Annual Report from the BFS IOA Chairman for 2009

Dear BFS members,

So has another BFS year ended, and we are approaching the Annual General Meeting 2010. This year we hope to meet the spring in the beautiful city of Paris. At least for those of us how are located in Europe, the past winter has been one of the coldest in many years. Therefore, what can be better than to meet your BFS colleagues and the spring at the same time?

2010 seems to be a year when several activities will happen that will widen the scene for Blow-Fill-Seal Technology. But before we start to look at what we have in front of us in 2010, let me give you a short summary of the year that just has passed.

Our AGM in 2009 was held in Schwäbisch Hall in southern Germany March 31 - April 1. Here we reached an all time high number of participants; we had almost 90 persons attending to this meeting. The first day of the meeting included site visit to the Kocher Plastik factory in Sulzbach-Laufen, where we got the opportunity to see several new applications of the BFS technique. The second day started with the AGM business.

Besides of getting the Accounts for 2008 and the Budget for 2009 approved, there were also a voting for the three positions of the Board that were open for election; Chairman, Officer for Training and Education and Board Member. The outcome was that all three current holders of the positions were re-elected. Since this included my own position, I want to take the opportunity to thank the audience for giving me the confidence to lead the Association for a new period of two years. After the AGM business, we were invited to visit the extensive contract manufacturing at the Holopack plant in Untergröningen.

The US meeting last year took place in Chicago in October 5-6. Also this time we were happily surprised by the major interest from our members to attend. Normally we have about 40-50 persons coming to our US meetings, but this time as much as 80 persons had announced their interest for attending. Since many applications came in rather late, there was no chance to move to any bigger conference room. We apologize for the inconvenience this caused, but for the future we will have to plan for an increasing number of participants to our meetings. This is of course something that we are very happy for, and this once again shows the increasing interest to learn more of the BFS technology and its related systems. The program at the Chicago meeting spread over a wide range of topics from CIP, Isolator barriers, Autoclaving of BFS containers to some presentations around new grades of resin and changes of resin suppliers. We also got the opportunity to visit the Lyondell Basell plant in Morris to better understand how our basic raw material can be produced.

After the US meeting, we traditionally ended the year with the Asia/Pacific meeting. This year we returned to India, where we haven't been since 2005. The meeting took place in the beautiful Goa in November 26-27, and attracted about 50 attendances. The Goa program includes several of the topics that had been presented at the US meeting, but some of them with new presenters giving a slightly different view of the content. However, as always, the most important thing is the discussions that occur after each session, which leads to a common understanding of what matters that really makes the foundation for the BFS processing.

There is one area where I am a bit disappointed over the slow progress last year, and that is the development of the cooperation with PDA regarding the transformation of our Points to Consider document into a PDA Technical Report. As mentioned before, we started the discussions with PDA in 2007, and the intention was to publish the common Technical Report in the end of 2008. Instead, after an internal review process at PDA, we received comments about that the document needed to be rewritten and include some additional chapters. After some discussions, we agreed to improve the PTC document and the new plan was to finalize this in a joint workgroup with people from both PDA and BFS IOA during the first half of 2009. Unfortunately no progress were made, and in conjunction to the BFS IOA meeting in Chicago (in October), we had a face-to-face meeting with PDA representatives to discuss how to progress.

The outcome of this meeting was that PDA suggested initiating a BFS Interest group within PDA. The BFS IOA is of course invited to nominate candidates to the steering group for the new BFS IG. The proposal is to have 3-5 candidates from both BFS IOA and PDA. One of the first assignments to the new IG will be to set up a work group to finalize the conversion of the Points to Consider document into a Technical Report. We are still awaiting some internal decisions within PDA, but in total I am optimistic that this initiative will result in a new start for our cooperation with PDA.

By mentioning this, I have now turned over to give you a glimpse of what plans we have for 2010. Beside the foundation of this Interest group together with PDA, and our annual meetings in US and Asia/Pacific, we plan to for the first time arrange a BFS meeting in China. We have got several invitations in the last years to come to China for a BFS IOA meeting, and now we think it is time to realize this. The BFS technique shows a tremendous growth there for the moment, and thus a huge need for learning more of the wonderful world of BFS. However, this is not a one way communication - it is also important that we get a better understanding of the fast development and needs in this gigantic country. I'm sure this will influence us all in one or another way in the future.

To come back to our other meetings, the preliminary proposal from the Board is to have the US meeting in Washington in September 16-17, and then the Asia/Pacific meeting in Bangkok in November 11-12.

Another issue that we want to bring more attention to is the experience among our members related to Particle studies and Environmental monitoring. In some our meetings during the last years we have heard about the increased interest from Inspectors on this subject. To get a better understanding of how this is handled in the daily BFS business we propose to perform a survey to collect information, for example regarding classification, where the point of measurement is located, results etc. This might of course be sensitive information, and therefore our idea is to perform this survey in a similar way to how the survey around Media fills were done some years ago. At that time, the survey was done by an independent body, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Preliminary discussions has been made with Professor Bengt Ljungqvist and Dr. Berit Reinmüller to support us also in this project, and they have kindly accepted to support the BFS IOA if we want to progress this survey. We will bring up this question to discussion during our AGM meeting to get your opinion.

This leads us into the AGM business that we should go through at the Paris meeting. As you might have heard, two of our former board members, Eric Dewhurst (Technical Officer) and Dan Osterby (Board Member), unfortunately have had to leave the board due to the fact that they during 2009 have chosen to accept new positions and opportunities in organisations that are not members of the BFS community today. I am very sad for this, but I want to give my sincere thanks and appreciation to both Eric and Dan for all their contributions to the BFS IOA during many years.

With this as a background, one of the important items we have to handle is the election of replacements to the two positions that now is empty. We will also vote for the position as Officer of Operation, where Jesper Laursen have served for a two year term. Beside these board positions, we have also decided to appoint one person more to support the board in the coming year. The reason for this is mainly that we foresee a lot of work during the coming year with the extra meeting in China, and the cooperation with PDA to form an Interest group.

The candidates that the Board have nominated for the available positions are;

During the AGM negotiations, you will also get the opportunity to review the Accounts for 2009 as well as vote for the proposal for Budget for 2010. There will also be a voting on Auditor for the association.

Before I end this letter, I will once again encourage you all as members to come up with suggestions of topics that you want us to put more attention to in our programs. And, even better, if you have something you want to present from your own experience, that will be most appreciated! If we should be able to develop the common knowledge within the BFS community, it is important that as many of our members as possible tries to contribute to this. You are always welcome to us in the board to discuss any ideas.

On behalf of the whole BFS Association I want to express our sincere gratitude to all our valuable sponsors for their important contribution to our mission

I also want to thank you as members for your interest in the Association during 2009, and I hope you will continue to support the Association with your membership also in 2010.

Finally, for those of you who will have the possibility, most welcome to the Paris meeting. Looking forward to see you there !


Best personal regards

Peter Åkerman
Chairman of the board BFS IOA
April 2010