EGGA Assembly 2019: Europe’s Galvanizers Enjoy Antwerp

An excellent programme of speakers set out to address the conference theme – ‘What the future holds’ – with insights into the use of automation and digitalisation in the manufacturing industry. This was combined with an opportunity to visit facilities of ASK Romein and VDL VDS who are leaders in advanced technology in steel fabrication and component manufacturing, respectively.

Pieter Aarts, Managing Director, VDL VDS gave a fascinating insight into the use of automation and robotization in manufacturing.

Prof Markus Kuhnhenne, RWTH Aachen University, presented on the PROGRESS project on re-use of steel structures.

Another highlight was a review by Dr Frank van Assche (International Zinc Association) on the extensive scientific and advocacy work that has reassured regulators and users that zinc-based products are fully compatible with goals of environmental protection. As he approaches retirement, the Assembly acknowledged the immense personal contribution made by Dr van Assche to this work.

Networking opportunities included a conference dinner at the Art-Nouveaux inspired Horta Café and a lively party evening at the Felix Warehouse in conjunction with the Zink Info Benelux Galvanizing Trophy awards ceremony.

Many delegates also took the opportunity to visit Verzinkerij Weert and Verzinkerij Meerveldhoven to view their galvanizing and other coating operations.

The important role that galvanizing can play in the topical concept of the circular economy was the subject of a special session headed by a keynote speech by Professor Jacqueline Cramer on the fundamental concepts of circular thinking for business and the consumer.

This was reinforced by presentations by Prof Markus Kuhnhenne on the PROGRESS project on re-use of steel structures and by Koen Vandewalle on Kaseco’s approach to circular and sustainable building using galvanized steel.

New technical and market developments were also reported - including updates on the fire resistance of galvanized steel, design considerations for galvanized steel bridges, galvanized reinforcement for concrete and the successful promotion of galvanizing for architectural facades.

The next EGGA Assembly will be held in Salzburg, 8-10 June 2020.

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