A Quick History of Stainless Steel Jewelry


Steel jewelry popularity today can be directly tied to its hardcore properties which allow it to be practicably indestructible. It is the Superman of all metals. Stainless steel was discovered between 1900 and 1915, but there were efforts to collect the metal dating back to 1821. While experimenting with metal alloys and their resistance to most acids, they came across a new combination that produced steel.

In order for this to be done, chromium must be used. A Frenchman named Berthier studied the iron matrix and the effects chromium had on it. He found that at least 10.5% chromium must be used to make the metals more durable. Later in 1872, another Frenchman named Brustlein figured out that carbon (at least .15%) had to be mixed in with the chromium and iron to produce stainless steel.

At first, steel was mostly used for industrial items, such as car grills, appliances, railways, vehicles and plenty of other commercial items. Later, jewelers began to see the value steel pieces could bring for those looking for everlasting jewelry. In 1847, steel jewelry came in the form of watches. They were created by the Cartier dynasty in Paris, France, which was founded by Louis-Francois Cartier. These wristwatches were created for their men’s jewelry line.

People began to see more trends in the stainless steel jewelry realm as the years went on. In the 1980s, steel bracelets, steel rings and earrings were becoming readily available, among other pieces. The popularity of the stainless steel wristwatches, which were known to last a very long time, may have influenced the growth of steel in jewelry fashion. Not only are jewelry made in steel fashionable pieces, but they are recommended by doctors to patients who have allergic reactions to nickel, which can be found in sterling silver and gold lower than 14k.

Stainless steel is often compared to gold because the two are last long and are exude style. Of course, stainless steel jewelry over-lasts gold because it is immune to a lot more elements including time itself. Jewelry collectors looking for a non-mainstream look have chosen stainless steel rings and bracelets over sterling silver and gold. Compared to sterling silver, Steel has a darker silver-gray color. More and more people are beginning to lean more towards steel, especially in men’s jewelry. There are various types of steel jewelry finishes, such as hot rolled, cold rolled, brushed, reflective, mirror, bead blast, heat colored, satin, course abrasive and bright annealed. They are classified under different types, which are numbered series between 100 and 600.

There are more jewelers selling steel for women and men’s product lines, containing bracelets, rings, necklaces, watches, anklets and earrings. Stainless steel is more popular than mainstream metals because of its lifetime guarantee. Steel is by far one of the most sought after metals, not only in the jewelry industry, but in the housing, construction, decoration and other industries that require long lasting materials.


Source by Jansen Davis

How Are GPS Systems Useful?


The GPS tracking systems have been very useful for people to find their way on land and on water, in keeping track of people, vehicles, pets etc, in scientific studies, for map making, land surveying and countless other commercial uses. Everyday new applications are being found for the amazing NAVSTAR GPS commonly known as GPS systems.

Bascially you need a GPS receiver to receive and decode the signals that are continuously being sent by the 24 satellites orbiting the earth. The GPS system has been designed in such a way that any point of time your GPS receiver on earth receives signals from at least 4 satellites. This is essential for to determine your exact location on Earth.

GPS Systems Applications:

There are wide variety of GPS receiver models available suitable for a variety of applications. The US troops used this during the Operation Desert Storm. Now, imagine if they could find their way in the featureless, hot, empty deserts of a foreign country what you can do with your GPS system in your own city or country. You can hike and bike to remote locations and not be worried about being lost with a GPS receiver in hand.

Car GPS Systems:

The GPS systems for cars can be loaded with maps of the cities and countries of your choice and you can easily navigate and reach your destination with out having to stop and ask for directions. The car GPS systems are the most popular and widely used application of the available GPS systems. The GPS systems for car come with features like – maps, traffic information, places of interest – like shopping malls, gas stations, a local McDonalds, FM radios, local gas prices, accurate road trip information, entertainment and emergency road side assistance and much more. You can choose a car GPS system that suits your needs.

People GPS Tracking Systems

There are GPS systems for kids and also for elderly people. These tracking devices once strapped on these individuals continuously send you signals about their location. So you can easily trace them where ever they might wandered off to. Be it your old dad or your over-active toddler.

GPS Tracking Cell Phones

Want to locate your wife lost in a new city during Christmas shopping?- use your cell phone GPS tracking device. You could use the GPS feature on the cell phone to track her down! Many mobile phones come equipped with GPS devices.

Recently, a transplant patient who was in a concert and could not be reached by the hospital (the family’s mobile phones were switched off) was eventually located as his mother’s phone had a GPS device embedded in it. Emergency services tracked them down and got them to the operating table within a short time. Time is of essence in transplant cases and organs that match a particular patient are rare to come by. GPS saved the day in this case and life of the patient literally. This potentially life saving feature will in the near future be part of all mobiles phones. A recent law will soon require all mobile phones to have this device, so you can be tracked anywhere and located in case of an emergency.


Source by Vanessa Jones

How to Remove Stains in Leather Seats


You left the car window down or the sunroof open and there’s a water stain in your car’s leather seat….or your girlfriend spilled here red wine in your leather car seat on a night out on the town….or your kids decided they were a soon to be artist and tried their techniques out on your leather car seat with a pen, arrggg. Got kids myself, so feel your pain. Stain removal in leather seats can be tough, here’s a few tricks to help get you going.

As a professional leather repair specialist I’m here to tell you that there are not to many products that can be used on a leather car seat that won’t remove the finish before removing the stain. Most leather in today’s cars is a finished leather with a water borne urethane leather dye applied to it and is pretty susceptible to chemicals and can be removed pretty easily with a solvent cleaner. So when in doubt call a professional.

