Please meet the new Afera President:
Dr. Evert Smit, Head of Lohmann R & D!
Founded in 1958 in Paris, the "European Adhesive Tape Association", with headquarters in The Hague, considers itself the "voice of the European adhesive tape industry". With currently 103 members from 20 different European countries, Afera is still growing. Its members are manufacturers, suppliers, converters as well as representatives from the IVK, universities or institutions like Frauenhofer Bremen. They all come together to advance the adhesive tape industry by working closely together, creating globally standardized testing methods and provide information.
We met Evert to congratulate him and learn more about his plans for Afera.
Evert, congratulations on your new position! How does it feel to be President?
Thank you very much! Keep in mind, I am the very first President with a purely technical background, but many years of membership gave me a clear understanding of what makes this association tick. Furthermore, I can count on the support of a growing number of active members. We all have a lot of fun working within Afera – business is a human activity after all. Outsiders wouldn't believe this, considering the blend of companies coming together. This shows how keen we are to shape our future!
For how long have you been part of Afera?
I have been a member of Afera since 1998. In 2002, I became part of the Technical Committee, around 2014, I became its chairman. By the way: Lohmann has been an official Afera member since 2007 – the Bonding Engineers think it is of major importance to stay in close touch with their industry.
What kinds of tasks will you take on? Do you have specific personal goals and goals for the organization?
The Afera presidency is an honorary office. I will be Afera's main contact globally, render signatures on its behalf, etc. I want to achieve innovation through co-creation of the members as well as to break down "silos". Furthermore, I want to follow the global trend of transparency – however risky this might seem initially. We will benefit from it, I have no doubt about that. I also want Afera to become even more outward looking: Apart from keeping an eye on our industry's trends and trends in application, we should also be aware of influences that might have an impact on us at second glance or in the future. Lastly, I consider the cooperation within and around Afera to be important, with other associations and organizations like CATIA, TAAT or JATMA. The adhesive tape industry, this is my firm belief, will benefit from close networking and synchronizing events. A conference where truly everybody is represented is also valuable for everybody.
What are the keywords of the AFERA strategy?
Like mentioned before, the keywords are: co-creation, cooperation and communication as well as transparency, globalism and shaping of the future. Furthermore, education is paramount. Within AFERA we have the possibility to deepen our knowledge which is an important element for our success. This sounds like a challenging task, especially regarding your time.
You are Head of Lohmann´s R&D. Are there approaches valid for both tasks?
Yes, AFERA takes time and I do it “on-top” of my job within Lohmann. I can also fulfill this task because of my excellent R&D team working more and more independently. It is more work, but it is fun, too! And it is even more fun, because I thrive on these challenges and Lohmann will be integrated even better into this industry. Moreover, our network always keeps up to date which is very important today. And this task allows me to exchange information both inter-divisionally within Lohmann and within the industry (at AFERA conferences and Committee Meetings). AFERA is a transparent organization and this transparency secures our industry´s future.
Which advantages do you see in Lohmann's Afera membership as well as your position as President?
Well, there are many. Firstly, the membership is a financial investment. But the gains – namely the input about developments and trends within our industry as well as about larger political and economic questions (i.e. Brexit and its consequences) – outweigh those expenses many times over. This information is very important for Lohmann's development, positioning and visibility. Additionally, we should always bear in mind to not automatically assume tapes will be always just applied in the future. We have to create our future ourselves and not lean back!
Evert, thank you very much for the interview! We wish you a lot of success as President of Afera!