FER celebrates 80 years of success

The Federation of Engine Remanufacturers (FER) is celebrating its 80th anniversary throughout 2017 and has promised to develop even further to ensure it can keep up with an ever-evolving motor trade.

John Gray, FER president, said: “Over the years, many of our members have diversified and are very much multi-specialists in all things remanufacturing gaining a prestigious reputation. We use our wealth of experience to guide and educate the motoring public to ensure the highest standards are met wherever possible and will continue to do so for many years to come.”

John Gray, FER President

From the very beginning the federation has been environmentally friendly helping to save the environment by remanufacturing engines across all industries using combustion engines, and as a result of this, it has accumulated a large membership of leading engine remanufacturers all working to the British Standard BS AU 257: 2002.

With technology continuing to evolve, some FER members have also expanded into reconditioning turbos and major units, while others are agents for turbo manufacturers.

Formed in 1937 to establish higher standards of workmanship within the industry, the Federation is now the only corporate body representing engine remanufacturing in the United Kingdom. The FER offers a range of services to members including technical support, dispute resolution advice and, an industry-renowned code of practice.

Gray continued: “We are committed to protecting our environment and have naturally experienced many changes over the course of the 80 years that we have been in service and we’ve had to adapt accordingly. At present the rate of technological advancement is phenomenal and we are constantly embracing this shift and utilising new technology to further benefit our industry.

“As we begin to look forward to the next 80 years, we are considering the effect modern engines will have on our members, as well as the array of legislative changes that continue to be put in place. The future of engine remanufacturing will no doubt be incredibly interesting and we will work hard to ensure that we do not fall behind and remain as relevant as ever before.”

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Should you present a vehicle or trailer for a brake test laden or unladen? – Advice from the DVSA

One of the most common questions received by the DVSA is whether a vehicle or trailer should be laden or unladen when brake tested.

The DVSA advice is that vehicles must be laden for testing – ideally to 65% of their total maximum weight.

Their recommendation is that the vehicle should be loaded by the owner/driver wherever possible, otherwise it will be necessary to arrange for someone else to do it.

Some ATFs offer this facility. They can advise in advance if they do and how much it will cost.

Are there any vehicles that this doesn’t apply to?
Yes, there are some vehicles that can’t be presented laden. This could be due to basic design limitations or other restrictions.

You can find more by reading the “Conditions for testing when unladen” section in the DVSA best practice guide for heavy vehicle brake testing.

What about tri axle semi-trailers?
Tri-axle semi-trailers can be tested unladen. This is because it can be difficult to get a load for these trailers.

However, the best way to pass a brake test is to always present a loaded trailer.

For more information read the DVSA heavy vehicle brake test best practice guide.

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The Parts Alliance Group purchased by Uni-Select Inc.

The Parts Alliance Group has been acquired from its private equity owner HgCapital by Uni-Select Inc., a Canadian publicly listed, North American Automotive aftermarket distributor.

New owners Uni-Select operate as a market-leader in the USA and Canada, distributing automotive aftermarket parts, equipment and refinish products through a network of 14 distribution centres, 270 corporate stores and over 1,100 independent wholesalers with 3,000 employees generating sales of $1.2 billion USD per annum.

The Parts Alliance, through a series of 10 acquisitions since 2012 has grown to become a market-leader by investing in people and technology and putting their customers first

“This has been a fantastic journey, building a market leader in just over 4 years through 10 acquisitions and consistently strong organic growth,” said Peter Sephton. “I and our management team would like to thank HgCapital for all their support as our 2,900 colleagues look forward to continuing that journey with Uni-Select, helping build a great international autoparts business together with the Uni-Select leadership team.”

Peter Sephton, CEO, The Parts Alliance

The Parts Alliance emphasise that for customers it’s very much ‘business as usual’ and look forward to working under trade owners with a deep understanding of the automotive aftermarket. The existing management team will continue to operate the business and Peter Sephton, Chief Executive of The Parts Alliance, will join Uni-Select’s executive team while continuing his leadership role in the UK as President and CEO of the European business segment.

Uni-Select’s origins are similar to those of The Parts Alliance; Uni-Select was founded in 1968 by 12 Québec businessmen who joined forces to form a purchasing group for aftermarket parts. The business now trade as a listed company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: UNS).

