Tag Archive | "Environment"

A/C IN NEW VEHICLE MODELS REQUIRE A GREENER GAS

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A/C IN NEW VEHICLE MODELS REQUIRE A GREENER GAS


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF AUTODATA

R134a is 1,430 times more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2). New vehicles are required by law to use a greener refrigerant. Is your workshop prepared?

R134a has been used in the automotive industry for over 20 years. When compared to the progressive development of today’s vehicles and advances in other fluids and lubricants used in the motor industry, change in AC refrigerants is long overdue.

In 2011, the European directive 2006/40/EC came into effect. The new law required all newly designed cars and vans built for use in the EU, and equipped with air conditioning (AC) must use a refrigerant with a global warming potential (GWP) of 150 or lower.

The GWP scale measures how much energy a gas absorbs compared to the same quantity of carbon dioxide (CO2), over 100 years. The higher the number, the bigger the problem! CO2 has a GWP of 1, so the limit set by the European directive for new vehicle refrigerants is 150 times more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2).

R134a, the automotive industry’s refrigerant of choice before the new law was introduced, has a GWP of 1,430. With its global warming potential significantly higher than the amount set out by the new law, a new refrigerant had to be sourced to replace R134a.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) was considered due to its extremely low GWP, but test results revealed that it worked poorly in very hot climates and required much higher operating pressures. This raised concerns in the industry about safety and the increase in fuel consumption. A new refrigerant that met the requirements set out by the directive was eventually identified. HFO-1234yf or R1234yf, as it is commonly known, has a GWP of just 4. So, it’s easy to see why this refrigerant was selected to replace R134a.

When R1234yf was first introduced into the automotive industry, there were safety concerns about the new refrigerant’s flammability. However, due to the environmental benefits of a gas with such a low impact on the atmosphere, simple solutions have been adopted to utilise this gas. To ensure that the repair industry is aware of R1234yf’s flammability, refrigerant labels contain a flame and some manufacturers have even included this symbol on the service connector cap.

The service connectors are almost identical to those used on the R134a predecessor, but subtle differences ensure dedicated R1234yf charging systems must be used to prevent cross contamination, as these refrigerants cannot be mixed.

Can you spot the subtle differences between R1234yf (left) and R134a (right) service connectors?

Due to the large number of R134a equipped vehicles, dual charging stations are available to cater for the legacy refrigerant as well as the ‘new kid on the block’, R1234yf. These consist of separate refrigerant tanks and hoses for evacuating and charging the AC circuits.

For those that already own an R134a charging station, specific R1234yf equipment is also available, making it an attractive proposition for workshops looking to delve into the R1234yf market.

However, the cost of the new refrigerant is currently significantly higher than R134a. Workshops offering recharge services should be mindful of this when planning any fixed price offers. For those looking to offer AC charging for the first time, any technician carrying out this work will also need to be F-Gas certified.

Autodata’s dedicated Service Air Conditioning module, provides technicians with all the manufacturer approved technical information required to safely and effectively service AC systems using both types of refrigerants. To find out more and to try Autodata today, visit www.autodata-group.com.

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LONDON MAYOR PROPOSES DIESEL SCRAPPAGE SCHEME

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LONDON MAYOR PROPOSES DIESEL SCRAPPAGE SCHEME


scrappage

A few of the cars from the scrappage scheme in 2009

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called on government for a national diesel scrappage scheme for older vehicles to help combat air pollution within the capital with incentives to encourage the uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles.

IAAF’s Chief Executive Wendy Williamson, argues that even though this technology is the way forward, a bigger discussion across multiple sectors is needed to tackle the long-term effects of air pollution in and outside of the nation’s capital. She said. “Whenever there’s anything on emissions it seems to be the automotive market is an easy target somehow. Where are people talking about the aerospace industry, farm tractors and rather just picking up on cars all the time, why is the focus not given a broader discussion?”