Water stains in Leather Seat….this is a pretty hard one to get rid of. I recently had reader send me an email on how he could get the water stains out of his car after leaving his sunroof open. This part is kinda for him considering I think I lost his email with pictures, I did get to see them though, so not all was lost. The pictures showed a crease that ran along the middle of the leather seat where the water had puckered the leather. In this type of situation there are two things we could do, one is sand the crease out and with some fillers and dye make the seat new again, this is where a leather professional comes in to play, or replacement of the section that is creased, that’s where an upholstery shop comes in. In these type of situations there aren’t any leather conditioners or cleaners in the world that will remove a creased or puckered leather, what happens is the actual structure of the fibers in the leather have been altered and what you see is what you have.

If the water hasn’t puckered the leather and has just left a stain, a little trick I learned from my good friend Dwain Berlin with Leather Craft Secrets, and you go to your bread box in the kitchen for this one. Take a piece of bread and roll it up into a ball and rub and blot the area with the bread ball, works pretty good. Dwain has a lot of great advice for leather care, and if your interested in some great fun with leather go check out his book, it’s quite impressive and I myself learned a few things.

Most of the time water will just evaporate and with no problems and the stains will disappear. If your car leather gets wet dry it as best you can with a towel and then condition it with your Lexol Conditioner. One way to dry the cars leather is by leaving the windows down and setting it in the sun to dry, or crack the windows and turn your car on with the heat on full blast and let it run for about 30 minutes. I’m not real hip on that one cause it’s a waste of gas but it does work to dry things out better. But always condition, some rain waters are pretty dirty and harsh and the leather needs those extra nutrients to keep it soft.

If the stains are just too bad then new leather dye is the only way to bring it back then call your local leather professional like me to come and make it new again.

Mold Stains in Leather Seat….Or mildew which ever. This one kinda goes along with the water stains. Take and mix a cup of water and a cup of rubbing alcohol and mix them together, take a towel and rub a small amount of the solution onto the stained areas, until the spot is gone, again watch for dye lift, this trick works pretty well and usually removes the mildew pretty quick without dye removal.

Food Stains in Leather Seat….This one can be an easy one if you just don’t eat in your car, but I’m just as guilty as most and eat on the run. A mild dish soap and warm water with a rag or scotch brite pad will do the trick in most cases. Most automotive leather is finished and food stuffs usually will wipe right off. If you run into a stubborn one though try a little all-purpose degreaser on a rag, don’t rub too much or dye may lift. If the stain on your leather car seat from food doesn’t come up with this then the dye from the food has penetrated the fibers of the leather and has dyed it, so it’s time for a professional leather dye job.

Aniline leather or NuBuck leather is a different story though, thats the soft stuff you see as an inserted piece usually in the middle of the seats. You can use the soapy solution but water spots sometimes show up, so a special cleaner works best for this kind of leather. One I suggest is from the guys over at Leather Magic, they have a NuBuck Leather Care Kit that is the answer to all your NuBack needs. This kit includes cleaners and conditioners for the soft stuff, this type of leather is delicate and should be treated as such. Don’t use your usual leather cleaners and conditioners on this type of leather due to fact of the oils in them will damage the look of the leather, then no more soft feeling NuBuck, so definitely check out Leather Magics NuBuck Kit.

Ink, Marker, and Crayon on Leather Seat….Urgent!!! Get to it as soon as you can! If the ink is fresh you have a better chance of removing it from the leather then not. Rubbing alcohol, with a little bit of acetone added will sometimes get it. I’ve heard of hairspray, tried it with not much luck. Usually when an ink pen and leather come together they marry and don’t split to easily. Ink is a dye and is made to penetrate whatever it comes into contact with. Most ink spots I’ve ran into I’ve usually had to dye the leather to cover the spot.

Crayon on a leather seat can be a booger if it’s melted in the seat, you can try this but be careful not to burn or pucker your leather. Take an iron and a paper towel and lay the paper towel over the crayon and with a low heat rub the iron over the paper towel over the crayon. The crayon will melt into the paper towel, move the towel around to clean spots until the crayon is gone, a little of rubbing alcohol should remove the remaining. This trick works on carpet and cloth too. If they’re just marks on the leather seat a little soap and water should do the trick or even a little rubbing alcohol on a towel works good to. If all fails there is a product from Protective Products Corp. that is all natural with no solvents that will remove crayon and lipstick it’s called Solv-It, but just like anything try a spot in an unsuspecting spot to see if it removes dye.

One last trick that I’ve read about around the net and am in the process of testing it, but it the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, they do work around the house, so why not the car too. I’ve removed crayon and marks on my walls before with them, I do notice it take a little paint with it though, but they do work. If you use one, be careful and don’t go ape sh$#, rub it then look, rub it then look, they will remove dye, so when using it take your time and check it as you go.

Sweat Stains in Leather Seat ….Salt stains from sweat can be pretty gross looking, but there is a little trick. Take and make a solution of 3 parts vinegar and one part water and wet a towel and rub the area clean, the vinegar breaks down the and helps to remove the stain.

Paint on Leather Seat….Paint removal on a leather car seat, well that ones a hard one. If it has dried it’s probably there to stay. If it’s a water color, just use soap and water to remove it. Latex house paint, you can try a little Goof Off but keep in mind this is a solvent and can damage the leather seat and remove dye. I have in the past been able to take my pocket knife and scrape it off. Wet the area first with a little water and lightly try to lift the paint off with your knife or even a razor blade, but don’t cut the leather. Mostly though this really doesn’t work without removing the dye underneath, but I have had luck sometimes. If its car paint, try a little paint reducer on a rag, but just wipe lightly and don’t soak the area with the reducer. Solvents and leather seats just don’t mix.

