Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Friday, 23 October 2020

Ban on Internal Combustion Engines from 2030, 2032, 2035….. how will we cope?????

 Difficult one this, but is definitely a subject that needs to be spoken about. We have 10-12 years to get this right and this includes a number of factors:

This does not mean that fossil fuels will be ‘switched off’ in 12-15 years time, it is just that new ICE vehicles cannot be sold, so if the ban comes into force at the start of 2035 then the ICE vehicles sold in 2034 will still be in use for another 12-15 years.

ICE vehicles and the fuel, will be taxed VERY heavily to drive them out of use as quickly as possible.

Road charging and road tolls will become much more commonplace to back-fill the loss of revenue from fossil fuels

Used vehicle supply - the Nissan Leaf has been around for 8 years now, useable ones are available at sensible money for those that cannot afford a brand new vehicle. There is a massive influx of new ‘zero emission’ vehicles coming onto the market over the next 24 months, so as we move towards 2030 a significant number of used vehicles will be available giving lots of choice at all price points and keeping those on low wages mobile.

Electric vehicles WILL NOT be the only solution, hydrogen powered vehicles will also be available - the problem here is the infrastructure to refuel these vehicles. Traditional ‘oil’ companies can lead the way here by back-filling the reduction of fossil fuel sales by producing hydrogen ‘on-site’; and dispensing it at source. I believe that hydrogen will become the choice of many heavy vehicles and long distance travellers with electric being the choice for lower mileage users.

Look at how you use your vehicles, do you drive more than 50 miles per day? Many do not! The vast majority of new electric vehicles have 180-280 miles of range, so do they need to be re-charged every night?

A lot of very intelligent people are researching the power supply system and providing, or suggesting alternative solutions. One example is vehicle to grid. You arrive home in our electric vehicle and have around 30% range left, you plug into your smart home charger, and the grid

can take a small amount of power out of your vehicle at peak demand time (1KWh is about 4-5 miles of range) and pay you for that energy. Overnight your electric car is then recharged using clean, renewable energy and it is ready to go the following morning.

One of the best bits of advice I saw recently came from an electrical engineer to school leavers - his advice was to train as an electrical engineer as this will be an industry that is currently growing and will expand massively in the next few years as they pivot towards the new future. They have 10 years to get it right!

Don’t forget, this is not just the automotive industry, but commercial heating, domestic hot water, heating and more will all be forced to move towards a zero emission future, so this demands a fundamental rethink of how we use power, where it comes from, and how to reduce CO2 emissions

Vehicle recycling will remain an integral part of the automotive industry, it will evolve and change, develop and grow as the vehicles change and the value base gradually alters from fossil fuel vehicles towards zero emission. How we deal with high voltage batteries in 2030 will be very different to how we deal with those components today!


Monday, 5 October 2020

Management of Electric Vehicles in the Collision Repair Industry

It is time for leaders and influencers in the automotive industry to stand up and raise the profile of leadership; focusing on leadership skills and development of these skills is possibly more important than technical skills and training for the shop staff. Skills will reflect in improved staff performance, staff retention, efficiency, safety, profitability, and much more.

There are excellent collision repair centres out there; the truly exceptional are probably the top 10%, unfortunately, I do not work with these every single day! However, whilst training collision repair centres to Level 3 standard in electric and hybrid technology I do see failures in leadership, management and delegation, and if what I see in this area of the business is reflected across the rest of the company, then heaven help them!
This is just one example of a collision repair centre in the UK that I experienced recently. 
  • High voltage PPE shared with the mechanical repair centre next door.
  • No high voltage tools at all

  • Technicians didn’t know who their first aider was and believed that they didn’t have a first aid trained person in their department
  • Belief that EVERY high voltage vehicle had to be disconnected no matter what was being done on the vehicle.
  • No system to lock out HV disconnect devices to prevent untrained or unauthorised reconnection of the vehicle, citing “what if we need to move the vehicle from panel shop to paint shop” as an excuse.
  • No equipment to move an isolated vehicle around the business.
  • No training or PPE for vehicle damage assessors - normally amongst the first person to go ‘hands on’ the vehicle.
  • No system of identifying high voltage vehicles in the compound or in the workshop (warning signs or similar).
  • Complete failure to identify high voltage responsibilities across the business - who is allowed to do what to a high voltage vehicle!
  • No understanding of the additional fire risks that high voltage batteries bring
Who is responsible for safety? Everyone is! Each person plays a part in the safety of any company. It could be four technicians sat around a table at break-time to share ideas to stop themselves from getting hurt, or a corporation of five thousand where safety is established in the boardroom and cascaded down. 
  • Tools and PPE - do not share and get your own - this is especially important in the light of Covid-19 and sharing of high voltage gloves and saves the issue experienced when completing the HV training where the tools and PPE kit was in use elsewhere in the business when the practical assessment section of the training needed to be completed. Many collision repair centres do not understand the importance of correct refitting of high voltage components and the need to make certain everything is connected correctly, and where bolts or nuts have been removed that these are tightened to the correct torque.

