I recently took the Bonding with ASI podcast on the road, sitting down with Joe Tocci, president of the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council (PSTC) at Tape Week in Orlando, Fla. Postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the inaugural Tape Week was held May 3-5, 2022.

Joe shared information about Tape Week, some of the PSTC’s activities, and challenges and opportunities for the tape industry. Tune in and listen to the podcast or read the partial transcript* to learn more.

What are some of the trends and technologies that attendees are learning here? 

The Technical Track continues to be what it’s always been. We like to bring in some of the smartest people in the industry to talk about new adhesives, new formulations, new things that are happening within the industry. That’s a staple that continues to be impressive to me. It is literally the smartest people in the industry who are okay coming and sharing information that really will help benefit all members of the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council. That’s always been a staple for us.

We added the Markets & Applications track in 2019 for the first time, and we really saw that as an opportunity. We want to grow the tape industry. We want to make sure every one of our members sees annual growth year after year because they’re focusing on markets where tape plays a big role or could play a big role. We use Markets & Applications as a way to address that.

In 2019, the first market that we really went after was building and construction, and we were candidly a little overwhelmed by the positive response. We knew it would bring in a new audience. Most people who go to Tech are research and development people. It’s the engineers, the ones who really understand the technical side of tape. Markets & Applications brings in another group. It’s often your commercial people, salespeople, marketing people who really want to figure out, “Okay, if this is an emerging market for tapes, what do we have to do to participate more?”

So in 2019, we started with building and construction and frankly were surprised. We had a room that I think the plan was for it to fit 50 to 60 people, and it was packed. We had to adjust during the day and bring in new chairs and try to open up a wall, so we were really pleasantly surprised.

For this year, we added automotive and transportation as the next market that we really feel is booming. As you saw from one of the presentations this morning, we spent an hour talking about electric vehicles and batteries and all the needs within that industry for tape products. Really it’s just continuing to grow—continuing to grow on the technical side and continuing to grow the education for our members.

What are some of the challenges and more importantly, opportunities that you see in the future for the tape industry?

Well, for now, we’re no different than every other industry. We have significant supply chain disruption. One of the topics you hear a lot of people talking about today is, “How do I get raw materials? How do I get the products that I need?” Because we’re all dealing with significant demand. The challenge we’re facing is how do we get the raw materials to satisfy that demand?

On top of that, we’re looking at the economy and saying, “How long will this continue? Will this demand continue to be as strong as we’ve seen over the last two years, or do we have a little bit of a reset coming within the economy?”

One big challenge for us is to get as many raw materials we can, but also balance that against what does the future demand look like? So that’s one of the biggest challenges you’re going to hear people talk about this week. 

How is the PSTC helping its members navigate those challenges?

We try to do our best to bring in some experts. We had a panel this morning talking about some of those specific supply chain challenges. And people are really willing to share their best practices. One of the things I really like about PSTC is you have a lot of world-class companies who are willing to share some of the good things that they do, some of the best practices that they have, to better move those materials and to better plan your future.

We’re all in a position right now, frankly, because demand has been so high, we’re all doing well on the top-line side. It kind of behooves us all to work together to make sure that continues for as long as we can. It just continues to improve the industry for all of us.

Visit https://pstc.org for additional information regarding the PSTC and its activities.

*edited for length and other factors