Interview with the president of Equiplast, Bernd Roegele

Bernd Roegele: “The sector’s commitment to the environment is becoming more and more tangible”

Since the 2014 edition, the CEO of the Roegele Group has chaired Equiplast’s organising committee, although his connection to the sector and with the trade fair date back to the when he was a child. The company he runs was founded in 1963 by his father, Helmut.
Question: The 2020 fair will be the third edition of Equiplast with you as the president. Will Equiplast 2020 be very different from the trade fair held six years ago?
Answer: Since I became the President, the whole Fira de Barcelona team and the Organising Committee are sharpening our wits to make Equiplast an event that no one in the plastic transformation sector can miss. We are working shoulder to shoulder to make Equiplast increasingly better and more attractive to visitors and exhibitors. I don’t know if it will be very different, but it will definitely be different.
In 2012, you were appointed chairman of the Equiplast organising committee. Have the goals set forth been achieved?
Right from the first day of my appointment as Chairman of the Committee, I set myself many goals. Goals that I was already pursuing when I was a member of the Board which has been for more than 25 years now. It is not an easy task, but some are gradually being accomplished and I hope that with everyone’s effort many more will be achieved.
How has the sector changed in the last seven years?
The sector is increasingly demanding in terms of saving energy. Efficiency is paramount and there has been great investment made in automation. The commitment to the environment through the Circular Economy and Industry 4.0 is increasingly tangible and more obvious.
A year ahead of the event, can you tell us about the new features of Equiplast 2020?
To name a few, Equiplast 2020 will be held in June instead of October, it will last 5 days, and once again it will include a Saturday. A day that is intended to be more informal and relaxed, with a party and awards ceremony. A day in which the processing machine operators can invite their families. The focus is on the Circular Economy, plastic recycling and the everything related to services, especially for the exhibitor. We want to create a ‘Smart Factory’ at Equiplast and I believe in the commitment of all parties to make this a reality.
It seems that the plastics industry is being forced to reinvent itself in order to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Where does this transformation process take place?
Populist voices and ignorance are doing a lot of damage to the plastic industry. A distinction must be made between use and abuse. Plastic is part of our lives and there are more and more ways it can be applied to make our lives easier. We must promote recycling, educate and raise awareness to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly, so that, for example, plastic bags do end up in the sea. Our company collaborates with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on the ‘Global Commitment’ and other smaller-scale entities and companies. Key words such as “eliminate”, “innovate”, “circulate” or “raise awareness”, “locate” and “withdraw” promoted by Scientific Angler are essential at this time.
In the economic field, has the sector already overcome the crisis?
The 2008 crisis affected all economies. The plastic sector began to recover in 2014 and has experienced significant growth in the last 4 years. We are currently experiencing a time of uncertainty. Trump, Brexit, diesel oil and the political situation in general are not helping much, but the changes are happening very quickly; and I believe, no, I am convinced, that this uncertainty will clear, and the economy will level out again.
Finally, how do you see the future of the sector? and that of Equiplast?
I envision a future with changes that we will have to adapt to, but I envision a positive future for the sector. Equiplast is becoming stronger and has a bright future ahead of it.