    Over-tightening can damage connections or terminals and any damage could result in increased resistance in the high voltage system - increased resistance will result in an increase in heat which could result in a fire. An insulated torque wrench is an essential part of any high voltage technicians tool kit along with full details of torque settings for all bolts or nuts that may have been disturbed during the work.
  • First Aider - have a number within each department so there is cover if someone is away from the business and constantly train and refresh the knowledge. 
  • Training and awareness of electric and hybrid vehicles should be compulsory for all staff and not restricted to just the technicians, this way the management team can understand and assess risk, build processes and protocols, assign responsibilities and make certain that the correct tools and equipment are available for everyone.

I Bring You Fire!

 “I am the god of hellfire! And I bring you Fire”, this is the opening line of the 1968 chart hit Fire by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (listen to it on your streaming platform). A bit later in the song you find the lyrics “Fire, to destroy all you’ve done. Fire, to end all you’ve become.” Lyrics that could perfectly describe the crazy world of a small number of automotive recycling businesses that don’t have any fire prevention plans in place.

Vehicle Fire Blankets can form an important part of any vehicle recyclers fire prevention plan, as a fire in any vehicle can be suppressed by one of these blankets very quickly and safely. The blankets limit damage to adjacent vehicles or buildings, the need for any water is eradicated and the interruption to the business is massively reduced.

High voltage vehicles are no more likely to catch fire than conventional vehicles, but the blaze could be much more severe if they are ignited.

There are a number of reasons for these fires, including:

  • External Factors - something else causes a fire
  • Incorrect Handling - poor storage of vehicle or battery
  • External Damage - due to an accident or incident
  • Overcharging or deep discharging
  • Internal fault in battery or vehicle

High Voltage batteries can burn at very high temperatures, release highly toxic substances and require extreme volumes of water to put out and cool down. Fire services I work with are advising a requirement for 10,000 litres of water (approx 2,500 gallons) for a single electric vehicle fire - the majority of this water is required to keep the battery cool after the fire has been stopped because there is a risk that the battery will re-ignite if it hasn’t been cooled down sufficiently. Just imagine your own yard; can the drains or interceptor tank cope with 10,000 litres of contaminated water running off the yard in a very short space of time?

In tests temperatures between 700 and 1000 C have been recorded when an electric vehicle battery has been on fire - you can only imagine the effect of this type of conflagration in a vehicle recycling yard or workshop, so updated fire prevention plans are essential for all vehicle recycling and dismantling facilities to factor in high voltage vehicles and their components, and Vehicle Fire Blankets can be integral in these plans, for example.

Consider using a vehicle fire blanket over the vehicle whilst on the transporter so if the vehicle does catch fire during delivery the resulting damage may be reduced

You do not know what condition the vehicle is in as it arrives in the yard, it may catch fire overnight so put the vehicle in a quarantined area with a clear 5 meters (15 feet) of open space around it until it can be dismantled - this is to ensure that if a fire occurs the vehicle will not create additional damage to surrounding vehicles or buildings. Alternatively, deploy a vehicle fire blanket over the vehicle so it is quarantined without the need for lots of space. 

Have fire blankets available for quick response so if any vehicle catches fire the blanket can be deployed swiftly and safely and a major fire will be avoided.

Consistently train and practice using these blankets so everyone in the business knows what to do if a fire is detected.

In the Crazy World of Arthur Brown “You’re gonna burn”; in our world we have plans in place so that we don’t burn, and if the worst case scenario does happen then the damage will not destroy all that we have built!