“We are excited to establish a third growth pillar in the large UK parts aftermarket that is expected to be immediately accretive in a market with great upside potential from future consolidation opportunities. Parts Alliance is a great organization, with a market leadership position and national scale, a proven growth platform and an experienced management team that has demonstrated its ability to drive profitable growth both organically and through acquisitions,” said Henry Buckley, President and CEO of Uni-Select. “Our two companies are a perfect fit in terms of business profile, customer focus, entrepreneurial culture and commitment to people development.”

Martin Block, Partner, HgCapital, said: “We are delighted with the sale of this very special business to Uni-Select. They will be a fantastic partner for the next phase of Parts Alliance’s continued growth and development. As a buy and build in a fragmented and dynamic sector, our management team were able to create a business of scale and real capability through their drive, professionalism and determination. The Parts Alliance brings together a high-quality group of distinct brands with a common culture and local identity. We wish both the team and the new owners every success for the future”.

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SMMT launches Motor Industry Facts 2017

SMMT has launched its comprehensive guide to all things UK Automotive, Motor Industry Facts 2017.

From vehicle registrations and production, to supply chain, CO2 and Brexit SMMT’s Motor Industry Facts provides all the latest data and background information on the UK automotive industry.

The 34-page guide is a one-stop-shop covering all of the latest statistics relevant to the sector including answers to questions such as:

  • What is the contribution of the sector to the UK economy and jobs?
  • How many cars, vans, trucks and engines are built in the UK and where do we build them?
  • How much have CO2 emissions fallen by since 2000?
  • How will connected and autonomous vehicles improve our society?

For all this information and much more, download SMMT Motor Industry Facts 2017 here.

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‘Connected & Digital Technology Zone’ to highlight industry innovations at Automechanika Birmingham

Automechanika Birmingham will host the Connected & Digital Technology Zone on stand 6B11 with The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) demonstrating the latest cutting-edge automotive technologies throughout the event from 6–8 June 2017.

The area, found in the supply chain zone, will feature the latest products set to enable the design, development and manufacture of future vehicles.
Visitors will have access to the most up-to-date technological information and solutions including virtual and augmented reality, as well as brand new vehicles and robotics.

Automechanika Birmingham 2016

The vast array of interactive elements that can be found in the zone will include the new Range Rover Velar from Jaguar Land Rover, the Kuka robot from REECO andthe Vive virtual reality headset allowing visitors to look at the interior of a virtual car brought along by Optis. Semcon will bring HoloLens augmented reality glasses to present a new solution to deliver service information to the automotive workshop, demonstrated with a Range Rover Evoque.

Warwick Manufacturing Group will have an innovative technology demonstrator on hand from the DELIVER-E project in the form of an electric delivery vehicle prototype based on the body of a Renault Twizy, while Nottingham University will display its facial recognition software whereby the emotions of the driver are captured and shown via a graph on screen.

Meanwhile, both Renishaw and Adient will be showcasing their newest technologies with the former introducing an additively manufactured metal car component on stand, and the latter demonstrating its advanced seating commodities.

Simon Albert, event director of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “With technology developing at a rapid rate and showing no signs of slowing down, the Connected & Digital Technology Zone is one of the most exciting attractions at the event. We are looking forward to showcasing the future of the automotive industry to visitors and the many benefits available as we move forward together.”

Visitors looking for a chance to update their knowledge, network with new and existing contacts and discover the benefits of new automotive technology can register free for the event by CLICKING HERE.

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Autonomous refuse truck begins live trials

A Swedish waste and recycling company has begun trials of a fully autonomous dustbin lorry, which it claims will increase the safety and environmental benefits of weekly waste collections.

The truck, which is being tested in Gothenburg by waste and recycling operator Renova, attains autonomy by first being driven on a refuse collection route manually and then ‘remembering’ the route.

As a result, the truck knows when to start, stop, turn and reverse, allowing operatives to go about the task of waste collection without having to continually jump on and off the truck.

The system, developed by Volvo Trucks in conjunction with Renova, uses similar autonomous systems to those fitted in an autonomous tipper the truck maker developed for the Kristineberg stone mine last November.

The first time the automated refuse truck is used in a new area, it is driven manually while the on-board system constantly monitors and maps the route with the help of sensors and GPS technology. The next time the truck enters the same area, it knows exactly which route to follow and at which bins it has to stop.

At the first stop with the automated system activated, the driver climbs out of the cab, goes to the rear of the truck, brings out the wheelie-bin and empties it in exactly the way the job is done today. When the operation is completed, the truck automatically reverses to the next bin upon receiving the driver’s command. The driver walks the very same route that the truck takes and thus always has full view of what’s happening in the direction of travel.

