For those who couldn’t make it to ARMO’s conference in Goa this month, Jonathan Wurr of Francis Wards provides an overview of the event.
The event kicked off with a fabulous evening meal for early-arrivers at the Zeebop beach restaurant, hosted by Ravi Mehra, which provided a great chance to meet old friends and get to know some new ones.
The whole evening was a great success, and the fireworks on the beach were amazing. This is a format that we must continue at ARMO2015 (although it might not be as pleasant an outdoor event in an English autumn!)
What a fantastic first day of the conference. As often seems to be the case, I am working on a Sunday afternoon, but this is not like any other Sunday. I am sat on a lounger watching the sun go down over the Indian Ocean as I type this.
This is a truly international event with over 170 members registered. In two days I have met people from every corner of the globe.
Today I attended an array of presentations by Martin Spencer of Rototek, in his seminar ‘How to be a Better Rotomoulder.’ Despite being in rotomoulding for 15 years, I am always amazed how much I can still learn from these presentations, and from talking to other moulders. Everyone was fascinated by a great piece of kit that is now readily available for about $1000 – an infra-red video camera with storage and download. We will definitely be getting one of those (even if it is only used to identify leaks in our ovens).
Martin was good enough to share his story of how his business was nearly destroyed by a fire three years ago. It only burnt 22kgs of powder but it was enough to do around $1,000,000 dollars of damage. A salutary tale to remind us to check for damaged clamps and make sure you take every possible precaution to avoid or limit a fire. The chimney-effect in a fire was one of the rare disadvantages of a rock and roll machine, according to Martin, who feels that R and R machines are the present and the future, as well as the past.
Presentations from all corners of the globe reminded me how global this industry is. Rotomoulding has found its way into every country and every possible type of market. There are great designers and moulders who continue to open up new products and drive new technologies to make the process even more versatile. There is no need for moulders to go to war on price, to try to increase their sales, while we can continue to bring new products into the rotomoulding market.
Today we heard how rotomoulding is helping preserve vaccines across the world to improve health, particularly in developing nations, using rotomoulded temperature controlled transport boxes and refrigerator. I was also struck by the presentation by Ingenia Polymers about their developments of polymers to solve rotomoulding problems. We hope to trial their bondable cross-link material to further develop our growing expertise in tank rotolining.
As the conference ends and people head home with new knowledge and contact information with them, the world of rotomoulding has moved on in one significant step as information has been shared about markets, suppliers and products. These are truly vital events for the world of rotomoulding.
The Gala Dinner was an incredible fusion of Indian and Western cultures held on the beach. The buffet format and open seating allowed continued interaction with many people, and the shows put on by the dancers and the acrobats were spectacular.
The evening was brought to an end by the sea as the tide swept through the event flooding the tables and the stage in several inches of water within 30 minutes. I am not sure we can replicate an event like this in Nottingham!
One of the presentations from Day Three that resonated with me was the SRM presentation on solar powered direct-heating rotomoulding, that takes rotomoulding into places that need tanks and have no electricity or gas supply. I also enjoyed Oliver Wandres talking about Mould Developments as their company is always at the front of mould engineering, and I was discussing the use of heat pipes with a customer only recently.
I can see that economies that have traditionally relied on low labour costs to compete, such as India and China, are increasingly investing in plant and equipment to produce better products. This will increase the competitiveness of BRICs countries and will continue to require more developed countries and markets to continue to ‘up our game’.
I also attended the workshop on Materials, hosted by three of the industries leading suppliers, ICO, SCG and Ingenia, and got some help with the age-old question of what is the safe operating maximum temperature for polyethylene products. There was also a discussion on how international moulders determine the level of bonding performance, for different grades of bondable PE.
The Francis Ward Quiz Night went very well with truly international teams – no team had less than 5 nationalities represented, demonstrating the widespread appeal of this conference. A big thanks to Ravi and Zaman and their teams for pulling together a fantastic event.
As I am involved in delivering the event in Nottingham 2015, I feel a bit like London did after Beijing put on an amazing Olympic Games in 2008 – how can we beat this?! However London put on a truly wonderful Olympic Games, and I am sure that Nottingham 2015 will live up to all expectations.”
Jonathan Wurr is the MD of UK rotomlding company Francis Ward.
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