The Global Release Liner Industry Conference and Exhibition, organized by AWA Conferences and Events, is annually the meeting point for participants in this specialist industry; at all levels of the value chain. Siliconized release liners major market is in pressure sensitive labeling, but it supports and protects materials in a surprisingly diverse range of applications, from building and construction to electronics, photovoltaics, medical disposables, and pressure-sensitive vehicle "wraps." The conference alternates between Europe and the USA, and this year was held in Amsterdam's Hotel Novotel Amsterdam City, February 22-23.
The exhibition proved to be an excellent focus for the whole event, which has networking at its heart, and featured leading suppliers across the value chain.
Opening the formal conference proceedings on the first day, Corey Reardon, president and CEO of AWA Alexander Watson Associates, introduced an afternoon of keynote presentations which addressed the industry status quo in the context of the global economy.
Carsten Lange, managing director, Release Liner, Coatings and Consumer Packaging, for Mondi, discussed the macro-economic outlook for the release liner industry. For the long term, he observed, it will be the countries to the east of Europe and in Latin America which will have the greatest growth. In the current financial climate, Austria, Belgium and Germany are faring best in Europe - but consumer confidence is declining, and in this "second recession," neither governments nor banks are in as good shape as they were in 2008. The Eurozone, Lange said, may represent only 25% of the global economy - but China exports 25% of its GDP to Europe.
In terms of release liner itself, Lange said there is very little official data available in an industry that is dominated by private companies or large groups where release liner data are not reported in detail; and, equally, there is very little comparative data on raw materials. "On the silicone side," he said, "our industry represents only a minor part of the whole."
RELEASE LINER INDUSTRY SURVEY
Corey Reardon returned co the rostrum to present the brand new findings of the 2012 AWA. release liner industry survey that included around 100 responses from industry participants the world over. Sentiment has changed in the last year: more companies consider themselves to be regional rather than global, though most expect to see true globalization within five years, and most, Reardon said, believe that "being global...