Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Friday 27 November 2009

ELV's and the environment

Approximately 2 million vehicles are scrapped annually in the UK, just looking at the numbers is mind boggling, that means 10 million tyres, 7 million litres of oil, and up to 4 million airbags are removed from vehicles and recycled every year.

A recent study by the University of Colorado said that recycling oil from ELV’s in the states saved over 3 million tonnes of CO2 – enough to offset the entire CO2 output of the US for 45 hours this year.

The UK Government has put some very tough targets for reduction of emissions that mean all areas of business have to make their own contribution over the coming years, and the motor salvage industry is already making a contribution to this.

85% of each ELV is already being recycled, and the EU target for 2015 is 95% of the vehicle to be recycled, tough, but achievable target.
One significant advance towards this target would be the use of ‘green’ parts in insurance repairs, and there are a number of projects ongoing that are investigating this in more detail. I believe that there are a number of areas where the motor salvage industry can improve and really push the use of green parts, and these are inventory and parts quality.
Admittedly there are a few salvage operations in the UK who are setting the standards, but the vast majority need to review their operations and put some significant improvements in place.
Inventory: Many salvage companies operate the inventory management system that is in the bosses head, so when the phone calls, or e-mails come in the yard cannot answer the question without going into the yard to check the vehicles and see if the part requested is still available, and then quality may be questionable as it has not been checked.
Operations need to have a full inventory of each vehicle, detailing the vehicle age, mileage, specification etc, and what parts are available. Better still, these parts should have already been removed, cleaned, tagged and stored, and the inventory system marked with a quality standard, 1 for as new/very good, to 3 for poor quality.
The leap in customer service that would produce will be very noticeable, any enquiry can be met with an immediate response giving full details of the parts available, if this enquiry then progresses into a sale the parts are easily removed from stock, packed and shipped.
On my travels around the UK, I estimate that only 10% of the salvage businesses operate a full inventory system that can meet future customer service requirements, which means that 90% can improve in some way, those that are not looking at how their business can improve will fail to lower UK emissions, and will not survive into the new, lower emissions, world that will be our future.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Relieving the Economic Woes

Last year the US threw about $250M at sustainable technology development. Small beans compared to the Billions of dollars in bail out money already used on US banks.
Will the banks be the architects of the type of economic boost that the world economy needs? I don’t think so, but engineering and innovation in all areas, when properly funded, can deliver massive economic boosts, also keeping white collar jobs in an otherwise harsh world.

We need economies with 'real' engineering, not financial engineering. Whilst the bankers and financiers have been messing up our economy engineers have been developing some major advances, have a look at one example.
Since the Euro 1 emissions regulations of 1993 to the current Euro 5 (Oct 2009) engineers have cut diesel particulate emissions by 94%, NOX by 75% and carbon monoxide by 69% whilst making vehicles lighter, safer and more fuel efficient - this is real engineering. has details of a very successful programme in the UK that is delivering benefit to the engineering community through the extra-curricular support of school activities.
Also recently in the news was the appointment of a new Chief Executive of the Engineering and technology Board (ETB). The ETB is an independent organisation that promotes the contribution that engineers, engineering and technology make to our society. The new Chief Executive, Paul Jackson, acknowledged the need to build foundations for future economic success rests with organisations like ETB and the encouragement of young people to pursue careers in engineering and technology.
We need more of this, and proper joined up thinking between ALL engineering organisations, to promote engineering as a profession to be proud of, that is rewarding, and one where you can make a difference.
Let’s hear from all engineers out there, how can we get engineers into positions where they can influence the politicians, and get the public on their side, because without a reliable and integrated infrastructure (power, transport, water etc.) we are going nowhere!

Monday 23 November 2009

It Just Takes One…Engineer

It Just Takes One…Engineer
This is a guest article by Rachael Dalton-Taggart, Acting President of the CAD Society.
Anyone who has read my recent CAD Society articles or heard my presentations will already be used to the mantra: Engineering is not being chosen by the majority of kids in the western world because of its bad rap. In fact, survey data suggests that more parents encourage their kids to be actors than engineers. I believe that kids (and parents) can easily choose engineering, if they were in fact educated about what it is, as opposed to being subjected to the constant media blitz of Hollywood, ‘Extra’, ‘People’ magazine, ‘US’ magazine, etc.
To crystallize this, my nephew, living in the UK, is currently pursuing media studies and math at the age of 16. But this summer he made an unexpected visit to an engineering center (that happens to be in the F1 Triangle). He sent the email below as a result. It would seem that engineering is a possibility in his future. For all you engineers out there, what would you advise him to do? (Please send comments)
(Note: There has been no editing to this message. This is his own work which is pretty good for a 16 year old.)

Hethel Engineering Centre – The point of view from a 16 year old

It’s hard for a person like me to work out what to do in the future. There are so many different opportunities and so many different paths to take and there is that worry that I might take a route that is not suited for me and end up somewhere I don’t want to be. I envy the people that know exactly what they are going to do in the future.
Because of my love of maths though, I had the opportunity to go to the Hethel Engineering Centre in Norfolk on a school visit. Hethel is a small place in the middle of Norfolk, England. Some of you may know about the car manufacturer Lotus who build their cars right next door to the Engineering Centre and work closely with the companies held within.
There are about 15 different companies based within the centre although when I visited there were almost 30 different companies on site showing off some of their technology and career opportunities. To name a few, Scion Sprays, P1 Motorsport, HAAS and Active Technologies.
It was a brilliant experience to find out all about the things that were being developed on the site. Scion Sprays is a company dedicated to fuel injection systems for small engines. They have been working for 5 years on the development of a brand new piece of kit for motorbikes and mopeds that not only makes the fuel injection kit small, but doubles the MPG and enables a limited throttle control, therefore getting rid of the need for a limiter on the bike. Then if you wanted to get rid of the limitation of the throttle, because it is computer controlled, all you need to do is upload the new software to make this so. It’s a fantastic bit of kit.
Stepping away from the automotive side of things there was a company called C-MAC MicroTechnology who specialise in designing micro chips that can carry on working in some of the harshest environments for all sorts of companies around the world. They have some of their chips in the Airbus A380, Circulating the earth up in space and in some missiles around the world.
One thing I got from almost all the engineers I talked to was that there are two things needed when going into engineering. Maths plays a big part in Engineering. You don’t have to be a maths genius but a good knowledge of maths really helps you in an engineering job. The second thing is a passion. One guy even went as far as to say that the grades you get from school doesn’t mean that much. The most important thing is that you come into somewhere you wish to work and you come straight out and ask the boss for one. This shows a dedication showing that you really want the job even when you may be scared about what you are about to say.
I have been really inspired by what I saw at the centre. I still do not have a clue about what I’m going to do in the future but my eyes have really been opened to the possibility of me entering the career of engineering. As one engineer said, “There is a shortage of engineers across the globe,” could I be the one to fill this gap?
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