17 April: Day 1 Wrap-Up

This year’s Afera TechSem, now in its 10th edition, launched yesterday with the traditional afternoon programme at the Brussels Marriott Hotel Grand Place. Following check-in and a buffet networking lunch, Afera Technical Committee Chairman Reinhard Storbeck, who is also director of R&D at tesa (D), opened the event and introduced the first Session, “Tapes: New Perspectives”, and keynote speaker Sigvald Harryson, founder and CEO of iKNOW-WHO (S and CH) and professor of disruptive innovation. You might possess the knowhow to solve your problem today, but it is much better to have “the know-who” to access the knowhow for long-term competitiveness. Prof. Harryson’s model identifies teams, working mainly with post-docs and combining collaboration and competition in a lower-cost manner, to achieve scientific breakthroughs.

Second, Marleen Kamperman, professor of polymer science at the Univ. of Groningen (NL) discussed opportunities to make biomedical adhesives, scaffolds and fibres with water-based PSAs for biomedical applications. Polyelectrolyte gels have tuneable mechanical properties as a function of salt, temperature and molecular weight. Additional hydrophobic interactions and hydrogen bonds increase moduli and greatly affect rheological properties.

Then up was Jose Miguel Martin-Martinez, professor of adhesion and adhesives at the Univ. of Alicante (E), proposed a way to develop better low-trauma PSAs by lowering their adhesion when they cool down to around 20°C or less, so they can be removed less painfully. Stuart Duncan, who works on solvent-based acrylic PSAs in R&D, technical service and production support at Bostik, answered the Industry’s interest in high-performing adhesives by introducing his specialty solution acrylic PSA with excellent adhesion, cohesion, and both temperature- and chemical resistance – “the best of all worlds”. This can be used for the most demanding tape and specialty film applications, such as mobility, EV batteries, building & construction, electronics, paint protection, and window shading and privacy.

Roozbeh Dargazany, an associate professor at Michigan State University, leads a research group on predicting degradation mechanics and statistical Learning. He discussed his approach to predicting adhesive performance over extended periods of time, allowing for better design of adhesive-based materials and structures: using informed machine-learned tools.

Lastly, before the rousing panel discussion among these field experts and the audience, Rita Ribau Domingues, senior consultant at Olfasense, studied the odour profile of some samples of hotmelt adhesives from Henkel to identify the VOCs responsible for the overall smell. The result: The origin of the predominant odorants was traced back to raw materials, which contributed most to the odour of finished products, and to specific chemical processes (oxidation and degradation processes as well as solvent residues). This allowed Henkel to take measures to improve the odour performance of the manufactured products.

An evening of Opening Drinks & Hors d'oeuvres and then dinner at the leisure of participants followed. It was a great start to an event focussed on reporting on the latest developments and issues affecting the tape industry – that is being held face-to-face for the first time since the advent of the pandemic!

Afera’s TechSem 2023 proved to be the ideal setting for gathering together the most prominent players in the PSA market, by offering a well-packed programme including the latest innovation and sustainability topics. It is the ideal combination of networking, technical exchange and great atmosphere that makes me want to join every other year when it is hosted.
Nick Dewingaerden
Business Development MS Polymer Division
Kaneka Belgium NV

For more information, visit https://aferatechnicalseminar.com/

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