21 April 2021

With further development of PSAs, senior application specialist Jeff Burrington sees expanding interest in non-classic tape constructions coming from the adhesives manufacturer’s business units

One of Afera’s actively participating Members, adhesives manufacturing company H.B. Fuller Europe GmbH, has delegates on both the Steering and Technical Committees (TC). For Jeff Burrington, who has served on the TC as well as several of its Working Groups (WGs) for the last 7 years, including Sustainability, Regulatory Affairs and Content Generation & Engagement, this has been a career-enriching experience. “Personally and professionally, I have broadened my horizons in terms of technical knowledge and experience as well as on a more philosophical level,” he shared. “It is a privilege to be able to feel part of such an experienced and capable community of people and companies.”

Getting to know the tape industry and Afera
A senior application specialist based out of H.B. Fuller’s U.K. operation, Mr. Burrington discussed his experiences since the company has joined Afera. “We officially became members in 2014, following my cross-association participation in the technical committees of FEICA and Afera.” He first came into contact with Afera through his company’s membership in FINAT, the European Self-Adhesive Label Association, which is also under the umbrella of Lejeune Association Management, and through Afera’s test methods, which are considered a standard in the tape industry.

Having earned a B.Sc (Hons) in biology at Royal Holloway, University of London, Mr. Burrington entered the pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs) market in 1993. He joined Industrial Adhesives Ltd., part of Burmah Castrol at the time, and built his experience in PSAs from the ground up. After a start in technical service, he moved into R&D. Throughout these early years, Mr. Burrington complemented the lab side of his development with customer-facing support, especially in the field of dispersion coating and coating systems. Since the acquisition of I.A. Ltd. by H.B. Fuller in 1998, he has worked on projects and markets globally, including a couple of years based in H.B. Fuller’s headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. His current area of responsibility covers EIMEA and primarily the European market.

Mr. Burrington feels his focus on the tape market increased once joining Afera’s TC. “I came to the TC table in the spirit of collaboration, and hopefully this was one of the reasons why I was invited to stay,” he said. “It is simply an honour and a privilege to be counted among such experienced and knowledgeable people. I feel I am able to walk the line between bringing an openness of viewpoint and co-operation, while at the same time respecting the boundaries that we all face in the reality of a competitive world.”

How the adhesives manufacturer has experienced the industry collective
H.B. Fuller supplies primarily solvent-based acrylics, solvent-based rubbers and hot melts to the adhesive tape industry, covering a wide range of applications from automotive, building and construction, and special masking tapes to protective films. According to Mr. Burrington, Afera has helped the formation and evolution of the company’s strategic pathway for growing their tape and label business globally. “Higher quality Conference and Seminar Programmes foster and encourage networking while giving H.B. Fuller a platform to present itself and the technology we develop and promote often through direct projects and partnerships with other Afera Members,” he explained. “The Conference and Seminar Programmes have stood out for me personally, but these have certainly been enriched by experiencing these events while serving as a TC Member.”

Speaking of Afera’s events, Mr. Burrington pointed out that H.B. Fuller employees, besides participating in Committee Meetings, regularly attend Afera’s Annual Conference, Technical Seminar and Tape College (the latter held in alternate years), and they intend to do more so in the future. “As the use of PSAs evolves and develops over time, we can see increasing interest in tape constructions beyond the classic tape applications,” he predicted. “So I can imagine future participation from other business units within H.B. Fuller.”

Where does he see Afera 5 years from now? Referring to Afera’s recently launched Flagship Sustainability Project, Mr. Burrington answered, “While echoing the desire to see the vision statement of Afera fulfilled, I will continue to support and play an active part of the Sustainability WG efforts to bring Afera to the forefront of a sustainable future for the tape industry in Europe and beyond.”

For more information, visit www.hbfuller.com.