1st Quarter | 2023
AIMCAL President of the Board
Happy & Healthy New Year to all association members.
I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I became board president, so much has happened, so before we look forward, let’s recap on 2022.
The year began with a slight hangover from the previous two years; we quickly got back to business, and the industry has seen good growth continue. Unfortunately, this optimism was thrown into chaos after the seemingly senseless invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Sadly, this had a profound effect on some of our members, causing supply-chain issues, etc. Thankfully, we seem to be over the worst of this. As a consequence of the war, energy costs are rising, having a challenging, downstream effect on our industries. Talk of recession toward the end of 2022 became commonplace, although this has yet to fully materialize. Despite all of the above, AIMCAL (now the Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters) gained record membership numbers throughout the year. We held two R2R conferences in Europe and the USA and obviously rebranded our great organization. The new name gives us a better identity and recognizes all companies involved in and supplying to the R2R web-converting industry.
Oh, did I mention the UK had no fewer than three different prime ministers in as many months? What a year!
So onto the future, the rebranding to Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters is only the beginning of the changes you’ll see during 2023. We will have a new, informative, interactive website, allowing our members access to market-leading information. In addition, we expect to launch a new and exciting Converting School education program, again benefiting our members…and non members alike. We also are exploring other locations for conference events to expand our reach and grow further. The more we grow and reach out to other areas of the globe the more benefits to the members of the Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters.
As usual, the latest issue of CQ is packed with great information about the latest technical and market developments in the web-converting industry, particularly with its Special Market Report on Flexible Packaging. If you don't receive the publication or Digital Version, you can login to your account, click "Preferences" at your personal profile and quickly click the box to subscribe. Or Create a New Account to subscribe too!
You will see us at the following upcoming events:
• ICE Europe 2023, March 14-16, Munich, Germany
• 2023 AWA Global Release Liner Industry
Conference & Exhibition, March 20-22, Denver, CO
• Tape & Functional Films Expo Europe 2023, March
2023, Amsterdam, Netherlands (event sponsor)
• interpack 2023, May 4-10, Düsseldorf, Germany
• Annual Business Summit, Members Only Event, May 16-18, Greenville, SC
To conclude, as president, I am lucky to have the support of an excellent board and hard-working association team headed up by Executive Director Chris Kerscher. I wish all our members a great 2023.
Your humble servant,
President of the Board - Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters
Scholarship fund needs your support
The Women’s Leadership Committee of the Association
for Roll-to-Roll Converters (formerly AIMCAL) seeks
contributions to its scholarship fund. Donations are needed
to continue awarding an
annual Women in Industry
Scholarship for Excellence
(WISE). The scholarship
funds are applied directly
toward the winner’s student
loan balance. The WISE is
awarded to women working
in the roll-to-roll (R2R) converting industry and recognizes
those who have overcome significant challenges, invested in
STEM degrees, and are making important contributions to
Established in 2021 to encourage and commend women
who have chosen careers in the roll-to-roll industry, the first
WISE award was presented in September 2022 to Mary
(Katie) Burdette-Trofimov, Ph.D,. of Franklin International(Ohio).
Burdette-Trofimov joined Franklin International in 2021 as
a product development chemist and formulates new waterbased, sustainably made, pressure-sensitive adhesives. She
holds a Bachelor of Science and doctoral degrees from
Clemson University. Her doctoral work focused on the
synthesis of polymer-based, drug-delivery systems. While
in graduate school, she won the prestigious POLY award,
which is given by the American Chemical Society to one
graduate student per university for outstanding research in
An endowment goal of $100,000 has been set. Levels
of support include Diamond Sponsor ($10,000+), Gold
Sponsor ($5,000), Silver Sponsor ($1,000), and Friends
of the Scholarship Fund (any amount from individuals or businesses). Sponsors receive recognition on the association
website, in social-media posts, and a scholarship sponsor
plaque. Current sponsors include Davis-Standard LLC;
Celplast Metallized Products, Ltd.; Nordmeccanica Group;
Intellivation LLC; and Mahlo America, Inc.
The deadline for scholarship applications is Aug. 1,
2023. Forms may be found at www.aimcal.org (click on“Resources,” then “Scholarship”). For more information
about the WISE or the Women’s Leadership Committee,
contact 803-948-9470 or [email protected].
2023 Business Summit & Annual Meeting
replaces Executive Leadership Conference
The new 2023 Business Summit and Annual Meeting, the
successor to the Executive Leadership Conference, will be
held May 16-18 in Greenville, SC, headquarters of the Assn.
for Roll-to-Roll Converters (formerly AIMCAL).
The one-of-a-kind conference has been designed to
support both converter and supplier members and their
organizations. Highlights include networking programming
such as collaborative workshops and presentations from
industry leaders, as well as a “behind the scenes” facility
tour at a prestigious manufacturer.
More info: www.aimcal.org/summit
ICEC USA moves to January 2024
The 7th edition of
Exhibition and Conference
(ICEC) USA has been
rescheduled from this spring
to 2024 (Jan. 9-11, 2024, Orange County Convention Ctr.,
Orlando, FL). The Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters
(formerly AIMCAL) will sponsor a member pavilion with
discounted, turnkey booth space and present its popular
series of Fundamentals courses on coating, web handling,
slitting/rewinding and more.
