Technical innovation, transparency and collaboration with suppliers to drive tape industry forward
In a review of Afera’s phenomenally successful 1st Global Adhesive Tape Summit, former Afera Technical Committee Chairman and incoming President Evert Smit treated Athens Conference participants to his technical view into the key tape industry trends of 2018, from increasing globalisation to developing alternatives to conventional bonding solutions.
Mr. Smit, who is head of R&D at Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG and has worked in the adhesive tape industry since 1992, warned of the wave of the future, like it or not: “Where there is harmony, there is no innovation,” he said. We are in this industry together and need to co-operate, to co-create and to become trusted partners.
“If you feel this is dangerous—if you feel uncomfortable—this is probably where you’re meant to be.” 70% of tapes innovation will come from our suppliers, so we have to change our thinking. It starts with transparency in everything we do. And too much harmony can kill creativity, especially in Afera. We have to keep challenging each other to do things better.
Regulatory affairs are here to stay
According to Mr. Smit, we are moving toward less solvent-based and more water-borne and (UV curing) hot melt adhesives.
The global industry is increasingly looking at the waste problems of plastics, the degradation process, and the definition of “green” products. Suppliers from outside of the E.U. must have proper SVHC content information. “We all buy products across the globe, but not all of our suppliers are making available the information we require,” cautioned Mr. Smit.
“Are you all aware that by 2020, those of you who actually work with diisocyanates, unless the concentration of these monomers is less than 0.1%, need to complete timely certified training?” Mr. Smit asked. “Suppliers will ask you to verify certification, and penalties will be steep.” The message: You need to work with your suppliers to keep abreast of these kinds of developments.
Along these lines, European companies need to learn to treat tape as an article under the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). “Tape is not a chemical product,” Mr. Smit advised. “We are endangering our businesses if we keep supplying information to the value chain to the effect that tape is a substance.”