Brush Expert 63rd FEIBP Congress Report


European Brushware Federation Congress | Belfast, UK | 20 to 23 September 2023

The 63rd FEIBP (European Brushware Federation) Congress was held from 20th to 23rd September 2023 in Belfast, UK, a great city of culture, industry and history. The event was hosted by Denman International, part of the Denroy Group, world-renowned manufacturers of hairbrushes who have recently enjoyed their 85th anniversary.

First night reception

Andrew McIlroy (Perlon GmbH), current President of the FEIBP, addressed the delegates at dinner on the first night at the Europa Hotel where the Congress took place. He mentioned that he was born not far from Belfast and told of his fond memories of his time there in his youth. He welcomed all in attendance and wished them an interesting and exciting Congress.

He was delighted to see so many industry friends at the Congress and thanked them for coming from all over Europe and America for the occasion. Belfast, he said, is a vibrant city with a very interesting past, and he hoped they would all get a chance to explore the city over the next few days and to connect with old friends.

Opening business session

This year in attendance were 86 delegates, including 12 first timers, 16 partners and 8 guests from USA, slightly up on last year’s number.

Andrew welcomed the new members saying, “One of the main drivers of our Association is finding new members,” he said. Presenting the new members and first-timers, he asked all to stand and introduce themselves. These included:

  • Caroline Schroth of Rothlaender GmbH, Germany 
  • Tjin Slettenhaar ABI, Netherlands 
  • Arko Jacobs ABI, Netherlands 
  • Maria Pogliani, Pogliani Srl, Italy 
  • Sali Balkan, Zahoransky AG, Germany 
  • Timo Steinbrunner, Zahoransky AG, Germany 
  • Stefan Jiksra, Rothstein Draht GmbH Germany 
  • Wissem Mamzouzi, Rothstein Draht GmbH Germany 
  • David DeCoopman. Decof bvba 
  • RJ Lindstrom Lindstrom , Vice President ABMA USA 
  • John Foley, Dosco, Northern Ireland 
  • Tom Parseghian, Power Brushes Inc, USA

American Brush Manufacturers Association (ABMA)

Andrew then introduced Chris Monahan (Brush Fibers Inc.), President of the ABMA. Chris thanked Andrew and the FEIBP for inviting him to the Congress and for the opportunity to speak at this event.

He stated that with over 200 years of family connections in the brush industry, his ancestors and family would be very proud that he is here addressing the Congress as President of the ABMA in a brush federation in Northern Ireland.

He was keen to invite everyone to look at the benefits of becoming a member of the ABMA and shared details of the 2024 ABMA Annual Convention to be held from 19 to 22 March 2024 at the prestigious Omni Resort in Amelia Island, Florida. He mentioned that whilst a lot of their European friends already attend annually, there are still plenty of hotel rooms left for any others considering making the trip.

In celebration of the long-standing relations with between the two Associations, Chris presented Andrew with a gift of an authentic Ryder Cup team shirt which he was extremely impressed with.

Andrew reiterated that all are entitled to attend the ABMA’s Conventions as they were already FEIBP members and said that if any had not been to the Convention before, he highly recommended it. Click here for more information about the ABMA and its Annual Convention.

World Brush Expo

Next on the agenda was an update regarding World Brush Expo, the new exhibition for the brush industry, whose inaugural show will take place from 22 to 24 May 2024 in Bologna, Italy.

Andrew announced that unfortunately Mr. Momoli of the Bologna Fiere exhibition venue was unable to attend the Congress, but was pleased to announce that the FEIBP, ABMA and Bologna Fiere had all been working hard to make this an event to be proud of.

Chris Monahan also added that was very satisfied with the collaboration between the Associations and was very excited about the positive cooperation to date between Andrew McIlroy (Outgoing FEIBP President), Alessandro Acquaderni (Incoming FEIBP President), Fons Ceelaert (FEIBP General Manager) and himself (ABMA President) and encouraged all to attend next year’s inaugural show.

Special mention was made of the involvement of Dave Parr, the previous Executive Director of the ABMA, whose willingness and expert advice on how to go about organising such an event was praised. He gave the group many good points and assisted greatly in obtaining information on the right place to hold the show and the necessary detail to help them to go forward with it. With the venue, format and dates having been decided, Andrew personally thanked Dave for all his outstanding support to great applause of the audience.

He encouraged all to take up the vast opportunities that this international show will offer and suggested that all interested suppliers and machine manufacturers register early to gain good stand positions. He recommended that exhibitors should contact their customers to make sure that as many visitors as possible are achieved to make this a truly successful show for all involved.

Alessandro Acquaderni (SIT Società Italiana Tecnospazzole), FEIBP incoming President, then gave his summary of the show. “As this is the first project that ABMA and FEIBP have made together we, therefore, need some encouragement so that we can keep doing future projects together in partnership”, stated Alessandro.

He told the delegates that Bologna was chosen being itself a great city, and the safe and easily accessible showground is ideally suited to hosting such an important event with great access from motorways and public transport, therefore making it easy for exhibitors and visitors too.

