A Word with Our Partners, Kelheim Fibres: World Leaders in Sustainable Viscose
Kelheim Fibres was founded in 1935 and has, right from its inception, been focused on innovation, quality, and sustainability. Kelheim is located in Bavaria, Germany.
With those foundational values, it’s no wonder they are great partners for us at Hologenix in developing CELLIANT Viscose, the first in-fiber sustainable viscose infrared solution. We wanted to spend a few moments with Kelheim’s Marina Crnoja-Cosic, Director New Business Development and Dominik Mayer, Project Manager Fibre & Application Development, to get their perspective on Kelheim and CELLIANT Viscose.
Welcome, Marina and Dominik! Thanks for joining us. Can you tell us what makes Kelheim a world leader in sustainable viscose?
Yes, we are the first viscose fibre manufacturer in the world to be validated to EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) which helps evaluate, report, and improve our environmental performance. This means we have obligated ourselves to set the highest environmental standards and, importantly, to be transparent. Furthermore, we have the capabilities to functionalize viscose fibers so we can replace non-biodegradable materials, without compromising on performance, to increase sustainability.
And what are the specific sustainability attributes of the viscose produced by Kelheim Fibres?
Our fibers are made from 100% wood pulp harvested in sustainably managed sources that are certified by FSC® or PEFC™. We were also awarded a green shirt in Canopy’s 2020 Hot Button Ranking, which means we are leaders in raw material sourcing. In addition, internally we have resource-saving production processes — closed loops everywhere — and we are always striving to get even more efficient.
How did you come to work with Hologenix and tell us about developing CELLIANT Viscose?
Around four years ago, we did a market research study looking for companies promoting infrared technology. CELLIANT was the most interesting for us, because they shared our vision of a high-performing, yet sustainable product, plus they had no cellulosic fibres in their portfolio. Once we introduced our fiber technologies, Hologenix was very enthusiastic about all the possibilities. That led to the first trials with powder and spinning. Seth, Hologenix’s CEO, then came to visit our production plants and we decided to start the first trial of production scale in 2019. The piloting projects then went on during COVID in 2020, which was a unique challenge, but were still successful. We developed and produced bulk volume of four different CELLIANT Viscose types for various applications and launched the development at ISPO 2021.
- Textile Type- 1,7 dtex/40 mm
- Nonwovens Type -1,7 dtex/40 mm
- Nonwovens Type- 6,7 dtex/60mm
- Wool-Type 2,5 dtex 70 – 90 – 110 mm variable cut
Wool Tops available through BWK-Bremen Germany.
Did you feel it was a meeting of two like-minded companies?
Absolutely. Sustainable products for a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing — that’s what both Hologenix and Kelheim Fibres stand for. This shared vision of the future is really the basis for our cooperation.
What was really impressive, and important, to us was the drive behind CELLIANT Viscose once it got kicked off. The enthusiasm of the whole Hologenix team was so inspiring and highly professional to push this toward success. Especially during the mutual marketing campaign, both companies have been collaborating as one unit to manage the first commercial volumes.
Why should brands be excited about CELLIANT Viscose?
It’s really a win-win for brands. The CELLIANT infrared technology offers real brand differentiation with the primary benefits of stronger performance, faster recovery and better sleep through infrared wellness. Along with that, there is the powerful sustainable aspect of CELLIANT Viscose that is, or most definitely should be, very important to any brand that creates any sort of textile products.
And finally, what does the future hold for CELLIANT Viscose?
Well, let’s focus on the near future first. For that, we are looking to rapidly commercialize products for apparel and home textiles as those are important for people’s wellbeing. For the future, over the next few years, we are looking into uses of CELLIANT Viscose in hygienics. Kelheim is already a world leader in viscose specialities for hygienics and so it’s a space where we have a lot of know-how. Specifically, we are looking at orthopedic, femtech, and incontinence care.
Beyond hygienics, we have plans for beauty products, such as facial masks, and pending additional clinical trials, even wound care products. There really are so many possibilities and we’re focused on those that deliver wellness and sustainability where they are needed most.