President's Message
4th Quarter | 2022

Andrew Jack
AIMCAL President of the Board


President's Message

 Hello members. Greetings from sunny England!

 Welcome in the Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters. Why the name change? We rebranded to bring an exciting new look to our great organization and to have a greater reach to all converters around the globe.

 Well, the Orlando stage was set for the 2022 R2R USA Conference. We had an excellent technical program assembled with over 70 presentations; keynotes from the likes of P&G, NASA and “MythBusters;” almost 300 attendees registered and then…Hurricane Ian happened.\

 Who names a hurricane “Ian,” anyway?

 We certainly felt the full force and sadly had to cancel the R2R USA program only about halfway through. Given the devastation caused in southwestern Florida, this turned out to be the correct decision; our thoughts go out to all of those most affected. For those, like me, who remained in Florida (due to flight cancellations, etc.), we “hunkered down” and made the most of very unusual circumstances with my hotel room becoming a makeshift meeting and event center. For me personally, I enjoyed this time as it allowed me to catch up with old (and new) friends – something that I have not been able to do given the COVID-19 lockdowns over the past couple of years.

 The R2R USA Conference was later made virtual with all the excellent presentations available, along with live Q&As and even two keynotes. I would like to offer my personal thanks to Chris Kerscher and staff for their hard work putting together a great conference…only to be thwarted by the weather.

 As I write this message, economies on both sides of The Pond are seeing a slowdown and, with this, the inevitable cutback in spending. Recession seems to be the new buzzword, so let’s hope it’s a brief reset before returning to more normal, growing times. Certain market segments seem to be immune to this, mainly in the low-carbon / green-energy sectors. This field grows ever faster as most of the G7 nations and beyond set out to achieve the promises made at the COP Summit in 2021. Sustainability and advanced packaging techniques can be added to this effort as we focus on a greener future with many of our members contributing. Keep up the great work.

 To conclude, I hope you all had a great summer. Let’s hope we all can meet again next autumn and that Mother Nature behaves this time around.

 Your humble servant,

Andy Jack
President of the Board - Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters


AIMCAL changes name to the Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters

AIMCAL, The Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators, has adopted a new name, the Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters. The announcement was celebrated with a champagne toast at the AIMCAL R2R USA Conference (Sept. 26-29, 2022, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Orlando, FL). The transition to the new name and related rebranding, including a new logo and website (, will occur during the next few months and is expected to be completed by mid-2023.

The new name reflects the evolution of AIMCAL’s membership. Since its founding in 1970 as a group focused primarily on metallizing, coating and laminating, it has broadened via mergers with the Converting Equipment Association (2003), European Metallizers Association (2012) and Gravure Association of the Americas (2021), as well as the expanding use of roll-to-roll (R2R) technology. As a result, AIMCAL members now represent virtually every industry segment that relies on R2R technology, including packaging, batteries, photovoltaics, consumer electronics and medical products, among others. 

"The name change allows us to be more inclusive of all facets of roll-to-roll converting and focus on membership benefits for prospective members rather than spending time explaining the AIMCAL acronym and describing the businesses members currently serve,” says Executive Director Chris Kerscher.

Along with the name change and rebranding, the Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters will bring cuttingedge science and technology to members and the industry through top-tier technical training and education and the most comprehensive library of technical resources in the industry.

The rebranding builds on 50 years of AIMCAL history and its global reach to foster even stronger connections among industry leaders, partners and the workforce. It honors AIMCAL’s history and heritage while adding design elements to better represent the organization’s three-fold mission: educating members, connecting them with each other, and helping them grow their businesses.

“The result is a new brand that feels fresh yet rooted in AIMCAL’s strong history,” says Kerscher. The icon depicts a web path as elements come together around a roller, representing the industry and symbolizing the unification of materials, processes and most importantly, the people. Combined, these elements form an upward arrow, suggesting the forward-thinking nature of the association. The navy blue is the original blue from the previous AIMCAL logo, with a lighter green color to signify growth and renewal.

