Notes de premsa - Entrevistes

05 juliol 2017

Interview to the president of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE)

Raed Al-Zubi: "Plastics is a contributor for good"

Raed Al-Zubi is the new president of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), the organisation that represents more than 20,000 plastic engineers around the world which is currently celebrating its 75 anniversary. Al-Zubi will be taking part in the first SPE Plastics e-Volution Conference: From Molding to 3D Printing which will be held at Equiplast 2017.
 
Question: What is the main objective of the first SPE Plastics e-Volution Conference that you are organising at Equiplast 2017?
 
Answer: I believe that we have a number of main objectives that ware looking to achieve, our Society is committed to embracing and enabling relevant cutting-edge technologies impacting our Industry now and into the future; Additive manufacturing / 3 D printing is one such technology that we believe will greatly benefit from the science and materials of Plastics. Our newly established SIG will insure that the interested plastics professional will have access to the highest quality platform for expanding their knowledge and networking opportunities thought with this conference being a fitting example.   
 
Our Global society strongly believes in collaboration with Industry peers, like Equiplast. This provides the Plastics professional and the Industry as a whole a comprehensive and relevant platform addressing a wide range of topics, applications, technologies, manufacturing processes driving the growth of Additive manufacturing today. This conference is a representation of such effective collaboration.
 
You were recently elected president of the SPE. What are the objectives of your tenure as president?
 
Whether it is the President of the Society or any member of our Volunteer leadership, our primary objective is support our Sections, Divisions, and Special Interest groups in their goal of serving the SPE customer; the Plastics Professional and our valued Industry. This you will find as a central theme of any President to the Society.
 
For me in specific, and as highlighted in my year's theme of "It's our future, lets embrace it" our Society could not be in a better place to serve our customer through a wide range of valued added services and solutions. One example is THE CHAIN our web based communication platform where plastics professionals can connect with their peers and throughout the world. It is an exceptional communication platform to share information, insights, and as important network with each other as communities and as technical groups. Another example is our PLASTICS INsight service that provide a focused and tailored inside look at our industry.  
 
In this respect, what challenges are plastics engineers having to deal with?
 
One challenge that I would like to highlight is that with the age of the internet, came a massive explosion in the availability of information and content. When it comes to basic or generic information, one can only access any of the available search engines to get the desired. However, our industry with its continued expansion into high-end cutting-edge applications, such as what this conference is addressing, a greater need for accessing specialized and sometimes highly technical knowledge is now needed. Here our Society provides the solution to this challenge through its relevant Events and it is continually expanding and searchable data base.
 
In spite of the numerous advantages of plastics, they have many detractors and there are even some countries legislating against them. Why do you think plastics have such a bad image?
 
Before I address this question, we first need to reaffirm the importance of Plastics in the betterment of our lives. One can only look at the medical industry and see how Plastics continues to play any important part in saving lives. Also, when we look at the Environment which we all have a vested interest to protect, Plastics have had a direct impact on reducing carbon emissions through their light weight properties which we find in automobiles and in many packaging applications that have displaced the more heavier metal and plastic alternatives. Plastics is a contributor for good. 
 
As a Society, we acknowledge that we have a responsibility when it comes to plastic waste which is a contributor to the negative image that sometimes is associated with Plastics. Even though, it is recognized that this is impacted by human behaviour and awareness about the proper disposable of plastics articles, we cannot but be an active participant in finding sustainable solutions. Here I would like to highlight the proactive work that is being carried out by our Society in the area of Bio-Plastics especially our dedicated Bio-Plastics Group that is focused on promoting an open exchange of scientific and engineering knowledge on the subject with an emphasis on "Cradle-to-Cradle" solutions.  
 
What does the sector need to do to redress this situation?

Simple, we need to get involved and engaged in the discussion and more important in identifying the required sustainable solutions. 

And what about the political powers? In this respect, is the situation in the United States very different from that of Europe?
 
Indeed, we see two different trends between these two regions; for the USA the Shale Oil / Gas has been a game changer for our industry. We see continued investments and growth in the chemical and polymer production sector while Europe looks for differentiation and specialization.  
 
And finally, what do you hope to achieve by holding the conference as part of Equiplast?
 
Establish a strong starting foundation for this Conference and our collaboration with Equiplast such that we see it occurring periodically in the future. Also, our participants are delighted with their participation; where they are enriched with the speakers, papers, and talks presented; exposed to the latest trends impacting Additives manufactures thus enhancing their capabilities as plastics professionals and in turn continue to strengthen our Industry. 

Barcelona, 5 July 2017

Eduard Pérez Moya
(+34) 93 233 21 66
eperezm@firabarcelona.com