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05th September 2017

Kelheim’s viscose speciality fibre VILOFT® has been granted the OK biodegradable MARINE certificate from the Belgian certification body Vinçotte. The fibres were tested according to International Standards and confirmed they naturally break down completely in marine water.
VILOFT® short cut fibres from Bavarian viscose fibre specialist Kelheim Fibres have been specifically engineered for use in flushable moist personal hygiene tissues. These speciality fibres are characterized by their flat cross-section and their short fibre length – both these properties have proven particularly beneficial in delivering rapid disintegration of such products. Moist tissues made with VILOFT® and cellulose can prevent the increasing problem of blocked pumps in sewage treatment plants.
Looking beyond the boundaries of local waste water management, there is a second, equally important aspect to the disposal of moist hygiene wipes: worldwide, about 1.1 million tons of nonwovens are used for wipes applications every year, with a majority of these based on petrochemicals. A large percentage of these wipes is used for baby and personal care; these wipes are more likely to be disposed of incorrectly, either via the toilet, or even directly discharged into the environment: wipes are among the most common debris found on beaches.
Passing through the sewer system or disposed of on the beach: wipes based on petrochemicals become a significant part of the vast amount of plastic waste – estimates range from 4.4 to 13 million tonnes - that pollute our oceans every year. This marine litter, with degrading times up to 450 years, poses a threat for marine life and can enter the food chain as microplastics – with as yet unknown consequences.
Since the recycling of personal hygiene products is a challenging task, the best choice is to substitute the non-degradable by bio-degradable components wherever possible, particularly for such disposable applications.
VILOFT® fibres and wipes made of VILOFT® and cellulose are completely bio-degradable. VILOFT®, as all viscose fibres, is made of cellulose – the most abundant material in nature and a renewable raw material of which all plants are made. Therefore, the biodegradation of cellulose is a naturally occurring process in nature.
The “OK biodegradable MARINE” certificate from Vinçotte is - as well as the “compostable” seal of Kelheim’s fibres– one more proof for the excellent biodegradability of the fibre in different environments.



24th August 2017

Viscose Speciality Fibres from Kelheim – an answer to a global problem?


Marine Litter is a global problem which is attracting more and more public attention: Plastic waste is not only ugly and a danger to flora and fauna – vast amounts of small plastic particles are floating in our oceans and are able to enter our food chain without being detected.
Kelheim Fibres, the world’s leading manufacturer of viscose speciality fibres, presents a new concept that can help to prevent at least a part of this pollution in the first place by substituting conventional wet wipes, which usually contain a significant share of synthetic fibres, by wet wipes made with Kelheim’s viscose speciality short cut fibre Viloft® and cellulose.
Both raw materials are plant-based and therefore completely bio-degradable.
With moist toilet tissue in particular, disposal via the toilet is clearly the obvious solution – but in contrast to conventional wipes containing polyester, wipes made of Viloft® short cut fibres can be flushed without concern, as the fibres have two plus points: there is neither a reason to fear an entry of plastic particles into the oceans nor the blockage of private or municipal sewage systems. Wipes made of Viloft® short cut fibres disintegrate in the sewage systems to small particles that do not harm this infrastructure.
At the 56th International Man-made Fibers Congress at Dornbirn, Austria, Business Manager Horst Wörner will speak about Kelheim’s contribution to the reduction of marine litter.
His colleagues Dr. Nina Köhne and Dr. Roland Scholz will present further innovations of the Bavarian fibre specialist.
Dr. Köhne will present the result of a joint research project with Resorba: based on the bio-polymers cellulose and collagen, the scientists created a multifunctional wound dressing, that is significantly superior to reference products as a result of its pH-indication and its gel-forming and wound healing properties.
Dr. Scholz will speak about carbon fibres that also can be manufactured sustainably, that is to say of the renewable raw material cellulose, by using viscose fibres as precursors,
The benefit: by modifying the viscose fibre during its production, the course of the subsequent carbonisation can be changed in specific ways. For instance, a significant increase in the yield of carbon as well as a reduction of undesirable pyrolysis by-products was achieved.
In addition to their presentations, the R&D team of the Bavarian viscose fibre manufacturer looks forward to interesting conversations at their company’s booth.



