Tag Archive | "Emissions"

BOSAL CALLS IN THE ADMINISTRATORS

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BOSAL CALLS IN THE ADMINISTRATORS


Preston-based emissions parts manufacturer Bosal has called in the administrators.

Julien Irving and Andrew Poxon of Leonard Curtis Business Rescue and Recovery will attempt to find a buyer for the firm, properly called Bosal Automotive and Industrial Components (BAIC) ltd. 

In January this year Bosal sold off its aftermarket tow bar and automotive carrier and protection system businesses to TowerBrook Capital Partners as part of a restructuring programme that the company had called ‘Grow-Fix-Divest’. At the time, the company boasted of a ‘sound financial position’ and said it was going to use the (undisclosed) proceeds to clear all senior debt and to invest in the exhaust division.

However, a notice in the London Gazette confirmed that administrators had been appointed on June 5th.

The company previously went into administration in 2013. At the time it blamed competition from Eastern Europe and long-lasting stainless steel reducing the frequency of exhaust replacements. It also blamed its own former employees, who took it to court over redundancy payments. The company later bought itself out of administration.

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IS BANNING DIESEL BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?

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IS BANNING DIESEL BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?


Scrappage Scheme

Evidence suggests that a rise in petrol registrations is contributing to global warming

Diesel-powered vehicles have been in the news a lot over their environmental performance, or lack thereof. Conversely, industry experts have warned that a clampdown on diesel vehicles could result in the UK actually missing European environmental targets.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive at SMMT warned that demonising diesel conversley will have an adverse effect on the environment. “Customers are not moving straight from diesel to electric. They’re moving to petrol or staying put in older cars” he said when speaking at the Society’s annual dinner in December. “So we’re seeing a falling market, declining revenues, rising costs, rising CO2. And, yes, this will have an effect on climate change goals. This is not a policy without consequences”.

Data firm CAP HPI has authored a report which concludes that the EU’s 2021 environmental targets could be missed if the percentage of diesel vehicles continues to decline on UK roads.

The report points out that some of the environmental criticism of diesel vehicles is misguided.

All the countries in the report achieved the 2015 CO2 emission target for cars registered in that year. While France and Italy were comfortably below the 130g/km line, the UK is closer, and Germany only cleared the hurdle by 1.4g/km.

UNACHIEVABLE
Matt Freeman, Managing Consultant at CAP HPI and the report’s author, commented that without continuing sales of diesel engine cars, this target reduction is unachievable: “Hitting the 2021 environmental targets for CO2 reduction would be a significant challenge without the likely decline in diesel. Therefore it is imperative that diesels continue to command a substantial share of the new car marketplace.

“If consumers, with no option of transitioning to hybrid or EVs, switch to petrol the environmental impact is clear – their CO2 emissions would likely rise between three percent and 23 percent according to model.”

The report argues consumer education is key as there is an apparent risk that consumers are being led to believe that ‘all diesel is bad’ and that any suggestion that there is a good diesel option is due to the automotive industry seeking to resist change and preserve the status quo. This level of miscommunication needs to be countered if diesel is to have a short- to medium-term future.

SKEWED
However, the media coverage on diesel is, to say the least, skewed against the fuel no matter what the improvements and consumers are confused. At the aforementioned SMMT dinner, Greenpeace crashed the stage to hand VW boss Paul Willis a faux ‘award’ for ‘toxic air’ and coverage in the mainstream press has been hardly less hostile. This has resulted in drop in demand (by about a fifth) in new registrations for diesel powered cars and new registrations for light vehicles as a whole are down 5.7 percent compared with last year. This has lead to several analysts making doom-laden predictions about the future of new car retail through franchises coming to an end entirely. These might be a little wide of the mark, but it does seem that for a private motorist wanting to upgrade to the latest technology, the idea of a conventional powertrain must seem a bit old fashioned.

Most people reading this might wonder why they should care, after all, surely this is a hole that the VMs have dug for themselves? It doesn’t affect the aftermarket… Unfortunately, it does. Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of vehicles won’t go through trade auctions and back into the aftermarket as the VMs are holding their own versions of scrappage schemes. As far as I know, no-one has made a serious attempt to retrofit otherwise efficient Euro- 3 onwards common rail diesel engines with devices to clean up their carcinogenic soot, meaning that they are replaced with petrol vehicles that are only marginally less toxic, but will emit greater quantities of greenhouse gas. Meanwhile, the face of the retail motor industry as a whole is besmirched by the failure of the VMs to get a grip on this situation which is a real pity for all involved.