My best advice to all when it come to stains in your leather car seats, and that is to be conscious of what you do, try to keep our little Picasso’s pen free, keep our food out of our cars, roll the windows up and sunroofs closed, and always remember to treat the leather with your Lexol Conditioner on a regular basis, this helps to keep the leather car seats protected and soft and makes it easier to get the spills and accidents from turning into disasters.

But always remember that we leather repair professionals are here to save those leather car seats and bring them back to there original state. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me for all your leather repair needs.


Source by Michael N Warren

Calculating Car Workshop Labour Efficiency


The clock is ticking

‘Time is money’ in bodyshops and service workshops. Essentially, these operations buy and sell the time of panel beaters, painters and technicians. A service workshop, for example, might buy one hour from a technician for £10 and sell it to a customer for £40, and make a profit of £30. (These figures are, of course, notional).

Buying and selling the time of productives is, or should be, the major source of revenue and profit in bodyshops and service workshops. Profits from the sale of spare parts; oils and lubricants; paint and materials; and sublet and sundry are all subsidiary to the buying and selling of productives’ time. If you don’t sell time, you don’t sell any of these other things.

Just as you would take great care when buying and selling a spare part, you have to pay equal attention to buying and selling productives’ time – or even more so, because you cannot ‘stock’ productives’ time. In other words, if you don’t sell their time today, you cannot sell it tomorrow.

Time for sale

So once time is gone it’s gone, whereas a spare part will still be in stock. So it is a good idea to know how much time you have for sale. This would seem pretty simple. If you have six productives, and they are there eight hours every day, surely you have 48 hours for sale? Well, no, you don’t.

For a start, productives might be in the workshop for eight hours every day, but they don’t work on paying jobs for eight solid hours. For example, a customer could come back with a car that you serviced yesterday and complain that it keeps stalling. It will then be necessary for a productive to rectify the problem, and of course you cannot charge the customer for that. If it takes two hours, then you only have 46 hours left to sell, in our example.

Time sold

To complicate things further, you can actually end up selling more than 48 hours. Imagine, for instance, that a vehicle manufacturer’s standard time for a major service is two hours and you quote the customer on this basis. If your technician completes the service in one hour (unlikely, we know) then you will still charge the customer for two hours.

If this happened all day long, you could sell 96 hours less the four hours you could have sold if one of your technicians hadn’t spent two hours spent rectifying the engine stalling problem. (It’s four hours because you are selling two hours for every hour worked in this example.) So if your productives could halve the standard times all day, that’s 92 hours sold rather than 48 hours.

Three measures of time

What we are talking about here is the three kinds of time available in a bodyshop or service workshop:

Attended time – this is the time that panel beaters, painters or technicians are in the workplace available to work.

Work time – this is the time they spend actually working on jobs that, at the end of the day, a customer pays for. Clearly ‘work time’ does not include any time spent rectifying problems, or anything else they do that does not have a paying customer at the end.

Sold time – this is the time that you charge customers for. It could be the time quoted on an estimate for an insurance company, or a menu-priced service.

You could say that ‘attended time’ and ‘work time’ are both ‘real’, because you can almost see them. You can see when a productive is in the workshop, and you can see a productive working on paying jobs. What’s more, you can measure ‘attended time’ and ‘work time’ using a clock.

On the other hand, ‘sold time’ is not ‘real’. You can’t see it, and you can’t measure it using a clock. But at the end of every day you can add up all the time you have sold to customers from your job cards or invoices.

How fast and how long

If you measure attended time and work time, and add up sold time at the end of the day, you can then see how fast and how long your productives have worked during the day.

How fast they have worked is sold hours divided by work hours. In our example, that’s 92 hours sold compared to 46 hours worked, or 200% expressed as a percentage. That is, your productives are working twice as fast as the standard time.

How long they have worked is work hours divided by attended hours. In our example that’s 46 hours compared to 48 hours, or 95.8% expressed as a percentage. That is, your productives were working on paying jobs for 95.8% of the time.

Labour efficiency

What we have just worked out as percentages are two ‘labour efficiencies’:

Productive efficiency tells you how fast productives are working compared to standard times, or the estimate in the case of a body repair job – how many sold hours they produced compared to the work time it took them to produce these sold hours.

Labour utilisation (sometimes called ‘selling efficiency’) tells you how long productives worked on paying jobs compared to the time they attended the workplace.

As formulae, productive efficiency and labour utilisation are calculated like this:

Productive efficiency = (Sold Hours/ Work Hours) x 100%

Labour utilisation = (Work Hours/Attended Hours) x 100%

Overall labour efficiency

There is one other measure of labour efficiency and that’s called overall efficiency. This is a simple combination of productive efficiency and labour utilisation, and comes from multiplying them together:

Overall Efficiency = Productive Efficiency x Labour Utilisation

Or, another way of looking at overall efficiency is as sold hours divided by attended hours:

Overall efficiency = (Sold Hours/Attended Hours) x 100%

How labour efficiency affects profit

Obviously you will make more profit if you can squeeze more sold hours from the hours your productives attend. We have already said that if you buy one hour from a service workshop technician for £10 and sell it to a customer for £40 you will make a profit of £30. But if you bought one hour from the technician and then sold two hours, you will make much more profit – £70.

It is equally obvious that if you buy one hour from a service workshop technician for £10, and then the whole hour is expended rectifying a come-back job for which you can make no charge, you have lost £10. Less obvious is that you have lost the opportunity to sell two hours (in our example), and thus lost the opportunity to make a profit of £70.

So the reason for measuring time in a workshop, and then calculating the labour efficiencies, is very clear. It’s all about profit. And if you don’t measure time and calculate the labour efficiencies, it is absolutely certain you will not maximise profitability because you will not know:

How fast your productives are working as a team and individually, and whether they could work faster if they were better trained or had better equipment

How long your productives are working as a team and individually, and how much time they are wasting on work that customers aren’t paying for.