She added: “Most of the emission problems in London would be fixed if they looked at the black cabs and buses. There’s positive changes happening at the moment, but then there’s no controls over any of the Uber cabs so you could be in a high emission Uber car and have none of the controls that the black cabs are having to conform to”. Williamson also questions where the budget for the £500m project will come from with around 50 percent of diesel vehicles representing the UK car parc.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Sadiq Khan said. “The toxic state of our air leaves us with no choice but to rid our city of the most polluting diesel vehicles. It is shocking that nearly half of new car sales in the UK are still diesel vehicles and the tax system still incentivises motorists to buy these polluting cars”. The Mayor also announced that he would ‘not rule out’ banning diesel vehicles from London altogether if the high levels of Nitrogen Oxide are not heavily reduced.

If the scrappage scheme goes nationwide, Williamson said the Federation would consult with its members. She concluded: “In fairness, the government has set out quite a robust programme for electric vehicles which are clearly how they see the future. There’s no doubt that hybrids are the way to go but there’s still some way to go with technology yet”.

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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.

 

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A DROP OF THE GOOD OLD GREEN STUFF


We keep it clean with a trip to the place where Swarfega is made

Swarfega Visit

We reckon that every person reading CAT will know what we mean by Swarfega, but just in case you’ve never seen a tub, it’s a sea green gelatinous flubber that has been used for cleaning hands and arms after work. For years it has been a staple sold by accessory shops and used by the trade and by the public alike, but have you ever wondered where it comes from – or why it looks the way that it does. Well, we did – so we headed to Derbyshire to find out the story.

SOAP STORY
The product was developed in 1947 by an industrial chemist named Audley Bowdler Williamson who was apparently searching for a product to extend the life of silk stockings. However, the story goes that one formulation turned out to be great at shifting grease without damaging skin (mechanics had previously used petrol, kerosene or whatever was available, with inevitable consequences). Williamson already produced a product called ‘Deb’ for the silky legwarmers so it seems unlikely that Swarfega was ever really intended for this purpose – but what is certain is that the factory, based out of a number of buildings in Belper, Derbyshire were soon producing thousands of gallons to keep up with demand.

By the twenty-first century the maze of units around Belper were over half a century old and an update was needed. In 2005 parent firm Deb Group reorganised the 21 brands that it owned, and planned to build a new 150,000 sq ft HQ and production facility on the site of a former colliery a short distance from where the company was founded. By 2007, the new plant was finished and capital investment came from Charterhouse Investment Partners who acquired the firm in February 2010 for a reported £335m. The company was sold again in 2015 to SC Johnson (best known for household cleaning products including Mr. Muscle and Pledge) for an undisclosed amount.

CLEAN BUSINESS
We’ve seen a few factories on our travels, but we’ve never been to a soap plant before. Inside, the vast reception and atrium is – almost predictably – dazzlingly clean and shiny. Perhaps more surprising is the fact that this is a truly self-contained facility. Everything from marketing and admin through to product re-formulation and manufacturing is housed in here.

Moving from reception into the production site involves a change of clothes. Non-woven hair-nets, overshoes and smocks have to be worn as production of hand cleaners by definition has to be clean. This also means no personal items are allowed in the plant – which from our point of view means no note pads, voice recorders or cameras.

As might be expected from a modern ISO14001 plant there is a lean management process in operation and core to this is traceability of everything. The system used by this firm is Datastor Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) that is used to control and monitor the whole production process. Raw materials are coded on arrival and this code is logged when a batch of product is made. Things with romantic names such as ‘Sea Kelp’ and ‘Freshly Baked Baguette’ adorn the shelves – although these are stored for the most part in particularly unromantic-looking bulk containers. As a note, the plant is ‘bunded’ so in the event of a spill, no chemical would be released into the water table or to the sewers.

BULK MIXERS
The mixing plant itself is a sight to behold. Rows of giant steel silos get on with turning raw ingredients into products. From there, the finished goods are pumped into a tank farm ready to be packaged on one of a number of production lines. On our visit the Swarfega line wasn’t running, but a foaming soap was being filled into special bottles designed for wall dispensers. These cartons fold in on themselves as the soap level runs low, so that no great amount of product is left inside.