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THE RIGHT PART GOES BEHIND WHAT FITS

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THE RIGHT PART GOES BEHIND WHAT FITS


The rules around replacement parts are complex, but worth getting your head around, writes BM Catalysts Commercial Director Mark Blinston.

While there might be more hot air than hard facts about emissions across the mainstream press about vehicle emissions, there can be no doubt that reducing toxic gas and restoring trust in the motor industry is the greatest problem faced by the trade at the moment.

Everything is geared towards reducing emissions and much of the emphasis seems to be pointed towards vehicles and how we can reduce the impact that they are having on air quality. You may be wondering what we can do about it in the aftermarket; but one thing we can do is making sure the right part is fitted to the right vehicle based on the emissions standard of the vehicle in question – the Euro level.

Vehicles and replacement emission control devices must meet specific standards for exhaust emissions before they can be offered for sale in the European Union. Emissions limits are commonly referred to as Euro standards or levels.

Emissions are measured using a standardised test cycle called the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). The NEDC was last updated in 1997 and is gradually
being replaced by the World Light Test Procedure (WLTP), which is designed to better replicate real driving conditions. WLTP is now being applied to new vehicles (types) but does not yet apply to replacement parts.

In order to test the durability of each part emission test results are most frequently multiplied by a deterioration factor; with the adjusted result then compared to the legislative limit. Deterioration factors are designed to simulate the likely change in performance of the part after it has aged with use over time. These deterioration factors have become more stringent over time, and so when coupled with the gradual lowering of limits it becomes considerably harder to achieve a pass when testing newer parts and newer vehicles. The largest increase in deterioration factors occurred between Euro four and Euro five.

In order to meet higher emission standards, it is frequently found that the OEM part is made to a higher specification than the lower EU level part it has superseded. Legislation requires a comparison of performance between a replacement part and its OE equivalent and so it naturally follows that tougher standards + higher deterioration factors + higher performing OE parts = a real need for a higher specification replacement part.

RIGHT LEVEL

The Euro level of each vehicle prescribed at the point at which that vehicle is Type Approved. A replacement part cannot be approved to a lower Euro level than that of the original vehicle; so if the vehicle is Euro five then the replacement must be approved to Euro five levels/limits. Testing and approving this part to Euro four would mean that it cannot be proven that it meets the relevant emissions standards and therefore cannot legally be fitted to any Euro five vehicle.

There are many catalytic converter and diesel particulate filter (DPF) references that appear to be physically identical but are, in fact, designed and approved for vehicles that carry different Euro levels. This is made possible as the internal specification of the part is largely the key to the emissions performance of the vehicle. For example, the Euro five version of the close-coupled cat for the Citroen C1 requires a specification that is more than 3 times that of the Euro four version of the part. A similar story is true of the Euro four/five Fiat five00 and Ford KA. Quite apart from it being illegal to fit the Euro four version to a Euro five vehicle, it will cause poor emissions performance with a much higher chance of related vehicle issues and potential part warranty returns. It can be easy to source the cheapest product which isn’t necessarily approved to the correct Euro level – the consequence of which is then a part that will actually not perform to the standards required.

CATALOGUE
The correct cataloguing of aftermarket parts is complex and challenging and many consumers will not be aware of the Euro level of their vehicle. It is therefore down to the garage and parts distributor to ensure that the part that is being sourced is approved for sale to the correct Euro level of the vehicle in question. This is something that has recently been identified as a “problem” in the aftermarket whereby parts can be physically the same, catalogued with the same start and close dates yet be very different both in terms of the internals and what they are legally approved for sale to fit.

In an effort to reduce the number of occasions that the incorrect part is being supplied and fitted to the vehicle, MAM (Autocat) will shortly be introducing the Euro level as a search criteria when identifying the correct part for a particular vehicle. Manufacturers of catalysts and DPFs will be asked to submit the Euro level for which their part has been homologated to enable an accurate match upon lookup. This is a positive step that the aftermarket is taking to reduce vehicle emissions.

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ASA FINDS BMW AD ‘MISLEADING’

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ASA FINDS BMW AD ‘MISLEADING’


BMW i3 model

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against BMW regarding a paid-for Facebook post, which featured a video claiming its i3 model contained ‘zero emissions’ in the voice-over and subtitles on screen.