Kerscher notes, “The clear, concise name, coupled with a modern logo and wordmark, is an exciting step for the organization, which already has proven to be thoughtful and strong in its purpose. Since its formation more than 50 years and 300 members ago, the mission still holds true: The Association for Roll-to-Roll Converters looks ahead to the next 50 years as we collect and distribute information to increase industry knowledge while fostering an environment that builds relationships and a spirit of cooperation between member companies worldwide.”

To support the emphasis on training, AIMCAL has hired Alex Nevels as Director of Education. He will create new training courses and build content specifically for converters. “This will turn our industry-leading resource library into an even stronger tool for members,” explains Kerscher. Nevels has spent the last 10 years supporting educational endeavors for various organizations as a learning consultant, instructional designer, eLearning developer and development support specialist.



Hurricane Ian cuts short R2R USA 
Conference; program goes virtual

The R2R USA Conference (Sept. 26-29, 2022, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Orlando, FL) was off to a great start and heading toward a fantastic finish until Hurricane Ian disrupted the proceedings and forced most everyone to head home early. “Fortunately, everyone made it home safely,” says Chris Kerscher, executive director of the Association for R2R Converters.

The remainder of the program was available virtually during October and November 2022. Kerscher explains, “The virtual meeting platform allowed for chatting and contacting attendees; online panel Q&A sessions for speakers who did not get to present in Orlando; as well as the missed keynote presentations, including Gary Dahlke, high-powered rocket subject-matter expert from NASA. The online format gave exhibitors and attendees extended time to network and view recorded presentations.”

A major highlight of the live event was the announcement of the association’s new name and introduction of the new logo (see pg. 6). Other highlights included the VIP keynote by Tamara Robertson, engineering expert and host of “MythBusters,” a New Member Welcome Reception, networking receptions with a live Florida alligator and the always popular AIMMy Vendor Presentations. Bill Poulson of Harper Corporation of America won the 2022 AIMMy Award for best presentation.

An Awards Ceremony recognized Golden Cylinder Award winners, the first recipient of the Women in Industry Scholarship for Excellence and the 2022 AIMCAL Award winners: Monadnock Paper Mill, Inc., 2022 Sustainability of the Year; ProAmpac Holdings, LLC Flexible Division, 2022 Product of the Year; Rheonics, 2022 Technology of the Year; and InkSpec, Technical Excellence Award. 

The conference drew 271 registrants, 45 exhibitors and presented six short courses and about half of the 70 in-person presentations scheduled. Topics included Flexible Packaging, Battery Manufacturing, Flexible Electronics, Coating & Laminating, Vacuum Web Coating, Web Handling, Adhesives & Coatings, Sustainability, and Gravure Coating and Printing, plus new sessions covering Nonwoven Substrates Coating and Capacitors. 


R2R USA Conference honors
first WISE Scholarship recipient 

Mary Burdette-Trofimov, Ph.D., with Franklin International, was honored as the first recipient of the Women in IndustryScholarship for Excellence (WISE) during an awards ceremony at the R2R USA Conference. She was chosen by the WISE Scholarship Review Team who found her application and commitment to the industry and technology impressive. “She is on a path to contribute technically to the industry and will impact whatever she touches,” said one of the judges.

Known as Katie, Burdette-Trofimov earned Bachelor of Science and doctoral degrees from Clemson University. Her doctoral work focused on the synthesis of polymerbased, 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 polymeric materials.

In 2021, she joined Franklin International (Ohio) as a product development chemist tasked with formulating new water-based, sustainably made, pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs). Burdette-Trofimov reports, “I found that I could combine my polymer synthesis skills with physical chemistry of polymers to develop PSAs. It has been extremely rewarding to work on projects that are going into the market that real people will use on a daily basis.” Her advice to women to help assure their success: “Surround yourself with a great support system. Being the only technical woman at work can be taxing if you don’t have support.”