How time is measured

The most basic way of measuring time in a workshop is by using a ‘clock’ which stamps time on a ‘clock card’ for attended time and on the job card for work time. The times are then correlated manually on a ‘daily operating control’ sheet, and the labour efficiencies calculated.

However, computers have largely superseded this basic method, with the ‘clocking’ carried out using barcodes or magnetic swipe cards. The computer then completes all the correlations and calculations instantly.

Typical labour efficiencies for the Top 25%

In recent years, the labour efficiencies achieved by bodyshops and service workshops have fallen from what would have been considered the ‘norm’ a decade ago. The reasons for this are complex. However the top 25% of franchised dealer bodyshops and service workshops are still achieving reasonable levels of performance, typically:

For a bodyshop, productive efficiency averages 106%, utilisation 88% and therefore overall efficiency is 93.3% (106% x 88%)

For a service workshop, productive efficiency averages 115%, utilisation 92% and therefore overall efficiency is 105.8% (115% x 92%)

For 40-hour attended by a productive in a week, these translate as:

For a bodyshop – 40 hours attended, 35.2 hours working on paying jobs, and 37.3 hours sold or invoiced to customers

For a service workshop – 40 hours attended, 36.8 hours working on paying jobs, and 42.3 hours sold or invoiced to customers.

Why service workshops are usually more labour-efficient than bodyshops

bodyshops are clearly less efficient, but why? Firstly, jobs move between productives in a bodyshop – starting with strip, then panel, then preparation, paint, refit and valeting. Usually this means moving the vehicle physically around the bodyshop, which is far less efficient than the straight in a bay, job done and straight out situation of a service workshop. The result for bodyshops is a lower labour utilisation than for a service workshop.

Productive efficiency in bodyshops used to be higher than for service workshops, because sold hours were negotiated with insurance assessors – so-called ‘opinion times’. A bodyshop might get 20 hours for a job and the productives would finish it in 15 work hours, achieving a productive efficiency of 133%. Nowadays, the times in a bodyshop are set by computerised estimating systems with virtually no room for negotiation or ‘opinion times’.

service workshops, like bodyshops, have seen standard times fall, too. But their customer base is millions of motorists rather than a dozen insurance companies, so service managers can set whatever times they want – within reason, and of course, subject to competition.

Lost time

Obviously it would be great if you could get away with just paying technicians when they are working on paying jobs, but you can’t. What you actually pay them for is attendance, or ‘attended time’, and they don’t ‘work’ on paying jobs all the time they are attending.

The difference between attended time and work time is ‘lost time’, which is also called non-productive time – the few hours every week that technicians are paid for when they are not working on paying jobs. Three common things that make up lost time are rectification of faulty work (‘come-backs’), collection and delivery of cars, and cleaning and maintenance.

In addition to paying for lost time, you might pay bonus and overtime, and you pay for technicians’ holidays, sick leave and training. Then there is the employer’s contribution to National Insurance, and the cost of any perks technicians receive such as pension or health insurance contributions.

It’s tempting to throw all of these payments into the cost of buying the technician’s time in our example and calculate what you might see as the ‘real’ profit. If you did, the cost of buying the hour would probably be around £13, and therefore the profit falls to £27.

Accounting for time

The facts presented so far would seem to make calculating the profit when buying and selling technicians’ time quite simple. Apparently all you have to do for any period – a day, a week, a month or a year – is add up all your labour sales and subtract all your technicians’ costs (including basic, bonus, overtime, holidays, sick, training, perks and National Insurance) to arrive at your profit on labour.

You can, but it is far better to identify all your technicians’ costs separately in your management accounts, because you can then see how much you are paying them for not working. And by separating these payments to technicians, you can look more closely at the effects of labour efficiency on your operation, whether it is mechanical servicing and repair or body repairs.

The following example shows the traditional format for the management accounts of a service workshop or bodyshop. Here we have taken the results for one technician over 12 months, assuming basic pay of £12 per hour and hours sold out at an average of £60 per hour. Additionally, we have assumed that the technician attends 44 weeks per annum and 40 hours per week, working 37 of those hours with lost time of 3 hours. As a result of the technician’s efforts, the workshop sells 42 hours per week (or 1,848 sold hours per annum from 44 weeks x 42 hours), and this is achieved without any overtime or bonus pay.

Management accounts

Labour sales 1,848 hours sold @ £60 = £110,880

Less Technician’s pay for 1,628 work hours @ £12 = £19,536

Technician’s bonus pay (all bonus pay entered if earned) = NIL

Technician’s overtime pay (all overtime entered if earned) = NIL

Gross profit on labour sales (Labour gross profit) = £91,344

Direct expenses

Technician’s pay for 132 hours of lost time @ £12 = £1,584

Technician’s pay for hols, sick & training (40 days of 8 hours) @ £12 = £3,840

Technician’s National Insurance and perks = £3,744

Direct profit on labour sales = £82,176

Labour gross profit

In this traditional form of management accounts, then, the cost of the technician is divided up into no less than six lines. The first three lines appear straight after labour sales, and consist of all pay made to the technician for actually producing work that is then sold to a customer. This includes pay for ‘work time’, and all bonus and overtime pay. Accountants call these the ‘cost of sales’.

By subtracting these three lines from sales, you end up with the gross profit made from buying and selling the technician’s time – usually called the ‘labour gross profit’. The labour gross profit is often expressed as a percentage of labour sales, which in this example comes to 82% (£91,344 divided by £110,880 expressed as a percentage).

