Themed “Thinking Ahead, Bonding Together,” the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council’s (PSTC’s) second annual Tape Week delivered innovative solutions to challenges facing the industry. Held May 8-11 in Orlando, Florida, Tape Week 2023 expanded on the programming offered at last year’s inaugural Tape Week with a new track focused on sustainability and opportunities to advance in PSTC’s new certificate program. This year’s event offered a unique glimpse at how PSA tape companies and their employees can create a meaningful path forward.

Many of the events in the Tape Week 2023 program can fulfill requirements needed to earn a Pressure Sensitive Tape Certificate. This new PSTC certificate program lays out a curriculum that anyone who works with PSA tape can use to guide their professional journey, from entry-level PSTC Industry Specialists who’ve earned the Level 1 certificate to management-level PSTC Industry Masters who’ve earned the highest, Level 3 certificate. The intermediate step connecting these two, of course, is the Level 2 certificate, PSTC Industry Professional — and every education, training, and networking requirement needed to earn this certificate can be found at Tape Week.

Sustainability Summit

One of the biggest additions to this year’s Tape Week program was the Sustainability: Building Awareness Summit, a new track that counts toward the highest level of PSTC’s certificate program. It not only demonstrated what a sustainable future could look like, but also highlighted environmental health initiatives that are already underway. Evert Smit, president of Afera — The European Adhesive Tape Association — discussed the impact of the European Union’s Green Deal on the EU tape industry and what a more sustainable tape industry could look like. Understanding the regulatory environment as it relates to sustainability is crucial for success; and for this, BASF's product steward Lindsey Foster — previously the Environment, Health, and Safety specialist for the BASF Chattanooga manufacturing sites — provided guidance. Sustainable Solutions Corp.'s co-founder and president Tad Radzinski, who previously served as the EPA’s Waste Minimization Program national expert, gave an overview of market drivers for sustainable pressure-sensitive tape products and what those mean for PSA tape companies. Other presentations focused on energy sustainability, with GEW (EC) Limited's VP of business development Jennifer Heathcote discussing “How the Electrical Grid and Global Sustainability Initiatives Are Triggering a Shift to UV LED Curing” and Taurus Advisory Group co-founders Nathan Burroughs and Nicholas Gerome sharing “Pathways to Sustainability.”

Technical and Markets & Applications Tracks

The new Sustainability: Building Awareness Summit wasn’t the only place to find sustainable solutions. These were present throughout the conference, from developments presented in the Technical and Markets & Applications Tracks to PSA tape’s role in the growing electric vehicle (EV) market. At PSTC’s Spring Member Meeting, members participated in a focus group workshop and roundtable that explored the potential for research on PSA tape usage in the EV battery supply chain. The discussion was led by Breakthrough Research, which conducted PSTC’s two previous studies on PSA tape usage in the building and construction and automotive markets.

The Technical Track explored how PSA products fit in the sustainability landscape, with IPG's director of environmental compliance Aili Wilen’s “Speed Dating Operational & Product Environmental Compliance 101” and Mondi's technical director Jeff Krueger’s “Sustainability In Release Liners.” It also featured various innovations that could have a positive impact on sustainability efforts. Nvirovate Materials Inc. founder and CEO Jim Holbery shared a sustainable closed loop solution — UV-cured soy oil pressure sensitive adhesives — and Avery Dennison's technical principal Mark Gower discussed advanced acrylics technology that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, fossil fuel use, and hazardous waste output when replacing solvent-based pressure-sensitive adhesive applications for high performance.

In the Markets & Applications Track, Afera President and Lohmann GmbH & Co., KG's director scouting Evert Smit shared how Lohmann meets its sustainability goals — including how it recycles tape waste and makes it into a raw material again — and University of Massachusetts Lowell College of Engineering's director of workforce development, academic programs, Bradley Mingels took us “Beyond the Battery” to discuss uses of tape in electric vehicles.

We can never say with 100% confidence what the future will hold. But by talking about our efforts and collaborating on the initiatives that are most important to us, we can help to create that future. Join us next year for Tape Week 2024, April 29 to May 2, 2024, in Orlando Florida, and be a part of the conference moving PSA tape forward. 

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