Thursday 29 November 2018
A great adventure, good friends, hospitality, inspiration and ideas - the feedback from this years Recyclers Road Trip to the ARA Convention included all of these comments
This year 19 recyclers from Holland, New Zealand, Poland and the United Kingdom met in Jacksonville on their way to Orlando for the 75th Automotive Recyclers Association Annual Convention and Expo.
Marta Witkowska, Vice-President of FORS wrote “The Road Trip 2018 was a great adventure. We have spent three days visiting ATF’s with different ways of treating ELVs. We were impressed with the impetus of Central Florida Pick & Pay (CFPP) in Orlando (1000 vehicles accepted monthly!) and how perfectly All Pro Used Parts & U Pull It and Brandon Used Parts were organised. We enjoyed many ideas helping to develop sales, like the idea of separate area for VIP clients and promotional days for spare parts.
We were joining the Road Trip for the third time and we’ve noticed that the environmental obligations for Authorised Treatment Facilities in the States are becoming more demanding. In Poland oil separators and airtight surfaces are, among others, the minimal obligations for ATFs. We are not able to keep ELVs on unprotected ground, that always surprises us while visiting ATFs in different States and the way ATF’s operates in the USA, we find much more practical.”
Scott Green from Pick-A-Part in New Zealand added “We came away inspired and enthusiastic to implement some new ideas. There was something to glean from each of the yards we visited and we wish to commend everyone we visited for their willingness to share their knowledge of our industry. We highly recommend the road trip to everyone and we look forward to the next one.”
The road trip included opportunities to share food together and this year’s restaurant was The Melting Pot where everyone enjoyed three different types of Fondue and far too much food!
Go-Pull It, Greenstar Recycling, Central Florida Pick & Pay, All Pro Auto Parts, Brandon Auto Service and Cocoa Auto Salvage all welcomed the road trip and treated us like friends, proudly taking us around their facilities, sharing lots of information and answering every question put to them.
Joanna Dabrowska for the Polish group highlighted the differences between the US and Poland “From our point of view, despite the fact that each yard was somehow different from other ones, the organisational basis was similar and different from what we can see in Poland. Most yards were focused on second use of spare parts while the price of scrap was not of significant importance. Also all of the yards were organised as self-service yards (or semi self-service yards), where the ELV’s are stored for 60 to 90 days. This is different from Polish situation, where self-service yards are not popular. In most yards in Poland, full-service is practiced, maybe because of lack of free space.”
Marta Witkowska continued “We should learn from American ATFs how to effectively sell, how to manage with auctions and how to constantly raise volumes of sale. Americans are absolute masters in establishing cooperation among each other and a hub and spoke sale systems. That’s what we try to develop in Poland.”
I would like to thank every recycler that opened the gates of their facilities to the road trip, who welcomed us and shared so much with the whole team, and to the members of the road trip for their enthusiasm, fun and fellowship, and we all look forward to meeting up in 2019 on our way to Charlotte.
Friday 16 November 2018
Our future is coloured orange. No, we are not thinking about the famous fizzy drink or the old mobile phone network, but high voltage vehicles.
A delegate arrived at a recent training course I was running on high voltage vehicles and told me as he arrived that he could sum up my course in one sentence “never cut the orange cables.”
That statement is correct, but thirty minutes into the training I asked him if that statement still summed up the training and he agreed that there is much more to these vehicles than even he had previously thought.
In short - handle a high voltage vehicle incorrectly and it WILL kill you!
100v DC is enough to give a fatal electric shock, and many of these vehicles have batteries producing between 200 and 400 volts DC with future vehicles bringing in 800v DC batteries and much greater voltages in later generations.
As I travel around the world I see many disturbing sights at vehicle recyclers, including high voltage batteries removed from vehicles with the high voltage safety plug still attached, or stored in such a manner that could create damage with subsequent fire risks. Both of the following images were recently taken in vehicle recyclers yards in the USA
The image here shows a battery, in store in a vehicle recycler, that is still connected. This means that the battery terminals are live, they could fatally electrocute any person that touches the terminals, or if a metal object (pen, spanner etc.) fell out of a staff member’s pocket and shorted the terminals, create a very serious fire.
Many may have seen videos on social media of lithium-ion batteries catching fire, and many of these can be attributed to they betters being physically damaged; safe storage of these batteries is of paramount importance, hence why I was very concerned when seeing these batteries stacked on eachother with no apparent concern for safety, minimisation of damage, or reduction of risk.
If you look closely at the picture you will see another battery (with the green case) on the floor inform of the pile. This battery was still live and was wedged between two pallets.
Examples like these indicate that there is still a very long way to go to make the vehicle recycling industry aware of the risks, to train their staff and put processes in place that protect their businesses from the risk of fatal electrocution or fire.