The remaining three lines appear in the direct expenses section of management accounts along with the cost of non-productive salaries, apprentices, consumables, courtesy cars, advertising, etc. The idea, as we have said, is to identify what you pay technicians for not working. In this example, the total cost of the technician is £28,704 per annum, and £9,168 is for not working. That is nearly one-third, and a far from unusual proportion!

Dividing up the technician’s pay

The way some of the technician’s pay is divided up is self-evident – bonus, overtime, holidays etc, and National Insurance and perks. That just leaves the technician’s basic pay, which is divided up according to ‘work time’ and ‘lost time’:

In our example we know the technician attends 40 hours each week and works 37 of these hours, which means that the technician works for 1,628 hours in a year (37 hours x 44 weeks), which at £12 per hour is £19,536.

That leaves three hours of lost time each week, or 132 hours per annum (3 hours x 44 weeks), or £1,584 at £12 per hour.

In fact, this split corresponds to one of the measures of efficiency we discussed earlier – labour utilisation. Labour utilisation is ‘work hours’ divided by ‘attended hours’ expressed as a percentage, or 92.5% in this case (37 hours divided by 40 hours). The split in the management accounts allocates 92.5% of basic pay as the cost of doing the work. The remainder (7.5% of basic pay) – corresponding to the technician’s pay for lost time – is allocated as an expense.

It should now be clear that labour utilisation has a direct bearing on how much gross profit is effectively produced from selling the technician’s time, and what is paid to the technician for not working.

Calculating labour sales

In our example, the workshop sells 42 hours per week as a result of the 37 hours the technician actually works out of the 40 hours attended. We have already seen that the labour utilisation here is 92.5% (37 hours divided by 40 hours). The productive efficiency can also be calculated as 113.5% (42 sold hours divided by 37 work hours), and the overall efficiency is 105% (42 sold hours divided by 40 attended hours). All these formulae were covered earlier.

The labour sales in our example are calculated by multiplying the sold hours in a year (1,848 hours) by the labour rate of £60 per hour. In full, this calculation is as follows:

Annual labour sales = 1 technician x 40 attended hours per week x 44 weeks attended per year x 105% overall efficiency x £60 per hour labour rate = £110,880

Increased productive efficiency

Now we can have a look at what happens to the profit on labour sales if labour efficiency increases. Let’s say our technician still works 37 hours out of 40 hours attended, but works faster (i.e. is more productive) and achieves 43 sold hours. The utilisation is still 92.5% (37 work hours divided by 40 attended hours), but the productive efficiency has increased to 116.2% (43 sold hours divided by 37 work hours) and the overall efficiency has also increased to 107.5% (43 sold hours divided by 40 attended hours). The effect is as follows (and we have assumed again that bonus and overtime are ‘nil’):

Labour sales

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 107.5% overall efficiency x £60 per hour = £113,520


1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 92.5% utilisation x £12 per hour = £19,536

Gross profit on labour sales (Labour gross profit) £93,984

Direct expenses

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 7.5% lost time x £12 per hour = £1,584

Technician’s pay for hols, sick & training (40 days of 8 hours) @ £12 = £3,840

Technician’s National Insurance and perks = £3,744

Direct profit on labour sales £84,816

A small increase in productive efficiency – just about three percentage points – has resulted in an extra annual profit on labour of £2,640.

Improving labour utilisation and productive efficiency

So far, we have explained how to measure time in a service or body repair workshop, how labour efficiency is calculated, and how management accounts are designed to highlight the sources of labour profit. We have shown how productive efficiency affects profitability. Next, we look at the effects on profit of improving labour utilisation, and then both productive efficiency and labour utilisation at the same time.

Increased labour utilisation

Taking the same example discussed earlier, let’s improve labour utilisation by assuming that our technician manages to work 38 hours out of 40 hours attended instead of 37, while leaving the productive efficiency the same (113.5%) as in the original example. This means that utilisation goes up to 95% (38 work hours divided by 40 attended hours), and even if the productive efficiency is the same at 113.5%, then our technician will produce 43.1 sold hours (38 hours worked x 113.5%). That is, the technician’s overall efficiency has increased to 107.8% (43.1 sold hours divided by 40 attended hours).

The effect on labour profits is then:

Labour sales

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 107.8% overall efficiency x £60 per hour = £113,520


1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 95% utilisation x £12 per hour = £20,064 Gross profit on labour sales (Labour gross profit) = £93,456

Direct expenses

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 5% lost time x £12 per hour = £1,056

Technician’s pay for hols, sick & training (40 days of 8 hours) @ £12 = £3,840

Technician’s National Insurance and perks = £3,744

Direct profit on labour sales = £84,816

The improvement, from one extra hour worked per week, is £2,640 in a year.

Do both!

But what would happen if both utilisation and productive efficiency improved at the same time? That is, the technician still attends 40 hours, but works 38 hours at the improved productive efficiency of 116.2% (from Part 2) thereby producing 44.2 sold hours (38 work hours x 116.2%) and hence an overall efficiency of 110.5% (44.2 sold hours divided by 40 attended hours). The calculation looks like this:

Labour sales

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 110.5% overall efficiency x £60 per hour = £116,688


1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 95% utilisation x £12 per hour = £20,064

Gross profit on labour sales (Labour gross profit) = £96,624

Direct expenses

1 tech x 40 att. hours x 44 weeks x 5% lost time x £12 per hour = £1,056

Technician’s pay for hols, sick & training (40 days of 8 hours) @ £12 = £3,840

Technician’s National Insurance and perks = £3,744

Direct profit on labour sales = £87,984

The improvement is £5,808, multiplied by (say) seven technicians is a sizeable £40,656 extra profit per annum.

This shows how significant for profitability only relatively small increases in labour efficiency can be. However, labour profits can also fall just as significantly if labour efficiency falls by an equally small amount.

