Afera, the European Adhesive Tape Association, recently announced the launch of its 62nd Annual Conference, which will take place October 9-11 at the Pestana Palace Hotel in Lisbon, Portugal. Along with key topics on the management agendas of all future-focused Afera member companies, the war for talent and the next-generation workforce will be of particular focus at the Lisbon event.

Themed “Making the Tape Business Future-Proof,” including its effect on the workforce, business models, supply chains, sales channels, technology, product development, and the application process, the conference will provide tape industry professionals with the opportunity to interact with industry leaders, sales and technology drivers, and field expert speakers. In Lisbon, 150+ participants from Europe and all parts of the globe will meet company delegates from businesses along the entire adhesive tape value chain, including tape manufacturers, suppliers (raw materials, machines, and packaging), converters, distributors, research institutions, national tape organizations, and other international counterparts.

“European businesses cannot assume that tapes will always be used—which is why Afera’s Conference program is aimed at keeping our technology and market relevant,” said Evert Smit, Afera president and head of R&D at Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG. “In order to survive, we have to participate actively in building our future, and this starts with cooperating and creating together.”

The Lisbon Conference program will consist of 10 lectures over two-day working sessions. This year’s lineup features a topic that has been driving debate among Afera member companies: the war for talent and the next-generation workforce. Many companies are facing difficulties in understanding, attracting, and retaining the new generations of employees. How can tape-related companies understand tomorrow’s workforce expectations, needs, and aspirations? Christiane Schober, senior human capital consultant at Deloitte Consulting GmbH, will discuss Deloitte’s annual Global Survey conducted among millennials (those born 1983-1994) and generation Z (those born 1995-2002) and provide advice on what businesses can do to capture their hearts and minds.

These younger generation employees are reportedly increasingly pessimistic about their lives, careers, and the world and are less trusting of business and political leaders. They are concerned about progressive issues such as climate change and are driven by evolving values of travel and helping communities over starting their own families and businesses. “The aspirations of the younger generation may seem contradictory at first glance,” said Schober. “This is why Millennials are called ‘the generation disrupted,’ and in return their behavior and choices are profoundly disrupting business and society alike.”

Topics covered at the Lisbon Conference will include:

  • Demographic change in the workforce: an insight into millennials, a generation disrupted
  • Hidden opportunities in market data
  • Data-driven innovation unlocked by artificial intelligence
  • European and North American tech update and the building and construction industry from a European perspective
  • Growing the role of PSA tapes in building and construction and beyond
  • Update on the global adhesive raw materials market
  • Life, the universe and everything: sustainability and the circular economy
  • Bioinspired polymers in medical adhesion
  • Man or machine: automation and its impact on future workplaces, skill sets and work organization in the manufacturing industry
  • Hierarchical automatic topic detection for innovation: industry technology and application trends, company and expert detection

After a business lunch on the first day of the conference, attendees will enjoy networking on a tour around Lisbon by GoCar, electric bicycle, auto rickshaw, or speed boat. The working program will also feature Afera’s semi-annual Technical, Marketing and Steering Committee meetings, Afera’s annual General Assembly, ample time for networking during coffee breaks and lunches. Two masters of ceremonies will officiate: Melanie Lack, Afera Steering Committee member and business manager for Tapes & Labels at H.B. Fuller, and Bert van Loon, marketing innovation expert and independent strategist.  

Lisbon Conference participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy cocktails and dinners in the gardens (Casa do Lago) and in the old stables (Cavalariças) attached to the hotel, as well as at Kais Restaurant. During the social program, partners will be treated exclusively to tours of Lisbon’s historic center and the Belém district (including the Jerónimos Monastery), painting tiles at the National Tile Museum, and a cooking lesson. 

Additional details are available at