The WISE was created in 2021 by AIMCAL and its Women’s Leadership Committee to encourage and commend women who have chosen careers in the R2R processing industry. The scholarship funds are applied directly toward the winner’s student loan balance. The WISE is awarded to women already working in the rollto-roll converting industry and is intended to recognize those who have overcome significant challenges, invested in STEM degrees and continue to make important contributions to the industry.

The WISE program is funded by donations and an endowment is being established to ensure women working in the web-converting field continue to receive aid. A goal of $100,000 has been set, with a Fall 2023 deadline. Levels of support include Diamond Sponsor ($10,000+), Gold Sponsor ($5,000), Silver Sponsor ($1,000) and Friends of the AIMCAL Scholarship Fund (any amount from individuals or businesses).

Sponsors receive recognition via the association’s website, 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.

Applications now are open for the 2023 scholarship award. The application form is available at (click on “Resources,” then “Scholarship”). The submission deadline is Aug. 1, 2023. For more information about the WISE or the AIMCAL Women’s Leadership Committee, contact 803-948-9470 or [email protected].


GAA honors Golden Cylinder Award winners

The Gravure AIMCAL Alliance Committee (GAA) honored winners in its annual Golden Cylinder Award competition at an awards ceremony during the 2022 R2R USA Conference in Orlando, FL.

The Best in Show Award in the competition, co-sponsored for the second year by ACIMGA (the Italian Manufacturers Association of Machinery for the Graphic, Converting and Paper Industry), went to a paper label for Bush’s Best “Flavor Fusions” Baked Beans printed by delfort’s Mundet Tennessee, Inc. A description of the Best of Show winner and Golden Cylinder Award recipients in seven other categories appears on the website.


21st ISCST Symposium brings  
more than 100 attendees to Minneapolis

The 21st International Coating Science and Technology (ISCST) Symposium (Sept. 11-14, 2022, in Minneapolis, MN), managed by AIMCAL, presented more than 50 technical sessions covering a wide range of subjects including Coating Process Fundamentals, Drying and Curing Fundamentals, Flow and Solidification of Particulate Coatings, Wetting & Adhesion, Coating Technology & Applications, Printing and Discrete Coating, and Analytics/Big Data in the Coating Industry. There also was a special session on Flexible Electronics, which focused on continuous and semi-continuous processing of electronic, optoelectronic and energy-storage components on flexible substrates.

The meeting, organized by the International Society of Coating Science & Technology (ISCST), included nine tabletop exhibits and 16 poster presentations. Attendees enjoyed a Riverboat Networking Reception on the Mississippi River and welcomed Ilyess Hadj Romdhane, Ph.D., a staff scientist at 3M Co., as the new president of ISCST.

An Awards Ceremony recognized several honorees, including recipients of the L.E. Scriven Young Investigator Award in recognition of outstanding sustained achievements in the area of continuous, liquid-film coating science and technology; the John A. Tallmadge Award for significant contributions to the improvement of coating technology and for leadership in establishing and sustaining ISCST; Best Poster Award for original research and advancements in coating at the 21st ISCST Symposium; and Edward D. Cohen Student Travel Awards.

Best Poster Award (first-place tie)

• Andreas Altvater, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
• Xiaoqing Yu, Georgia Institute of Technology

Edward D. Cohen Student Travel Awards

• Hsuan-Chin Lu, National Taiwan University
• Hyungyeol Kwak, Seoul National University
• Julian Klemens, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
• Kwangjun Jung, Georgia Institute of Technology

John A. Tallmadge Award

 • Dr. Masato Yamamura, Kyushu Institute of Technology
• Dr. E.J. (Ted) Lightfoot, Ted Lightfoot LLC

L.E. Scriven Young Investigator Award

• Dr. Scott Mauger, National Renewal Energy Laboratory


Association membership expands by six

The six newest members of the Association for R2R Converters represent a broad cross-section of the membership, including measurement equipment, emissions treatment systems, ovens/dryers, services, academia, software and battery-cell technology.

