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Fleet Engineers Will Get Together

31st March 1944, Page 21
31st March 1944
Page 21
Page 21, 31st March 1944 — Fleet Engineers Will Get Together
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

A Concise Explanation of the Main Objects of the Proposed Institute of Road Transport Engineers, Together With a Few . Further Commerrts from Applicants

ALARGE number of people interested in the proposed Institute of Road Transport . Engineers has asked us to define its aims as closely as Possible. It was not our original. intention to go too fully into •detail, as this is a matter which, , we consider, should be settled by the committee which is to be formed, We are prepared, however, to state certain of our own views, with the reservation that these do not, necessarily, conform strictly with what is finally decided.

Much' will depend upon the strength of the body. We are fairly confident that it will reach 1,000 members during the first 'full year of its inauguration,. and it may easily achieve a membership rhuch 'larger than this in the second year. We may be overoptimistic in this opinion,. but we are basing it upon the enthusiasm with which the conception has been received, and the number of potential members available throughout the road-transport industry. At present, the number of vehicles represented by applicants is in the neighbourhood of 30,000, which means that about 1 in 15 of the total number of commercial vehicles in use is already .covered, but it would be unwise to base potential membership merely upon vehicles, for there are so many possibilities in other directions.

Summary of Main Functions Now as to the factors concerning the functions of the proposed Institute. In the main, these are as follow:—To improve the status of the fleet engineer • and, in the case of those who have to control a large number of vehicles, his principal assistants; to encourage' contact between the members, with a view to addingto their individual value by the exchange of technical knowledge, which, incidentally, will benefit their employers by bringing into greater use improved methods of, and means fcir, the maintenance of vehicles; to provide facilities for discussions between fleet engineers and associates representing vehicle and component suppliers and allied interests, with the idea of assisting the work of the former and, at the' same time, helping the latter to gather ideas which will promote improvement in design. • It is also our • vieW that much valuable work to assist the maintenance engineer could be achieved by constituting froth within the membership a panel of experienced and qualified consultants, which could advise in the case ofany difficult problems put forward by other members of the Institute.

As part of this service there should be a library of all the latest literature —including that on the legal side— which is available. In our first concrette reference to the scheme we did mention this point and suggested that the foundation of this library could be contributed by those road-transport engineers who 4already possess wellstocked bookcases.

No doubt the Institute would, within a reasonable period, be able to publish its own proceedings, which should themselves constitute a valuable per-, manent record of papers, discussions and technical data. •

Several well-known manufacturers have already expressed their opinion that it would be to their advantage, and to that of the new body, if certain members of their staff joined in the appropriate category. We take the view that such members will prove of considerable -value, in that they could

• put before the other members of the Institute much, knowledge concerning the particular phases 'of road transport with which they are concerned. In such cases, discussions following their remarks would undoubtedly prove beneficial.

At the same, time it is essential always to keep in mind the fact that the body must be organized and controlled entirely by road-transport engineers. It is to be their Institute, and not merely a conglomeration of interests. It is for this reason that we stand by our previous suggestion that the committee and, eventually, the council, should be composed only of such members. Any deviation from this would tend to weaken the authority of the Institute and its strength as a body representative of the road-transport engineer. Voting rights should, therefore, be confined to full and associate members.

Possible Influence On Design The possibilities that lie before the Institute are enormous. It will no doubt exercise a definite influence upon the future design of goods and •passeager vehicles, particularly• in respect of those features such as accessibility, ease of replacement and general economy in maintenance, which are the peculiar province of the fleet engineer, and these may affect not only the chassis maker but the bodybuilder as • well. In addition, Some of the engineers who have expressed their desire to join are concerned with the operation of vehicles abroad. Their opinions will undoubtedly be of practical service to vehicle and unit producers interested in the export market.

ObvinuSly, to provide the greatest value to its members, the Institute must, so Soon after its formation as possible, 'arrange for representation in various important centres throughout the country, for members in Scotland and other areas far from the Metropolis ' cannot be expected frequently to. attend meetings in London. The establishment of such nuclei • must naturally depend upon the number of members in particular districts, but no doubt if live men can be found to act as honorary secretaries in these, they will soon be able to gather around them groups of members. '

We can appropriately finish these notes with a fpw more remarks from applicants for membership:—

In conversation with the engineer of a well-known bus teet, we came to the conclusion that, owing to difficulties in travel, it would be advisable to arrange a local 'Meeting of the proposed Institute in Glasgow or Edinburgh after your Conference in _London, so that a full report of that meeting could be put before potential members in Scotland. Should, however, someone from Scotland attend in London, perhaps he would be prepared to meet and inform those less fortunate. We both wish every success to this venture, and we feel that at bat transport engineers will no longer be merely a voice in a wilderness `of managerial statistics and manufacturers' whims and fancies.

Benefit to the Industry I welcome the formation of an Institute that would have direct contact with bath individual manufacturers and their organizations. Often transport engineers have discovered weaknesses in the construction and design of vehicles, and although individual representations may have been made to the particular makers, the collective experience of a representativeL body would carry weight and would be of great benefit to-the industry as a whole. At themoment I am a brigade engineer in the N.F.S., and am directly responsible for the mechanical efficiency of over 3,000 vehicles.

Your articles concerning the proposed Institute have been read by me with great interest. I am convinced • that such a body will meet a much,needeci want and will cater for the maintenance engineer for whom, I am afraid, other institutes do not really provide.

As one in complete control of the maintenance and operational work of the centralized transport of an important Metropolitan borotigh owning both petrol and battery-electric vehicles, I hope that the committee 'to be formed will include at least one Member representing the municipal services. Whilst most transport groups are now increasingly and justifiably laical, the municipal-transport engineer is rarely helped by any of the existing institutes.

Were it possible to collate statistics, ,the number of vehicles arid the total

• cost involved .would, I am sure, prove surprising, • In my view, the value of the proposed body cannot be overestimated. " The Commercial Motor " is, to be most heartily congratulated on its inspiring initiative, and I couple this with the hope that it will continue.

to guide its.promising offspring. ,

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