Hidden lost time

If small improvements in labour efficiency translate into big improvements in labour profits, but any slight reduction means big falls in profit, then you need to know what levers to pull to make sure you are on the side of big profits. So what’s the secret? Or is it about managing the minutiae?

There’s no secret. The trick is managing every aspect of a workshop. Managers have to do everything they can to make sure technicians, panel beaters or painters are working as fast as possible for as long as possible. In other words, you must do everything to minimise lost time, and provide your productive staff with every means to support faster working like training, power tools… and even placing certain jobs with productives who are the most experienced. If you have a clutch job, then give it to the clutch expert.

But there is one secret worth knowing, and that’s ‘hidden lost time’.

As we have shown, lost time is a killer. But then lost time, if it’s measured at all, is usually about the most obvious elements such as rectification of faulty work, collection and delivery of cars, and cleaning and maintenance. However, there is a lot more lost time hidden away within jobs. Technicians may seem to be working hard, but too often they may be waiting for spare parts at the back counter of the stores. Or a technician may be waiting in line to use a piece of equipment like a wheel alignment rig.

The outcome of ‘hidden lost time’ is a fall in productive efficiency, but labour utilisation is unaffected because you haven’t measured the losses. But, as you have seen, the effect on profits can be huge. So apart from attending to the obvious and direct influences on labour efficiency, which affect how fast technicians work (productive efficiency) and how long (utilisation), workshop managers must also attend to anything that can slow them down when they are supposed to be working.


Source by Charlie Oakham

3 Weird Screwdrivers and Their Uses


I am sure that everyone has used a Phillips or flathead screwdriver at some point. They are very handy tools and are essential for taking apart various things around the house.

What you might not be aware of is that there are many other kinds of screwdrivers that might be handy to have in certain situations. We have all come across a weirdly shaped head of a screw and it can be frustrating.

I am going to share three types of screwdrivers that aren’t as common that you might be interested in having around.

Now let’s look at these three unusual screwdrivers.

1. First we are going to take a look at a torx screwdriver.

This is that annoying six pointed star shape that you run across every so often. It looks pretty much just like a Phillips screwdriver except the head on the torx screwdriver is a six pointed star shape.

Torx screws are commonly used to put together computers. So, to take apart a computer, you will probably need to have a torx screwdriver. Another thing that uses a lot of torx screws is a car. If you do any work on cars, chances are you will end up needing a torx screwdriver.

2. The second screwdriver in this list is the Robertson screwdriver.

It is named after its inventor P.L. Robertson. This type of screwdriver is used to drive and loosen screws with a square head. It is actually a popular screw in Canada but it is not very common in the United States.

This type of screw is used for many things. Some of the things it is used for include cabinets, decks, vinyl windows, vinyl doors, and many things made of sheet metal.

Here is a fun fact about this screwdriver. When Harrison Ford was first manufacturing cars he wanted to use this screw on his assembly line. However, he wasn’t able to get a licensing agreement so he started using Philips screws instead.

3. The last screwdriver we will look at is the tri wing screwdriver.

Just like the other screwdrivers, this type is much like the Phillips only the head is a Y-shape instead of an X-shape.

This is a very common type of screw when it comes to electronics. In fact, I am willing to bet that you can’t take apart 90% of electronics without using a screwdriver with a tri-wing head. This is very handy to have around so you can fix some of your electronics yourself.


Source by Taylor Tyger

Volumetric Efficiency of a Rotary Engine Explained


According to Auto-Ware.com, volumetric efficiency is:

…used to describe the amount of fuel/air in the cylinder in relation to regular atmospheric air. If the cylinder is filled with fuel/air at atmospheric pressure, then the engine is said to have 100% volumetric efficiency. On the other hand, super chargers and turbo chargers increase the pressure entering the cylinder, giving the engine a volumetric efficiency greater than 100%. However, if the cylinder is pulling in a vacuum, then the engine has less than 100% volumetric efficiency. Normally aspirated engines typically run anywhere between 80% and 100% VE. So now, when you read that a certain manifold and cam combination tested out to have a 95% VE, you will know that the higher the number, the more power the engine can produce.

Characteristics of a rotary engine compared to a 4 stroke piston engine:

A rotary engine’s rotor completes one stroke for every 270º of crank rotation:

  • Intake 270º of crank rotation.
  • Compression 540º of crank rotation.
  • Combustion 810º of crank rotation.
  • Exhaust 1080º of crank rotation.

In other words, it takes a rotary engine 1080º of crankshaft rotation to complete an intake, compression, combustion & exhaust cycle. Or 3 crankshaft rotations per cycle.

A piston completes one stroke every 180º of crank rotation:

  • Intake 180º of crank rotation.
  • Compression 360º of crank rotation.
  • Combustion 540º of crank rotation.
  • Exhaust 720º of crank rotation.

A piston engine requires 720º of crankshaft rotation to complete a cycle. In other words, 2 complete revolutions of the crankshaft.

A rotor rotates @ 1/3 of the rate of the crankshaft. In other words, for every 1 revolution of a rotor, the crankshaft has done 3 revolutions. For example when the tachometer on a vehicle indicates 9000rpms, one rotor is turning at 3000rpms.

On two rotor engines, the front & rear rotors are offset 180º from each other. A rotation of 360º of the crankshaft will bring the 2 rotors through the combustion stroke. Since each combustion chamber is -in the case of a 13B- 654cc, every 360º of crankshaft rotation will displace a total of 1308cc.

