The European association for Surface Treatment on Aluminium (ETSAL) has hosted its first virtual congress. Opening the event, Ivo Vermeeren, President of ESTAL announced a large variety of presentations.

The virtual congress, which took place on 6th-7th October, was organised around three half-day sessions and the digital platform offered participants the possibility to network and to contact industry suppliers via the virtual exhibition.

The first session was dedicated to Powder Coatings and started with a presentation by Mrs Mercè Berengueras, from Axalta Coating Systems, the Congress Key Sponsor, who gave an update about the trends on the architectural powder coating market, in terms of colours and finishes.

President Ivo Vermeeren opening the congress (right)

In the late afternoon, Mr Egbert Stremmelaar, from Qual-Ion talked about the investigations conducted by a Qualanod Dutch working group to find out how many parameters were influencing the anodized colours and, consequently, their reproducibility. Finally, Dr Judy Runge, from Apple Inc. closed the anodizing session with a fascinating presentation on the anodizing basics for aluminium surfaces, explaining the nature and mechanism for anodic aluminium oxide development and growth.

The second day of ESTAL virtual congress was dedicated to topics of interest for both the anodizing and the coating industry.

First, Bob Lambrechts, from European Aluminium explained how political actions and worldwide trade interventions impacted the aluminium market. He was followed by Dr Terry Goodwin, from ECCA (European Coil Coating Association) who talked about the lessons learned by his association during the 5-year review of the BREF STS. Before the break, Dr Alexander Lutz, from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and member of ESTAL Working group “Secondary Aluminium”, reported about his investigations on the effects of increased recycled contents in aluminium alloys and on the corrosion susceptibility of coated profiles.

Moderator Matthias Krämer (left) and Speaker Dr. Alexander Lutz (right) during Q&A session

Roberto Scazzola, from DG Grow at the European Commission gave information about the current state of the European Chemicals Strategy for sustainability and urged the participants to make their concerns known to the European Commission via the various public consultations. Finally, Oliver Katschmareck, from Chemetall explained how his company had boosted digital capabilities to offer new services approaches and g real-time digital support to customers.

ESTAL has very pleased with the attendance and with the lively Questions & Answers sessions that followed the presentations. Looking back at the two interesting days, he addressed his warmest thanks to the sponsors and exhibitors for their financial support, to the speakers and organisers. The 2021 virtual Congress offered an excellent opportunity to be informed about the developments on the market of aluminium surface finishing. The next ESTAL Congress that should take place in Budapest in 2022 or 2023.

Speaker Elia Schaer during presentation (right)

For registered congress participants, the congress platform (supplied by the Hungarian company Diamond Congress) gives access to all presentations on demand as well as the possibility to contact the exhibiting company until the end of November 2021.

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