Afera educational awareness programme

The Technical and Marketing Committees have formed a working group on infusing adhesive tapes and their raw materials into the curricula of European mechanical engineering and product design higher education programmes. This involves building an integrated programme aimed at putting adhesive tapes on the radar screens of teachers and professors at specific applied and academic institutions, to raise awareness of these technologies as solutions for mechanical engineering and product design students. As systems and institutions vary across Europe, this programme must be rolled out on an individual country basis.

The working group includes Technical Committee members Evert Smit (Lohmann GmbH Co. KG), Uwe Maurieschat (Fraunhofer Institute IFAM), Jeff Burrington (H.B. Fuller U.K., Ltd.), Michael Raidt (Neenah Gessner GmbH) and Danny Beekman (Kraton Corporation), and Marketing Committee members Suresh Subramanian (Organik Kimya SAN. Ve TIC. A.Ş.), Sonja Santhiram (Sekisui Alveo AG), Annegret Lange (Evonik Industries AG), Florian Heller (Mondi Group) and Martha Sloboda (Scapa PLC).

Focus began primarily on product design in the automotive, electronics, white goods and building/construction industries, and secondarily on the medical industry in which tapes are already more widely used. The working group is currently in touch with several institutions in the U.K., Germany, Switzerland and Greece and considering a number of actions. Contact TC Chairman Evert Smit for more information or to participate in this initiative.

Pilot project in the U.K.

Afera will launch our educational development programme with a pilot project in the U.K. Because universities write their own curricula, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) recommended that Afera work with Pearson, the largest technical and professional education awarding body in the U.K., specifically on apprenticeship qualifications. Pearson owns the NVQ and BTEC (including HNC and HND) brands. Bryony Leonard is responsible for the automotive, laundry/textiles, white goods and technology sectors of level 2-3 (vocational) students within Pearson BTEC London.

Including bonding technologies in new BTEC educational system in 2020

Ms. Leonard is advising Mr. Smit and Mr. Maurieschat on providing input on bonding technologies into a new educational system co-designed by employers in 2020 for vocational engineering students in the U.K. This will be taught to students as from 2021, so the system must be ready in 2020. Employers have been asked to co-draft the curricula. Students need to be taught about subjects such as bonding technologies all the way up from the basics. It has been recognised that bonding is much more than welding, the current primary practice. Tapes and general adhesive bonding are of high interest, and Afera intends to play a role here. A kickoff meeting of this initiative took place at Bentley motors on 27 October 2017, and Ms. Leonard took Afera’s input along with her. 

Providing location of subject and content based on current status of knowledge of “joining technologies” in U.K.

Pearson needs details such as where tapes and adhesive bonding technologies should be placed in the curriculum and what content should be provided. This depends on the current status of knowledge in the country (mainly in England, Northern Ireland and Wales), that Pearson is specifically researching in 2017 and 2018. When Ms. Leonard shares the results with Afera, we will use this as a baseline in for determining what needs to be taught to the teachers. Mr. Smit expects this level of knowledge, where it relates to tapes and adhesives, to be relatively low.

Face-to-face sessions starting in 2018

Based on the results of Pearson’s research, 1 or more face-to-face sessions will be scheduled with Afera members, teachers and students. In close cooperation with Afera, Ms. Leonard will talk with local U.K. employers in the tape sector, such as 3M and Scapa. Afera intends to convey as much as possible the true benefits, limitations, uses and applications, design choices, de- and re-commissioning elements such as recycling and end-of-life elements, and legislative/regulatory issues of tapes and adhesives bonding technologies to those who will be instructing tomorrow’s design and process engineers. Afera is in a good position to perform this role on behalf of the European adhesive tape industry.

“Teach the teacher” sessions, May-August 2018

These will be set up with schools by Pearson with the purpose of laying the basis of the material and content to be developed. Afera is charged with providing Pearson with the content basis of what should be taught about tapes and adhesives bonding technology and will also supply actual bonding materials for the lessons. Looking to the future, students will be much more involved in hands-on learning.

Providing technical educational materials on adhesive tape bonding technology to additional European institutions

Once the content for Pearson has been finalised, it could be convertible to learning institutions across Europe.

Visit our current online content on tape technology at