Page 3: Research and development
Courtaulds created TENCEL as a result of its search for a new high performance cellulosic fibre to be produced by an environmentally favourable process. The first research work began in 1978 and the development journey through to end product marks a truly international achievement. The research took place in the UK, mainly in Coventry but also in Grimsby where limited quantities of the new material came on stream in 1988. Commercial sales followed later that year.
The first full scale production plant was commissioned in the USA in 1992, and Japan was the country where the product’s qualities were first recognised and marketed. Novel techniques were employed to introduce TENCEL garments into some of Japan’s more exclusive high street retailers. These included special garment wash finishing treatments designed to create very soft flowing aesthetics in casual wear.
After Japan, other markets opened up in the USA and Europe. More recently TENCEL has moved into South America and other Asian Pacific countries. Today TENCEL is being retailed in 31 countries worldwide.