements.”
Kelheim Fibres is looking forward to many inspiring encounters at stand A36 (Bayern Innovativ), hall 7.
Alexander Bachmann, Business Manager at Kelheim Fibres, will present a detectable viscose fibre with a unique fingerprint structure at this year’s Global Fiber Congress in Dornbirn. With this fibre, the Bavarian viscose speciality fibre manufacturer addresses a global problem of growing proportions: For organic cotton alone, the rapidly increasing demand with simultaneously declining production volume invite fraud and counterfeiting, but also other high-quality textiles are forged on a grand scale.
Kelheim Fibres supplies viscose speciality fibres that can serve as “marker fibres” thanks to special pigments that are firmly and permanently incorporated in the fibre structure. These marker fibres are added before yarn manufacturing and guarantee clear identification and traceability throughout the whole textile supply chain to the end product. The validation via scanner takes only a second and does not cause any damage to the product.
Kelheim’s marker fibre offers protection against fraud – protection against germs is offered by Danufil® QR, that will be presented by Dr. Roland Scholz from Kelheim’s R&D team: This fibre was specifically designed for the use in disinfectant wipes. In contrast to standard viscose fibres, the positively charged Danufil® QR binds less than 10% of “quats” (quarternary ammonium compounds, a common disinfectant). Thus, Danufil® QR enables the manufacture of effective disinfectant wipes from biodegradable viscose fibres which is a clear benefit for the environment, especially as these products are designed for convenient one-time use. For this new fibre development Kelheim Fibres was recently awarded with INDA’s World of Wipes Award.
Kelheim Fibres’ experts will be present at stand 19 at the Dornbirn Global Fiber Congress.
During the World of Wipes in Atlanta, the Bavarian manufacturer of viscose speciality fibres has been presented with the World of Wipes Innovation Award.
The award recognizes the newly developed Danufil®QR fibre, a positively charged viscose fibre, that was specifically designed for use in disinfectant wipes: Danufil® QR is the only viscose fibre
worldwide that – in contrast to standard viscose fibres – binds less than 10% of “quats” (quarternary ammonium compounds), so that this common disinfectant can release its intended effect in the wipe. Danufil® QR fibres are completely made of renewable cellulose and therefore fully biodegradable. They can be easily processed with all nonwovens technologies.
The annually presented WoW Innovation Award honours products that both expand the use of nonwovens and demonstrate creativity, uniqueness, and technical sophistication. The unique thing about the award: One third of the votes comes directly from the WOW attendees.
“Product innovations have a right to exist only if they work in practice and if they create added value. Therefore, we are particularly pleased about this approval from the industry”, says
Matthew North, Commercial Director at Kelheim Fibres.
North also takes the award as a confirmation of the company’s strategy: After a large fire in October 2018, Kelheim Fibres is currently rebuilding their fibre production site.
“We seize the historic opportunity to rebuild our plant with state-of-the-art technology and to meet the latest environmental standards. At the same time, we use the resulting slow-down in production to focus our energy even more on new fibre developments and process improvements. “Coming back stronger” remains our motto!”
At the CanopyStyle Brand Summit in Shanghai, the German viscose fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres announced that it is joining the CanopyStyle initiative. The CanopyStyle initiative aims to make sure that no wood from ancient and endangered forests is used for the production of viscose fibres by seamlessly documenting the supply chain. The initiative is actively supported by numerous leading fashion brands, such as H&M, Zara and Levi Strauss.
As a European producer, Kelheim Fibres already meets the requirements of the strict EU Timber Regulation and exclusively uses wood pulp from sustainable forestry with either FSC® or PEFC™ certification. Joining the CanopyStyle initiative is a logical next step which will deliver more transparency to customers and consumers.
„In the past few months, we have looked deeply into the topic of sustainability and have been able to collect data that proves that we lead the industry in many aspects. In future we do not only want to communicate these achievements better but also will increase our efforts to consequently expand our position as the most sustainable viscose fibre manufacturer. Joining the CanopyStyle initiative is a first step and more are to follow!” says Matthew North, Commercial Director at Kelheim Fibres.
After a large fire in October 2018, the long-established Bavarian fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres is currently rebuilding the heart of their viscose fibre production. In the process, the focus lies on modern state-of-the-art equipment and particularly on resource-saving and environmentally friendly production technology.
Kelheim’s viscose speciality fibres consist of 100% cellulose, a renewable raw material, and are therefore completely biodegradable. These fibres offer an eco-friendly alternative to mineral-oil-based fibres, in particular for end products – like many nonwovens or hygiene applications – intended for convenient one-time use.
Kelheim’s speciality fibres for this area include not only the well-known fibre Galaxy®, the world’s leading viscose fibre for the tampon production, but also short cut fibres that have been specifically designed for processing in modern wet laid plants. These fibres enable the manufacturing of completely plastic-free and even flushable wipes from 100% cellulose.