The complainant challenged whether the claim: “With zero emissions, the i3 is a clean car and helps to give back to the environment” could be ‘substantiated’.

BMW (UK) responded saying that its i3 vehicle came in one model with the addition of a ‘range extender’ as an option. The firm said this comprised of a small petrol engine that didn’t drive the car unlike hybrid versions and instead, maintained the state of the charge of the battery, allowing the car to run purely on electric. In addition, BMW told the advertising watchdog that the reference to ‘clean car’ ‘should have been interpreted in the same manner as when consumers compare an electric car to their previous petrol ones as electric versions are considered better for the environment.

Despite the VM’s evidence, the ASA found this ad breached the rules, because it does still have a petrol engine, albeit one that isn’t connected to the drivetrain.

“We noted that BMW considered the statement was meant as a comparison between buying an electric car and buying a petrol car rather than not buying a car at all. However, we did not consider that this was sufficiently clear in the ad and concluded that the claim was misleading,” the ASA said in a statement.

The ad cannot appear again in its current form and has told BMW to ensure its environmental claims in relation to all-electric vehicles are clear in the future.

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MAINTAINING EMISSION STANDARDS

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MAINTAINING EMISSION STANDARDS


Launch DPF Gun

With CO2 emissions on the rise, how are suppliers preparing workshops accordingly?

unless you have your head in the sand, you’ll notice that the tide has turned for emissions and for light diesels in particular. Last month, almost anything registered before 2005 was effectively banned from central London, thanks to the so-called Toxicity Charge. What’s more, these standards are only likely to get tougher, with a diesel emissions check at MOT among many options being mooted by those in power. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: Everyone wants fresh air and there are a number of products to help clean up diesel engines.

One technology that has kept VMs in line with their objective is Exhaust Gas Temperature Sensors (EGTS), designed to protect components exposed to hot exhaust gases from overheating. Julian Goulding, UK Marketing Manager at Delphi elaborates, “Exhaust gas temperature sensors play a crucial part in modern vehicles. From Euro 5b, all diesel vehicles had to have EGTS, with each car having up to six sensors, they’ll become an increasingly important service item.” He adds that these parts can and do fail, which is hardly surprising given the hellish temperatures that they endure. However, an EGTS problem is often misdiagnosed.

TRAINING AND WEB PLATFORMS
To counter this, Goulding suggests workshops can enrol onto a number of training courses in order to repair these systems confidently. Based at its Warwick Centre, the parts maker hosts various programmes, with training that can also be accessed via its’ digital channels; which provides information on fitting sensors and diagnosing faults successfully. Helen Goldingay, UK Marketing and Communications Manager at Hella, concurs, stating that although most garages are up-to-speed with EGTS, attention on newer technology must be brought to the forefront. She expands, “Due to the growth in use of the micro hybrid (start-stop) systems, intelligent battery sensors, which play a crucial in the battery management function that are part and parcel of the system, are clearly a growth area, as are those directly connected with emission controls, like exhaust gas pressure and air quality sensors.

‘Technicians are aware of the growth in the number of sensors that modern vehicles require, but what is more important than actually knowing every sensor itself, is the ability to identify where a fault lies and have the equipment to reinstate the management system once the component has been changed.” To facilitate this, various web platforms have been launched by the company in recent years. This includes Tech World for technicians as well as Partner World for factors and others in the supply chain.

CLEANING AND TESTING

It’s all well and good being able to diagnose faults with these parts, however, carbon build-up on EGR valves, DPF’s and injectors can restrict sensors from detecting problems within the fuel and exhaust system. Carbon build- up or post combustion carbon as it’s otherwise known, is a result of vehicles running in conditions where they can’t reach their full temperature; resulting in heavy quantities of carbon being burnt.

Fortunately, the aftermarket isn’t starved of chemical products to help with this. Various potions that are poured in the fuel or in the crankcase, as well as several machines have come onto the market in recent years. One of the most recent entrants in this sector comes from diagnostic equipment supplier Launch UK. The company has recently launched a device called a DPF Gun as well as various pour-in chemical cleaning products. Richard Collyer, Product and Equipment Specialist at the firm, expands, “Once vehicles are full of carbon, the EGR valve can’t operate properly and can blow electronically. Once this occurs, it will need changing.”

