Kelheim Fibres selected as finalist with Bramante

The viscose speciality fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres has reached the final of the ITMA Future Materials Awards in two categories. With its new speciality fibre Bramante, the Bavarian company applied for the award in the category “Best Innovation Medical Textiles“. Bramante offers a solution for urinary incontinence.

According to Kelheim, its hollow viscose fibre Bramante exceeds the naturally high absorbency of viscose fibres –Bramante is capable of absorbing and retaining an amount of liquid corresponding to around 250% of its own weight. It retains absorbed liquids even when under pressure, enabling the production of incontinence pads that are washable and therefore environmentally sound, yet at the same time absolutely reliable, and don’t restrict the activities of the user.

Incontinence solution

Kelheim Fibres has also identified the optimum construction for the nonwoven fabric used, and so, it says, offers the only washable incontinence solution which is currently able to compete with disposable products. But Bramante is only one example of Kelheim’s fibre experts. Kelheim Fibres has also been named as one of the finalists In the category “Most innovative large company“ .

Situated in the highcost location Germany, the Kelheim feels that the only way for the company to compete with the much larger manufacturers in Asia is to focus on the continuous development of new markets for viscose fibres.

New markets

In close cooperation with its customers, Kelheim Fibres develops new speciality viscose fibre products which are aimed at these new markets, and end products which provide additional functionalities that cannot be substituted by standard fibres. As a result of this process, more than 10 new fibres have been developed in the last five years alone and are being commercialised for different applications. Four out of these fibres are already produced in commercial quantities.

By pursuing this strategy, Kelheim was able to increase the share of specialty fibres in their portfolio from less than 30% in the middle of the 1990s to more than 60% in 2013. As a result, Kelheim Fibres is the only European manufacturer of short-cut viscose fibres for paper applications, the only European manufacturer of dry tow for stretch-breaking and of wet tow and is the a major supplier of hygiene fibres, principally for the manufacture of tampons. Kelheim Fibres aims to increasing the share of specialty fibres to above 80% within the next years.