CRAiLAR flax to be blended with the Lenzing fibres
10th May 2012, Victoria, BC and Portland, OR
Naturally Advanced Technologies (NAT) which produces and markets CRAiLAR, a natural fibre made from flax and other bast fibres, has entered a joint development agreement with leading cellulosic manmade fibres producer Lenzing. The agreement calls for the companies to evaluate the blending of CRAiLAR Flax fibres with Tencel (Lyocell) and Lenzing Modal.
Lenzing’s high-quality fibres are primarily used in the textile industry in women's outerwear and sportswear, as well as the nonwovens industry in for example hygiene products. The agreement, which was signed on 24 April, calls for CRAiLAR to be evaluated according to specifications for any of its cellulosic fibre categories.
"This is an important development for CRAiLAR Flax in that, to-date, both of our commercial and exploratory partnership agreements have been focused on how CRAiLAR can blend at varying levels with natural fibres for apparel, home and industrial applications," said Ken Barker, Chief Executive Officer, Naturally Advanced Technologies.
"With Lenzing, we can now evaluate the opportunity to expand the host fibres with which CRAiLAR can blend to identify new performance attributes, applications and industries. This is truly a new frontier for the future of our natural fibres, and working with the global leader Lenzing creates a very powerful industry platform in both sustainability and performance. This partnership will have applications in industry sectors where polyester fibres have been the norm, in addition to our existing applications as a sustainable complement to cotton."
Lenzing is a pioneer in global fibre markets dating back nearly 75 years. Its raw material for fibres is wood, which is the basis for producing dissolving pulp subsequently processed into cellulose fibres.
Its commitment to the principles of sustainability has led Lenzing to be recognized for setting some of the highest environmental standards in the industry. It recently introduced its eco MicroModal fibre at Paris Fashion Week in February 2012, and shortly followed that with the announcement of a record-setting year at the company behind double-digit growth in sales and profits.
"With CRAiLAR Flax and the applications that we have discussed to date, we look forward to taking advantage of its unique attributes, and to extending the range of products we can introduce with CRAiLAR Flax to our global brand partners," said Peter Bartsch, Head of Marketing Apparel at Lenzing.
According to NAT, both companies saw their leadership position in the market, with a particular expertise in sustainability, as an advantage during a volatile 2011 fibre market. This led naturally to exploratory opportunities for their fibres that could innovate and extend each company's product platform. The intent of the agreement is to create a range of yarns suitable for the fashion and sport performance industries that:
- Prominently feature Tencel, Lenzing Modal and CRAiLAR's industry-leading sustainability platforms
- Leverage each company's water absorption and wicking properties to create an alternative existing fibre material used in athletic and sport performance
- Create a blended yarn using CRAiLAR, along with Lenzing's cellulosic fibres, which can be introduced to the women's fashion market, where Lenzing has long been a leader with a strong presence
NAT supplies its CRAiLAR Flax to HanesBrands, Georgia-Pacific, and Brilliant Global Knitwear for commercial use, and to Levi Strauss & Co., Cintas, Carhartt, Ashland, Westex, Target and PVH Corp for evaluation and development.
NAT is in construction on its first full-scale production facility in Pamplico, South Carolina, and anticipates it will be delivering fibre from the facility in Q3 2012. It will partner with Tintoria Piana and Barnhardt Manufacturing on the processing of that fibre. The Company's current fibre is being produced at its pilot facility in nearby Kingstree, South Carolina.
Author: Billy Hunter