Servicesure celebrates the New Year in style thanks to darts champ partnership

Peter Wright wins world championship for first time.

Servicesure, the national garage network of The Parts Alliance, had reason to celebrate this New Year thanks to its partnership with darts champion Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright.

The 49-year old Scottish darts player won the 2020 PDC World Darts Championship on New Year’s day.

He scooped his first major title, the biggest event in professional darts, by seven sets to three with sustained high scoring and precision finishing.

The win saw him finally beat number one seed, three-time former champion and bookies favourite Michael van Gerwen.

A raucous Alexandra Palace roared on crowd favourite Peter, helping him realise a resolution that he made back at the beginning of his darts career to win the world title before he was 50.

Servicesure has sponsored Peter, who’s renowned for his colourful ‘mohawk’ hairstyle, since March 2017 when the partnership was launched with a special event at The Parts Alliance head office in Solihull.

Speaking at the sponsorship launch, former tyre fitter Peter said: “I’m thrilled to have the backing of Servicesure for what I hope will be an exciting period of my career.”

Paul Dineen, head of the Servicesure programme, said: “We were thrilled to see Peter get the victory he deserved and we’re proud to be a sponsor of the man who is now the world champion – it’s a brilliant way of getting our brand out there on a global scale.

“Both Servicesure and Peter have enjoyed success since 2017, and we’re excited to be on this journey with him.”

To find out more about the benefits of becoming a member of the fast-growing Servicesure network, click here.

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REPXPERT Academy LIVE: High number of visitors expected at Basingstoke

Technicians advised to book places quickly for training concept held in partnership with the IMI.

With a significant number of places already snapped up, technicians are being urged to sign-up for the first REPXPERT Academy LIVE event of 2020, held at Basingstoke College of Technology, on Saturday 25th January.

The roadshow training concept continues its journey throughout the UK, following a successful debut at Lincoln College in November last year.

In collaboration with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), Schaeffler is primed for a new group of visitors, all of whom are ready to experience a full-day’s training, geared to improve and futureproof their technical and business skills.

Workshop owners and technicians will be offered masterclasses by a team of Schaeffler REPXPERTs, who will be concentrating on LuK clutch technology, INA timing drives and modern thermal management systems.

There will also be a focus on new and upcoming vehicle technologies, such as hybridisation and electrification.

The Garage Inspector

REPXPERT brand ambassador and The Garage Inspector, Andy Savva, will also be hosting a class based on his popular business training sessions.

An award-winning ex-workshop owner, aftermarket commentator and now business advisor, Andy will demonstrate to workshop owners and their staff how they can ‘empower their workshop’.

These four 45-minute sessions will incorporate practical knowledge, theory and discussion elements, all designed to impart as much knowledge as possible.

This will ensure that each delegate will have the opportunity to absorb plenty of valuable technical and business-related information from every session.

There will also be plenty to see in the workshop throughout the day, with guest exhibitors, Laser Tools and TechMan, plus, of course, displays from Schaeffler, the IMI and Basingstoke College of Technology.

Entry to REPXPERT Academy LIVE is free of charge, and every visitor will be offered complimentary breakfast and lunch, as well as refreshments throughout. Doors will open at 9am, with the event due to finish at 4pm.

To book your free place, click here.

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New Skyline equipped with DRiV ‘continuously variable semi-active’ suspension tech

System senses road conditions and independently adjusts electronically controlled shocks.

Nissan’s 2020 Skyline 400R, which is now available in Japan with ‘intelligent dynamic suspension’ (IDS), featuring DRiV continuously variable semi-active (CVSAe) suspension technology.

The CVSAe system automatically senses road and driving conditions and independently adjusts the four electronically controlled shock absorbers in real time for superior comfort, handling and driving enjoyment.

Brad Norton, executive vice president and president for ride performance at DRiV, said: “Since its introduction in 1957, the iconic Skyline has helped set the standard for driving enjoyment.

“We are pleased to help continue this impressive tradition with Monroe intelligent suspension technology in Japan.

“Our CVSAe solution is a popular, proven solution that enables consumers to customize their ride experience based on driving situation and personal preference.”

For further information about Monroe, click here.

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Further reman engine growth expected after record sales in Europe, reports Ivor Searle

Benefits of more sustainable remanufactured components continues to gain traction across aftermarket.

Remanufacturer of major units, Ivor Searle, is predicting a boost in demand for its remanufactured products next year, following record sales of engines in Europe during 2019.

As laws surrounding the recycling of vehicle parts become more stringent in the EU than anywhere else in the world, Cambridgeshire-based Ivor Searle sees further growth opportunities as the benefits of more sustainable remanufactured products continue to gain traction across the aftermarket, both in its home territory and in continental Europe.

