Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Making body repair easier

How can we save money on vehicle body repair whilst raising repair standards? well i was at Thatcham (the motor insurance industry research and repair centre) last week to see some really good demonstrations of cost and efficiency savings for all those involved in motor vehicle body repair.
Power Tec body repair tools and equipment ( have a whole catalogue of tools where time and money can be saved repairing vehicles, from hand tools, to heavy duty vehicle lifts and body alignment equipment, they have the ability to equip a repair shop.
They were demonstrating their latest plastic repair system, this can repair cracks, fractures and deep scratches in almost all plastic body panels, including bumpers, and you only require one type of plastic welding rod for all plastics rather than the numerous different types of the recent past. You can see more detail and an online demonstration at the web site where you can also order a DVD and info pack for even more information.
Mini also had a vehicle there demonstrating the new 'cold' joining technique, instead of spot welding panels on you can now utilise bonding and riveting techniques to fit various panels, including rear panels, quarters and chassis legs.
In both cases these developments represent much increased opportunities for the salvage repair market to increase standards whilst saving costs - got to be good for all of us.

New Bluecycle website

I see that Bluecycle have updated their web site again, looks good and much easier to use then the last one. Just got to get used to where all the buttons are, but the basics are just as good as previously and I think I could get used to using this site much easier than after previous changes.
Well Done!

Thursday 10 June 2010

European Vehicle Theft Database

Recently heard about a couple that paid in excess of £30,000 for a top of the range motorhome. The vehicle was under 1 year old, left hand drive on a Peugeot chassis, beautifully appointed and ideal for their summer plans to tour Europe.
Unfortunately they will now not be able to go as the vehicle has been impounded because it was stolen.
The purchasers completed all the usual checks that one should when buying such an expensive vehicle, all the paperwork, including import and registration documents were in order, and the vehicle identity was correct. Nothing was flagged on the car data check they completed either.
The theft occurred in Europe and the vehicle was imported to the UK using original documents that happened to be in the vehicle at the time of the theft.
Vehicle data checks that are completed by consumers regularly fail to highlight vehicles stolen from other countries; it appears from my research that the only organisation able to get reliable theft data from other parts of Europe is the police.
It is time that the European Union force member states to make this data easily available across the whole of Europe so that consumers are protected from fraudulent acts that have the potential to ruin someone’s life.

Technically Competent Management

England and Wales based metal recycling and ELV sites are affected by changes in statutory requirements that dictate management standards.
All licensed or permitted waste management facilities must have Technically Competent Management (TCM) on site.
Managers are required to hold the following qualifications:
For low risk Metal Recycling Facilities, 4 appropriate NVQ’s or completing an Environmental Permit Operators Certificate (EPOC) at an approved training centre.
For medium risk ELV sites, 6 appropriate NVQ units or completing a Vocationally Related Qualification (VRQ) course at an approved training centre followed by a work related project.

Following successful qualification all TCM’s must keep their knowledge updated and will have to show continuing professional competence. All current TCM’s must pass a new competency test before the end of Feb 2011 – note, this includes anyone deemed to be competent under ‘grandfather rights’ – and all TCM’s will be reassessed bi-annually.
You can find more details through the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management at, or through local training centres/colleges.

The Environment Agency have told me that the TCM needs to be present on site for 20-25% of the week, so one self-employed TCM could work with 4 or 5 yards.

My opinion:
This could be seen as more attacks on the ELV industry, with additional cost in an increasingly tough economic environment, but the regulations did come into force in April 2008 so there has already been two years to complete this. These qualifications mean another step up in professionalism for this industry and show that we are serious about protecting the environment, the health and safety of our workers, and give environmental agencies more opportunities to root out and control illegal operations that bring the car salvage industry into disrepute.

Scrapyard Safety

I can remember going into scrap yards as a teenager looking for parts for my Ford Escort, and having to climb three vehicles high to strip out the cylinder head that I wanted, there was no health and safety or environmental concerns, if you dropped your spanner it could have killed anyone unfortunate enough to be underneath, hi-viz was completely unknown and if oil was leaking out you just kicked some more mud over it!
Guard dogs roamed freely and if they didn’t like you they bit first. In fact I can remember one yard where the dog was chained to the back half of a car (an Austin Allegro was one of the sections used) that had no rear suspension, and he dragged this around the yard after him. Slowed him down a bit, but he could still bite you.

Nowadays you cannot get into many yards, and if you do you are dressed in safety boots, hi-viz and hard hats, and accompanied by a member of staff. Is this a sign of progress, or political correctness gone too far?
Those of us who are a certain age can all remember being driven in our parent’s cars, no seat belts, air bags or anti lock brakes, metal dashboards, hard plastic steering wheels, drum brakes and cross ply tyres. As car design and safety has increased dramatically since the 1970’s so has our recognition of unsafe practices at work. Some of the practices of generations past need to be consigned to the crusher, but have we gone too far?
I agree, the safety of employees and members of the public are of utmost importance, and we need to take all possible precautions to make working environments as safe as possible, but there seems to be too much reliance upon personal safety clothing than focusing on safe practices.
Formula 1 is recognised to be an unsafe sport where death and injury used to be regular occurrence, the steps taken over many years have made the operating environment - the cars and the tracks much safer, and then the driver’s safety equipment has been proved to be fit for purpose in preventing further injury in the event of an accident.
Motor salvage yards need reflect on Formula 1 experience, and make the operating environment as safe as possible – look at the condition of the yards, the vehicle handling and storage, the safe keeping of hazardous fluids and the de-pollution and vehicle repair environment, and then ensure that their employee’s safety equipment is fit for purpose.

This year, yes 2010, I have visited over 100 salvage yards, I deliberately leave my hi-viz equipment in the car when I arrive, and only 3 of the yards I have visited have asked me to wear any safety equipment as I complete site inspections. Of these yards, a number are open to customers, some stack vehicles two high, and I have seen vehicles being de-polluted whilst hanging from fork lifts. Standards are improving, but there is a long way to go.