It’s been three years since ARMA members have come together to share updates, stories, innovations, and laughs. Having only joined this industry myself about two years ago, I had only heard stories of the previous (and apparently epic) conferences which had taken place: there were tales of dancing in the Fijian moonlight, as well as multiple warnings that these rotomoulders… they knew how to have fun.
I had always heard overwhelmingly positive things about the people, or rather the community which had formed within this industry. Not only were these rotomoulding experts with years of experience and a keen eye for innovation, but they were passionate people who were eager to share insights and spark conversations.
When I was informed that I was to be sent to the ARMA Rotomoulding Conference for 2022, I was definitely delighted, but also nervous. This year, the destination was Melbourne, Australia, a city I had never been to before, and I was to be the sole representative for Rotadyne. Whilst travelling, I wondered what it would really be like: mostly whether I’d be able to fit in as a newbie, and whether things would even be the same after three years of pushback, especially during a time where keeping connections has been undeniably difficult.
What I found upon my arrival is that ARMA CEO Michelle Rose, and President Trudi Duncan, have done what has too recently seemed impossible: not just by pulling off a motivating and memorable conference after so much worldly chaos, but also by reminding us, in a time of disconnect, how lucky we are to be in an industry with such encouraging and passion driven people, with real commitment to the industry and to each other. That reminder has been an invaluable gift.
ARMA is an organisation serving as the industry body for rotational moulders across the globe, particularly within Australasia. ARMA is currently leading or heavily involved with many industry initiatives such as the Recycling Logo by the Environmental Working Group, and the Machine Guarding Guide developed by The Safety Sub-Committee. Their aim is to share expertise, form partnerships, promote developments, authorising standards and foster research all relating to the Rotomoulding industry.
Our late chairman here at Rotadyne, Lothar Zillian, was a founding president and a member of the Rotaitonal Moulding Hall of Fame, meaning we have a historic and personal connection with ARMA and their community.
Hot topics this year included sustainability, ethics and health, labour recruitment and retention, and of course many updates on data and operation processes.
Kicking off the conference, we were fortunate enough to receive Rob Edwards’talk ‘It’s All About You’, an unexpected but resounding discussion on personal health and wellbeing. Not only was this session informative and a fantastic ice breaker, but it also sparked important conversations within an audience which perhaps would not have had the opportunity to otherwise.
Insightful talks on the rotomoulding approach to environmental concerns with our industries came from Helen Millicer from One Planet Consulting, Steve Lewis from Vision Plastics, and Peter Bury who spoke of Operation Clean Sweep and the Zero Pellet Waste goal being adopted by an increasing amount of rotational moulders. Perhaps the most important message we resonated with here at Rotadyne was the golden rule of stewardship: go voluntary, go hard, and go early. It is encouraging to see such an enthusiasm towards tackling this long standing concern, and Rotadyne is also eager to expand on our own environmental efforts going forward.
Essential, yet perhaps often overlooked discussions were also held by speakers Blaise Costabir, who covered ethical decision making within business, and Larissa Lloyd-Ward who provided some stunning statistics on the ethics and economics on mental health in the workplace. Whilst these topics on a whole are more acknowledged in modern society, directly addressing them within an industrial context can be challenging. It was inspiring to see the speakers speak so candidly about difficult topics, and to witness the critical dialogue which was provoked as a result.
There was a heavy focus on the current labour shortages being experienced across the board, particularly due to the impacts of Covid and other worldly events. It was promising to see how many businesses are choosing to adapt to survive in the new demographic which populates our current employee pool by implementing strategies which directly address current industry concerns and disadvantages.
In terms of innovation, there’s no surprise that speakers came in prepared to amaze. New efforts to improve and educate the community on data and software systems, automation benefits and, of course, moulding applications, got the gears turning for many of us regarding how we can elevate our own workplaces and products.
I believe each person who attended has heard something of value to take back with them to their factory floors.
Icon Award + Rotadyne’s 20+ Years of ARMA Award
No conference is complete without the complimenting and recognition of key members in our community. Rotadyne would like to congratulate Graham Hall for receiving the Icons of Rotational Moulding award and for his clear impact not just in the industry, but on the individuals in the community who hold such high trust, regards and appreciation for his efforts.
We’d also like to thank ARMA for the 20+ years of ARMA award, which we were both proud and humbled to receive. We are fortunate to have been a part of a supportive and passionate community, and look forward to many years more of seeking excellence in all work.
With this all being said, Rotadyne would like to say a huge thank you to Trudi and Michelle, as well as all the ARMA board members and staff who made this event possible. I would also like to personally thank them, and all who attended, for being incredibly welcoming to a new face, and for displaying such contagious enthusiasm for the work being done.
Next year, the ARMA board have announced that the Rotomoulding Conference is to be held in New Zealand.