This article provides a day-by-day overview of April’s World Adhesive Conference and Expo, hosted by The Adhesive and Sealant Council, Inc.

Ribbon cutting

The World Adhesive Conference and Expo (WAC) kicked off on Sunday, April 20, with an Opening Ceremony. The Adhesive and Sealant Council, Inc.'s (ASC) President Lawrence D. Sloan announced that some 30 countries were represented at WAC, with nearly 1,000 international delegates. He commented how in these difficult economic times, “this record attendance is that much more remarkable.”

Sloan went on to introduce members of the co-organizing associations, including:
  • Sue Love, ASI magazine
  • Arturo Navarrete, ANIQ
  • Sean Gogarty, ASMAC
  • Paul Chen, ARAC
  • Jean-Marc Barki, FEICA
Jean-Marc Barki addressed the audience with the news that the next WAC conference will take place in Europe - Paris, to be exact.

Alan Bate, formerly executive vice president of National Starch and Chemical Ltd., served as the special guest speaker for the event, commenting on the tightened raw material supply, which has actually helped to create more value for products. He discussed environmental impact and the carbon footprint, as well as the Henkel/National Adhesives merger. He says that the adhesives industry’s Holy Grail are debondable adhesives; this technology is the reason that the market for mechanical fasteners is so strong.

Dave Burger and Larry Sloan then cut the ribbon to officially welcome the world adhesive and sealant industry to Miami and WAC.


Monday General Session

Monday morning began with a General Session that featured two speakers. Alois Linder, executive vice president-Adhesives Technolgies at Henkel KGaA, spoke on sustainability. He said that “sustainability equals future viability” and the challenges to sustainability include: global warming, water (“the gold of the 21st century”), waste, poverty, and chemical exposure.

Adhesive and sealant companies can exploit sustainability opportunities by working jointly with raw material suppliers, industrial customers and retailers, he said.

“Sustainability is a prerequisite for future success,” Linder said. He said that sustainability is not a burden but an opportunity for our industry. We should work together to make it happen.


Kathleen Cooper of Southern Methodist University in Dallas (and a former chief economist at ExxonMobil) gave a rosy outlook for the long-term economic view. She said that the next few years will remain tight, but that global inflation is resulting in more manufacturing returning to the United States. She noted that GM’s CEO has stated that the company will begin exporting to China again. There’s also a good chance that jobs will begin to come back to the United States, she said.

WAC Expo

More than 100 booths were reserved for the WAC Exposition, held Monday, April 21. Attendees and exhibitors alike expressed satisfaction with the expo.

“Everybody has been telling me it’s a very successful show,” said Robert Willis, ASC senior manager, Conventions and Meetings. “They’re all glad they came to Miami.” Willis said that exhibitors told him that this expo was better than any WAC Expo to date.

Aisles in the exhibition hall were crowded, and many booths were difficult to get close to for much of the show. One such booth was Eastman Chemical Co.’s. Jeff Redmond of Eastman said, “We are really impressed with the attendance. Hopefully it bodes well for the future.”

“This is the way that all shows should be,” said Kari Ream, whose company Cox North America Inc. exhibited at the show.

A representative from exhibiting company Newborn Brothers Co. expressed satisfaction with the expo’s attendees, saying, “The quality of attendees was good.”

Both attendees and exhibitors were also pleased with how smoothly the expo went. “It was very well organized,” said attendee Mary Poma of BASF Corp. “I was impressed with the level of participation and the useful information that was presented.”


Tuesday General Session


Special Guest Speaker Jack Giampalmi spoke next on “Leadership for Business and the Environment: Sustainability Business Practices.” Giampalmi, a business environmentalist who held executive management positions with The Dow Chemical Co., explained that EH&S leaders must:
  • Recognize and manage convergence of many different ideas
  • Acknowledge diversity of thought; integrate EH&S with economics, legal, etc.
  • Accelerate the “new”
  • “Show up” for decisions
Leadership can be anywhere in an organization; the challenge is to lead - and to accept both success and failure.

Anniversary Celebration


Closing Session

On Wednesday morning, the WAC conference concluded with a Closing Session chaired by David Nick, president of DPNA International Inc. After opening remarks, a number of international representatives of the adhesives and sealants industry presented the current trends and market information for their respective regions.



Paul Chen of The Asian Regional Adhesive Council (ARAC) reported that Mainland China adhesive demand is expected to increase by 10% annually over the next three years. Hot-melt and reactive adhesives will fare the best, with 12% growth.

Japan’s growth rate is estimated at 2.5%, and Korea at 3.8%. Taiwan’s growth rate in 2007 was 5.1% and is expected to increase to 10%.



Bernard Ghyoot of the Association of European Adhesives and Sealants Manufacturers (FEICA) reported that rising raw material and energy costs and the U.S. financial crisis are market drivers in Europe. The European adhesives and sealants market grew at an average of 6.4% in 2007 and is expected to continue to grow at 5%. Sustained demand will continue in the industrial bonding/assembly market, and the leading European market segment will be paper board and related products.



Sean Gogarty, Adhesives and Sealants  Manufacturers Association of Canada (ASMAC), which represents nine manufacturing members and nine associate members, reported that almost all adhesive raw materials used in Canada are imported from the United States, Asia, and Europe. He said that the packaging market is the fastest growing in Canada, with current volume at 37.6%.



Arturo Navarrete, Asociacion Nacional De La Industria Quimica, said that ANIQ represents 200 affiliate companies, including chemical distributors. Two of the growing sectors in Mexico are school materials and DIY adhesives. Estimated annual growth rate for the entire market is 3%.


Brazil/South America

Gunther Faltin, CEO of Brascola LTDA, noted that Brazil achieved its lowest overall inflation rate ever in 2008 - 4.3%. The Latin America adhesives and sealants market is expected to grow 4.5% over the next three years. Paper and board, construction, and woodworking/joinery are the largest end-user sectors. Adhesive and sealant demand for the region is $680 million, with Brazil at 61%.


David Nick of DPNA International Inc. reported that the 2007 demand for adhesives in the United States is 58%, and that the 2007-2008 annual growth rate is estimated at 6%. For sealants, the 2007-2010 annual growth rate is 4.2%.

New technologies with growing demand will include epoxy film adhesives, visible light-cure adhesives, hybrid thermosets, “low-melt” hot melts, and inorganic adhesives.

For more information about the World Adhesive Conference, including how to purchase proceedings, visit

Special thanks to ASC and Jean-Marc Barki of FEICA for providing photos.