Euro5 BM

FACING FEARS
Akin to this, Mark Blinston Commercial Director at UK manufacturer BM Catalysts, encourages independents to get involved in servicing DPFs themselves, instead of dismantling and sending them off to dealers, which he says can be a ‘costly move’ for the garage. However, there is still a ‘fear’ around this technology that he brings to light, “The general perception is that garages are worried that if they get it wrong, it will be expensive”, he continued, “There’s been a lot of noise about this in the news where the BBC recently done a report revealing a shocking number of vehicles being driven on roads that are not fitted with them. This is one reason why some garages aren’t getting involved.”

To face this fear head on, Blinston explains that the firm has produced some point- of-sale material, training sessions and technical information for technicians. This also goes along with a number of new offerings for its’ core lines of catalytic converters, pressure pipes and DPFs. He concluded, “We have invested in many resources and developments over the last year by adding 245 new part numbers in 2017 covering 30 million vehicles across Europe.”

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TRAINING TO KEEP THE AIR CLEAN

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TRAINING TO KEEP THE AIR CLEAN


Ever-tighter rules mean workshops need to take advantage of training opportunities

Klarius exhaust portfolio

With talk in the news of dirty air affecting public health means it’s down to the independent sector to have the tools and technical know- how to service these parts or risk losing business to other garage networks and franchise dealers. But where can they go to learn about the latest systems?

EMISSIONS TRAINING
Julian Goulding, UK Marketing Manager at Delphi, says that technicians can benefit from enrolling onto the firm’s ‘Understanding Emissions’ course, that focuses on helping workshops diagnose and fix petrol faults without hassle. “Delphi’s ‘Understanding Emissions’ covers diagnosing petrol faults using the exhaust emissions data, looking at gases coming out of petrol vehicles and related ECU controls”, said Goulding. “It’s a one day course and the aim is to be able to accurately diagnose engine management faults”, adding that the firm also runs a ‘Diesel Emissions Exhaust After Treatment’ programme, allowing garages to repair EGR valves, DPFs and AdBlue systems effectively.

Similarly, exhausts manufacturer Klarius Products has run its IMI accredited scheme for over a year, with further plans to launch a second level instalment later this year. Doug Bentley, Head of Research and Development at the firm, explains more. “The Emissions Control Training is a scheme aimed at technicians operating in independent garages. The course is modular and runs over two days; covering new technology, best practice, legislation and failure modes regarding exhausts, catalytic converters, DPFs and additive systems”. He adds. “The course is held in various locations around the country with four modules offered in level one”.

DIAGNOSIS AND PROLONGIVITY
Although it seems imperative to train-up staff, Mark Blinston, Commercial Director at BM Catalysts, mentions that a large proportion of garages are still misdiagnosing DPFs, usually ending up with the clogged filter returning to the workshop or sent off for regeneration. “The issues garages are typically facing is a lack of understanding and awareness for the DPF to go faulty in the first place”, said Blinston. “One problem factor we hear of is that a DPF comes to the end of its life cycle but the technician forgets to reset the ash counter on the ECU during replacement. The car then thinks it’s still full of ash and before you know it, a warning light appears on the dashboard”. Delphi’s Julian Goulding agrees. He said. “The main issue is the correct diagnosis of what has caused the issue on the DPF to fail”.

UPCOMING TECHNOLOGY

Speaking about its catalyst and exhaust portfolio, Paul Newby, Commercial Director of EEC, explains that the
manufacturer’s parts contain a 409L (low carbon) steel grade providing added corrosion protection and durability while complying to industry standards. “All of our catalytic converters metal work elements are formed from stainless steel” said Newby. “The 409L steel grade features a specific amount of nickel and chromium on the substrate with high temperature corrosion resistance characteristics. Our exhausts, flanges and hooks are typically stainless steel coated with aluminum for high level corrosion resistance as well”.

In the near future, petrol- powered vehicles may have filters akin to a DPF fitted as standard. VAG plans to fit the first GPF (gasoline particulate filters) on the Tiguan and Audi A5 from next month, while the Group predicts around seven million of its models will incorporate this technology by 2022. VAG also claims that the new filters contain the same properties found in modern diesels and can reduce soot particles up to 90 percent.

Meanwhile, there will be many opportunities for workshops to clean or replace DPFs for some time yet, as despite the bad headlines, new diesel registrations are relatively unaffected. “As with the introduction of any new technology, significant uptake is going to take time for full EVs with a technology yet to be fully proven .” said Klarius’ Doug Bentley. EEC’s Paul Newby concurs. “We’ve seen strong growth in DPF sales and for the foreseeable future we will continue to see an increase in this area”.