In textiles, too, consumers value natural materials. Kelheim’s range of speciality fibres for textile applications comprises spun-dyed fibres, as well as the renowned brand names VILOFT® and VISETA®:
In yarns, the flat fibre VILOFT® creates small air pockets, that make the textile highly breathable and comfortable – an ideal fibre for warm, close-to-the-skin feel-good clothes.
VISETA® is 50% finer than silk and gives clothes a flowing drape and a soft and naturally luxurious touch. Kelheim Fibres will present these and more viscose specialty fibres at ITMA in hall H3 at stand no. D213.
High-performance insulation materials, disinfectant wipes and supply chain transparency – viscose fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres will present solutions for these and more topics at this year’s Techtextil. With dry short cut viscose fibres, Kelheim Fibres contributes to energy saving: Fibres with an extremely fine titre are processed along with pyrogenic silica to vacuum insulation panels (VIPs). With their specific properties, Viscose fibres contribute reinforcement and allow for permanent dimensional stability.
Vacuum insulation panels offer the same insulation effect as rock wool with only one tenth the thickness. Such panels are used for example in refrigerators and freezers, as well as in building insulation. Transport logistics that demands an uninterrupted cold chain is another promising future market for these speciality fibres. Fresh from Kelheim’s R&D laboratory comes the new viscose speciality fibre, Danufil® QR. It is specifically designed for use in disinfectant wipes. While standard viscose fibres, due to their negative ionic charge, bind up to 80% of “quats” (quarternary ammonium compounds, a common disinfectant) and so hinder their actual purpose, the positively charged Danufil® QR fibre can reduce this undesired effect to less than 10%. Softness, excellent fluid management and full biodegradability are the typical properties of viscose fibres – with the use of Danufil® QR, disinfectant wipes can now also benefit from these.
Supply chain transparency and protection against forgery is another topic addressed by the viscose fibre experts: A marker fibre enables the – invisible for the human eye, but definite and even customer-specific – coding of products. So, the traceability of a product can be guaranteed, and customers and manufacturers can be protected from possible economic damages by plagiarism.
Alongside these new fibres, Kelheim will showcase many well-known speciality fibres as well as a range of new development projects.
That, according to Matthew North, Commercial Director at Kelheim Fibres, demonstrates the optimistic and future-oriented atmosphere at Kelheim: After a fire in their production plant in October 2018, the Bavarian viscose fibre specialists are gradually rebuilding their production capacity.
Currently five lines are working, which is the equivalent of about 50% of Kelheim’s former production capacity. The rebuilding process is expected to be completed by the middle of 2020.
“Until then, we concentrate all available resources on the creation of innovative new fibres and the development of new application areas so that we will restart with new state-of-the-art production lines, combined with more than 80 years of experience in viscose fibre production and numerous fibre innovations,” says Matthew North. “‚Coming back stronger‘ will be our motto for 2019.”
Meet the Kelheim Fibres team at Techtextil, Hall 3.1 Stand F23!
After a fire at Kelheim Fibres’ production plant in October 2018, the Bavarian viscose fibre specialists are gradually rebuilding their production capacity from currently 40% to full capacity by the middle of 2020.
While doing so, Kelheim Fibres deliberately focuses on the opportunities offered by the reconstruction of their plant: “In the future we will concentrate even more ever on speciality fibres. This strategy, combined with new state-of-the-art production lines, even better environmental performance and more than 80 years of experience in viscose fibre production will make us stronger and our business even more robust”, says Matthew North, Commercial Director at Kelheim Fibres. “”Coming back stronger” will be our motto for 2019.”
The IDEA19 fair provides the perfect platform to prove this point: Kelheim Fibres will present a new viscose fibre speciality, Danufil® QR, that was specifically designed for the use in disinfectant wipes. While standard viscose fibres, due to their negative charge, bind up to 80% of so-called “quats” (quarternary ammonium compounds, a common disinfectant) and so hinder their actual purpose, the positively charged Danufil® QR can reduce this undesired effect to less than 10%.
Softness, excellent fluid management and full biodegradability are the typical properties of viscose fibres – with the use of Danufil® QR, disinfectant wipes can now also benefit from these. The new speciality fibre has already impressed one panel of experts: Danufil® QR has been selected as a finalist for the IDEA 2019 Achievement Awards in the category “raw materials”.
Alongside Danufil® QR, the Kelheim Fibres team will showcase a broad range of – established as well as new – fibre specialities at IDEA19, such as, for example, Galaxy®, the world’s leading fibre for tampon production, or VILOFT® shortcut fibres for the manufacturing of flushable wipes. Meet Kelheim Fibres at IDEA19, Hall B, Booth Nr. 834!