Successful Spring Meeting

Europe |

The highlight of what was widely acknowledged as a very successful Eurobitume Spring Meeting in Brussels was three new companies joining Eurobitume: liquid transportation tank manufacturer G. Magyar SA; independent inspection, sampling and testing company Inspectorate Antwerp N.V.; and the University of Antwerp.

Prospective and potential members attended a reception hosted by Eurobitume Director General Aimé Xhonneux on the evening before, when they found out more about the many benefits and potential opportunities available upon becoming a member of Eurobitume.

The two-day Spring Meeting attracted close to 60 delegates from member and associate member organisations, invited representatives from prospective member companies and guests from the Asphalt Institute in the United States.

Eurobitume Committee meetings - open sessions

The first element of this year’s Spring Meeting was a series of interesting “open session” meetings of Eurobitume’s HSE (Health, Safety & Environment), Technical and Public Relations & Communications committees. These meetings gave an excellent insight into not only the types of issues these committees address on behalf of Eurobitume members, but also into what activities they undertake.

Involvement in the Eurobitume committees is key. Each committee chair presented certificates to their committee members in recognition and appreciation of their valued input into the committee over the previous 12 months.

The first open session meeting was that of the HSE Committee, where attendees heard that Eurobitume’s HSE Committee is involved with a number of national studies regarding the exposure of workers to fumes and aerosols from hot bitumen.

The Committee also has a number of Task Forces focusing on specific topics. Task Force Differentiation, for instance, is looking at the differences between straight-run, air-rectified and oxidized bitumen. Task Force Safe Handling continues to review, update and publish new guidance and advice for members on a range of subjects: including Safety Showers, Hydrogen Sulphide and Safe Handling of Bitumen.

Attendees of the Technical Committee’s open session meeting heard that the committee is working on a variety of topics including a detailed analysis of the Life Cycle Inventory of bitumen and the ongoing review of European bitumen standards EN 12591 and EN 14023.

They also heard about the recent creation of two new technical Task Forces: TF Specifications, which will develop a consensus position on specification revision; and TF Test Methods, which is to review new test methods and develop a consensus position.

A number of important issues were discussed at the PRC Committee open session meeting, including progress with the Social Media campaign, which has been building quality followers and traction since it was launched last Autumn; and also topline metrics for the new website, which has been live now for 12 months and has been very well received – demonstrated by a positive set of website metrics.

Looking ahead, the PRC Committee also discussed plans for a third issue of the Eurobitume Magazine; the next phase of the Asphalt Advantages campaign; the 2018 E&E Event, ‘Preparing the asphalt industry for the future’; and extending collaboration with similar bodies around the world.

Guided tour of Autoworld

At the end of the afternoon there was an interesting and informative guided tour of the impressive Autoworld museum in Brussels.

Autoworld graphically portrays the fabulous history of the motor car, from its earliest roots through to modern concept cars and racing cars. Decades of evolution in technology, comfort, safety and an increasing concern with the environment were powerfully demonstrated by superb coaches and countless motorised vehicles.

2016 Committee reports

Day two began with an open session for the first part of the Eurobitume Annual General Meeting (AGM), in which each of the committee chairs reported upon the activities of their respective committees in 2016. Details of the work done by these committees on behalf of members in 2016 can be found in the Eurobitume Annual Review 2016, which is available to read online or download from the Eurobitume website by clicking here.

Before the closed session of the Eurobitume AGM, in which only nominated member-company representatives participated, there were two more important activities undertaken.

First, each of the Committee chairs was presented with a commemorative plaque in recognition of the time, effort and expertise they dedicate to Eurobitume.

Next representatives from each of the three prospective Associate Members - Stéphane Martin from G. Magyar SA; Sander van Nieuwenhuijzen from Inspectorate Antwerp N.V.; and Wim Vandenbergh from the University of Antwerp – gave brief presentations about their organisations ahead of a vote by Eurobitume member-company representatives regarding their membership applications

In summary:

  • G. Magyar SA is a liquid transportation tank manufacturer headquartered in France, with manufacturing, maintenance and repair sites across Europe
  • Inspectorate Antwerp N.V. is an independent inspection, sampling and testing company with four bitumen testing laboratories around the world, and is part of - Bureau Veritas
  • The University of Antwerp has a Road Engineering Research section, within the Faculty of Applied Engineering, that specialises in bitumen and asphalt technology

Three new members of the Eurobitume family

Following these presentations, Eurobitume’s member-company representatives voted unanimously to accept each of the applications.

Stéphane, Sander and Vim were then each presented with a special plaque to signify that their organisations were now part of the Eurobitume family – the voice of the bitumen industry in Europe, promoting the efficient, effective and safe use of refined bitumen in road, industrial and building applications!