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Charlton’s put Powerhand’s VRS to work

Charlton Recycling and their Powerhand VRS
Terry Charlton has bought the VRS for one reason - to make more money from his ELVs.
Cambridgeshire based, Charlton Recycling recently bought Powerhand’s vehicle recycling system (VRS). We went down to see if it lived up to expectation.


Terry Charlton has been a prominent figure amongst the dismantling community for a number of years and we have learnt over those years to take his opinion seriously. When he told us he had ordered a Powerhand VRS from William Clark & Son, we decided to pay him a visit and see how it performed.

For those who are not familiar with this type of equipment, we shall explain. Once you have removed and sold anything worth selling from an ELV then you are left with the hulk. What do you do? Maybe remove the engine and box and then send it off to the frag. The thinking behind the VRS is that there is a great deal of added value in the hulk that you are missing out on - anything up to 30% that could be going on your bottom line. The VRS allows you to separate those valuable materials and fully capitalise on your stock.

Powerhand VRS
Powerhand's VRS comes with lots of features that has allowed Terry Charlton to separate motors, heavy grade steel, aluminium and radiators from his end of life hulks, increasing the return by around 30%.
Why is this important? Terry explained it this way, “A dismantler has very little control over what he can buy his ELVs for as it’s controlled by the broader market. Put simply, if you don’t offer enough you won’t get the ELVs. We also have very little control over the selling price of parts as this too is controlled by the market. Nobody will pay you £70 for an item they can find on line for £50. That leaves the bit in the middle, or in other words the day to day operation of the business, That’s the only area we really have to significantly improve our profitability. We purchased the Powerhand as we believe it will give a much greater return than it has cost to buy and operate”.

Terry also paid tribute to Richard Stewart of Dumfries based, D A Autoparts as he was the driving force behind this product coming to market. After Terry had seen similar machines in Japan (when he visited for the IRT meeting back in 2007), he acquired a DVD of Kobelco's unit but they didn't want to sell the product in the European market. Terry had also seen similar products in America but after showing Richard the DVD, Richard felt that the idea could be improved with a few simple modifications and additions. Richard approached specialist excavator and crane attachments manufacturer, William Clark & Son who agreed to get involved. We covered the product in detail in this article. Terry has also asked us to say how impressed he has been with William Clark & Son, their facilities and service.

So back to Terry and his thoughts, now that they have been operating the VRS for a few months. First impressions were not brilliant. “I felt I should be a kid playing computer games. Accurately controlling this piece of equipment takes practice and initially it can be frustrating, but once comfortable with the controls, production rates soon ramp up, ” said Terry (he’s after a playstation now for Christmas).

With the VRS, Terry is currently processing in the region of 4 cars per hour which from his data so far, he anticipates an increase in return from the hulks in the region of 30%. Terry did explain that it’s very hard to use the number of vehicles processed as an accurate guide to the machines effectiveness as it depends upon the level of separation required. In Japan he has seen operators even ripping off door skins to remove the window motors but in Terry’s opinion, the work and time involved at this level of operation doesn’t justify the added return.

Currently they keep the process simple. The Powerhand removes the engine and box complete with radiator. This is followed by the wiring harness and abs unit. The dash is pushed into the vehicle which gives access to heaters, in car wiring loom and other key items. Under the car, heavier steel from hubs and axles is separated as it commands a better price. A handy cutting jaw aids this process. Wiring looms are dragged through a ‘V’ channel that removes the fuse boxes, larger items and terminal connectors.

The engine transmission unit is then placed between the clamp down arms and a variety of edges and protrusions on the clamp down arms allow for starters, alternators, air con pumps, transmission and cylinder head to be removed. This part of the process was far more effective than we thought it would be both in speed and accuracy.

It is impossible to demonstrate in an article just how effective the VRS was. If you are thinking to yourself, “I can do most of that with a grab” - think again, we’ve seen engines being taken out with grabs but this is in a different league. Get yourself to CARS where you will be able to see the VRS (and a couple of its competitors) in action. Only then will you fully appreciate the benefits.

If you can’t wait until CARS and would like to find out more, visit Powerhand’s website.

May 2014

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