It is these types of dispensers, and not the tubs of traditional Swarfega that Deb are keen to sell to the trade. This might sound counter-productive as each measure is just 4.5ml, but the firm explain that it is the best way. Chris Brooks, Technical Product Manager at Swarfega, commented: “Using a dispensing system and not a traditional bulk bucket product can help to make significant savings. A simple change in cleaning routine could also see better results and reduce the required amount of cleanser used”.

He added that skincare is also improved as dispensers mean that garages are far more likely to use barrier cream and skin restorer as well. “A third of technicians can wash their hands as often as ten times per day – which might be because they need to move a car without getting the interior dirty or dealing with a customer. That’s a significant amount of washing and if you are using the wrong product it can do a lot of damage to your hands.”

So even the way that garages wash their hands is changing – surely there has got to be some commercial opportunity for factors open a conversation with their customers?

VITAL STATS
DEB DENBY SITE

ISO STANDARD 14001
SIZE 150,000 sq. ft
SITE SPEC Bunded Plant, brownfield site
PROCESS Datastor SCADA

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NEW SCRAPPAGE SCHEME DEBATED FOR DIESEL VEHICLES


Scrappage SchemePolicy Exchange, a non-government organisation, has suggested that a new scrappage scheme be introduced for almost all diesel cars.

The think-tank suggests that such a scheme would be the fairest way to get motorists to give up derv-fulled vehicles.

“If we are to clean up air pollution, then Government needs to recognise that diesel is the primary cause of the problem, and to promote a shift to alternatives. This needs to be done in a way that does not unduly penalise existing diesel drivers, who bought their vehicle in good faith, and gives motorists sufficient time to respond” said Richard Howard, Head of Environment and Energy at Policy Exchange.

This report follows a suggestion by the Commons Select Committee for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that some major cities could introduce extra ‘congestion charge’-style levy’s on anyone entering proscribed zones. The areas mentioned by the committee are Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton.

The outpourings of an NGO or that of a select committee rarely make it into the popular press, but The Sun has picked up on the document and has launched a reader petition to campaign for a scrappage scheme to ‘compensate drivers seduced into buying diesel cars – and now face fines over their killer fumes’.

The Policy Exchange proposals also include a higher rate of purchase tax on diesel vehicles – and parliament select committees often debate its ideas that in turn can eventually be passed into legislation.

So far the aftermarket’s response to the suggestion has been relatively muted. However Quentin Wilson, speaking on behalf of the Fair Fuel UK pressure group said: “While we definitely need to improve air quality in our cities we worry if local authorities are given powers to create congestion charge zones they’ll approach the process with the same leaden-handed zeal they’ve applied to parking. The last thing we want is to diminish the public’s enthusiasm for cleaner air. Taking old, worn and badly maintained diesel vehicles off our roads should be an urgent priority and we at FairFuelUK will support a fully thought out, workable and cost effective scrappage scheme.”

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RECYCLING AT THE CORE OF THE OPERATION


Mark Heaps gives us a tour of Mirfield-based core dealer S.S Components

S.S ComponentsEver since he was a child, John Smith always had a passion for cars and dreamt of one day opening his own garage. Little did he know his dream would soon become a reality, setting up a leading auto-parts distributor to supply re-manufactures across the globe. “I started as a dismantler because I wanted a garage and always loved cars as a kid” said Smith. “My friend and business partner used to have a little area at the side of his house where we had five cars. It was unsightly and people complained to the council who chucked us off site”.

It wasn’t all bad news for Smith when his mother’s friend found a solution, renting a plot of land to him for a nominal sum to start up his dismantling business. “Back in 1970, we only had an income of £3 a week because I had a job delivering meat from a butcher shop and my friend delivered groceries. We offered £1 a week rent and the guy accepted it”. Once the land was acquired, Smith’s dismantling business started to grow by purchasing excess stock and selling the core on to remanufacturers.

The operation is very different today with the component supplier now spanning five acres  with a multi-million pound turnover, we were keen to pay them a visit. Mark Heaps, Operations Manager for S.S Components, is a known figure within the re-manufacturing industry, having worked for S.S for over a decade and before that at AMK.

