A comprehensive overview of the China National Adhesives Industry Association's sixth World Adhesive Conference, held in Beijing, October 20-22, 2004.

The sixth World Adhesive Conference, organized by the China National Adhesives Industry Association, took place October 20-22, 2004, in Beijing. Co-sponsors were the Association of European Adhesives Manufacturers (FEICA), the Adhesive and Sealant Council, Inc. (ASC), Japan Adhesive Industry Association (JAIA), Korea Surfactant & Adhesive Industry Cooperative (KSAIC) and the Taiwan Synthetic Resins and Adhesives Industrial Association (TSRAIA).

The theme was "Innovation and Future of the World Adhesives Industry." Three separate speaker tracks were organized to support the theme - suppliers, adhesive industry and markets. Concurrent with the Conference was the 7th Annual CCPIT International Adhesives and Sealants Exhibition.

Conference attendance was 520, representing 24 countries. The greatest number of attendees hailed from China, followed by Japan and the rest of Asia. Europe was next with the largest representation from Germany. The United States and other countries made up the remainder.

The conference began with a welcome from the China organizing committee and Gong Beifan. He was followed by Dr. Jianlong Yang, director of R&D of Industrial Economy of the P.R. China, who described China's growing economy and its important driving factors. This was followed by Dr. Jochem Cutter, executive VP, Henkel Technologies, who gave the keynote address, "The Adhesives and Sealant Industry, Servicing Customers with Value Added Solutions."

Each of three sponsoring associations gave a short presentation on the state of the adhesives and sealants industry in their respective regions, and a history of how their association serves the member companies. This included Al Longstreet, chairman of the ASC; Lorenzo Busetti, president of FEICA (Europe); and Naoki Kobayashi, chairman of the Asian Regional Adhesive Conference (ARAC).

The main program presentations were split into three concurrent sessions, or tracks. A total of 55 speakers were invited to participate. Comments from many attendees were quite positive, as they felt the topics and speaker quality were excellent. The only negative was that the sessions were scheduled in two different hotels, which made attending individual papers at specific times quite difficult. The host committee and session chairmen, however, were sensitive to this difficulty. They kept the sessions moving according to schedule.

The exhibition was organized by another group, the Sub-Council of the Chemical Industry (CCPIT), and took place at the Military Museum exposition complex - nearly a one-hour cab ride from the conference location. This made traveling to and from the exhibition time consuming. For some, this was a daunting experience, as it meant dealing with local taxi drivers and the challenging Beijing traffic. There were, of course, other travel alternatives, such as the bus or subway for the more adventurous. Despite the distant location, the exhibition was quite well attended all three days, although mostly by local Chinese, who paid an admission fee of 10 Yuan (US$1.14). No exact figures were available, but a poll of participating exhibitors revealed there were an estimated 2,500-3,000 attendees.

A total of 135 companies participated as exhibitors. Most were Chinese (103) raw material, equipment and adhesive/sealant formulators. Among the 32 foreign exhibitors, 24 were from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Representing Europe and the USA were ASI magazine, Cognis, Degussa AG, Eastman, Exxon-Mobil, GE, Goodyear, Henkel, Huntsman, ITW Performance Polymers, Sandvik, SpecialChem and TAH Industries. Conference attendees were given a half day on Thursday to tour the exposition. In addition to the exhibits, there were 10 free industry seminars given by representatives from selected vendors. These were well received, as a quick check revealed the lecture rooms to be full.

The focus for most of the international attendees was the conference, headquartered in the famous Great Wall Sheraton Hotel. Registration day was filled with its own form of excitement and chaos due in part to a constantly changing schedule for speakers, session chairmen, and especially exhibitors, who found out for the first time that the exhibit hall was not "just around the corner." Everyone mellowed out in due time and began to find their way through the confused directions, conflicting schedule information, and the "innovations" that were made to the speakers' presentations.

Once these issues were resolved, it was evident that the CNAIA had spent a great deal of time planning the event. The sessions were very well organized and the speaker topics well chosen. Unlike many similar events, they made a great effort to bring in new technology - fresh ideas for advancing the adhesives and sealants industry. It was impressive to find all presentations available in print form and on CD-ROM in both English and Chinese. The translations were meticulous, and the speaker rooms were equipped with available headset-receivers and simultaneous translators for Chinese, English, and Japanese.

Though it was not possible to attend all of the sessions, there were many new ideas presented at this conference. Dr. Andreas Gross from Fraunhofer (Germany) described the mechanics of marine organisms that develop adhesion (such as barnacles) and their practical applications. Katsuhisa Sato from Aica Kogyo (Japan) introduced a new technology for synthesizing chloroprene rubber latex to reach comparable performance to solventborne products, a current problem with the existing latex versions. Dr. Tom Tsaur, Real Tack Industrial (Taiwan), described his work on developing a unique low-cost device and quick method for evaluating pressure-sensitive adhesives. The Konishi Co. described a wood-bonding adhesive that complies with the Japan initiative for reducing formaldehyde emissions. Several other equally interesting presentations were given from Europe, Asia, the United States and China. Recurrent topics referred to developments in Europe and Japan for formulating products to minimize the "sick house" syndrome.

Other topics included advances in reactive hot-melt adhesives and synthesis of new waterborne adhesives.

When it comes to entertaining, the Chinese are without peer. The opening reception on Wednesday was impeccable and allowed ample networking opportunities and the chance to meet the host organization. The next two evenings featured banquets and traditional Chinese entertainment.

For more information on the conference and exhibit, visit http://www.cnaia.org .