“By reversing the truck, the driver can constantly remain close to the compactor unit instead of having to repeatedly walk between the rear and the cab every time the truck is on the move,” said Hans Zachrisson, Strategic Development Manager at Renova. “And since the driver doesn’t have to climb in and out of the cab at every start and stop, there’s less risk of work related injuries such as strain on the knees and other joints.”

Reversing is otherwise a fairly risky manoeuvre since the driver may find it difficult to see who or what is moving behind the vehicle – even if it is fitted with a camera. Since sensors monitor the area all around the refuse truck, if the street is blocked by a parked car, the refuse truck can automatically drive around the obstruction provided there is sufficient space alongside. The automated systems also optimise gear changes, steering and speed, meaning fuel consumption and emissions can be reduced.

The project will continue until the end of 2017 and will be followed by an extremely thorough evaluation of functionality, safety and how well the vehicle is accepted by drivers, waste operatives, other road users and local residents.

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World’s largest biogas bus fleet enters service in Nottingham

The biggest fleet of biogas powered buses in the world has gone into service in Nottingham this week.

The £17m fleet of Scania double-deckers will be powered by a biogas produced from sewage and waste, via anaerobic digestion.

Gary Mason, Nottingham City Transport (NCT) Director, said, “We are hugely proud of our new biogas buses. This is the largest order for gas double decks in the world and is the culmination of our extensive research into alternative fuels.”

The move towards biogas vehicles began last July when NCT, working in partnership with Nottingham City Council, successfully bid to receive £4.4m in funding from government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

Since then, and with a further investment of £12.4m from NCT itself, the bus operator has worked closely with manufacturers Scania and body maker Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), together with local companies Roadgas and ZF Transmissions, to create a sustainable biogas infrastructure at the city’s Parliament Street Garage, where the new fleet is based.

NCT’s first 30 bio-gas buses began operating on routes 6, 10, 24, 25 and 44 this week, with a further 23 buses being added to the fleet early next year on routes 36 and 45. The buses all include free WiFi and USB charging points.

The Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA)’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, added, “Scania’s new Bio-Gas buses are a great example of the effectiveness of biomethane as a low-carbon, low-cost transport fuel that can help to reduce the levels of air pollution we see in towns and cities across the UK.”

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Employment Law update – May 2017

IAAF service member, Xecutive Search, has highlighted the following items of legislation which have now come into force.

Trade Union Act (March 2017)
The latest Trade Union Act measures came into force on 1 March 2017. Designed to protect workers from the ‘effects of undemocratic strike action’, the new legislation puts tougher requirements on trade unions, aiming to make industrial action less likely.

Features include an additional requirement in the public sector for at least 40% of entitled ballot voters to vote in favour of industrial action, as well as a requirement for more information on the ballot paper itself. The measures also double the current notice period to be given, meaning that employers will now have 14 days to prepare for industrial action.

Finally, there will be a new ballot threshold. In order for any ballot to be valid, at least 50% of those eligible must vote. Until this point, there have been no minimum turnout requirements.

Gender pay gap (April 2017)
From 5 April 2017, businesses and charities with 250 or more employees will be required by law to publish and report on their gender pay gap (measures for the public sector kicked in in March). Specific figures will range from the gap in hourly pay and bonus to the proportion of men and women in each pay quartile (or ‘range’).

Employers will need to publish their gender pay gap data, plus a written statement, on their website, and report online using Gov.uk’s on line tool.
Most businesses we insure have fewer than 250 employees, but you can of course report voluntarily if you want to.

Apprenticeship levy (April 2017)
Businesses with an annual ‘pay bill’ over £3 million must pay the apprenticeship levy from 6 April 2017. A pay bill is the total wages paid to an employee (or group of employees) within a specific time period.

If this one affects you, you’ll need to report and pay the levy to HMRC through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) process.

Remember, the levy won’t affect how you fund training for apprentices who started a programme before 1 May 2017. You’ll carry on funding these under the terms in place when the apprenticeship started.

Apprenticeship advertising (April 2017)
From 1 April 2017, it will be against the law to falsely advertise work as a statutory apprenticeship. The law also makes it illegal to wrongly describe someone as an apprentice within your business. The maximum penalty you’ll receive will be a fine, so double-check any apprenticeship contracts and terms you have and ensure you’re already compliant.

Non-statutory apprenticeships are currently discounted from the ruling.

The new National Minimum Wage (NMW) (April 2017)
The NMW changes every April and currently depends on two things: the employee’s age, and whether they’re an apprentice.