For more details on car fire blanket look at , to purchase contact and for a best management practice on electric and hybrid vehicles refer to

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Vehicle Repair Licensing

Which of these is the odd one out?
  • Hairdresser
  • Tattoo Artist
  • Collision Repair Centre
  • Petshop Owner
  • Chiropodist

If you said Collision Repair Centre you would be correct - all of the others need to be licensed to operate, yet there is no professional licensing requirement for collision repair centres, vehicle servicing and repair centres or vehicle recycling and dismantling yards*. I find it amazing that any vehicle, that has been designed and developed to exacting requirements to meet national and international standards on construction and use, to get the best crash test ratings from Euro NCAP or IIHS, can go to an unlicensed repair facility to have major accident damage repaired. 

Over the last 13 weeks Salvage Wire have been releasing podcasts that feature inspiring and challenging members of the automotive and vehicle recycling industry, and one of the questions we asked was ‘one thing that the government could do that would make the guests jobs much easier’, and in almost every case licensing was their answer; either licensing the business or the individuals completing the work.

Our completely unscientific survey results came from individuals in the automotive recycling industry and the collision repair industry based in the UK, Canada and the USA, and what does this tell us?

There is a drive to professionalise these industries from within the industries.

There is no desire amongst politicians to introduce licensing for vehicle technicians.

Professional Standards
As vehicles get ever more complex the technicians working on them need to be well trained and educated so that they can diagnose, test and repair these highly complicated systems or repair the vehicle structure so that it performs exactly as intended if involved in another accident or incident. 
The UK based, Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has been campaigning for years to get a licensing requirement into UK legislation and now know that this will not occur under the current government, so have changed their focus and are getting vehicle technicians to become ‘Tech Safe’ registered. This registration shows that the technician has completed training, is continuing to learn through continual professional development (CPD), and works to a set of standards set down by the IMI.
The UK collision repair sector has been working to a high set of standards that are now administered by British Standards - the worlds first national standards body and a leading global standards maker. Achievement of this standard is a requirement of many vehicle insurers and work providers for the repair of their policyholders vehicles.
The Vehicle Recyclers Association in the UK has recently launched a vehicle recycler certification programme in conjunction with e-bay, this is part of a push to get a greater share of the insurance funded collision repair market and supply reclaimed (or recycled) parts into this marketplace. 
All of this highlights a push towards a much greater standard of professionalism in the industry, where vehicles are repaired to the best standards possible, protecting vehicle owners, drivers and passengers from potential poor quality and sub-standard repairs. By getting businesses and their employees trained, registered, completing continual professional development and renewing their registration every three years standards will be lifted, work providers, vehicle owners and users will recognise the need for quality, licensed and accredited technicians and the unlicensed, untrained businesses will either raise their standards or leave the industry.
This is so relevant for the vehicle recycling industry, there have been complaints for many years about illegal operators undermining legitimate business; there is now an opportunity to do something about this by setting and raising standards, getting businesses and employees trained, accredited and registered; marketing the professional standard of the business and staff, providing the best quality parts, service and advice, and driving a bigger gap between legitimate and illegal operators.
But why should the industry do this? This is the government’s responsibility! Well, maybe, but in the current UK government we have a legislative body that does not want to introduce more regulations, rules and red tape so they have actively turned their back on this sort of activity. This means that the industry needs to take action, which it is doing. The onus is now on business owners and industry leaders to take the next step, invest in themselves, their businesses and their employees; be trained, accredited and certified, set the example and shout about it to attract new business opportunities, new partnerships with fleets, insurers and other work providers, set the best standards for service and quality parts so it becomes less about price and more about reputation and quality, and leave the illegals to their own, low value, low standard, marketplace.

For more information on certified reclaimed parts  -

*All businesses have to be registered with various bodies and organisations (such as the UK Environment Agency), however some avoid this registration and enforcement can be poor; this is in direct contradiction to the situation that pet groomers, hairdressers and tattoo artists find themselves in!

Monday, 1 June 2020

Recommended Reading and Listening List

Over the years the Salvage Wire team has read and listened to hundreds of books, radio shows and podcasts and the list below gives a snapshot of some of our favourites and the ones that have impacted us most.
We are sure that readers can add more to the list and your suggestions are welcome.