The two halls allocated for World Brush Expo are separated by an entrance corridor where you will find the organiser’s information office as well as the stands for the various trade press, including the global online magazine, directory and information resource, Brush Expert (www.brushexpert.com). He thanked the press in advance for all their efforts in promoting the event.

Alessandro explained the product categories to be found at the show, which draw from suppliers of components and machinery used in the manufacture of brooms, brushes and mops. He also highlighted the popularity of the event which has already seen over 100 stand reservations. With Bologna being not only a hugely popular tourist destination, but also one of the largest technological cities in the world, Alessandro stressed the need to get hotels and travel organised very soon in order to keep prices low.

Links to the Exhibitor Registration Form, exhibitor list including product categories, visitor registration, venue and destination guides, as well as resources to help you arrange accommodation and transport can be found on Brush Expert’s dedicated World Brush Expo page.

64th FEIBP Congress 2024

Next, Alessandro Acquaderni announced plans for the 64th FEIBP Congress that will be held in the Hotel Torre de Mar in Playa d’en Bossa, Ibiza from 10 to 12 October 2024. He started his announcement with a video showing the beautiful hotel with its beachside location and stunning views of the Mediterranean. The theme for the Congress will be “No Company is an Island”, with workshops and speakers to match the subject.

Discussing the room availability and pricing, he told delegates that to receive an early bird discount you must book in advance. If you book by the end of the year, you will get 10% off the hotel fee. To encourage registration, the FEIBP offered an early-bird enticement: those who were to sign up at the registration booth in the Brush Forum would also receive a famous Italian cocktail. It must be noted that by the end of the Congress Alessandro had received 58 early bird reservations with only the alcohol-free cocktails not yet taken!

For those wishing to enquire about attendance, contact the FEIBP via this link to gain your early discount and enable the FEIBP through your commitment to obtain the best rates for the Congress.

Innovation Award
 
Speaking of the annually awarded FEIBP Innovation Award, Andrew McIlroy said, “Innovation is key in our business in all sectors. Sadly, we only have one company who naturally will be the winner - Ebnat AG with its BBQ Brush.”

Peter Langenegger, Ebnat’s Head of Marketing & Sales, gave full explanation alongside a video of the innovation. With a shaped head of stronger, longer, angled brass filaments arranged in offset tufts in a unique, stable step cut for optimum cleaning performance, the wooden, long-handled grill brush is better designed to clean the round rungs of a BBQ grill.

In addition, it features a head with a stainless-steel scraper that is easily removeable and replaceable which ensures the longevity of the product. This, supported by the fact that the grill brush uses only natural materials (FSC® certified beech wood, stainless steel, brass, goatskin), aids its sustainability, a matter that is close to Ebnat’s heart.

It was a shame, Peter said, that no more innovations had been presented and reminded the delegates of the importance of this award in growing their business. In addition to that, it was maybe simpler than they thought to achieve nomination. It was not necessary to have a brand-new invention, said Peter, but just to tweak a few things to improve a brush or machine is important to its value and therefore, innovative. He asked that many more should consider their innovations for inclusion next year. He said he already has his ready.

Full details of Ebnat’s award-winning Wooden Grill Brush can be found via this link.

Speakers

After lunch, the delegates were given the opportunity to learn from the speakers.

Dorcas Crawford, The Better Way - ‘The Isolated Leader’

Dorcas Crawford, former Belfast lawyer, ultimate management consultant, mediator, facilitator and GEPH leader continued in the theme of this year’s topic, “No Man is an Island”.

In 2015, having sold her law firm, she launched the company “The Better Way”, offering her main skills for conflict management services incorporating facilitation and mediation.

Speaking on the subject ‘the isolated leader,’ she started her talk with “No leader is an island; communication is a crucial skill in conflict management.” She spoke for almost an hour explaining how it is important to get to know other people, to accept others’ differences, treat everyone with respect and above all understand each other. To overcome problems with finding ‘another’ solution rather than just conflict. Her very interesting talk held the delegates attention from start to finish and was the ideal talk for this year’s theme. You can find more information and learn how to brush up on your conflict resolution techniques on The Better Way’s website.

Emma Trevor, Valpak – “EU Packaging Regulations”

Emma Trevor of Valpak then delivered her speech in which she detailed the many elements of packaging regulations across the EU and the reasons for registering for compliance.

She explained the existing regulations of the EU and USA and outlined the new regulations that are coming into force. Topics covered included packaging materials and packaging labelling, as well as the end-of-life implications and liabilities. This very interesting and enlightening talk contained vital information for manufacturers who wish to ensure compliance when selling packed products, not only locally, but around the world.

For those wishing to learn more, please visit the Valpak website where you will find a wealth of information and guidance.

Ulster Reform Club reception

The evening’s reception was held in Ulster Reform Club. Established in 1885, this is the most prestigious business, social and dining club in Northern Ireland. Host Dr John Rainey MBE, joint owner of the Denroy Group, welcomed the delegates to this celebrated club. He gave the full history of the Belfast region and of the Reform Club itself. Delegates and partners wined and dined well with good traditional food and some excellent wine.