In order to interpolate the cycles and volume displaced by a rotary engine vs. a 4 piston engine, we can use the following logic:

  • A piston engine takes 720º of crank rotation to complete a cycle.
  • In a rotary engine, 720º will produce 4 combustion strokes:
  1. 360º of crank rotation => 2 combustion strokes.
  2. 720º = 360º x 2
  3. 720º of crank rotation => 4 combustion strokes.
  4. 4 strokes = 654cc x 4
  5. 4 strokes = 2616cc

For simplicity reasons, we can stipulate that a 1.3L, two rotor rotary engine is similar to a 2.6L 4 piston, 4 stroke piston engine. It may not be academically correct, but it is a relatively simple way of visualizing how the rest of this write up and the formulas that are normally applied to piston engines can be applied to a rotary engine.

Furthermore, applying the same calculations utilized to determine Volumetric Efficiency (VE) on a piston engine, but for a rotary engine will yield optimistic results. If we were to consider the rotary engine, a 4 stroke engine with a displacement of 1.3L, the results would render a VE of over 100% in more than one instance, which is very unrealistic.

Did I make any sense? Mmm maybe not but, try to follow the next steps as I try to make sense out of what I have gathered so far.

A little experiment…

Well, today I finally gave up and decided to do a little experiment that I found while searching for an effective method to calculate Volumetric Efficiency on a vehicle without having to yank the engine from the car. I came across the following experiment: Calculating your cars volumetric efficiency

I will assume that you are either too lazy or tired to follow the link, so I will explain a bit on what does the experiment entail.

The experience requires the following: (1)vehicle with an engine; (1)OBD-II Scan Tool; (1)stock air intake with a Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF) in stock trim -according to the author, a slight variance from factory stock, such as removing the screen or repositioning the sensor will give the experiment little value- (1)stretch of private, safe, deserted road.

Once you’ve acquired all those items the procedure is rather painless. Attach the scan tool to the vehicle and make sure it can report the following things: Engine RPM, Intake Air Temperature & Air Flow. Using the deserted stretch of private road, run the vehicle from a low engine rpm (2500rpm) @ WOT to redline (or as far as you want your sample to go..) while recording Intake Air Temperature (IAT), Engine Speed (RPM) & Intake Mass Air Flow (IMAF).

Once you have your data logged, re-read the experiment from the link provided and start crunching numbers! Its principle seems straight forward: based on the calculated theoretical volumetric air flow for your engine (a Renesis in this case), and the data you logged, you can approximate the actual VE of your particular engine. I will provide the formulas I used at the end of this article. For now, let’s take a look at this chart [http://www.myrotarycar.com/mazdarx8/images/13B.MSP.Volumetric.Efficiency.020205.a.gif].

Theoretical Volumetric Air Flow was calculated assuming that a 13B MSP rotary engine has similar displacement in 720º of crankshaft rotation as a 2.6 Liter, 4 stroke piston engine. Notice how VE climbs as Engine Speed increases, until it reaches 5500rpms. This is were the engine is rated to produce peak torque, therefore its safe to assume that VE will peak at or nearby 5500rpms. Furthermore, you can safely assume that Volumetric Efficiency plotted against engine speed will mimic the shape and characteristics of the torque curve produced by the engine.

Note that the plotted VE is somewhat linear: starts @ 80% and climbs its way to a tad over 100%. If this experiment’s results could be validated and the parameters I used were accurate, it would signify that the Renesis engine -on my car at least- is in fact very efficient for a normally aspirated internal combustion powerplant -VE definition above.

Calculating Volumetric Efficiency (VE) for the Renesis (13B MSP) rotary engine:

We will use the following values obtained during our data log:


Intake Air Temperature (IAT) = 82ºF

Engine Speed (RPM) = 8561rpm

AirFlow (MAF) = 27.3lb/minute



[(ED) x (rpm) x (VE)] / [(ES) x (C)] = TAF


ED = Engine Displacement [in³]

rpm = Engine Speed [RPMs]

VE = Volumetric Efficiency [%]

ES = Engine Stroke Coefficient [#]

C = Conversion coefficient from in³ to ft³

TAF = Theoretical Air Flow [ft³]


[(159.64in³) x (8561rpm) x (1)] / [(2) x (1728 in³/ft³)] = TAF

TAF = 395.42ft³


ED = 2.6 Liters (1308cc x 2) >> 159.64in³

rpm = I chose 8561rpm arbitrarily.

VE = Since this corresponds to Theoretical VE, we assume VE = 100% (1)

ES = Since we simplify a 13B engine to a 4 stroke piston engine -thus 2.6L- we use a coefficient of 2.

C = 1728in³/ft³



[(t1) / (t2)] = [(d2) / (d1)]


t1 = Temperature of air for a known density [ºR]

t2 = Temperature of the intake air measured by the IAT sensor [ºR]

d1 = Density of air for a known temperature [lb/ft³]

d2 = Density of the intake air [lb/ft³]

Solving for [d2]:

[(t1) / (t2)] x (d1) = (d2)

[(491.67ºR) / (541.67ºR)] x (0.0808lb/ft³) = d2

d2 = 0.073341lb/ft³


t1 = 32ºF >> 491.67ºR

t2 = 82ºF >> 541.67ºR

d1 = 0.0808lb/ft³



[(MF) / (d2)] = AVF


MF = Mass Flow rate taken from CANScan [lb/minute]

d2 = Density of the intake air [lb/ft³]

AVF = Actual Volumetric Flowrate [ft³/minute]


[(27.3lb/minute) / (0.073341lb/ft³)] = AVF

AVF = 372.233ft³/minute


MF = 27.3lb/minute

d2 = 0.073341lb/ft³



[(AVF) / (TAF)] = VE


AVF = Actual Volumetric Flow rate [ft³/minute]

TAF = Theoretical Air Flow rate [ft³/minute]

VE = Volumetric Efficiency [%]


[(372.233ft³/minute) / (395.42ft³/minute)] = AVF

AVF = 0.94 >> 94%


AVF = 372.233ft³/minute

TAF = 395.42ft³/minute

Is this remotely close to accurate? I truly don’t know! I simply took the time to do a little research through different channels & gathered information. If you have any comments, or would like to make any suggestions or correct aything, please by all means, contact me!


