A conversation with Dr Rolf Bayersdörfer, President, and Alain D’haese, Secretary General, of the European Aerosol Federation (FEA), Brussels/Belgium (Premium)

AEROSOL EUROPE: Dr Bayersdörfer, Mr. D’haese, now after 5 years, excitement is building about the next international aerosol congress with exhibition that will be organized by the European Aerosol Federation FEA in Düsseldorf. What are your expectations?

Dr Rolf Bayersdörfer: We are very eager to develop the event to the next level of interaction, engagement and inspiration. We have analyzed past events to learn from them so that we can attract more visitors and spread the message of an innovative and sustainable industry.

Alain D’haese: Since 1959, the FEA events have been unique, global, and dedicated solely to the aerosol dispenser. I expect that the entire global aerosol industry will again be present to gain insights about trends, interact with peers, and to further grow business. The Congress program is outstanding, and participation should hit a record high.

AEROSOL EUROPE: This time around, the FEA has an entirely new trade show concept. Can you please explain it briefly to our readers?

Dr Rolf Bayersdörfer: Networking and facilitated exchange of information is the key principle of the event. We want to reach a maximum number of persons, which is why we are trying to offer multiple ways to engage.

Alain D’haese: When you visit the dedicated website at www.feaglobalevents.org/, you can see the FEA Network Place at the center of the exhibition area where activities will take place. Additional liveliness will come from the coffee breaks and lunches spread out throughout the entire area. We ask visitors for a fixed entry fee to allow them to focus on their business. This will be a place favorable for making profitable deals and priceless contacts.

AEROSOL EUROPE: What is the exhibitor structure? Will there primarily be exhibitors from European countries in Düsseldorf?

Dr Rolf Bayersdörfer and Alain D’haese: Roughly half of the companies are European, and the other half comes from abroad. This is a truly global exhibition where companies seek to do business within Europe but also to attract investments and suppliers in their own homelands.

AEROSOL EUROPE: Can you say something about the number of attendees at this point? Surely there are advance registrations.

Dr Rolf Bayersdörfer: The amazingly high reservation level for the exhibition area underscores the good communication that has happened already. There will be further initiatives as well as regular newsletters to spread the word. We expect attendees from around the globe as in the past years and probably new highs thanks to the attractive location and content.

 Alain D’haese: A record high number of delegates has already benefited from the early bird price and we know well that many delegates will register in September.

AEROSOL EUROPE: What were the reasons for choosing Düsseldorf?

Dr Rolf Bayersdörfer: We and the FEA Board of Directors have decided what the key deliverables are that a location has to provide. Düsseldorf has a very good infrastructure and a strong business environment for the aerosol business, which made selecting it quite easy.

Alain D’haese: Germany and the United Kingdom are the two largest European countries for the manufacturing of aerosol dispensers. The last FEA events in the United Kingdom took place in 2007 in Manchester and the lasts one in Germany was in Hamburg in 1991. So naturally the FEA selected Germany. The FEA Global Aerosol Events will continue to be held in different European countries in the future.

AEROSOL EUROPE: Some of the lecture program has already been announced. Can you please fill us in on the focal points?

Dr Rolf Bayersdörfer: We want to offer high-quality content that is about aerosols but also beyond. You do not have to be a technical guru to attend all the lectures and there is a lot of business-related information to which you might not typically have access.

Alain D’haese: We decided to invite Bertrand Piccard, the famous Swiss psychiatrist and adventurer who initiated the Solar Impulse project. Inspiration and energizing guaranteed. The Congress program is also definitely more business-oriented than in the past. That said, we have not forgotten some technical innovation and sustainability topics.

AEROSOL EUROPE: What will be the “high points“ for international trade visitors?

Dr Rolf Bayersdörfer: Networking with key market players. Getting inspired with innovations. Learning from others.

Alain D’haese: It is difficult to answer this question because each visitor has his/her own needs and expectations. Being innovative means seizing opportunities and responding to challenges. In a global world that is changing ever faster, consolidating existing contacts and establishing new ones is crucial to help resolve burning issues. Fillers and the entire supply chain will be present, so that should help.

AEROSOL EUROPE: What would you consider the main and most relevant issue that needs to be discussed urgently in the European aerosol industry?

Dr Rolf Bayersdörfer: From an industry standpoint, we need to make sure that innovation and business development have room to evolve in the presence of a circular economy and a globalized economy.

Alain D’haese: The aerosol industry needs to embrace a circular economy approach. To achieve that goal, post-consumer waste aerosols need to be collected and sorted and recycled effectively. Recycling is not a new topic and we are in a good position. However, further efforts are still needed in Europe and in the world. This is not an objective that we can resolve alone, but we must play our part. You will note that the Congress program includes a round table dedicated to recycling.

AEROSOL EUROPE: What issues are most relevant today for discussion on an international level?

Dr Rolf Bayersdörfer: Sharing knowledge to make aerosols, production and their transport equally safe around the world. Europe holds a leading position here. The information exchange and harmonization tasks in the International Liaison Committee are a perfect base.

Alain D’haese: Harmonization is an ongoing trend in the aerosol industry. But for historic reasons, different legal requirements and industry standards still co-exist. FEA will host the next International Liaison Committee where this topic is discussed. As for any international discussion, it takes time to deliver results, but some industry standards could be agreed upon on a global scale in the meantime.

AEROSOL EUROPE: How would you assess the future of aerosols in general?

Dr Rolf Bayersdörfer: Bright and full of innovations! Consumers love the convenience and excellent performance that aerosols can deliver.

Alain D’haese: All market studies related to aerosol dispensers predict growth, so the future looks bright. However, the world is changing fast and there is no time for complacency. The aerosol industry needs to continue developing innovative and sustainable solutions to meet consumers’ needs and expectations as well as to face current and future legal challenges.

AEROSOL EUROPE: We thank you for this conversation.