Brush Forum

Friday’s meeting began with the traditional Brush Forum, a bookable tabletop display in which delegates can share their latest products and developments. Displays included those from Zahoransky AG, Rothstein Draht GmbH, Roth Composite Machinery, Borghi SpA, Pogliani Srl, Perlon GmbH, GB Boucherie NV, Wöhler Bohemia and, as previously mentioned, the FEIBP Congress 2024 registration team where Alessandro Aquaderni was handing out the cocktails for early registrants. As you can imagine, a queue quickly formed!

Closing Business Session

Following the Brush Forum, Andrew McIlroy began by saying that this would be his last closing report, it being the end of his tenure as FEIBP President. His long, 3-year reign assisted the FEIBP through the pandemic, the energy crisis and now general inflation. He has driven the Association well and all showed their appreciation of his support through their resounding applause.

62nd FEIBP Congress review

Andrew then introduced Fons Ceelaert, FEIBP’s General Manager, to report on last year’s Congress. Fons expressed his thanks that, finally, 2022 was the first face-to-face conference since 2019 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Held in Prague, Czech Republic, the Congress was a success with 95 people in attendance. The atmosphere was vibrant, the weather was good, and the agenda was interesting and entertaining.

This was the first time that the FEIBP Congress has been held in a Central European country and Fons remarked that he was happy to meet the members of that region. Positive feedback was received in the post-Congress questionnaire and Fons hoped that its warm and friendly atmosphere would continue going forward with this and future Congresses and with the new President, Alessandro Acquaderni.

Working Group reviews

Fons then introduced representatives of the various Working Groups of the FEIBP (Professional Hygiene Brush, Personal Care Brush, Paintbrush and Technical Brush Working Groups), who each gave a report on the topics discussed and the outcomes of their meetings held earlier in the Congress. More information can be found on the FEIBP website.

FEIBP Annual Report

Andrew then introduced Fons Ceelaert to deliver his annual report. Fons, having given an overview of the state of the industry over the past year, outlined the importance of coming together in the Association for the benefit of all companies. He thanked Andrew for all his hard work during the last 3 years, especially through the difficult years that had been his term of office.

He announced the new FEIBP President Alessandro Acquaderni (SIT) and Simon Lorrilliere (Brosserie Brenet) as Vice President. Andrew McIlroy will continue as Past President and Peter Brunner will continue as Treasurer.

Fons gave appreciation for the hospitality of Denroy Group, thanking Dr John Rainey and Chris Boomer for their valiant efforts in putting together such a great Congress. Special thanks were extended to Claire McComb and Emma Hobson of the Denroy Group, along with Elena Berto of SIT and FEIBP Secretary Marion van der Laan-Staps for their excellent service.

We next heard from the Treasurer, Peter Brunner of Ebnat AG of Switzerland, who explained the funds and costs from the past year and the forecast for 2023/4.

French Brushware Association

Fons informed the delegates that following the dissolution of the former French Brushware Federation (FFB), he was pleased to announce that the French manufacturers and suppliers had formed a new association, Association des Brossiers Français (French Brushware Association). The first Board will comprise Armand Chainard of Brosserie Cardot as President, Simon Lorrilliere of Brosserie Brenet as Vice President and Alexandre Zulick of Brosserie RBN as Treasurer/Secretary.

Simon Lorrilliere explained that after more than 150 years of existence, the FFB was dissolved and, on 6th March 2023, the new French Brushware Association was created, with new goals and strategies set. Starting with 15 members from different sectors of activity, its mission is to serve the interests of the association and its members, to work towards achieving common goals, promote its values, to grow the organization and become an FEIBP member.

Final remarks

Closing the Congress, Alessandro Acquaderni (new President), together with Simon Lorrillere (Vice President), and Andrew McIlroy (Past President), invited every member to take an active part into the future of the FEIBP and the wider brush industry, starting with the participation in World Brush Expo (May 2024) and other meeting opportunities across the industry, such as the ABMA Convention (March 2024) and the 64th FEIBP Congress in Ibiza (October 2024).

Alessandro closed the Congress with the words, “Here in Belfast, we started a journey across 3 Congresses where we analyse the concept recalled by John Donne's poem of "No Man is an Island" under 3 different lenses in progress: individual loneliness (No Leader is an Island), company leadership (No Company is an Island), and Federation/Association success (No Federation is an Island). After Belfast, the preparation for Ibiza 2024 already started with great success as people are willing to keep walking the path that we have just started, together."

Friday reception – Titanic Belfast

The evening reception was preceded by an amazing excursion to the Titanic Belfast, a world-leading visitor attraction which tells the story of RMS Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s to its sad demise.

Delegates and their partners were treated to a ride through an impression of the construction of the ship with many unique features, giving a feeling for how hard the work was for the ship’s builders, especially those who hammered the rivets in place for many hours at a time.

The gala dinner was served in the reconstruction of the Titanic ballroom complete with its iconic wooden staircase.

Optional tour of the Northern Irish coast

Saturday’s optional tour took delegates and partners on a tour of the coast of Northern Ireland, taking in its rugged and breath-taking scenery, historical highlights and, of course, a visit to the Giant’s Causeway.

Visit the Brush Expert Image Gallery where you will find photos from all business sessions and receptions.
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