50 Years Later: Same Values, Different Organization


When AIMCAL began in 1970, the world knew nothing about the Internet. Cell phones were nonexistent, and computers were so large they would take up an entire floor of an organization. Richard Nixon was President, America celebrated its first Earth Day, and the United States invaded Cambodia.


Enter AIMCAL, formed by the Vacuum Metallizers Association, which at that point named AIMCAL the Association of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters, and Laminators. The group began with 30 members and one mission: to collect and distribute information to increase industry knowledge, while fostering an environment that builds relationships and a spirit of cooperation between member companies worldwide.


Fifty-two years and 300 members later, the organization has grown tremendously. However, under the leadership of executive directors Colleen Liederbach, Craig Sheppard, and Chris Kerscher, the growth has been thoughtful and intentional with the aim of continuing the organization’s mission. In 52 years, AIMCAL has created an online membership database, partnered with industry experts to host hundreds of courses and talks, and led conferences in Amsterdam, Munich, Prague, Dresden, Orlando, Louisville, Cascais, Portugal, and Daejon, South Korea. In addition, several organizations have merged with AIMCAL, including the Converting Equipment Manufacturers Association, European Metallizers Association, and the Gravure Association of the Americas.

"When people need a reference in the world of coating and converting, I point to AIMCAL!” says Mark Miller, founder of Coating Tech Slot Dies, LLC. “The AIMCAL team carefully curates relevant topics to be presented by top industry authorities to ensure they consistently offer an exceptional base of technical resources. The depth of this information is unmatched by any other organization." 

What’s next for AIMCAL? Kerscher wants to double the membership, create even more opportunities for member education, and recruit younger professionals who will become lifelong members of the roll-to-roll converting industry.

“It’s our goal to become the ‘top-of-mind’ resource for all members in the roll-to-roll converting community,” says Executive Director Chris Kerscher. “We are already respected internationally as the premier outlet for technical training, so we should take advantage of this reputation, offering more technical training programs and educational opportunities that would in turn recruit more members.” Kerscher explains, “We have a solid foundation; now we plan to build upon that.”