10 November 2020

Spotlight on German Adhesives Association IVK

Managing Director of Technical Affairs talks about the “wonderful experience” of being connected to the European tape manufacturer and raw material supplier ‘scene’ and family

IVK, the German Adhesives Association, is a long-time Affiliated Member of Afera. Located in Düsseldorf, the national group safeguards the technical, political and economic interests of more than 150 German adhesives, tapes and raw materials manufacturers, as well as important system partners and scientific institutes. Having been in the adhesive bonding business for 27 years, Axel Hessland has worked for IVK for 21 years, since 2010 as managing director of technical affairs. Before this, he worked as a scientist and consultant at the notable German research institute Fraunhofer IFAM.

Engaging in technical work
“After starting at IVK, I immediately became responsible for the Commercial Working Group as well as for the “Adhesive Tapes” Technical Committee,” Mr. Hessland recounted. “Both of these groups have worked with Afera for a long time.” Within Afera’s Technical Committee (TC), he represents both IVK and FEICA, the European Adhesive and Sealant Association, for which he is chairman of the Technical Working Group ‘Hazardous Products & Environment’.

For European national tape associations and groups, Afera is a gateway
The German adhesives and tapes industry, which is mainly small and medium-sized in structure, employs more than 13,000 people and represents an annual turnover of more than €4 billion. The increasing use of adhesive bonding technology in almost every industry generates an added value which is believed to be more than €400 billion.

IVK focuses on technology, communication and future initiatives embedded in the vision of a sustainable world. The organisation fully supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the aims of the European Green Deal, and adhesives and adhesive tapes are an important enabler in this respect.

“Therefore technical issues are our highest priority,” said Mr. Hessland. “Because above all they concern the joint implementation of sustainable solutions, legal requirements for companies, and have great significance for the success of the industry.” These include the issues of REACH, classification and labelling (GHS/CLP), ecodesign regulations, permitted biocides, (mandated) standardisation and sustainability, as well as leaflets and brochures, seminars and conferences and contacts with customer organisations.

“Afera is the gateway to the European stage, i.e. the European Commission, European Parliament, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), etc., to which national associations such as IVK usually do not have access,” Mr. Hessland shared. “Furthermore, Afera is one of the global leaders in standardising adhesive tape, achieving this through the Global Tape Forum (GTF), in which it played a chief role of establishing. As a European industry collective, Afera also has very much experience in working on standardisation within the European (CEN) and international (ISO) bodies.”

As part of Afera’s decision-making leadership, Mr. Hessland brings a lot to the TC and GTF tables. “It is a great experience to see that your own ideas and thoughts become part of a strategy and action plan to develop and increase the adhesive tape business in a future-proof and sustainable way,” he related. “And my work within IVK and FEICA at times enables me to bring solutions from the world of adhesives into the world of adhesive tapes, and vice versa, something which may generate additional synergies.” Mr. Hessland said that he meets many of his members at Afera events too.

Keeping in the mix
In addition to the company-wise capacity in which Mr. Hessland engages in Afera, he talks of “the great feeling and wonderful experience of being a part of the adhesive tape family.” Discussions and relationships not only revolve around business and industry interests but are also warm and respectful on a personal basis.

“My favourite aspect of Afera Membership is the connection to the European tape manufacturer and raw material supplier ‘scene’ and family,” Mr Hessland added. “It is also really important to safeguard the technical, political and economic interests of the German adhesive tape manufacturers at the European level. It is an opportunity to connect the world of adhesives (FEICA) with the world of adhesive tapes (Afera), and a change to create synergies.”

Where do you see Afera in 5 years?
“The European Green Deal, the Circular Economic Action Plan (CEAP) and the Renovation Wave will have a significant impact on the business of adhesive bonding technology,” Mr. Hessland forecast. “One of Afera’s main tasks is to guide its Membership to make the best of these revolutions sweeping through industry.” He predicts that in 5 years’ time, the Green Deal and Circular Economy will have been implemented through various legal initiatives, and Afera will be a well-respected partner of the E.C. in this regard.

If you would be interested in joining Afera’s Steering, Technical or Marketing Committee, please contact Ms. Lejeune on +31 70 312 39 16 or send an e-mail here for more details. Read Afera’s Statutes here.