Afera Annual Conference 2016

Report 2016

Managing at the speed of change: Afera’s Hamburg Conference a success 

Afera’s recent Hamburg Conference was very successful in attendance and feedback on the programme content and structure. This was Afera’s 59th Annual Conference, and it has become the Association’s signature event as well as the premier meeting place for the adhesive tape industry.

 Panel discussion

Why was it important?

125 professionals from the adhesive tape industry came together to share, learn and network. Held in Hamburg, Germany, at SIDE Hotel on 4-7 October 2016, the event:

  • boasted an attendance rate of businesses along the adhesive tape industry value chain that was on a par with that of last year’s Marseille Conference
  • attendees included adhesive tape manufacturers, raw materials, packaging and machine suppliers, distributors, converters, research institutions, and national and regional tape organisations from Europe, North America and Asia
  • delivered the highest quality presentations, moderation and discussions to date, including 2 days of lectures grouped around themes of “going fast” and “going slow” in managing the speed of change of business, technology and markets.


Central Europe as host

Afera’s Annual Conference is held in a different European city every year, chosen by the Steering Committee (SC) according to its current regional rotation schedule and factors such as price and accessibility. This year’s event, organised in Germany’s port city of Hamburg, was hosted by Afera’s “Central Europe” region of membership, represented in the SC by Peter Rambusch (certoplast Technische Klebebänder GmbH).

Event programming was carried out by Secretary-General Astrid Lejeune with the help of masters of ceremony Bert van Loon, Marketing Innovation Expert & Independent Strategist, and Jean-Loop Masson, Director of R&D at Novacel S.A., and Afera Marketing Committee (MKC) members.

A great cross-section of upper-level management of the most important players in the tape industry, the 4-day event’s attendance consisted of 128 delegates and 12 partners from 12 European countries including Turkey, plus the U.S. and Korea. 39 delegates came from tape manufacturing companies.

A working programme bringing value to businesses

Ms. Lejeune spent a great deal of time with the Conference MCs and MKC, which are composed of Afera member company delegates, developing a base programme focussed on “Managing at the speed of change” that included market data and trends, raw materials pricing and supply, regulatory affairs and the latest innovations driving the tape business. The result was a set of 9 valuable presentations given by experts in their respective fields.

“Capture innovation with strategic suppliers: Dealing with change throughout the industry vertical” delivered by Gordon Crichton, Director of the Institut du Management de L’Achat Industriel (MAI), was by far the highest-rated presentation of the Hamburg Conference. Many participants mentioned that attending the event just to see this speaker would have been worth it.

This was followed by 3 equally popular lectures: “The uber data and statistics hour: insights from two studies,” consisting of two separate parts delivered by Corey Reardon, CEO of AWA Alexander Watson Associates (NL); “Raw materials for the adhesives industry: trends and challenges” by Dr. Bernard Momper, Manager of R&D/AT Adhesives & Fibres at Emulsion Polymers; and “Coating and drying methods in R2R processes” by Dirk Röbeling. Afera members can view general event and speaker feedback statistics here, as well as express their views on what they would like to see at next year’s event in Turin. Look for coverage of the 9 lectures in the next few issues of Afera News.

The MCs and experts panel debates

Afera’s two excellent moderators from last year’s Conference, Mr. Van Loon and Mr. Masson, returned to host the Hamburg event. Each MC held an experts debate at the end of one of the Conference days.

Mr. Van Loon introduced Day 1’s theme, “Going fast”, with a video collage illustrating the evolution of the perception of speed over the last 65 years, namely in the length of Formula One pit stops from 67 seconds to 1.92 seconds. Making the latest record was due to an end-user-requested innovation: Mark Webber’s team asked if the wheel nut couldn’t be fixed on the wheel. Racing is a competitive sport – it’s about speed of change – like businesses.

Key takeaways from the 5 presentations that were echoed in the panel debate:

  • focussing on customer perception of your company over your product
  • creating valuable relationships between purchasers and suppliers
  • finding opportunities in environmental regulation
  • strategically placing valuable online content apart from your own website
  • creating organisational culture that is accepting of change
  • fostering a healthy mindset that includes the bigger picture
  • using entrepreneurship in reengineering processes
  • daring to break things.


This marked Afera’s 5th set of panel events, which centred on dealing with today’s complexity through the tape industry value chain in the 2 areas of core business and innovation.

AWA’s Global Specialty Pressure-Sensitive Tape Market Study

This year’s Conference also featured a complete market data session on recently released AWA and Freedonia studies covering both the global specialty tape market and the entire global tape market. Upon registration for the event, our participants were provided with the option of purchasing a special “Afera edition” of AWA’s Global Specialty Pressure-Sensitive Tape Market Study 2016. They could then pose questions to its author, Corey Reardon, ahead of his interactive presentation on 7 October.

In organising access to such information, Afera sees its role as a facilitator of information provision and analysis but in no way endorses the parameters or findings of either study. AWA’s study may still be purchased by contacting Corey Reardon.

Committee meetings

Combined with the customary Conference programme of 2 days of lectures and activities were the biyearly meetings of the Technical, Marketing and Steering Committees, which took place on 4 and 5 October.

