7 April 2021

Reinhard Storbeck, Afera Technical Committee Chairman and director of R&D at tesa, talks about active Afera participation, the adhesive tape network and communication

“As a technology-driven company, we are really strong in R&D, with over 500 persons working worldwide in this area alone,” explains Reinhard Storbeck, who is hard to pin down these days as he heads both one of tesa’s technology departments and Afera’s Technical Committee. This is no easy feat, as Afera’s TC kicked off 2021 with an agenda full of projects and activities.

Hosting Afera TechSem 2021
Most notably, Mr. Storbeck will chair Afera’s popular 9th Technical Seminar, which will be carried out in 4, 90-minute online sessions on 15 April. The biennial event features experts in their fields speaking on subjects ranging from sustainability and new perspectives to performance modelling, markets, applications and regulation. The quality of the event is reputed in the adhesive tape industry, precisely because the event working group led by Mr. Storbeck—Martijn Verhagen (Lohmann), Ian Grace (Loparex), Gert-Jan van Ruler (DRT), Ralf Roenisch (Coroplast), Michel Sabo (Nitto) and Astrid Lejeune (Afera Secretary General)—goes the absolute distance in recruiting the best in the business to present and works meticulously on fine-tuning the multifaceted programme.

In addition to the TechSem, Mr. Storbeck says that at least 3 or 4 of his colleagues regularly attend Afera’s Annual Conference and our Tape College, which “is part of tesa’s internal technology training” and also features tesa experts as presenters. In fact, he first came into contact with Afera through attending Afera’s Tape College as a young research chemist working in the lab. “It was the first advanced tape training of my career.” Over a decade later, he would attend his first TC Meeting during Afera’s 2014 Annual Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Working on sustainability and test methods standardisation
The TC has also just launched our Flagship Sustainability Project “Translating the European Green Deal to Afera Members”, a soft release of the Afera Test Methods Manual for Members, and is developing next-level, rheological test methods as well as a standard for Dynamic Shear. “tesa was one of the founding Member Companies of Afera in 1958 with the mission of standardising and harmonising test methods across Europe,” Mr. Storbeck said. “We remain dedicated to this activity along with additional value which the Association has brought to Member Company businesses in the form of yearly meetings, networking and training events, and our current push in the area of sustainability and regulation.”

Stressing the importance of communication
“One of the key topics we are addressing in Europe right now is sustainability, and more specifically, the European Green Deal, and Afera is the perfect forum on which to learn about and contribute to the direction in which we need to head as successful and, at the same time, environmentally conscious businesses.” He indicated that a larger plate of European regulatory and sustainability issues and activity would be Afera’s primary focus in 5 years from now, along with other pressing Industry technical issues which are routinely tackled in Afera’s TC and communicated to Afera’s wider Membership. Stressing the supreme importance of information exchange, Mr. Storbeck sees contact with technical working/experts groups in Brussels being stepped up already as the pace of legislative development quickens and the interests of the European adhesive tape industry need to be represented.

Networking through the Committees and beyond
As Chairman of the TC, Mr. Storbeck also has a seat on Afera’s Steering Committee. “One of the aspects I love about my role in Afera is that I get to communicate all the topics we are discussing and working on in the TC to the SC, which consists of 8 Members,” he explained. “And I also get to work closely with the Marketing Committee. Personally and professionally, the Association has provided me with a fantastic network which reaches through all of Europe and also the entire tape value chain, from raw materials provision to application.” Through Afera, Mr. Storbeck regularly uses his easy access to the European tape community for issues and projects he is working on at tesa. “I also have many valuable personal relationships through the Association and have a lot of ‘technical fun’ attending the Annual Conference.”

Over 26 years in the tape business with tesa
After obtaining a university degree in polymer chemistry from the Karlsruher Institut of Technology, Mr. Storbeck started his career in the adhesive tape business in the tesa tape division of Beiersdorf AG in 1994. Since that time, he has performed several roles in the organisation, one of them head of product development of the business unit on general industrial markets for a decade. Today he heads one of the technology departments of a company which counts itself among the top 3 tape producers worldwide.

What lies ahead for the tape industry?
“I see innovation as the driver for delivering value to our customers. Afera especially allows for quick and easy access to European suppliers in order to exchange with each other on the latest trends and challenges, sparking raw materials suppliers to support the R&D process,” Mr. Storbeck shared. “We all know that sustainability is becoming a business mandate, and the Association is addressing not just the many requirements but the opportunities behind this trend as a guiding economic principle. Through focussing on the lower-carbon-emitting technologies of tomorrow, Afera is actively supporting the European Green Deal—already a phenomenal benefit to Members.

For more information, visit www.tesa.com.