18 April: Day 2 Wrap-Up

Day 2 of Afera’s 10th Technical Seminar kicked off with Session 2, “Tape Chemistry and Simulation”, led by Afera Steering and Technical Committee Member Ian Grace. First off was Matteo Ciccotti, professor at ESPCI Paris PSL (F), who investigated the origins for the significant adherence of foam tapes and their peculiar mechanisms of debonding. He talked about combining instrumented peeling tests with optical imaging of the debonding region and scanning electron microscopy imaging of the damage mechanisms. The main finding is that the exceptional performance of these foam tapes is driven by the presence of a dense array of microscopic hollow spheres that debond from the soft and dissipative adhesive matrix during peeling.

Lukas Berger, application development manager for adhesive coating at Sekisui Alveo AG (CH), discussed the testing of foam for flexographic printing tape applications. He compared the results of a number of foams, including representatives of both groups of crosslinked polyethylene foam and polyurethane foam, in terms of their suitability as compressible medium in long-lasting flexographic printing tapes. 

Next, in his presentation “Bio-based tackifier resins for boosting acrylic PSA performance,” Danny Beekman, Afera TC Member and technical service manager at DRT, described how phenolic modified terpene resins can enhance the performance of acrylic based polymers by affording a larger performance window while delivering a balance of peel, shear and tack properties that would otherwise be unobtainable with conventional technologies. He also highlighted the sustainable aspects of bio-based terpene phenolic resins, including the ‘sustainability pine cycle’ from which these raw materials are sourced.

Low-VOC, water-based PSAs for high-performance automotive tapes were presented by Kristin Schöne, market development manager at Synthomer (D). Water-based PSA products can be a strong driver for improvement of overall VOC content and low odour threshold, while they also exhibit a high adhesive performance, resistance to harsh temperature and chemical conditions, and adhesion to various polar and LSE surfaces. Then Deena Dujardin, who works as a technical service and development scientist at Dow Silicones (F), talked about environmentally friendly silicone PSAs which feature good chemical resistance, high temperature hold and good low temperature performance and adhesion to low-surface-energy substrates.

Lastly, before an experts panel discussion followed by a networking buffet lunch, Philipp Ernst, a development chemist for acrylics solutions, revealed Henkel Adhesive Technology’s (D) new polymer design in the product segment of UV-crosslinkable hotmelt adhesives to push the boundaries for tapes application, where solvent-based adhesives are still prevalent, to match specialised tape requirements.

It was noted that IFAM Bremen’s Matthias Popp, who was scheduled to speak on “Debonding on demand: Technology survey about PSA tapes-related technologies and the latest insights of IFAM research results”, was unable to attend due to illness but will record his presentation for Afera for later access by TechSem participants.

Chaired by Martijn Verhagen, team leader for liquid-coated adhesives at Lohmann (D), the afternoon Session (#3) themed “Tapes and Sustainability” started with a much-anticipated presentation on sustainability in the adhesive tape industry given by Afera Regulatory Affairs & Sustainability Manager Pablo Englebienne (NL). He reviewed important applicable legislation coming out of the European Green Deal in 2023 and 2024, such as the PPWR, ESPR, the Microplastics REACH restriction, and ECHA’s call for PVC evidence, as well as Afera’s Flagship Sustainability Project based on harmonised calculation methods, waste management and advocacy at Member, Industry and European levels. Ultimately, design for recycling and transparency of the environmental impact of adhesives and tapes will be key issues for all of our companies, so co-operating in these areas will be essential for progress.

In the face of regulations focusing on circular economy and sustainability and supply chain complexity and environmental impact, blockchain traceability solutions used for digital product passports and mass balance bookkeeping were discussed by Brian Smits, business development manager at Circularise (NL). Then Weber & Schaer (D) Sustainability Manager Hans Evers showed how companies can approach FSC, PEFC or tailor-made certification schemes for transparent and sustainable supply-chain management, fulfilling all future requirements.

Waste reduction versus recycled waste? After the afternoon networking break, Luca Micci, general manager of Erga Tapes (I), described the possibility of reducing waste in tapes conversion by using laser cutting technologies and optimising by draw nesting. After this, Mr. Storbeck touched on tesa’s commitment to sustainable goals, development of adhesive tapes with bio-based and recycled raw materials, as well as de-bondable adhesive solutions, and his company’s sustainability strategy. 

Lastly, along the “Towards Carbon Neutrality” theme, Ilaria Lombardi, R&D and sustainability director of ICAP-SIRA Chemicals & Polymers, shows how commercially available bio-based monomers are used to develop a product portfolio of waterborne and UV hotmelt PSAs with renewable content ranging from 50% to 70% and covering a large variety of applications. She shows that indeed similar performances can be achieved with renewable formulations. To round off the Session, a panel discussion of the field experts with the audience also took place.

The day was topped off with drinks and dinner catered by the Marriott across the street at the atmospheric Beursschouwburg.

I see the event as a gathering during which the most prominent players in the tape industry exchange technical experiences and ideas with young engineers and managers. It is a place to network, and it doesn't shy away from confronting the challenges the tape industry will be confronted with. During the Sessions, there is always an amicable vibe which keeps people returning to the event.
Michel Sabo
R&D Application Development Manager
Nitto Belgium

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

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