As the old saying goes, ‘It’s better late than never’, a slogan some garages may act on if they don’t get to grips with the new emission laws, technologies and training soon to remain competitive and in business.

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TIGHTENING UP EMISSIONS

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TIGHTENING UP EMISSIONS


Do you know your Lambda from your EGTS? Here’s a factor’s guide to what those small box parts actually do.

With the existing laws set by the Euro 6 legislation, the pressure for vehicle manufacturers to invest more resources into developing better vehicles that complied with the legislative guidelines are continuously scrutinised. Emission pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), total and non- methane hydrocarbons, as well as various particulate matters were expected to be reduced with the use of modern automotive technology.

Effective reduction of pollutants goes beyond ensuring that emissions control systems such as CATs and DPFs are up to scratch. Vehicle electronics and engine management systems are integral in optimising a vehicle’s efficiency and in turn, lowering its carbon footprint. With a wide array of products that support the lowering of harmful emissions, we thought it would be worth sharing some points about the significance of the various sensors that you deliver to garages everyday.

LAMBDA SENSORS
By the simplest definition, lambda sensors monitor the air- to-fuel ratio within the exhaust and relays the information to the ECU. Lambda sensors are vital to ensuring a vehicle’s optimal performance and aid to reduce harmful carbon emissions.

The perfect air-to-fuel ratio for optimum engine efficiency is known as the stoichiometric ratio. The stoichiometric ratio for a petrol engine is 14.7:1 in which 14.7 grams of air is needed for every 1 gram of fuel. This ratio allows for optimum fuel efficiency, wasting less fuel and in turn, producing the least amount of emissions.

Traditionally, lambda sensors produce a voltage signal based on the volume of air detected in the exhaust. If the mixture is too rich (too much fuel supplied), the sensor produces a voltage of around 0.9 volts. When the mixture is too lean (insufficient fuel supplied), it produces around 0.1 volts. A perfect stoichiometric ratio produces 0.45 volts. To compensate for imperfect mixture ratios, the ECU adjusts the fuel mixture by adding more fuel when the mixture is lean, or using less fuel when it is too rich.

Whilst traditional lambda sensors do the job of regulating the stoichiometric ratio, it was unable to provide the ECU with an accurate reading of how rich or lean the air-to-fuel ratio was. Lambda sensor technology needed to keep up with the demand of the tighter euro emission standards.

With the introduction of the 5-wire lambda sensor, the ECU is not only supplied with a signal that relays if the air-to-fuel ratio is running too rich or too lean, it also conveys by how much. This precise information is swiftly sent to the ECU to allow the vehicle to rectify the air-to-fuel ratio more efficiently and effectively and increate the overall performance of the vehicle.

EGTS

In comparison to lambda sensors, exhaust gas temperature sensors are relatively new. An EGTS measures the temperature of the exhaust gas that is monitored by the ECU to help prevent long-term damage to components. The EGTS protects a vehicle’s exhaust system from overheating, which is especially important when a diesel particulate filter regenerates. The DPF reduces the amount of soot that is released with exhaust fumes by collecting and storing it within the filter. Over time, soot accumulates within the filter and needs to be incinerated at extremely high temperatures
in order to remove from the exhaust system and release it in the surrounding air, safely.

Cambiare sensor thumb

Typically, exhausts run at temperatures in excess of 900C in order to successfully regenerate the DPF. At these extreme temperatures, thermal overload becomes a huge risk. The EGTS monitors the heat produced from the exhaust, supplying the ECU with a signal to ensure that the temperatures reached do not fall outside a vehicle’s safety parameters.

Due to the extreme conditions that EGTS operates in, they are prone to damage during exhaust component replacements. Therefore, they need to be replaced simultaneously with a DPF and/or exhaust, as opposed to waiting for the dashboard warning light to illuminate.

Timely replacement of an EGTS prevents damage to the DPF and subsequent engine damage. Our firm’s EGTS use two types of technology – positive temperature coefficient and negative temperature coefficient. PTC increases the resistance with the increase in temperature. NTC, works in an opposite fashion with the sensor producing Temp sensor less resistance as the temperature of the exhaust increases.