The One Minute Manager - Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson 

Servant Leadership in Action - Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell

Good to Great - Jim Collins

David and Goliath - Malcolm Gladwell

Permission to Screw Up - Kristen Hadeed

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership - John C Maxwell

Developing the Leader Within You - John C Maxwell

Profit First - Mike Michalowicz

Building a Storybrand - Donald Miller

Entreleadership - Dave Ramsey

The Trident - Jason Redman

The 5 Second Rule - Mel Robbins

The Infinite Game - Simon Sinek

Black Box Thinking - Matthew Syed

Born to Win - Zig Ziglar

Proverbs - The Holy Bible

Note: Ken Blanchard and John Maxwell have written extensively, if you like these books there are many more from both authors.

Podcast and Radio

Entreleadership podcast

Storybrand podcast

The John Maxwell Leadership Podcast

Depollution from Salvage Wire

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Battery Database

Every year there are fires in scrapyards across the world, in many cases the cause of the fire is not known but a large number are suspected to have been caused by batteries being mixed with the scrap.
Salvage Wire are calling on all vehicle manufacturers to release data that shows how many batteries are fitted in each vehicle, where they are and how to remove them.

The number of fires is causing concern across the scrap metal and vehicle recycling industries and action needs to be taken to reduce the volume of fires experienced.
One way is to make certain that all batteries are removed from end of life vehicles prior to these vehicles being crushed or shredded.

How difficult is that? I hear many ask. Surely these vehicles have a 12v lead acid battery that is normally in the engine bay, is easy to see because it is large and has two heavy leads going to the positive and negative terminals.
Agree, but many vehicles now have more than one battery in them, and some of these batteries are hidden away inside the vehicle and all of batteries need to be removed from the vehicle before the vehicle is crushed.

As an example, an Opel/Vauxhall Mokka could have 8 batteries in it when you include the 12v battery, tyre pressure sensors, key batteries and the telematics battery; the newest Ford Focus could also have 8 batteries including the alarm system and the number of batteries in each vehicle are increasing with every new model or upgrade.

We helped a vehicle recycler investigate which vehicles were causing fires as they were being crushed and identified a number that had an e-Call (or telematics) system fitted into the vehicle. These systems have batteries included so that they can operate after an accident, and in many cases the batteries are li-ion or NiMH types and are hidden inside the vehicle. 

If they stay in the vehicle they can explode as the vehicle is crushed, creating a fire. Or, they can start thermal runaway and catch fire some time later. By then the vehicle could be under a pile of scrap and a major fire could ensue. Also leaving them in the vehicle increases the risk of environmental damage after scrap processing.
In some cases the recycler does not have data to show how many batteries and their location so they do not know about these batteries, plus they do not look like a battery, and can be hidden away in locations that are not easy to access.

The vehicle recycling and scrap metal industries would like to work with vehicle manufacturers to produce a global database of all vehicles with full details of all batteries, where they are located in the vehicle, the chemistry of the batteries and how to remove them, so that we can reduce the volume of these batteries going into scrap piles, increase the volume of batteries being recycled and reduce the risk of fire.

Which global manufacturer is going to be the first to release their data so we can start this database? Over to you!

Common Practice

Common Practice: Indicates that a process may be standardised, for example; USB connections are common across a number of different components, DVD’s work in most DVD (and blu-ray) devices, and in the automotive industry there have been common practices on OBD ports for fault code readers, orange cable for high voltage vehicles and fuel inlets so mis-fuelling incidents can be minimised, bit one area that is not a common practice is the disconnection of high voltage systems on hybrid, plug-in and electric vehicles.
Wouldn’t it be great if all the manufacturers had the same disconnection plug, in the same place and the process to make the vehicle safe was the same. If only……….

There are three main disconnection processes, the service disconnect or big orange plug, the switch and the multiplug.

And the locations are all different; in the trunk floor, under the rear seat, behind the rear seat, in the engine bay, in the centre console, under a flap in the floor between the front and rear seats, and, underneath the vehicle!

It is really important that all service technicians, first responders and vehicle recyclers complete accredited training in how to safely work on electric and hybrid vehicles, have the correct tools and personal protective equipment available (and use them), and follow the manufacturers processes. 

For any one interested in learning more about these vehicles, completing accredited training and purchasing all the tools and PPE that will keep them safe and stop them being killed by an electric shock then contact Salvage Wire through our website.

All of the tools and PPE are available from EINTAC with a 10% discount by using the discount code SW1019