25th July 2017

Responsible Care: Kelheim Fibres scores high points with Flushable Moist Toilet Tissue and Integrated Product Policy


RC Siegerehrung 2017 Kelheim Fibres
© Bayerische Chemieverbände

Kelheim Fibres was pleased to claim the Recognition Award in the Responsible-Care-Competition 2017 of the Bavarian branch of VCI (Association of the Chemical Industry e.V.) for its integrated product policy.
The topic of the competition was „The Closed Circle Economy“relating to the areas of environmental protection, product responsibility and dialogue in respect of Responsible Care. Kelheim Fibres, world-leading manufacturer of viscose speciality fibres, scored high points with their viscose short cut fibres VILOFT®, specifically developed for the production of increasingly popular moist toilet tissue; worldwide, the demand in this segment is increasing significantly. In contrast to traditional (spunlace) wipes, wet wipes made of Kelheim’s VILOFT® short cut fibres disintegrate rapidly and prevent the blockage of pumps in the waste water system.
Again, in contrast to commercially available standard products, these wipes are completely biodegradable.
Kelheim’s short cut viscose fibres therefore offer an enormous potential for savings with regard to energy and maintenance costs for regional waste water operations. At the same time, they offer a solution for the growing issue of increased pollution of water by micro plastics - a huge benefit for the environment
This fact convinced the independent jury of experts, who judged the projects submitted by their quality, creativity, impact and exemplary character. The citation for VILOFT® states: „This project impresses with the integrated product policy outlined: Even at the product design stage the focus is on the complete system. A bio-persistent material is being replaced. This prevention of waste and residual materials results in a Germany-wide saving potential in municipal infrastructures.“ Kelheim Fibres‘ Business Manager Horst Wörner is pleased: „We have been pursuing the topic „Flushability“ for years. With our VILOFT® fibre we offer the solution that has been sought by waste water authorities for years. Unfortunately, the dimensions of the problem and the corresponding saving potential is not universally known yet.
This Responsible-Care-Award confirms that we are on the right path and I hope it helps to create more awareness at the consumer level.“

Certificate - Responsible Care



11th April 2017

Viscose Speciality Fibres from Kelheim Fibres – Tailor-Made Added Value


The broad range of types of products and application areas is, according to its own statement, the winning formula of Techtextil, the leading international trade fair for technical textiles and nonwovens. The Bavarian viscose speciality fibres manufacturer Kelheim Fibres offers a solid basis for both of these: their exceptionally wide spectrum of the most varied functional fibre products is the perfect raw material for a whole range of technical applications, from nonwovens applications to functional apparel, and from sportswear to filtration.

Commercial Director Matthew North describes the unique characteristic of Kelheim Fibres as follows: „Our core strength is the exact matching of our fibres to our customer’s specific needs, to their final product or to their production process. This way we generate added value for the customer and that is the best foundation for a long-lasting and successful partnership.”

Customers can choose from a constantly growing variety of well-established Kelheim brands – for example the extremely versatile Danufil® - and innovative new fibre developments: At Techtextil, the Bavarians will present Olea, the world’s first viscose fibre with inherent hydrophobic properties, as well as the fibre speciality Bramante, which – in contrast to Olea – delivers significantly increased levels of absorbency relative to standard viscose fibres: Bramante can store liquids in the segmented hollow structure inside the fibre and keep it there even under pressure. Thus, Bramante is the ideal raw material for re-usable incontinence products and other hygienic applications.

Danufil® BF, a flame retardant viscose speciality, serves a completely different purpose: used as a protective barrier nonwoven in mattresses or furniture Danufil® BF can help to prevent a fire from spreading.

All these speciality fibres have one thing in common: By precisely controlling fibre dimensions and cross sections or by incorporating additional functionalities in the fibre matrix, Kelheim’s fibre experts not only create a fibre with additional new functionalities but at the same time, they can preserve the typical properties of a viscose fibre such as softness, skin-friendliness and wearer comfort.

Kelheim products are also clear winners in terms of sustainability, as they are produced completely from cellulose that is sustainably farmed and certified by both the FSC® and PEFC® organisations. And after use, the consumer does not need to worry about the safety of disposal of the products – the fibres are biodegradeable and certified as compostable.

Meet Kelheim Fibres at Techtextil – from 9 to 12 May, 2017 in Frankfurt, Hall 3, Stand F23 (with Bayern Innovativ)!



