New Year’s greetings from the President

Firstly, I wanted to wish all Afera Members a great 2020! As we usher in not just a new year but a new decade, I am excited about what Afera has recently accomplished and what we have to look forward to. 2019 was a pivotal year in terms of a few areas Afera is cueing in on:

Educating the current and future workforce of the adhesive tape industry 

Afera’s 9th edition of the Tape College, an event focussing on getting industry newcomers up to speed on the ins and outs of tape technology, boasted a record number of attendees – over 100. 

We also started focussing on educating possible entrants to our industry, our future workforce. Together with FINAT, we are looking into attracting new talent to our industry—actually branding our business—so that our Members can more easily recruit and retain valuable employees. We spearheaded that with the Afera Workforce Outlook 2030 Survey and a special presentation on demographic change in the workforce given by Deloitte Human Capital Consulting’s Christiane Schober at our Lisbon Conference in October. 

And speaking of educating our current industry, I am looking forward to holding our 9th edition of the Technical Seminar, 6-8 April 2020, in Brussels. This will include an added networking opportunity in the form of a new supplier tabletop exhibition in the ballroom of the Brussels Marriott.

Working with adjacent organisations 

Strengthening our voice and visibility, 2019 saw us forging important ties with associations in adjacent technologies, such as FINAT (the European Self-Adhesive Label Industry Association), FEICA (the European Adhesive & Sealant Industry Association), IVK (the German Adhesives Association) and also our global and regional counterpart organisations. 

We started planning with FINAT a programme on educating our current and future workforce on the possibilities—the reach—of adhesive tape technology. We have also just brought on board, together with FINAT and RadTech Europe (the European Association for UV & EB Curing Technology) a new public affairs manager, who will help us step up our regulatory affairs programme in a big way. 

Last year, I worked especially closely with PSTC (Pressure Sensitive Tape Council, North America) as I spoke about Afera and tapes for the European building & construction industry at their Tape Summit in Baltimore in addition to attending their Tech 42 meeting. A number of Afera Members attend their biyearly events and vice versa. 

CATIA (China Adhesives and Tape Industry Association) gave us the chance to participate as speakers in their annual conference themed “Green and innovation: promoting high-quality development of the industry,” which drew over 1,000 attendees.

And working closely with these 2 organisations, as well as JATMA (Japanese Adhesive Tapes Manufacturers Association) and TAAT (Taiwan Regional Association of Adhesive Tape Manufacturers), has allowed us to move forward as the 5 members of the Global Tape Forum in establishing globally recognised adhesive tape test methods, the latest of which is GTF 6007 Loop Tack. This and all other TMs are included in the Afera Test Methods Manual, which is being meticulously updated for reissue this year in digital form – free to all Afera Members and available for purchase by non-Members. 

The GTF and the GTMC (Global Test Methods Committee) are looking forward to meeting for our 7th event, hosted by JATMA, on 17-19 November 2020 at the Osaka International Convention Centre in Japan. The meetings will be held along with JATMA’s 41st Adhesives Technical Seminar, which will include at least 3 Afera Member company delegate speakers. 

Monitoring tape industry trends 

When thinking of Afera’s Lisbon Conference last fall, I am struck by the memory of looking out over one of the largest audiences the Association has ever drawn together at an Annual Conference and particularly how young and new many of the faces were! This Annual Conference, which focussed on making the tape business future-proof, allowed us to explore some trends which are so relevant to our businesses right now and will continue to be through 2020:

  • Treating sustainability as an opportunity as we explore and set up a new sustainability programme through a dedicated Technical Committee Working Group, and
  • Embracing the E.U.’s New Circular Economy Action Plan—incorporating tapes as a part of this. Tapes will have to be parts of products and solutions that are recyclable and reusable. Our future customers and workforce want this, and the law increasingly requires it.

Representing the industry’s needs

An important development within Afera’s leadership in 2020 is the addition of Dirk Pittoors of Nitto Europe, as another important tape manufacturer representing active members, to our Steering Committee. The other 6 Members of the SC and I look forward to continuing to roll out the Association’s new goals and strategy with Mr. Pittoors on board. 

And with that, I am also greatly looking forward to working with all of you at our upcoming Committee Meetings in Düsseldorf in February, the Technical Seminar in April, and, very importantly, Afera’s 63rd Annual Conference on 30 September–2 October 2020 in Valencia, Spain. 

I wish you and all your colleagues and partners a prosperous 2020!

Handtekening Evert

Evert Smit
Afera President