After 2024, the show will continue to be held in even-numbered years. “The decision [to change dates provides]
… a much more desirable timeline for our exhibitors and
attendees alike rather than the original 16-month gap,” says
ICEC USA Event Director Bob Chiricosta.
“We are excited to return to Orlando in 2024 with an even
bigger and better event,” he adds. “Many of our exhibitors
have confirmed larger booth space than they’ve ever had in
the past, and most post-pandemic budgets are expected to be
much larger for the show, making this a ‘can’t-miss’ event
for the converting industry.”
For more information, visit www.convertingshow.com.
Busy tradeshow, conference year
ahead for association participation
The Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters (formerly
AIMCAL) will exhibit or participate at several industry
events in 2023, including:
• ICE Europe (March 14-16, Trade Fair Centre, Munich,
• AWA Global Release Liner Industry Conference &
Exhibition (March 20-22, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Denver,
• Tape & Functional Films Expo Europe (March 21-
23, The RAI, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) (event
• FLEX Conference & Exhibition (July 11-13, Moscone
Ctr. San Francisco, CA)
• PACK EXPO Las Vegas (Sept. 11-13, Convention
Ctr., Las Vegas, NV)
• Labelexpo Europe (Sept. 11-14, Expo Centre,
• The Battery Show North America (Sept. 12-14,
Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi, MI)
View all industry events on our Calendar.
Popular Converting School courses
head to Green Bay (WI) in April
The Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters (formerly
AIMCAL) will present three in-person courses on April 11-12, 2023, at The Tundra Lodge Resort & Conference
Ctr. in Green Bay, WI. Options include one-day or half-day
• “Introduction to Coating, Drying, Laminating,” led by
Ted Lightfoot (eight hours)
• “Web Handling Fundamentals,” led by Neal Michal
• “Converting Process Development Approaches,” led
by Steve Lange (four hours)
More information may be found at www.aimcal.org (click on “Education,” then “Courses”).
Association roster expands by six
Six firms have joined the Association for Roll-to-Roll
Converters (formerly AIMCAL) since the last quarter. The newcomers represent an array of
technologies and geographies. The continued growth takes
association membership to more than 300 organizations
from across the globe.
HB Fuller (Vadnais Heights, MN): Its specialty chemical
products portfolio consists of an array of adhesives,
sealants, tapes, labels and coatings, including flexible packaging adhesives. (651-236-5345)
Inteplast Engineered Films (Livingston, NJ): Six North
American facilities support the production of high-quality films for printers, converters and end users.
Leybold (Export, PA): A pioneer in vacuum technology
since 1850, the firm offers a comprehensive product line to a
global market. (412-295-4235)
MMC Ryotec Corporation (Godo-cho, Japan): Part of
Mitsubishi Materials Corporation Group, the engineered
carbide-product specialist offers wear-resistant tools
(including slot dies). (+81-058-427-1211)
Siemens (Alpharetta, GA): Operating company Siemens
Industry supplies automation and control products to
machine builders and end users. (www.siemens.com)
TKM United States (Erlanger, KY): This manufacturer
produces long-lasting doctor blades for gravure, flexo and
coating applications. (859-538-1287)
AIMCAL Women’s Leadership Committee
Ginger Cushing, Goddess,
G Prime LLC
I’ve been working in industry since Mica Corp. hired
me as a bench chemist in 1988. There I learned the
fundamentals of R2R coating and converting, and it set the
stage for the rest of my career. I made a few more stops
along the way, then left the security of my salaried job in
2016 to become a consultant under my own banner. I also
serve as co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee.
Describe your current line of work and what interests
you the most about it.
My work focuses on coatings
and adhesives used for flexible packaging. Most projects
involve developing sustainable replacements for
conventional, multilayer plastic structures for food and
medical applications. I do a little formulating in my home
laboratory and run trials in the field on commercial roll
coaters. Nothing pleases me more than finding a practical
solution to a technical problem.
What areas of the R2R processing field are the most
exciting now and into the future?
It is no secret that
flexible packaging has been taking a beating with public
sentiment. We (the people in our industry) have the know-how and responsibility to turn things around. CPGs,
converters, and machinery and materials producers are
collaborating across the value chain more than ever.
Recycling and compostable solutions are emerging and
making an impact. These are exciting times. There’s still a
long way to go and lots of innovation to be seen.
Did you have a female role model or
mentor in your career, and what was
this experience like?
It’s hard to come
up with one. There simply weren’t many
women around to coach me. I have
often been the sole female on teams and
at meetings. Other women in the R2R
industry have said the same, and this is
why we started the WLC. We quickly
developed a network of like-minded
professionals who network and mentor each other. We’re
two years into it, and I’m amazed at the camaraderie,
enthusiasm and creativity the group shares.
What career advice can you give to women coming into
the field to help assure their success?
At the outset, I
spent too much time trying to blend in and be one of the
guys. I believe my work became more valuable when I
stepped away from the pack and became an individual.
My career has been rewarding, but it wasn’t all fun
and games. There were times I was harassed by men
who were disrespectful, antagonizing, and, yes, offered
unwanted sexual advances. I regret trying to resolve
these issues on my own. Though I got through it all, it
was frustrating and exhausting to go it alone. My advice
to anyone experiencing any kind of discrimination is to
muster the strength to report offenders to superiors, human
resources…or a lawyer.