EGPS
EGPS are differential sensors that measure the pressure of gas between the intake and outtake the diesel particulate filter (DPF). By measuring the pressure, the EGPS communicates a voltage signal to the ECU. This enables the system to detect the level of soot and particles collected within the DPF. This information enables the ECU to monitor and detect when regeneration is required for efficient emissions reduction.

As a result, a malfunctioning sensor can cause a variety of problems which impacts the increase of oil consumption and emissions. If the sensor is faulty, DPF regeneration can increase unnecessarily leading to the shortening of the DPF lifespan.

Cambiare covers a range of applications within its portfolio of lambda sensors and EGTS. Stocking more than 100 EGTS and 500 lambda sensors, they are available from FPS via same/next-day delivery.

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LONDON ULEZ TROUBLES SMALL BUSINESSES

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LONDON ULEZ TROUBLES SMALL BUSINESSES


London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone will start in 2019 is troubling news for small businesses and specialist hauliers serving London, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

“We need to continue the improvement in London’s air quality which is happening anyway, but this regulation taking effect in 2019 will severely disadvantage small businesses working in the capital’s centre,” says Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London and the South East. “The impact will be especially hard for van users, as by 2019 there will only be two and a half years’ worth of compliant vehicles in the fleet – and no second hand compliant vehicles available for purchase at all.”

It is now planned that the Zone will extend in 2020 to Greater London for HGVs and to Inner London for vans in 2021. Ms Chapman commented, “It is encouraging that this is not happening in 2019 as had been suggested: this shows the Mayor has listened to some of the concerns that had been raised. But the expansions of the Zone will still increase the burden on business exponentially. We are calling for businesses based in the affected area to have access to a sunset clause, such as has been offered to private residents, allowing them greater time to comply with the change required without the need for unnecessary and potentially crippling additional charges for new vehicles.

“Previously, the Mayor has called on the Government to fund a scrappage scheme aimed at owners of older diesel cars and vans: we fully support him in that call and believe it is the place of national Government to help prevent the cost burden to implement these measures falling on local authorities, businesses and residents. If such a scrappage scheme were created, it would give the Mayor the necessary room to introduce more flexibility to the London ULEZ, helping operators to avoid some of this unwieldy and unexpected burden on small businesses.

“At a time when London’s businesses face an increasingly challenging trading environment, the Mayor should be taking every possible step to help the capital’s small businesses, and we will urge through this consultation for more consideration to be given to those affected by the introduction of these new measures” concluded Chapman.

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DEALING WITH HAZARDOUS WASTE

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DEALING WITH HAZARDOUS WASTE


Ross Barnes explains there is an ethical issue as well as a financial one in reprocessing catalysts.

You’ve most likely heard the old saying: where there’s muck there’s brass”. This might be true, but a more accurate phrase could be: “There’s money where there is hazardous waste”.

This is the case at Autoparts Precious Metals, which has become one of the first companies authorised to deal with RCF matting.

TOXIC SUBSTANCES
RCF matting is a toxic substance found in catalytic converters and it is part of the thermal insulation that separates the core of the device and the outer can that holds it onto the exhaust system. Think of the most deadly kind of asbestos and you are on the right lines.

The good news is that RCF is only found in a minority of catalysts. The bad news is that no-one knows which ones as there was never any requirement on the part of the producers to declare or label products with the material. As such, every single catalyst that is recycled needs to be treated the same way. You can’t differentiate” said Ross Barnes, MD of Autoparts Precious Metals. “All catalytic converters have to be treated as hazardous waste if they are going to be smelted for material extraction”. He adds that a typical converter weighing four kilos will have no more than fifty grammes of matting in it, but that is not the point. It is a known carcinogen, and Autoparts Precious Metals is one of a tiny handful of recyclers in the UK that are allowed to deal with it.

However, before this can happen there is a certain amount of paperwork to do. “The first thing was to apply for a variation permit” said Barnes. “We are a processor, so we had to apply for an entirely new hazardous waste handling permit, which we now have and we are one of the only few in the country to have it to date”.

The legislation was late in coming as the problem has been known about for years. “Catalysts have always been hazardous waste” explains Barnes, adding that the Environment Agency that have introduced the changes in the rules have themselves been seeking advice on the best course of action.

PERMITS
Barnes explains that getting hold of the permit was difficult. “We had to use a consultant” he said, adding that the plant had to be thoroughly inspected. “We’ve had to have our extractors checked and monitored, but they are all up to spec as they had been serviced regularly and all cleared first time”.