Afera member company delegates decided to engage consultants on its forward-looking social media programme and growing regulatory affairs schedule. Members of all 3 committees are working on Afera’s education curriculum and recruitment initiatives. The TC has three events to plan over 2017 and 2018, while the SC is proposing to restructure itself. Read about the activities of the committees in General Assembly Minutes of 2016.

Networking most important

The Annual Conference’s working and social programmes both provided more than “adequate time for networking”, which was determined via paper survey at the conclusion of the event to be most valued at the get-together along with “overall schedule of events”.

A walking tour of Hamburg’s city centre and elegant dining allowed company and industry colleagues to unwind and connect on issues that might not have been broached in the boardroom.

What tape companies say

Afera’s 2016 Conference in Hamburg was again a very successful event. Perfect organisation, many interesting topics and nice insights into newly upcoming market trends. As usual all within a very positive and dynamic atmosphere in the presence of many business professionals. From our perspective, this yearly event is the perfect 360° networking opportunity with the presence of many different key players in the adhesive tape industry. We already look forward to Torino 2017!
Stefan Meirsman
Senior Manager Sales - Regional Europe
Nitto Europe NV (B)


The Afera Conference was impactful to me as a means to understand market trends, meet with suppliers and interact with fellow manufacturers. The slate of speakers at this session was among the best, informative and captivating.
Karen Olson
President, Industrial Business Unit
Scapa PLC (UK)


This year’s Conference was a great place for networking and discussions about the actual market situation. The fabulous moderation during the Conference and the interesting presentations really overwhelmed me. For me, it is a very nice event to attend to be more connected to our market, competitors and suppliers.
Andreas Benz
Volz Selbstklebetechnik GmbH (D)


Hamburg was another great opportunity to renew professional and personal relationships established at previous Afera conferences. Of the presentations, “Capture innovation with strategic suppliers” by Gordon Crichton stood out and his statement “Solutions, not Specifications” is one which I expect to be using more frequently in our business going forward.
Dermot O’Callaghan
Managing Director
PPI Adhesive Products Ltd (IRL)


I was impressed with the new format of the presentations. The masters of ceremony did a great job, and the conference content appeared really up-to-date. It was nice to see that Afera moves in new directions. I especially enjoyed the enthusiastic presentations which incorporated a lot of media – it was sometimes more of a kind of show than a lecture. I like the “wind of change”.
Ralf Roenisch
Head of Research & Development
Coroplast Fritz Müller GmbH & Co. KG (D)


I want to thank you for a very nice time in Hamburg and to congratulate you on a very well-organised Conference! Most beneficial to me were the discussions on regulation and market trends.
Aris Ventis
Board Member
Atlas Tapes (EL)


Afera’s Conference offers a very good mix of getting to know people who are new to the business, as well as sharing with those you’ve worked with for a long time, including suppliers and customers, in a really comfortable, professional atmosphere. On top of that, you get lectures that make you look beyond the end of your nose. Working in R&D, I have always left the event with ideas for new projects and different thoughts on how to solve existing problems. These are a really condensed three days (including the Technical Committee Meeting on the Wednesday) that I always look forward to!
Thorsten Meier
Research & Development Manager
certoplast Technische Klebebänder GmbH (D)


What tape suppliers say

I enjoyed Afera’s Annual Conference... The conference program “Managing at the speed of change” was very well-selected and once again enabled an interesting, informative and interactive exchange on the current themes of our business. Amongst others I appreciated the opportunity to address specific topics and questions for the presentation of the AWA tape study, although the study was received rather shortly before the conference. I look forward to the next year’s event in Turin.
Thomas Griebel
Vice President Sales & Marketing
artimelt AG


For me, this year’s Afera Conference was once again a valuable source of tape-specific information and an excellent venue for networking. From a raw material supplier’s view, I took many opportunities to connect with people along the whole value chain. Additionally, there were great presentations with valuable content and the inspiring spirit of guest speaker Gordon Crichton! I am happy to see how Afera continuously develop their approach to attract designers and engineers of various industries to put tapes as alternative fastening techniques on their agendas.
Jürgen Pomorin
Technical Manager Radiation Curing Europe, Nutrition & Care
Evonik Nutrition & Care GmbH (D)


Next year’s Conference in Turin, Italy

Afera’s Hamburg Conference demonstrated how the European adhesive tape industry can come together so successfully to discuss challenging issues, meet partners and do business. Don’t miss next year’s Annual Conference in Turin, Italy. Hosted by Afera’s “Southern Europe” region of membership, the event will be held from 4-6 October at the Starhotels Majestic. If you would like to make a suggestion about next year’s event, please contact Afera’s Secretariat on +31 (0)70 312 39 16 or via


Afera’s sponsors

Special thanks go to these Hamburg Conference sponsors, without whom “we could not survive”, said Afera President Mete Konuralp:

sponsors afera annual conference 2016


Afera’s most recent Annual Conferences

2015 – Marseille, France – “What is our next frontier?”
2014 – Dubrovnik, Croatia – “The future of the European adhesive tape industry: Technology, trends, and markets”
2013 – Taormina, Sicily, Italy – “Moving from survival to growth in the post-crisis tape market”
2012 – Madrid, Spain – “Sustainability: Hype or your chance now?”
2011 – Berlin, Germany
2010 – Stockholm, Sweden
2009 – Cracow, Poland
2008 – Florence, Italy – Afera’s 50th anniversary celebration
2007 – Barcelona, Spain
2006 – Nice, France

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