The audience at Afera's Tape College

© Afera

11th Afera Tape College to offer knowledge on tape selection, manufacture, conversion, application, testing, sustainability and EU regulation

Afera, the European Adhesive Tape Association, is set to host its premier learning event in 2024 on 12-14 March at Le Méridien in Munich, Germany. 21 papers presented over four Sessions have been organised by a diverse team of dedicated captains of the tape industry. Recently they sat together to describe the event in their own words.

Tape, a technology of the future

Adhesive tape technology is one of the key technologies of the future for developing complex fastening systems. According to Ian Grace, technical sales manager at artimelt AG, “The Tape College provides 1) a deep-dive introduction to the world of adhesive tapes to engineers new to the industry, to make it easier for them to get started, 2) increased understanding for managers and other commercial professionals already working in the Industry, and 3) a chance to extend your network with both fresh talent and motivated Industry veterans.”

“Afera’s Tape College offers an ideal venue for newcomers to enter the market,” said Danny Beekman, technical service manager at DRT. “The presentations are accessible while providing good depth for gaining value insights. Following the event, attendees will have an excellent understanding of how important tapes are in the world, since they often greatly impact product design but are hidden from view to the producer and general public.”

Ralf Rönisch, head of R&D at Coroplast Fritz Müller GmbH & Co. KG, added, “We evaluate previous Tape Colleges thoroughly, and we regularly change our carefully selected, cross-industry presenters for some topics so the audience has the chance to view the same content from the point of view of different company specialists. This alone makes the Tape College worth attending multiple times. I guess you could say it is about ‘bonding’ in two ways: technology and people.”

What the programme covers

Matthias Renka, regional technical sales manager at Organik Kimya San. Ve Tic. A.S., explained the buildup of the programme: “The working programme consists of four sub-themed clusters of in-depth lectures over three days: 1) Why tapes?, 2) Tapes deconstructed, 3) Tape production, and 4) Tape use & testing. This basically means that all aspects of pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes are covered: raw materials and their technologies, tape production, quality, performance and applications in the various markets. What is special and increasingly popular is Afera’s emphasis on sustainability and regulatory topics, which are also scrutinised in the programme. And the highlights are the Q&A and networking sessions, which provide the chance to discuss what has been presented and to ask deeper and more probing questions. We believe each presentation serves as an opener for further interest, discussion and growth.”

What is special about this particular event

“The Tape College, as opposed to Afera’s Technical Seminar, which is held in alternate years, is not about new products and technologies per se but a highly concentrated view into the world of tapes in all its aspects,” shared Evert Smit, Afera President and director scouting at Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG. “It is important to attend each presentation in order to gain proper insight into the opportunities and challenges of tapes from cradle to grave. All true progress starts with deep understanding of the matter at hand. And then challenging the current status quo or even what is considered now state-of-the-art. The understanding is a prerequisite for a meaningful discussion. All this being said, I am particularly pleased that this year we have recruited a manufacturer of synthetic rubbers, TSRC, to deliver a lecture.”

Attendee profile trends are fascinating

“We are seeing increased interest from non-traditional countries in Afera’s sustainability activities,” commented Michel Sabo, R&D application development manager of Nitto Belgium N.V. “In many new industrial application segments such as e-mobility, LED technology and the circular economy, adhesive tape technologies will be key in meeting market and regulatory requirements. The Tape College teaches the technical basics for this. We would like to see participants from the more commoditised parts of our industry attend and learn. Additionally, we already strive to recruit more raw materials suppliers and end users especially from automotive, building and medical companies. We have also been seeing a trend from participants with technical backgrounds towards those in sales and marketing, and at the moment we are seeing an increased number of converters signing up.”

A successful Industry tradition

Speaking of its steady run since 2004, Reinhard Storbeck, Afera Technical Committee Chairman and director of R&D at tesa SE, said, “The March event is a continuation of the successful Tape College tradition. Our previous event, which was held in 2022, was just post-pandemic, so we had about 75 attendees. This year we expect to welcome double this number. The biggest change each time is the audience: a new group of future adhesive tape experts.”

“This year’s event is being held in a new location, Munich, for the first time in its 20+ year history,” noted Martijn Verhagen, team leader for liquid coated adhesives at Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG. “But we had listened to participant feedback which indicated that this city was a central and affordable destination for the European audience we serve. Most see it as exciting and adding additional value to the Tape College experience.”




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