MD Ross Barnes and Purchasing Manager Tina Courtnell

Not all of the catalysts and DPFs that come into Autoparts are smelted. “As a core dealer, we purchase a lot of DPFs for re-use” he said, explaining that complete units destined for re-use simply require a transfer note.

We’re keen to see this operation for ourselves, so accompanied by Barnes and Purchase Manager Tina Courtnell we head into the main hangar, where core is stored. The main warehouse is neat and well ordered, although we are quite pleased to see that the smelting of the scrap cats does not take place on site.

“Once separated the metal goes off for scrap steel – it is non hazardous, while the ceramic, which is coated with washcoat and precious metals goes off to our partner’s smelter in Germany and then the RCF has to be properly disposed of” Barnes assures us. “When it leaves us there is a consignment note and we’ve separated the hazardous part from it and the rest goes back into the system”.

CORE COLLECTION
Although RCF is the conversation of the day, recycling catalysts and DPFs is only a small part of the operation. ABS units, A/C compressors, clutches, EGR valves and electronic power steering drives are just a few of the parts that are collected for remanufacture.

The warehouse is built in a courtyard with a number of sub- units around the perimeter that have various uses. On our visit, we were interested to see that one of these units was busy re-facing used clutch kits, which is still popular for clutches fitted to performance cars (we saw a parts trolley full of clutches for the Subaru Impreza). Indeed, clutches were the original part of the business as the company was established to arrange the collection of used clutches back in 1994 when Barnes saw parts in a garage he was working in getting thrown in the bin. “At the time, there was hardly anyone collecting core for remanufacturing. Scrap was about £5 per tonne and clutches were just getting thrown in the bin”.

Clutch core storage

By contrast, prices for parts were still high in the nineties as there was very little in the way of cheap components from the Far East on the market at the time, so it was good business to supply those that were able to remanufacture with quality core.

ETHICAL VALUES
However, it wasn’t just the financial issue that appealed to Barnes. There was an ethical element to it as well. “My boss said to me ‘I can see us opening our landfills one day and mining them’. We’re not there yet, but it was forward thinking. How can you mine ore on the other side of the world and make it into starters, alternators or clutches… and then just throw them? You’ve only got to get them out of the ground somewhere else and it is going to run dry” he said. “That’s what we’ve been doing with catalytic converters, because precious metals make it viable”.

Equally, high-tech parts such as ECUs, actuators and ABS systems are collected, for which the firm has been working with factors, where parts are purchased as a ‘sort of package’. “We can even offer a service where the customer can box parts up and send them to us” said Barnes in conclusion. “It is worth money, and more than that, if it can be used somewhere then it should be.

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ASA DELETES DPF REMOVAL ADVERT

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ASA DELETES DPF REMOVAL ADVERT


Advert watchdog, the ASA has banned a web page offering DPF removal services.

The webpage, on the website of Somerset-based Avon Tuning, offered DPF removal services, Under the heading “Will removing the DPF result in an MOT failure?” text stated “… the only MOT regulation regarding the DPF is a simple visual inspection, as long as the DPF still appears to be fitted – the vehicle will pass the MOT visual inspection. Therefore we only remove the internal core, leaving the outer casing in place. The vehicle will appear to have a DPF fitted and will appear unmodified”.

A complaint was lodged to the regulator by Friends of the Earth as the organisation understood it to be illegal to drive on a public road with the DPF removed, challenged whether the advert was illegal by ommiting this information.

In response, Avon Tuning said that the ad made clear through the qualification “*Our DPF Removal service is sold for off-road use only” that the service wasn’t for road-going vehicles. The company did not believe that this could mislead consumers into thinking that it was legal to drive without a DPF on a public road.

However, the ASA did not agree. “We considered that it was material information that the advertised procedure would make a vehicle illegal to use on public roads and therefore the ad needed to make that information immediately clear to consumers” read a statement from the watchdog. “As such, because that information was omitted from the ad and it instead suggested that vehicles which had their DPF removed could be used on public roads, we concluded that the ad was misleading.

The ASA banned the ad in the original form. After the ruling went live, the tuning company added a longer disclaimer stating that the service would likely render the vehicle illegal on a public road and removed details about the MOT visual inspection. However, all the details of the deletion service offered remain on the page.

 

Posted in Factor & Supplier News, Garage News, Latest News, NewsComments (0)

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