Polymer Society Annual Report for 2013

Polymer Society Annual Report for 2013



  1. Introduction

The Polymer Society continues to maintain its identity within IOM3 with the Polymer Society and RIEG micro sites strengthening their position within the top 10 of those of the technical communities.

We have now established a mid- year Board meeting online using Adobe Connect.

Members currently expressing an interest in polymers in their member’s profile on the IOM3 website are around 1500 with a sound base of members maintaining an interest in our PVC, Rubber in Engineering and Polymer Processing and Engineering technical communities.

This report format is based on the template required for the ITPB (Industry and Technology Policy Board).

  1. Board membership

The board member representing the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), Mr Tony Pringle, resigned during the year due to ill health. Ms Karen Hately, who was already on the board and during the year who was also elected to be President of the UK&Ireland section of SPE, now covers our link with SPE.

Board membership currently stands at 16 plus a corresponding member representing the IOM3 Southern Africa Section (primarily polymer based).

Dr Matthew Thornton resigned from the Institute in mid year and his position as Board Coordinatoris Dr Keith Watkinson who took up his position in October. With his background and previous management position with Bentley and earlier industrial employment experience at BASF and RAPRA, he is already proving an excellent replacement.

  1. Board meetings

We continued to have three meetings in the year including, for the first time, one meeting online via Adobe Connect which received a much improved attendance rate for the June meeting date.In addition the agenda was reduced to restrict the meeting to two hours. The reduced travel incurred also satisfied our aims for reduced costs and sustainability impacts.

  • 7th February at IOM3 London – 53 % attendance
  • 10th June via Adobe Connect – 60% attendance
  • 11th October at IOM3 London – 50% attendance

Non attendance during the year of two board members is receiving attention.

  1. Activities during 2013
  2. Technical programme (see Appendix for details)


The Rubber in Engineering Group continued to organise a very successful programme consisting of a site visit and three Afternoon Technical Discussion Meetings (ATDM). They were also able to secure free attendance at ATDMs for IOM3 members thanks to generous sponsorship from Birla Carbon.

Prof James Busfield has succeeded to the Chair of this Group following the retirement of Prof Claude Hepburn after many years service.

The support for the International Rubber Conference Organisation’s (IRCO) RubberCon 2014 will be the main focus in 2014 for RIEG members.

PPE 13

The conference was combined with the RCUK Bradford Science Bridges China and UK-China Advanced Materials Research Institute meetings and started with an appreciation of the life and work of Prof Mike Bevis.

Papers presented covered Resource Efficiency, Micro and Nanotechnology and Healthcare Technologies. There was also an extensive tour of the analysis and processing Labs where delegates were able to see the equipment and techniques available to the Researchers at Bradford University.

PVC 2014

A very full programme has been prepared and sponsorship is well above budget. Registrations are looking very good at this stage (200) and much work is in hand by the organising committee to ensure another successful conference in conjunction with IOM3 Conference, Marketing and Communications.

4.2.Web-site developments

In the latest figures available, the Polymer Society stands at position 5 in the league table of home page views of all the technical divisions and committees. The RIEG also stands at position 8; both showing the benefits of regular updating, conference links etc. The PVC and PPE committees were near the bottom at 39 with neither having a link to PVC 2014or PPE13 conference for logistical reasons.

4.3.Engagement with technical community and/or local societies

Due to staff and time constraints only one Newsletter was distributed to ~ 1300 members who have agreed to be contacted by email.

A stand, in conjunction with the Materials KTN Polymer Sector, at the annual PDM (Plastics Design and Moulding) exhibition in Telford was also manned. There was also support for the IOM3 stand at SPE’s Eurotec conference in Lyon in July.

Ongoing engagement is also maintained via the Materials KTN – Polymer Sector Advisory Board and Scientific Advisory Committee re workprogrammes,events/webinars etc but this is in flux whilst the TSB decide the future and format of the Materials KTN.

Contact with local societies is ad-hoc but ongoing.

The first year of the two year reciprocal membership exchange agreement with SPE has ended and there will be a review of the benefits to each organisation in February.

4.4.Contributions to IOM3 house magazine and journal

Materials World/Packaging Professional

The Board were directly responsible for initiating two features in MW/PP (recycling of HDPE milk bottles and phenolic insulation) and an RIEG ATDM was also reported. Biodegradable plastic was also featured in theMaterial of the Month which required an online response. Polymer banknotes and aramid fibres for belt conveyors were also featured in interesting articles. PVC was included in the feature on the Olympic City.

However more effort is required from the Board as the MW Reader Survey highlighted a need for more polymer related articles.


Volume 42 (10 issues) of Plastics Rubber and Composites:Macromolecular Engineering was published in 2013 with a 67% rejection rate of submitted papers in a continuing policy of improving the Journal’s quality (65% in 2012).

