Protect your cat

Retainagroup and Cat Clamp have developed a system to protect catalytic converters against theft from vans and other vehicles and make them easier to recover if they are stolen.  The firms say that the combination of the precision-made clamp and Retainagroup’s highly visible, secure marking and registration system presents a formidable challenge to criminals.  In future, each stainless steel clamp will have a special label that can’t be removed without leaving evidence.  There is also a fluid to permanently etch a Retainagroup unique code and telephone number of the company’s secure database, the International Security Register into each catalytic converter.  This offers immediate identification if a theft occurs.
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More payload for Citroën Berlingo

Citroën says the latest upgrade of its Berlingo van offers a 749 kg payload, up 149kg more than the previous model.  To make the point, the firm has named the new van Berlingo First 750.  The payload increase is one of a range of changes that increase the van’s gross vehicle weight from 1,730 to 1,995kg and push its towing capacity to 1,070kg.  The specification also includes remote locking, electric front windows, an electrically adjustable passenger side door mirror, a near-side sliding side load door and an under-body engine protection plate as standard.  The price is £11,435.
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Brigade cuts alarm prices

Brigade Electronics says more efficient manufacturing processes have allowed the firm to “radically” cut the prices of its white sound reversing alarms.  The firm says its unique and patented alarms are safer, quieter and “at least 35% cheaper” for some models.  The pioneer of what some have called socially acceptable reversing alarms recently said it would phase out the old-style beeping alarms over the next few years on the grounds of safety and social responsibility.  It claims shrill, bleeping alarms cause noise complaints, stress and disorientation.
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Another export Whale

Solihull-based Whale Tankers says it just exported its third VacuumWhale in 12 months to an EU member state.  This latest vehicle is one of the first tankers to feature Whale ‘iWeigh’, a recently developed waste monitoring and receipt printing system that can be upgraded to give predictive axle loading data.  Designed to carry sewage and other non-hazardous sludges, the 9,000 litre VacuumWhale is on a Daf LF55 19-tonne two-axle right hand control truck chassis.
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Stoneridge ready for new tacho law

Stoneridge says it will have its SE5000 digital tachograph approved in time for the new legislation from October 2011.  The main benefit for drivers is the “one minute rule.”  This means tachographs will now record the longest period of duty during each minute.  This change could give multi-drop drivers up to 30 minutes more drive during the working day.  Stoneridge plans to have its SE5000 tachograph approved in March 2011, allowing fleets to benefit as soon as possible.
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FTA complains as TfL buries bad news

The Freight Transport Association says Transport for London tried to bury the bad news of a £2 price hike for London’s daily Congestion Charge.  TfL announced the rise amid the news of the recent Comprehensive Spending Review.  Natalie Chapman, FTA’s head of policy for London says she suspects that the announcement’s timing was “not purely a coincidence,” given the “dire” business implications of the rise.  The FTA wanted TfL to cap the commercial vehicle rate at £7 with different prices for essential business or discretionary car use, but TfL ignored the advice.  New, higher charges start in two months, on 4 January.  The move means Congestion Charge prices are up 42% since their start in 2003.
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Cummins delivers 37,000 EPA 2010 Engines

Cummins says it has shipped nearly 37,000 EPA 2010-certified engines with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) after treatment since their introduction in January.  The firm says that the sales volumes and customer reports have confirmed its confidence in SCR to meet “today’s near-zero Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) standards” and deliver up to 6% better fuel use.  Cummins is also clearly confident that its integrated engine and after treatment systems will be a reliable foundation for clean-diesel developments to meet greenhouse gas and fuel-efficiency regulations.
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UK vehicle production up by 6.6% in September

The SMMT has just published UK automotive production data for September.   These show UK vehicle production was up 6.6% in September with rises across the car, commercial vehicle and engine sectors.  Car output rose by 35.0% over the year-to-date, with a 5.8% rise in September. Commercial vehicle output rose 16.7% in September and 38.1% over the year-to-date.  UK engine output rose by 1.3% in September and by 23.6% in the year-to-date.
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And finally

New Scientist’s Feedback page says reader David Tweedie saw the following on a sign near Warwick, in the English Midlands: “Sewage treatment works.” As he says, “That’s a relief, then.”
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September registrations: vans up, trucks down

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show UK van and truck registrations up 3.7% to 242,908 for the rolling year.  The September score was 39,942.  In the same month trucks over 3.5 tonnes hit 4,633, but were down 28% to 30,332 for the rolling year.  Vans did better, with 35,309 in September and a 10.6% rise in the eighth straight month of growth, to hit 212,576 for the rolling year.  The van figures show a “slow but steady improvement” according to Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.  Falling truck numbers after three months of growth show the “variable nature” of the UK recovery.  “We need the government to use its comprehensive spending review to prioritise economic growth, as well as deficit reduction.”
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