The current hourly rates rates for the NMW are £3.50 for an apprentice, £4.05 for employees under 18, £5.60 for employees aged 18-20, and £7.05 for those aged 21-24.

Remember, employees must be at least school leaving age to receive this.

The new National Living Wage (NLW) (April 2017)
Employees must be aged 25 or over to get the NLW, and the new hourly rate is £7.50.

Immigration skills charge regulations (April 2017)
This update primarily affects businesses employing Tier 2 migrant workers in skilled jobs. The charge will be £1,000 a year for every employee, reduced to £364 for small or charitable organisations. You’ll usually be considered to be a small business if your annual turnover is £10.2 million or less, and/or you have 50 employees or fewer.

The charge exempts PhD-level jobs and international students moving from student to working visas. It also leaves out those in the Intra Company Transfer Graduate Trainee category.

Tax-free childcare scheme (April 2017)
In terms of employment law, definition can be quite loose. So whilst this mainly affects parents rather than employers, we’ve kept it in as a key change for many self-employed parents.

The tax-free childcare scheme is a new government initiative, designed to help working parents (including the self-employed) manage the cost of childcare.

Briefly, for every £8 a parent pays in to their online account, the government will pay in an extra £2. Parents will be able to get up to £2,000 a year for each child under the age of 12, and £4,000 for disabled children aged under 17.

You’ll need to be in work and expecting to earn £120 minimum a week, and each parent can’t be earning more than £100,000 a year. Read Gov.uk’s article for more information on who’s eligible and how to benefit.

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Volvo to ditch diesel, VM’s boss suggests

Volvo could be set to ditch diesel engine technology for its cars within the next five years.

Chief executive of the Swedish VM, Hakan Samuelsson said the cost of making diesel more emissions friendly could mean the brand’s current generation of diesel engines, introduce in 2013, could be the last.

Speaking to German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, he said: “From today’s perspective, we will not develop any more new-generation diesel engines.”

Diesel alternatives

Diesel will remain to be key for existing models but replacement models due for release after 2020 are more likely to be powered by petrol, plug-in hybrid or electric, with the Swedish car maker’s first all-electric model due to go on sale from 2019.

Samuelsson told Reuters: “We have just launched a brand new generation of petrol and diesel engines, highlighting our commitment to this technology.

“[But] we have to recognise that Tesla has managed to offer such a car for which people are lining up.

“In this area, there should also be space for us, with high quality and attractive design.”

It comes as diesel continues to face heavy criticism for emitting dangerous levels of nitrogen oxides.

The cost to meet strict emissions regulations has also seen Renault announce that it will no longer produce small engine diesels while Volkswagen increasingly turns its investment to petrol-hybrids for the next generation of Polo.

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IAAF Golf dates 2017 – Reminder

The IAAF will be holding its seventh IAAF Golf Team Challenge in aid of our industry charity, BEN.

Last year’s event successfully raised nearly £2,000 for BEN via your generous donations plus the surplus funds from the event and we hope we can do even better this year.

The winners from Robert Bosch Ltd. at The Forest of Arden who also won the overall trophy for 2016

This year for the first time we will be accepting entries from individuals, as well as the usual teams of four.

The overall winning team from across the two days’ play will be invited to the IAAF’s Annual Dinner in December where they will be presented with their trophy.

The venues and dates are as follows:
North           5th July         Worsley Park, Nr. Manchester
Midlands    10th August   Forest of Arden, Meriden, Warwickshire

The cost per team of four will be £325 per team plus vat and the cost for individuals will be £85 plus VAT per person. This includes:

Bacon Sandwich and coffee/Tea on arrival
18 Holes of golf
Evening meal served after golf
Presentation of prizes to the winners on the day.

The Company Team Challenge will be a four ball format whereby the best two scores on each hole will score and on all par three holes all four scores will count. The overall winning team across the two days’ play will be invited to the IAAF’s Annual Dinner in December and will be presented with their prizes.

Various sponsorship opportunities are available, these are:

Longest Drive £100 + cost of trophy (c. £50) (Worsley Park only)
Nearest the Pin £100 + cost of trophy (c. £50) (Worsley Park only)
Golf Ball and Tee Sponsor £100 + cost of golf balls and tees (sold out)
Light Refreshment Sponsor £100

Joe Richardson is once again kindly organising these events on behalf of the IAAF and BEN and, if you need any further details, you can contact him on 07831 855829 or the IAAF Office.

You can download a leaflet and booking form here: 2017-Golf-Brochure.
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