What an exciting time to be a part of this dynamic industry. The single biggest challenge facing us right now is the ability to grow the confidence in our industry by meeting the extraordinary growth that is currently confronting us. I do not know of a reputable player in our industry that is not either installing new capacity or trying to find available, credible new capacity to install.

There has been a considerable amount of activity going on within IMFA. We have committees working on a number of items that will ensure that we remain current and that we enhance the value for our members, our industry and our environment

Here are some of the projects our committees are working on:

  • We are producing a generic industry document that would act as a fact sheet for all involved in our industry. It will include generic numbers on power, water, Co2 emissions and other environmental impact items.
  • We also have a committee working on aligning IMFA with other trade associations that have significant levels of synergy with us. This will hopefully expand our footprint into related industries.
  • We have formed a specific Membership committee that is focusing on growing membership through a range of activities and targeted marketing strategies.
  • The 2020 Conference committee has been busy since May and has met a number of times so far. There has been a conscious decision to move from calling it the IMFA Seminar to now calling it the IMFA Conference. With the growth and development of the event covering so much more than educational seminar activity, it was deemed appropriate to do this.

On the 2020 Conference, we have almost finalized the speaker line up as well as the now popular Breakout sessions. Following are some of the topics we will be covering:

  • Rovisys will be presenting on the incredible Osi Soft Pi Process control and data archiving/management system. For those that have not had the benefit of seeing the capabilities of such a system in action in a Molded Fiber facility, be prepared to be blown away. The beauty of this presentation is that it will be specific to our industry and particularly Molded Fiber manufacturing. I have had the benefit of working with this in a new high tech Molded Fiber plant but it can be retrofitted to any manufacturing setup. We will have supplier specialists presenting but equally as impressive is that we will have two companies in attendance that are using this system and will be participating in the breakout sessions.
  • We have identified the need to present on vacuum systems rather than the traditional presentation on vacuum pumps. Those involved in manufacturing will appreciate the nuances of the vacuum system in its entirety. To this end we will have a Nash specialist presenting on the entire system. The breakout on this topic promises to be something not to be missed. We will have industry players, who we consider to have expert knowledge, share their experiences with us. We will also be including panelists from across all three product types. Come and hear about seal water influence, exhaust systems, separator tanks and pumps, freeness, tooling influence, temperatures and much more.
  • George Pesansky will present on Deliberate Improvement. Whilst the fundamentals of this topic can be applied across all manner of business, George has specific expertise in the application of this to Molded Fiber. With the ever increasing influence of global competitiveness and the need to compete against traditionally cheaper alternatives, never before has this been more appropriate for our industry.
  • We will have a presentation from a major North American fresh produce producer who has successfully embraced Molded Fiber in a big way and come out on top. They will share the challenges, processes and victories on how they effectively and economically transitioned their business into Molded Fiber. I am sure that there are many out there that will benefit from what they learn in this session.
  • Bill Moore will present on trends and issues related to key influences in our industry. This presentation will be built around massive input from a broad international base of our membership so as to ensure relevancy and currency of the material presented. Anyone that has attended one of Bill’s presentations will know of the quality of research that goes into his presentations.
  • We are in discussion with a company who has made massive claims recently to having revolutionized the manufacturing process of Molded Fiber, thereby reducing cost and enhancing the process. There will be further updates on this shortly.
  • We are also in discussion with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and will update on this shortly.
  • We will make announcements later about the Key Note speaker and possible European Union representation.
  • Our second Packaging Engineering Student competition is well under way and proves to be as intriguing as last year’s.

All of this and more will ensure that we once again put together a world class event for our 2020 Conference which will be held from the 16th to 18th April 2020 at the Omni Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. Registration will open in September. There will be big discounts for early registration with an increasing cost as we get closer to the event. I appeal to those registering to do so as early as possible and to use the accommodation link that will be provided. The number of accommodation bookings that are made through the IMFA portal directly affects our ability to negotiate facility pricing at future events.

There has been an incredible amount of resources invested into updating a very aged IMFA database. One of our members did a lot of the initial work for us and then IMFA have spent hours updating and refining it. There is still a little way to go but once completed, it will have IMFA in a very strong position to focus and target specific audiences for various outreaches. It is something that has been years overdue and has armed us with a powerful management tool.

IMFA will be attending the Packaging Innovations Trade show in Birmingham on 26th & 27th February 2020. It would be IMFA’s first formal presence at a trade show outside of the USA. This is an opportunity for our European members (and others close enough to take advantage) to visit the stand and network. I will also be encouraging members to supply products for display. A huge acknowledgement needs to be made to a member company MFP, Moulded Fibre Products, for sponsoring the cost of this stand. It will be an independently IMFA branded stand.

Our website continues to be enhanced with ongoing work into the back end, ensuring effectiveness and efficiency. The growth in monthly average visits continues to soar with a sustained increase of almost 400% over the last two years. Our members are receiving significant click-throughs from our World Map of member directories to their own websites as well a member only access to the Job Board which lists industry inquiries from prospective customers of products, equipment and services.

On behalf of the Board and management I wish you well and hope that you are participating in the most explosive period in the history of our industry.

If you are reading this newsletter and are not yet a member of IMFA, go onto our website and look at the Membership Value Proposition and consider joining and supporting us supporting the Molded Fiber Industry.


Gary Visser
Executive Chairman
International Molded Fiber Association