Paris, France (October 4th, 2018) - Thirty-four participants over a period of two days attended the General Assembly of the British Abrasives Federation (BAF) in Coombe Abbey (Warwickshire) on the 27th and 28th of September. Alex Henderson (George Jowitt & Sons Ltd), President of the BAF, chaired the meeting. Tony Day (Marrose Abrasives), the BAF Technical Officer, presented the main FEPA’s activities on standards and HSE lobbying. Franck Verguet, FEPA General Secretary was invited to discuss the strengthening of the link and cooperation between the BAF and FEPA. Participants intensely discussed on products and user’s safety, the evolution of the abrasives markets in the UK and the national and European economic trends. During the meeting, John Willis (Tyrolit UK) was elected BAF President and Brian Harrison (VSM) Vice-President for a 2-years term.
Safety Training (BAF training program)
Soo Hosland-Round (Cranden Diamond Products Ltd) presented the progress made on the BAF accreditation training program this year: 1864 certificates were delivered, and 2 new trainers were accredited. The total number of BAF accredited trainers amounts to over 8000. The trend shows a strong dynamic and a clear interest of the market in these training and the expertise of the association.
Several accidents due to misuse with for some resulting in court cases were discussed. The abrasives products were proved safe and safety leaflets were delivered in the packaging. It appears that distributors and employers did not provide this information to their employees and did not train them properly as requested by the PUWER regulation. However, the BAF members want to be more proactive in pushing the communication to the management of the retail companies and the downstream-users industries. A closer cooperation with FEPA will start on the production of new safety leaflets for non-woven discs and belts, as well as the promotion of the BAF safety training program on the English version of the AbrasivesSafety website.
Statistics and Business
John Willis (Tyrolit UK) presented in details the value and trends of the UK abrasives market for each type of products. The presentation was followed by a detailed report on the economic situation in the UK: manufacturing output is slowing down, yet it still remains positive. The beneficial currency effects have lessened and is seen as the biggest challenge for the British industry, bringing uncertainty to the market. The situation of each sector is different, depending on the expected impact of the Brexit and the technological changes. An overview of the situation was compared to the UK and the global trends.
With trades between the UK and continental EU worth 600 billion euros each year, Brexit remains the main concern for the entire British industry and for the BAF, whose activities are directly related to the industrial sector. The option of a hard Brexit still cannot be excluded, although most economic sectors are seeing a no deal as immensely damaging to both the UK and the EU. The business sectors are preparing scenarios for all type of situations.
FEPA, the Federation of European Producers of Abrasives, is an association representing over 80% of the European producers of abrasive products, a world leader, including SMEs and international companies in the world, as well as the abrasives National Associations and their members. FEPA Members cover 90% of abrasives European production, exporting 35% of it in the world.
FEPA’s missions, aside from representing the European abrasive industry, are to promote abrasives produced in Europe, to inform members on the evolution of the regulatory framework in Europe and worldwide, to support the producers with a range of technical, legal and scientific services, and to anticipate future challenges in the abrasives sector.
FEPA also has strong connections with non-European federations and abrasive producers in countries such as the USA.
The member companies produce all types of high-quality abrasives:
· Bonded abrasives (inorganic and organic);
· Coated and non-woven abrasives;
· Superabrasives (diamond and CBN) for precision grinding, and;
· Superabrasives for stone and construction.
Abrasives are essential components weaved into numerous industries such as construction, automobile, aeronautics, environment, optical activities, glass, electronics… and also DIY.
Franck Verguet, General Secretary
+33 (0)1 45 81 25 90