In a continually challenging economic climate, which has resulted in a significant slowdown in new car sales, added to the rising cost of insurance that has reduced the threshold for uneconomical repair, the market for remanufacture has developed as a competitive alternative to OEM replacement parts.

Ivor Searle claims to save garages up to 40 per cent on the cost of buying OEM by instead, sourcing high quality remanufactured engines, cylinder heads, gearboxes and turbochargers.

The automotive parts remanufacturing market in Europe is valued at around €10 billion and expected to reach €20 billion by the end of 2024.

According to its report, Automotive Parts Remanufacturing Market: Europe Industry Analysis and Forecast 2016-2024, Persistence Market Research projects that Europe’s vehicle parts remanufacturing market will grow by up to 8 per cent annually.

By the end of 2024, the report predicts the number of remanufactured products will surpass 56 million per year.

The emergence of more sophisticated components for controlling vehicle emissions performance, as well as significant growth in the take up of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), are considered to be key driver for the remanufacturing market’s growth, particularly in regard to diesel remanufactured engines for both cars and vans, the latter of which is the workhorse of the pan-European parcel delivery fleet.

In addition to strong demand for remanufactured engines, Ivor Searle forecasts increased growth for ‘reman’ gearboxes, turbochargers and other components.

Of Europe’s total automotive parts remanufacturing market, more than 40 per cent relates to cars.

With benefits to the consumer, aftermarket and the wider world, remanufacturing will continue to exert an increasing influence on the automotive industry, as David Eszenyi, commercial director of Ivor Searle, said: “Now that all EU manufactured cars have to be at least 95 per cent recyclable, plus billions of euros being poured into the development of AFVs, the automotive sector is looking to a sustainable future.

“Remanufacturing is a fundamental part of a Circular Economy, as it’s a cost-effective alternative to manufacturing brand new products and at the same time saving on raw materials and energy.

“A remanufactured engine from Ivor Searle will save around 55kg in core metal whilst using 85 per cent less energy than manufacturing. It’s a win-win process.”

For further information about Ivor Searle, click here.

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Here’s what to look for in your next garage job

Autotech Recruit reveals what technicians should be looking for to progress their career.

Automotive recruitment specialist, Autotech Recruit has revealed what it’s described as some of “the most important things that you should be looking for” in a new automotive role.

With more and more companies offering some form of flexible working and part-time contracts, job searchers are putting more pressure on prospective employers to offer these perks in their new job.

Among the other most important factors in the job searching process, according to Autotech Recruit, are things such as company stability, relationship with superiors, and progression opportunities within the company.

Work conditions

In the motor trade, there is a prevailing shortage of qualified mechanics across the UK.

Even though the automotive industry is one of the most technologically advanced, Autotech Recruit claim the damaging misperception of the working conditions in the garage environment has deterred many young people from entering the sector at all.

Jacob Cox, social media executive at Autotech Recruit, advices technicians to “check if the garage is keeping up with the times and if its current employees enjoy working for the company”, before accepting an offer.

Training and development

Perceptions in the industry are clearly changing, with garages becoming more advanced and immersed with technology due to changing standards and requirements regarding modern vehicles.

Jacob said: “When looking for a new role, you should always factor in a potential employer’s willingness to develop the skills of their employees.

“It is important to be satisfied with the direction that your career is heading in, and being able to learn new skills and receive extra training is a massive bonus in a new role.”

Salary

For the majority of job-seekers, one of the most important reasons for looking for a new job is dissatisfaction with their current salary, with many highly skilled mechanics even deciding to take their skills into other industries to earn more.

Jacob said: “Without a doubt, your salary should fairly reflect your skills and experience.

“If you can’t find a new permanent role that would meet your salary goal, consider becoming a contract vehicle technician/MOT tester, which is a great option to both gain experience in multiple working environments and earn a much higher average wage.

“At Autotech Recruit, we believe that to fully enjoy rewarding careers in the automotive industry, all vehicle technicians should be paid fairly and offered a better work-life balance.

“If you are currently looking for a new job, get in touch and we will do our utmost to find the right role for you.”

For further information about Autotech Recruit, click here.

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“No such thing” as a zero-emission vehicle, warn scientists following brake pollution study

Tail pipe emissions account for seven per cent of traffic pollution with the rest emitted from tyre, clutch, brake and road wear

Tiny metal particles released during braking may damage the immune system, preventing cells called macrophages from engulfing bacteria and clearing them away, according to scientists at King’s College London and Imperial College London.

The experts grew immune cells in a lab, and found that when exposed to brake dust and diesel particulates the immune cells were unable to take up and destroy the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which causes infection in the lungs. 

