Article Excerpt from PFFC:
STICKING WITH IT: What is the Value of Technical Meetings
by Ingrid Brase
My previous articles have been focused on providing roadmaps to what you need to consider when selecting adhesives. This time we will take a short break from the series. Thought I would share my experiences at two recent trade association technical meetings relevant to the pressure-sensitive industry and what I learned.
Every spring and fall there is a flurry of trade association meetings and shows. It seems like you could spend most of September and October then March to May just making the rounds. With careful research and planning, all of the various meetings can have value. I recently attended AIMCAL’s (Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators) Web Coating & Handling Conference and the ASC (The Adhesive& Sealant Council) Fall Conference and Expo. Thought I would share some thoughts on both conferences and hopefully provide some insight on their value. They are by no means the only two conferences that are held or have value to the industry, they just happen to be where I spent two weeks this month!
Before discussing each conference separately let me begin by talking about how they are similar. Both offer several tracks of technical papers covering a wide variety of topics. They also both have optional short courses available before the conference sessions commence, allowing interested participants to take a course at the same venue as the meeting. Finally, both have Expos or table top receptions where attendees can network and suppliers can exhibit their products and capabilities. There were many familiar faces at both meetings, with some companies participating in both but sending different representatives. In both cases the programs allow time for private meetings and networking.
...let’s move to a discussion of the ASC Fall Conference and Expo. This event was held in Indianapolis, Indiana and spanned two days. The meeting started with a welcome reception on Monday evening followed by papers all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Each day began with a breakfast keynote focused on business topics including an economic overview and marketing insights. The program wrapped up with a lunch time keynote on the changing competitive environment followed by an open forum discussion. Like AIMCAL, ASC offered a short course prior to the meeting, theirs being a bit longer at 1 ½ days versus the half day AIMCAL programs. On Monday attendees also had an opportunity to participate in ASC’s “Give Back “program. In partnership with the local United Way, ASC staff scheduled a volunteer opportunity to work on special projects at the Veteran’s Home. Over 45 attendees spent Monday afternoon at the Veteran’s Home, having a unique opportunity to network in a very different atmosphere.
So this Conference offers a very different value proposition to a member of the pressure sensitives industry. The conference attendees are mostly adhesive and raw material suppliers so the focus is on these materials rather than on process. Business Developments and Market Trends, Technical and Government Regulations, and New Technology and Application were the Tracks offered with sessions covering Waterborne Formulations, Key Feedstocks, and PSATechnology as well as others. Zachary Moore of ICIS presented insight into the market outlook for key raw materials in his paper, “An Overview of the Aromatics Chain” in the Business Development track. The PSA technology session covered the full spectrum of adhesive technology. Paul Dailey of TSRC Dexco Polymer discussed how structure of the rubber component of a hot melt formulation impacts performance while David Schulenberg of BASF talked about the water resistance of Water-Borne Adhesives. Nader Mazloom wrapped up the session with his paper, “Solventless Silicone Pressure Sensitive Adhesives” after Massimiliano G Penon of Lawter talked about high melting point dispersions. The Tuesday evening Expo offered an opportunity for networking with more than 65 suppliers present at booth to discuss their offerings and services.
The morning keynotes on both days were focused on the business side. Robert Fry, Chief Economist of Robert Fry Economics LLC, was the opening session presenter. Robert is well known for providing excellent insight into the outlook for the global economy and its impact on markets of interest to the pressure sensitive industry. He talked about the impact of low oil prices and forecast that pricing will stay relatively flat, something he feels is a good thing for the overall economy. While he felt growth was disappointingly slow, his statistics on the U.S economy showed growth and potential in 2017. In contrast China has the challenge of trying to evolve from a manufacturing and trade based economy to a consumer based economy. Europe and Japan have the task of improving productivity as their populations have peaked and are in decline. On Tuesday morning, Alan Issacson of ABI talked about sales and marketing strategies focused on the value of high tech products rather than price. This presentation in particular resonated with me as he discussed how to pitch new products. His basic premise was focused on pitching the attributes of a new product and why the customer should care versus a long discussion on the cool science. The attendees came together for a final keynote after attending individual tracks. Nat Brooks of Strategy Shapers LLC did a presentation then led a discussion on the “Age of Zero-Sum”. Among the topics he touched were reduced product life-cycle, economic instability, and increased competitive pressures.
In summary the ASC meeting offered the opportunity to learn more about new chemistries and product. The keynotes balanced the science with the practical aspects of understanding the business climate and ideas on how to compete more effectively. Like AIMCAL, the program allowed time for networking with the various adhesive and raw material suppliers present at the meeting...(read more with link below)...
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