15th February 2017

Kelheim Fibres breaks new ground in innovation management – viscose fibre expert practices open innovation


By organising a competition for new ideas on the subject “100% cellulose fibres – re-thought” viscose fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres has broken new ground in innovation management. The competition was part of the start-up contest “Plan B – Biomass. Business. Bavaria“ organised by Bio¬Campus Straubing under the patronage of the Bavarian State Secretary for Economic Affairs Franz Josef Pschierer.
“In R&D we don’t just rely on receiving ideas for new products or new applications in our dreams, but we proceed in a focussed and methodical way”, says Walter Roggenstein, R&D Manager at Kelheim Fibres. “For us, this competition in cooperation with Biocampus Straubing was an attempt to boost our innovation process and to open it to beyond the boundaries of our company.”
Matthew North, Commercial Director at Kelheim Fibres, adds: “The competition was not only about specific ideas – we have seen completely new conceptual approaches and we have gained contacts in industry sectors and application areas formerly unknown to us. And by opening the process to outsiders we could avoid the risk of operational blindness.”
Kelheim was extremely pleased with the results of this experiment, partiularly with the broad spectrum of ideas: More than 20 different proposals - ranging from very simple, clearly defined application ideas to visionary future products - were submitted. Equally varied were the people behind these ideas, from school pupils to experienced tradespeople to academics.
The winner of the competition, Dr. Jürgen Pettrak from “Straubinger Entwässerung und Reinigung” (local wastewater authorities), was rewarded with prize of 2.500 Euro. His idea was the use of filters made of functionalised viscose fibres as a fourth clarification stage in wastewater treatment plants, to filter out the increasing amount of endocrine substances found in wastewater. These endocrine substances find their way into into the water due to the growing use of drugs in human medicine as well as in large-scale farming and, if not filtered out, they may finally affect our genetic material. But Kelheim Fibres was also excited by the other proposals, which concern the use of viscose fibres in environmentally sound yet at the same time tailor-made wound care, in semi-finished products with printed electrical circuits, eco-friendly felt pens, panels of pressed straw for construction applications and an idea for a regional marketing for regionally produced fibre products. These ideas were awarded further prizes.
„We will not put these great suggestions away in a drawer”, promises Walter Roggentein. “I am convinced that some of these ideas will lead to projects and finally to new products. For us, the success of this competition will lead to a further opening-up of our innovation process – on the inside as well as on the outside.”

Awards_Ceremony
© Barbara Rötzer

The awards ceremony (from left to right): Walter Roggenstein (R&D manager, Kelheim Fibres), the finalists the Deinböck family, Dr. Jörg Dörrstein, Dr. Albert Solleder, Christina Pop (representing Dr. Pettrak), Sebastian Kehrer and Matthew North (Commercial Director, Kelheim Fibres)



06th February 2017

Kelheim Fibres with a mixture of new and well-established products at index17


Viscose speciality fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres presents a mixture of new and well-established – and further enhanced – products at index17 in Geneva.
Flushability remains one of the most important topics. With their flat short cut fibre, Viloft®, Kelheim Fibres offers the first viscose fibre for rapidly disintegrating wet wipes. Nevertheless, the Bavarians do not rely on the performance of the fibre and their experience of more than 10 years in this area alone - quite the opposite in fact: together with the local wastewater authorities and renowned pump manufacturer WILO, comprehensive tests on products containing Viloft® were conducted in 2016.
“We wanted to go one step beyond the requirements of the flushabilty guidelines and we see what actually happens in practice - that is to say down in the sewage system. In contrast to traditional (spunlace) wipes, which led to clogging and blocked pumps, wipes made of Viloft® have passed the test with flying colours. Furthermore, our close cooperation with the wastewater authorities has made clear to us how much damage to the sewage systems is really caused by incorrectly disposed wet wipes. The increased maintenance costs amount to almost 200 Mio € per year in Germany alone – and, at the end of the day, these costs are paid by the consumer”, says Matthew North, Commercial Director at Kelheim Fibres.
In addition to their rapid disintegration, which eases the load on the pumps, wet wipes made of Viloft® and wood pulp are compostable: they consist of 100% cellulose and are fully biodegradable. Hygienic fibres remain another important topic for the world-leading manufacturer of viscose fibres for the tampon industry. Their patented, extra absorbent speciality fibre Galaxy®, highest hygiene standards as well as a deep understanding for their customers’ needs enable long-lasting peer-to-peer partnerships. The ”External Business Partner Excellence Award 2016“,recently received from P&G, is proof of this.
Nevertheless, the innovative fibre experts step up to new challenges, too: Kelheim Fibres’ in-house R&D has developed a new fibre named Electra, which can be used in a wide range of applications for the dissipation of static charges. Currently, Kelheim is testing the possible use of this fibre in connection with sensitive electronic components.
Kelheim Fibres displays these products and more functionalised speciality fibres at booth no. 2415 at index17 in Geneva.