Particles released from the abrasion of brake pads account for approximately 20 per cent of total PM2.5 particulate pollution – small enough to be inhaled into the deepest regions of the lungs.

Dust from brake friction is also rich in metals such as iron, copper, arsenic, tin, antimony, vanadium, which can increase chemicals in the body that damage cells.

Diesel exhaust emissions

Dr Ian Mudway, who led the research at the MRC Centre for Environment and Health at King’s College London, said: “At this time the focus on diesel exhaust emissions is completely justified by the scientific literature, but we should not forget, or discount, the importance of other components, such as metals from mechanical abrasion, especially from brakes.

“There is no such thing as a zero-emission vehicle, and as regulations to reduced exhaust emissions kick in, the contribution from these sources are likely to become more significant.”

Removal of speed bumps

Previously the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) suggested that speed bumps should be removed to cut traffic pollution.

Dr Liza Selley explained that concentrations of metallic traffic particles were three higher on roads with speed bumps.

“London throat”

She said: “Measures such as average speed checking rather than speed humps or pedestrian bridges rather than crossings would be helpful for this, especially in residential areas and near schools.

“Macrophages protect the lung from microbes and infections and regulate inflammation, but we found that when they’re exposed to brake dust they can no longer take up bacteria.

“Worryingly, this means that brake dust could be contributing to what I call ‘London throat’ – the constant foggy feeling and string of coughs and colds that city dwellers endure – and more serious infections like pneumonia or bronchitis which we already know to be influenced by diesel exhaust exposure.”

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Valeo unveils autonomous, electric delivery droid

Laser scanners, cameras, radars and ultrasonic sensors detect surroundings of electric pod

Valeo has this week unveiled its autonomous, electric delivery droid prototype at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

The Valeo eDeliver4U was developed in partnership with Meituan Dianping, China’s leading e-commerce platform for services, which operates popular food delivery service Meituan Waimai.

The two groups signed a strategic cooperation agreement at last year’s CES to develop a last-mile autonomous delivery solution.

At 2.80m long, 1.20m wide and 1.70m tall, the droid can deliver up to 17 meals per trip, autonomously negotiating dense and complex urban environments at about 12 km/h without generating any pollutant emissions.

With a range of around 100km, the prototype gives a glimpse of what home delivery could look like in the near future, especially in the ever‑growing number of zero-emissions zones that are being created around the world.

Meituan Dianping’s connected delivery locker allows for safe delivery to the end customer, who can book through a smartphone application.

The droid’s autonomy and electric power are delivered by Valeo technologies that are already series produced and aligned with automotive industry standards, thereby guaranteeing a high-level of safety.

How it works

The droid operates autonomously using perception systems including algorithms and sensors.

It is equipped with four Valeo SCALA laser scanners, a front camera, four fisheye cameras, four radar devices and twelve ultrasonic sensors, coupled with software and artificial intelligence.

The electrified chassis features a Valeo 48V motor and a Valeo 48V inverter, which acts as the system’s ‘brain’ and controls the power, a speed reducer, a 48V battery, a DC/DC converter and a Valeo 48V battery charger, as well as electric power steering and braking systems.

Jacques Aschenbroich, chairman and chief executive officer at Valeo said: “The modularity of the platforms means our technologies can just as easily be fitted to cars, autonomous shuttles, robotaxis and even droids.

“These new markets will allow us to further consolidate our leadership around the world in vehicle electrification, driver assistance systems and autonomous driving.”

For further information about Valeo, click here.

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Lesjöfors acquires Metrol Springs Ltd in the UK

The company has a diversified customer base in the UK, Europe, the US, and Asia, serving industrial and automotive customers.

Lesjöfors AB has announced its acquisition of the shares in Metrol Springs Ltd, a leading manufacturer of tooling gas springs, special purpose gas springs, and gas struts, within the UK and other global markets.

The company has enhanced their product offering with the addition of linear actuators and a constantly expanding range of industrial hardware.

A large proportion of the sales are via their catalogue in conjunction with their current websites.

Metrol’s revenues amount to MGBP 7 with good profitability, of which approximately 40 percent are exports to more than 20 countries.

Based in Northampton, Lesjöfors has acquired the real estate on which Metrol’s manufacturing plant is located through shares in Nitro Springs Manufacturing Ltd.

Retiring Lesjöfors President, Kjell-Arne Lindbäck, comments on the transaction: “With its main business areas being gas springs and gas struts, Metrol will broaden the Lesjöfors Group’s offering for both existing and new customers.

“The decentralized, technical and sales-orientated business culture within Metrol mirrors the philosophy we have at Lesjöfors, which will make it easy to work closely in our joint development of this business.”