There are also new targets for improving the Journal’s turnaround time to ensure that the latest research papers are published promptly.

Publishing of all IOM3 journalsis now via Maney Online which will bringgreatly enhanced online hosting capabilities. IOM3 members will be able to access the journal via the publications page (once they have signed-in) as they do at the moment. Maney are working with the IOM3 Communications team to extend access to the journal from other pages behind the member sign-in area.


  • Cost Benefit to Members

This is regularly reviewed and monitored in comparison with the other technical communities in relation to our activities

  • Sustainability initiatives

The IOM3 Sustainability Policy has been discussed at our Board meetings and we have recognised that travel needs to be minimised using on line resources. However beyond highlighting sustainability benefits within our own groups, companies etc. it is recognised that the trade associationsin our sectors are already working in this area.

  • Awards and Prizes

This is always on our agenda to discuss and promote nominations for the Prince Philip, Hancock, Colwyn and Swinburne. Details of our awards and 2013 winners.

However the number of good nomination proposals is decreasing and we need to evaluate generally if the proposal process can be improved and promoted in a better way.

  • Plastics Timeline Posters

Using the ITPB Projects Fund we have part sponsored 9 BPF Plastics Timeline Posters covering the development of Plastics and Rubber pre 1900 to past 2010. These will be printed out and distributed to all BPF members as well as all

relevant Universities. In addition they will be distributed to the teachers attending the Polymer Study Tours and also distributedat BPF Events and the relevant trade shows.

Additional copies will also be distributed through the Institute’s schools programme.

  1. Strategy and Objectives for 2014

5.1.Opportunities and constraints

Within the limitation of staff and voluntary time constraints, the Society continues to have objectives based on a Rolling 12 Months Programme using Key Performance Indicators based on members declaring an interest in Polymers, PVC, Rubber and/or Polymer Processing and Engineering (PPE) in their profile. Over the year the

Polymers figure increased by ~ 25% and PPE by 10% while the other figures remained similar.

We also note the number of new members enrolled during the year who indicate to join the Society and who receive the appropriate welcome letter from the Board Chair.

5.2.Specific targets

  • Visible Presence – Maintain presence and participation in relevant exhibitions and conferences.
  • Website – Maintain and improve ranking in table by generation of News items and regular updating.
  • Materials World – Continue to generate relevant articles for general interest and promote benefits of membership.
  • Newsletter – Continue to issue a minimum of two in the year.
  • Society Costs – continue to monitor cost benefits.
  • Polymer Exhibit – Generate a dynamic display for 1CHT and Grantham (delayed from 2012 due to time constraints).
  • PRC: ME Journal – Continue to promote the journal through the Board’s contacts etc.
  1. Other matters
  • New Educational Initiatives with RIBA and Bartlett School of Architecture

Linked to the success of PVC 2011 and focusing on getting the polymers message out to architecture students, IOM3 will support the RIBA Lecture Series on Design through Production visiting 11 Universities/Colleges in 2014/2015.

In a separate initiative with the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL), plant visits will be arranged for their students to visit different materials manufacturing sites including PVC.

  • Student Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP)

The Worshipful Company of Horners and IOM3 continue to jointly sponsor the DIP Award with the focus of encouraging plastics design innovation and best practice in future product designers in the UK and Ireland.

The theme of the 2013 competition was Saving Lives- Design for Disaster Relief and the six finalists were selected from 82 entries submitted by 14 universities. The award ceremony continues to be hosted by IOM3 at 1 CHT with Bayer MaterialScience being the headline sponsor.

The 2014 design brief is Design for Learning – Innovation through Play.

Web version – Stuart Patrick 5th February 2014

Appendix: Technical Programme as of December 2013

Date / Status
/Planned) / Title / Location / Organising Division(s) /Committee(s)
05/13 / Proposed but never took place / Analysis of Polymers / IOM3 Grantham / APSG/NEPA
7/06/13 / Held / TARRC site tour and Afternoon Technical Discussion Meeting on Medical Elastomers / Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre, Hertford, UK / RIEG ATDM
13/09/13 / Held / Extending the Life of Rubber Products
Article in MW / IOM3 London / RIEG ATDM
26-2711/13 / Held / PPE13 / University of Bradford / Polymer IRC/PPE
13/12/13 / Held / Sustainable Polymer Materials and Fillers in the Rubber Industry / IOM3
London / RIEG ATDM
1-3/4/14 / Progressing / PVC 2014 / Brighton UK / PVC Committee
14-15/5/14 / Progressing / RubberCon 2014: Advanced Engineering & Materials Developments / Manchester UK / IRCO/RIEG