SITE TOUR

Inside WarehouseThe campus was as different as you could imagine from a traditional breakers’ yard with stock organised, packaged and labelled correctly with the part numbers assigned to each customer order. The main warehouses were breathtaking in scale with seemingly never- ending aisles of components awaiting a second chance of life. “The biggest part of the company is the component side that we supply”, Heaps explained. “Our four core products are steering pumps, steering racks, rotating electrics and brake calipers. Brake calipers are in high demand with our current stock totalling 261,911 and selling around 21,000 each month”.

With a large campus to operate, company founder and Director John Smith bought in a dedicated band of 13 remanufacturing professionals to classify and prepare the units accordingly.  They also collaborate with an external independent team who scout the most desirable dismantlers and scrap yards around the world to buy and sell the material onto the company. The fleet was also impressive, comprising two tractor units, two trucks and three vans delivering in and around the Mirfield area.

BESPOKE SYSTEM

As the tour came to a close, Heaps took me through to the main office, where we were greeted by company founder John Smith. Smith was keen to take us through their bespoke system. Through many revisions it has proved to be a valuable necessity for the organisation, keeping track of all the stock, customer orders and deliveries. “The system is unique to us because we’ve designed all of it and made it work”, responded Smith. “The USP of our business is that when people ring up we’ve got it in stock”. The system provides customers with a sufficient amount of time to prepare the correct transportation for picking up stock. Heaps added: “We tend to hit 98 per cent and above each shipment, hitting deadlines, supply fulfilments and material that we supply”.

ENVIRONMENT

The supplier has also been recognised for its eco-friendly practices, winning the gold category for the Green Apple Environment Award in 2014. Heaps elaborated: “The Green Apple Award is a very proud achievement for us. We save tonnes of equipment from going to landfills. Our business is to buy and sell on, but in doing so we’ve helped the environment”.

Finally, Heaps has some thoughts about the supply chain. “We want to educate the guys in the motor factors who sell new rotating electrics without surcharges” he says. Heaps explains that in this instance good core is going to waste because there was no incentive for garages to do anything with the old item. “Instead of scrapping the units potentially they could sell the units to us for far better income than what they’re probably getting” he added. “We’re all becoming more and more aware of being green, efficient and recycling and that’s purely the industry we’re in and I can only see it going one way”.

This is true. With ever more legislation on business practices, being mindful of the environment has to remain ‘core’ to all we do.

Mark Heaps

VITAL STATS

S.S COMPONENTS

LOCATION
Mirfield

MANAGER
Mark Heaps

VANS 3 TRUCKS 2 TRACTORS 2

FASTEST MOVING LINES
Brake calipers, rotating electrics, steering pumps and steering racks

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IGA AND GEA CHALLENGE SWOBS DECISION


Waste Oil BurnerDirector of the Independent Garage Association (IGA) Stuart James, will be teaming up with the Garage Equipment Association (GEA) Chief Executive Dave Garratt, in an attempt to challenge the changes to the guidance of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010.

Both James and Garratt believe the impact analysis carried out didn’t fit the current economic model of waste oil collection given the recent devaluation of oil prices. Stuart James responded: “The revisions to guidance will make it uneconomical to use a small waste oil burner (SWOB) for the purpose it was intended as it significantly increases the costs for small garages. This will inevitably be passed on to consumers through higher labour rates”.

The legislation will come into effect from April and will effectively eradicate the use of SWOBS. The changes remove the exemption from the Waste Incineration Directive for SWOBS and requires garages to pay a permit of £3,218 on top off annual fees costing £1,384. There will also be further costs for monitoring and reporting requirements under the SWOBS permit.

By March 31st, current operators of SWOBS will either have to apply for a new permit to continue burning waste oil or ‘surrender the permit’ if they intend to use non-waste oil fuels or installing an alternative method of space heating that doesn’t require the burning of waste oil.

Garratt said: “We do not believe that it is appropriate and proportional to treat a 0.05MW SWOB in the same way as a 50MW industrial process. The revised guidance takes no account of the high levels of technology in modern SWOBS, which makes it far better for the environment to burn waste oil on site than to store and transport it by road to an industrial incinerator”.

James and Garratt will be meeting up with Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs, in early March to discuss their concerns.

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