Recently appointed Lesjöfors President, Ola Tengroth, also commented on the transaction: “I look forward to supporting the development of Metrol going forward along with its strong management team, which is now fully integrated within Lesjöfors.”

Metrol’s principal owners, Andrew Marks and Robert Lamb, and directors Paul Hynes and Chris Pegram, comments on the transaction: “We are incredibly happy for the company to become a part of a group that has a global market presence with extensive knowledge of our business concept and ethos.”

In addition, Paul Hynes and Chris Pegram states: “We appreciate the decentralized structure of Lesjöfors and are looking forward to staying on and continuing to develop the company further.”

Robert Lamb is also enthused by the prospect of his continued involvement in Metrol as part of the expanding Lesjöfors team.

To find out more about Lesjöfors, click here.

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Electric vehicle training for emergency services to reduce risks of new hazards

Fire brigades receive intensive hands-on training from ZF Aftermarket.

ZF Aftermarket has launched an intensive hands-on training course to reduce the threat to emergency services when dealing with accidents involving hybrid and electric vehicles.

Electric vehicle fires are notoriously difficult to extinguish and require specific skills and equipment.

Fire can spread rapidly to the nearby cells of high-voltage batteries and cell damage can lead to so-called thermal leakage which is corrosive and highly dangerous.

A ZF spokesperson said: “Although fires associated with electric vehicles receive a great deal of bad press, this is due to the epic proportions such a fire reaches, or its unexpectedness – rather than its cause.

“There is no evidence to suggest that electric vehicles catch fire any more quickly than cars with combustion engines.

“Investigations into cases of so-called spontaneous self-ignition show that either the battery had been damaged in the run-up to the accident or that it had a design or manufacturing defect.

“It’s important for the men and women of the emergency services who will come into contact with electric and hybrid vehicle accidents to not only be aware of the dangers, but also to be equipped with the skills to deal with them.”

Hybrid and electric vehicle hazards

In addition to fire, ZF warns that there is also a danger of flammable or toxic gas escaping, electric shock and the formation of electric arcs.

The electrical supply infrastructure could also catch fire.

A damaged vehicle that has to be recovered from a river or a flood can be extremely hazardous for the rescue services.

Emergency services training

The training first covers vehicle identification, electric vehicle system design, protective mechanisms – such as the position and operation of the high voltage system’s isolating switch – suitable equipment and what to do in the event of the various accident scenarios.

Using real-life examples, the training also looks at the responsibilities of the emergency service personnel, the communication between them and how they deal with vehicle recovery operators.

For further information on the training courses, click here.

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New car registrations at lowest level since 2013, official data shows

Industry calls for measures to increase uptake of latest low emission vehicles.

The UK’s new car market declined further in 2019, with annual registrations falling for the third consecutive year, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 2,311,140 new cars were registered last year, representing a 2.4 per cent per cent decline.

Registrations from consumers are down 3.2 per cent, while the small volume business market also fell, down 34.4 per cent.

Fleet registrations remained broadly stable, up 0.8 per cent.

Demand fell across nearly all vehicle segments, with only the dual purpose and specialist sports categories experiencing growth, up 12 per cent and 19.2 per cent respectively.

Despite registrations of superminis and lower medium cars falling, these smaller vehicles remain the most popular – with a combined 57.1 per cent market share.

Petrol Vs diesel

There was modest growth in demand for petrol cars, up 2.2 per cent, but it wasn’t enough to offset the significant 21.8 per cent decline in diesel registrations.

December marked the 33rd month of diesel decline, as continued anti-diesel rhetoric and confusion over clean air zones hit demand.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles

Bucking the overall trend, combined alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) registrations surged in 2019 to take a record 7.4 per cent market share.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) continued to dominate this sector, with registrations increasing 17.1 per cent to 97,850 units.

Battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations experienced the biggest percentage growth, rising 144 per cent to 37,850 units and overtaking plug-in hybrids for the first time.

“Significant concern”

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “A third year of decline for the UK new car market is a significant concern for industry and the wider economy.

“Political and economic uncertainty, and confusing messages on clean air zones have taken their toll on buyer confidence, with demand for new cars at a six-year low.

“A stalling market will hinder industry’s ability to meet stringent new CO2 targets and, importantly, undermine wider environmental goals.

“We urgently need more supportive policies”

“We urgently need more supportive policies: investment in infrastructure; broader measures to encourage uptake of the latest, low and zero emission cars; and long term purchase incentives to put the UK at the forefront of this technological shift.

“Industry is playing its part with a raft of exciting new models in 2020 and compelling offers but consumers will only respond if economic confidence is strong and the technology affordable.”

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