AkzoNobel Coatings, Inc. (Lancaster, SC): Amsterdambased supplier of sustainable paints, coatings and powder coatings serves a variety of industries with an array of brands and is active in more than 150 countries. Products protect industrial, marine, aerospace, automotive and household surfaces. (803-285-9401)

The CMM Group (De Pere, WI): Portfolio includes turnkey design, fabrication, installation and project management services for volatile organic compound emissions treatment, industrial wastewater treatment, custom-designed ovens and dryers, energy-recovery systems and aftermarket services for upgrades, retrofits and rebuilds. (920-336-9800)

Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA): George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering is the oldest and second largest department in the College of Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. The school offers degree programs in mechanical engineering and nuclear and radiological engineering that are accredited by ABET. (404-385-6335)

J.A. Woollam (Lincoln, NE): Founded in 1987 by Dr. John A. Woollam as a spin-off from the University of Nebraska, the company rapidly has grown to become a worldwide leader in spectroscopic ellipsometry. It manufactures spectroscopic ellipsometers and holds more than 200 patents. (402-477-7501)

Maplesoft (Waterloo, ON, Canada): MapleSim advanced modeling software and services help roll-to-roll engineers explore roller layouts and evaluate web-line tensions. Builtin analysis apps are used to improve control strategies and web speed during converting and web handling. Products are used worldwide. (519-883-3826)

Solid Power Battery (Louisville, CO): Provider of all-solid-state battery-cell technology and sulfide solid electrolytes prepares for transition to renewable power. With considerably higher energy, longer life, lower costs and greatly improved safety, all-solid-state batteries have the potential to revolutionize mobile power markets. (816-820-4047) 


AIMCAL Women’s Leadership Committee
Member Profile:

Mary (Katie) Burdette-Trofimov,
Product Development Chemist, Franklin International (Columbus, OH)

Describe your current line of work and what interests you the most about it.
I am a product development chemist working in pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs). My current line of work includes water-based, pressuresensitive adhesives that are designed to be ultra-removable and repositionable without leaving any residue on the surface from which it is removed. These adhesives are very versatile and can be used in a variety of tapes, labels and graphics. I am most interested in getting to develop brand-new products that I get to design from the ground up. I get to be extremely creative in the process and solve customer problems using my technical skills. With most of my background being in academia, it has been extremely rewarding to work on projects that are going into the market that real people will use on a daily basis.

What areas of the R2R processing field are the most exciting now and into the future?
I am very excited about the market shift to water-based, sustainably made, pressuresensitive adhesives. Many applications of PSAs are disposable or single-use, so ensuring that our products are sustainably made, recyclable and environmentally friendly is incredibly important. While this presents its own set of challenges, I think this is an exciting time for the industry and a chance to make a positive impact on the environment.

Did/do you have a female role model or mentor in your career and what was this experience like?
I had a fantastic female advisor, Beth Armstrong, during my post-doc at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Beth was my first scientific female advisor, and she selflessly helped me navigate a national lab setting with a 13% scientific female population. She imparted much of her scientific prowess in surface chemistry to me but learning how to be heard in a very male-dominated profession was invaluable. My favorite adage from her was “Nobody can talk over you if you beat them technically. Just beat them technically and let the data speak for itself.” I have taken that advice to heart and use it on a daily basis, and she was absolutely right. Since using her advice, as long as my point is supported by data and logic, I have not had anyone, male or female, try to make me feel inferior either personally or technically. Beth will never fully understand how she helped a female post-doc, fresh out of school, be incredibly successful in the very male-dominated national lab system. She also helped me feel empowered and confident in effectively tackling any career obstacles that come my way.

What career advice can you give to women coming into the field to help assure their success?
There are three pieces of advice that I have for other women in science. 1) Surround yourself with a great support system. Being the only technical woman at work can be taxing if you do not have support. 2) To make sure your opinions are heard rely on your technical skills. Let your logic and data speak for themselves, or as Beth Armstrong put it, “Beat them technically.” 3) In big group settings when there are a lot of opinions, ask yourself three things before you speak: Does it need to be said? Does it need to be said by me? Does it need to be said now? If you pause and go through this little exercise, your words will be more impactful, and people will listen when you speak because they know you have something meaningful to contribute.