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Let the Operator Advise the Maker

28th January 1944
Page 25
Page 25, 28th January 1944 — Let the Operator Advise the Maker
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Time Now Ripe for Pooling Experiena

The War Has Brought Much Closer Commercial Understanding Between All Sections of the Industry On the Important Subject of Development


James Courtney, ALAI,

(Chid Engineer, Northern Ireland Rod Transport &Ord)

THE suggestion of establishing a national representative body of operators to advise the makers is a

sound one and much overdue. The statement made by Mr. C. CourtneyCramp, namely, "to co-ordinate the ideas of users as separate from the ideas of manufacturers " covers, to my mind, the whole subject, which has drawn the opinions of so many prominent automobile engineers, 'as have appeared in your journal during the past few months.

Captain Walton, in his article published on September 24, 1943, is not far off the mark when he ttates in his comments on the relative breakdowns over .the past 20 years of road-vehicle development, that we still pour most of the petrol away, either down the exhause pipe or into the radiator. This, in my opinion, is a striking cornmentary on the progress made by the average manufacturer, in so far as the orthodox, aspirated, internal-combustion engine is concerned.

'Before the war the large operator had perfOrce to conduct tests on his own fleet if he wanted to keep abreast of the expansion of the road-transport industry. The commercial side of the industry looked upon this activity with a certain dislike, as it appeared to its members that experimentation was the province of the maker. It is, therefore, • the more pleasing to note that, during the present war, in the writer's opinion, there has been brought about a much closer commercial understanding on • this very important subject of development between all sections of the industry The Value of War Experience The ingenuity of every. operator to-day is being taxed to the utmost to keep the wheels turning, probably much faster than anticipated by the original designer. This, of course in turn ha 's probably had a salutary effect or automobile engineers, who have, during the past four years, acquired valuable experience through enforced improvization and research, and are, therefore, in a much stronger position to state authoritatively the improvements required in our post-war road vehicles,

I believe that the time is now ripe for the formation of a responsible body to pool this experience, and forcibly convey it to the manufacturers. It is encouraging to note that the manufacturers who have contributed articles acknowledge the fact that the operator has a much better opportunity of testing a vehicle's general performance than they themselves can have.

A lot of-suggestions have been forthcoming from the various operators contributing, as to the adoption of existing organizations to act as liaison between operator and manufacturer. In con, sideration of the fact that the proposed body is chiefly concerned with the technicalities of vehicle design, is not. theexisting Research Committee of the Institution of Automobile Engineers a suitable body to act in this capacity?

The hazards of war have made us all research-minded, especially when we sit back and consider the potential resources which our British export market will be up against in the postwar era, No operator, 1 believe, anticipates the development of a road vehicle in the future which is capable of carrying a 2-ton pay-load one day and a 5-ton the next. Speaking from my. own experience, what is wanted by the operator is a standardized vehicle founded on sound, straightforward lines, which will function satisfactorily with the minimum amount of attention, and carry its recognized pay-load at an economical cost per mile. Up to the moment, so far as I am aware, there is no data available for assessing what is the economical basis.

Mr. Courtney-Cramp, in his article published in your issue dated October 1, 1943, has made reference to the advantages of such a technical institute and, in order, to establish a basis on which to compute efficiency of operation, would suggest two additions to the headings he has already set out.—

(u) The opportunity of frank and candid discussion between operators, on their specialized traffic operation, and (f) A recognized formula for computing the principal maintenance cost headings, with or without assessed overhead cost elements. I have read with great interest th points brought to light in the varion

articles from the manufacturers. A an engineer who is responsible for th maintenance of .a Large fleet constittn ing a " well-mixed " hag of buses an lorries, representing nine differez: makes of bus sub-divided into 4 different models, and 19 different make of lorry sub-divided into 79 differer models, I feel assured that standardize tion, as urged by the operators, is no hlong the lines of producing a standar model for all operations, but th elimination of the far too numerou differentials of the " few thousandths per inch order, on the thousands c spares which the efficient operator compelled to carry.

Surely the Research Department c the LA.E. has alreadysufficient dat to prove to the manufacturers the these odd thousandths, additions c deductions; on their component parb have not necessarily to be provided fc greater efficiency over their compet tors, as put across by the pre-war arm of expert salesmen. By all means Is individuality prevail amongst main facturers, as regards testing the: respective abilities on the eliminatio of waste power through the exham pipe or radiator grill, which assuredl will create repeated sales, in preferenc to the antiquated idea Of altering th dimensional figure, which, to the write] conveys nothing beyond, perhaps, th idea of increasing spares turnover pr rata with their output of individm models.

Allied to a Technical Body The maintenance of transport . getting more •and more under wel qualified supervision," in the words z Mr. Shearman, and I submit this fac as further evidence for the operator t become closely allied 'to a technici body, Some of the manufacturers, wb have already. expressed their views a this important subject, foresee the Hsi if I read their minds aright, of tc much standardization. To them migl I suggest their serious consideration articulation as a .means (already proven factor in large American pr4 duction plants) of scaring away ti bogy of non-interchangeability? It could Jae argued rightly that th comment is probably a bit unfai ha'ving regard to our road condition but have not operators and manilla. turers by this time sufficient evideni of this form of transport operation i our own territory to speak, as M Palmer Phillips suggests, with one voic to the appropriate authority of ti immediate need for modifying existir legislation,. so 'that the greatest banal may accrue from the' co-operatic .• inaugurated by you in calling for a interested parties to express the opinions on this subject?

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