3 June 2021

Global application technology leader of packaging and specialty plastics Isabelle Uhl reflects on her nearly 3 decades of experience in and service to our European adhesive tape industry collective

If you have attended any Afera-related event in the last 2 decades, you may have been lucky enough to meet Isabelle Uhl, a long-time Afera supporter, events presenter and active Member of the Technical Committee (TC).

Currently the global application technology leader of packaging and specialty plastics (adhesives, tapes, labels, textiles, non-wovens and graphic arts) at Dow, Ms. Uhl has worked in the adhesives industry for 31 years. In 1990, she started her career at a labels start-up and then moved to Rohm & Haas in 1993, where she led packaging tapes applications. As Rohm & Haas had been a Member since Afera’s inception, it was at this time that Ms. Uhl took over participation in the TC from one of her predecessors. Then in 2009, Rohm & Haas was acquired by Dow, which maintained its Supplier (Associated) Membership in Afera. Dow provides water-based acrylic adhesives, silicon-based adhesives and release coatings as raw materials to the tapes industry.

Dow’s participation in Afera events
“Several colleagues from Dow’s adhesives business regularly participate in Afera’s Annual Conference, the Technical Seminar and the Tape College, and one sits on the Marketing Committee (MKC) as well,” Ms. Uhl said. “And we have stepped up our attendance at events from our silicone business in the last few years with our acquisition of Dow Corning.” She explained that professionally, “Afera provides an excellent networking platform on which to connect with all the players in the tapes industry.”

Working in the Technical Committee
Within the TC, Ms. Uhl has participated in all the work on developing and harmonising test methods over the last 15 years, which has helped Dow both to implement pan-European and global standards with its partners and to communicate better within the market. “Representing a supplier in the TC, I was able to contribute a general perspective on the market without focussing in too much on one issue or segment, a role which supported the development of common objectives and their ultimate implementation,” Ms. Uhl shared.

Afera’s role in the Industry: creating awareness and offering support
“I think Afera raises its Members’ awareness of both existing and future needs and challenges in the market,” continued Ms. Uhl. Not only does the Association develop and harmonise next-level test methods and other industry standards in a global context, it also provides up-to-date information and action points related to European chemical and environmental regulations.

“Afera plays the role of supporting the tape industry from many different angles, including tackling the evolving various sustainability trends.” She feels Afera’s recently launched Flagship Sustainability Project and related activities are key in supporting the entire adhesive tape industry value chain in developing its strategy for complying with the European Green Deal. “In 5 years from now, Afera will have forged the right path for driving sustainability policies forward in the tapes industry, contributing to a brilliant future for the generations to come,” Ms. Uhl predicted.

A different experience from the day-to-day routine
After over 2 decades on the TC and many additional appearances in MKC Meetings, Ms. Uhl has stepped back to make way for the younger generation, although she remains active in Afera. “I have also really enjoyed attending Afera’s technical events and have had the pleasure of lecturing on pressure sensitive acrylic technology for tapes several times,” commented Ms. Uhl. “In another environment—different from our day-to-day reality—I have had the privilege of meeting and interacting with partners and have met really nice people who have become good friends.” She emphasised that attending Afera events is her favourite aspect of Membership in the Association, because they always bring new perspectives to connecting with colleagues and partners.

Dow: delivering solutions for the pressure-sensitive industry
Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth, asset integration and scale, focused innovation and leading business positions to achieve profitable growth. The Company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company, with a purpose to deliver a sustainable future for the world through our materials science expertise and collaboration with our partners. Dow’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer care. Dow operates 106 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people.

Dow has been working with industry partners for decades to improve formulations, refine production processes and provide a range of coatings and adhesives technologies for a variety of applications. With a unified portfolio of acrylics, silicone pressure-sensitive adhesives and release coatings, the Company can help you shorten development time by quickly providing systems that meet your needs. Together it can help improve efficiency and deliver optimal performance with the following solutions:

Acrylic-based pressure-sensitive adhesives

  • Tailoring adhesion to the application, from permanent to removable or repositionable
  • Adhering to low-energy substrates across a range of conditions
  • Addressing specific performance needs, such as all-temperature adhesion, long-term UV and heat resistance, low noise, water-whitening resistance, superior mandrel performance, and high-speed converting and wet-out.

Silicone-based release coatings

  • Obtaining the best possible release level versus peel speed for any adhesive or substrate
  • Providing flat/high speed solutions for increasing converting and labelling speeds
  • Reducing platinum dependency in the formulation.

Silicone-based pressure-sensitive adhesives

  • Providing exceptional performance to meet demanding requirements in electronics and automotive markets
  • Offering high-temperature resistance, superior moisture and UV resistance and electrical insulation.

For more information, visit www.dow.com.