Source by Miguel P

Tips for Cleaning Rexine Made Products


Rexine can very easily be defined as a registered trademark of any artificial leather that is produced by the United Kingdom. It is basically made of a cloth that is surfaced with the help of a mixture comprised of cellulose nitrate. Other major components are pigment, camphor oil and alcohol. This is also used as a material for the purpose of bookbinding as well as upholstery covering. Rexine is also used widely used for the purpose of upholstering and trimming all the interiors of motor vehicles that have continuously been produced by the British car manufacturers. Apart from motor vehicles, they are also used for railway carriages.

Artificial leather

Rexine is described as a brand of an artificial leather. It is particularly very durable which means that it is also a high- end product. This durability has ended up satisfying millions of users around the globe. You can also be one of these customers. There is a need of materials made with Rexine because of the high level of sophistication and comfort that they offer. Below are a few tips that you can follow while cleaning Rexine.

1. Don’t overdo it

This is the secret to cleaning cloth materials. You never have to overdo the cleaning because it can seriously damage the product. A minimum amount of cleaning can also go a long way.

2. Use appropriate agents and tools

Not every tool or agent will be good enough to clean the material appropriately. You need to make sure that the tools you use are appropriate enough. There should be no room for error as far as these tools are concerned.

3. Don’t clean often

Yes, Rexine materials do not require cleaning regularly. If you do it seldom, it is more than enough. This is the best thing that Rexine products and materials possess. They are easy to manage and use which means that are low- maintenance.

4. Don’t damage the leather

As you know that the leather is artificial. This means that you must take adequate care of this leather. Even a slight damage can cause problems in the long run.

If the above tips are followed without fail, you will be able to safeguard Rexine for a long period of time. This is exactly we require as users or customers and this is exactly what you will be able to get in the long run. It is one of the important things to remember.


Source by Shilpi Gupta

Tobi Steamer – Use Steam and Take Advantage of Its Benefits


When you have an important appointment on hand that may involve entering into deals with partners, half of you is decided on what you wear and how neatly you should wear it. When you are busy or staring close at the deadline, you want all your time to yourself to focus on getting the job done; you don’t want to waste time on rather trivial matters such as the wrinkles on your suit. In this case, you prefer to have on hand a ready, excellent, and permanent solution to banishing the wrinkles on your clothing to make your suit crisp, fresh, and neat so that you will always look your best in no time and always ready to take on the world.

The Innovative Technology of Tobi Steamer

If we iron our clothes the old-fashioned way, we’d have noticed that even after many pressings and even at high settings, we still fail in our effort to banish wrinkles on our clothes. As such, we repeat the process over and over, sometimes dashing fabric conditioner on our clothes in yet another attempt to eradicate wrinkles-mindful that the process is time consuming and costly too as it raises our electricity bills a tad higher. If you are in this situation and have despaired many times, you need to cheer up at this piece of good news. Our clothes’ wrinkle-removal problems are now over with the introduction of the new Tobi Steamer.

The Benefits of Using Tobi Steamer

Tobi is the newest innovation in wrinkle removal methods. Because this steamer works by using a nozzle of steam to soften the fabric-a process radically different from electric ironing or dry ironing-the process is about 5 times faster than the usual ironing methods. Moreover, steam is such a proven way to remove the wrinkles on your clothes. And with the help of the steam nozzle, Tobi Steamer allows you to work on the wrinkles even on hard-to-reach areas. Furthermore, you won’t be needing an ironing board anymore: all you need to do is hang your clothes and watch as the steam does its magic. Aside from these, this friendly device comes with a bunch of other benefits:

o Tobi Steamer is portable. You can use the steamer anywhere and anytime you want. This is because using the steamer does not require an ironing board.

o Fast and easy to use. Steam is proven to be at least 5x faster than dry ironing. With that time you save, think as well of the savings you get on your electric bill. Moreover, Tobi Steamer is easy to use. Just direct the steam nozzle to the wrinkled areas and the wrinkles should be gone in time at all.

o Gentle on fabric. This steamer is guaranteed not to damage your fabric-even the most sensitive ones. You need not fear that the garment may be burned due to wrong heat settings such as when your are using an electric iron.

o Tobi removes odor. Aside from eradicating wrinkles, Tobi Steamer also helps remove unpleasant odors present on your fabric.

o It is safe to use. With this household help, you need not fear that you will get burned as compared to using electric iron when you are always prone to accidentally touch its hot plates.

o Tobi is versatile. Aside from clothing, Tobi Steamer can also be used on sofas, car seats, and bed covers, just to name a few.


Source by Christopher Schwebius

Car Bulbs: 5 Interesting Facts You Need To Know About LED Car Bulbs


If you’re looking for a cost-effective and easy way to customize your car, forget installing time-consuming under-car lighting or an ear drum-shattering sound system and don’t waste your money on an expensive paint job – see the light with LED car bulbs instead.

From headlights and tail lights to indicator/turn lights and the humble dashboard light, LED bulbs can be used all over your vehicle, making this THE go-to choice if you’re looking for a simple way to upgrade your car.

So, how do LED lights work? Well, they’re not that different to standard light bulbs; the main difference is they don’t contain a filament. An LED bulb produces light by using the electricity’s movement along its semiconductor. This creates electromagnetic radiation – some of which takes the form of visible light.

That’s the science bit over, what you really want to know is why you should change to LED, right? Well, put simply, LED car bulbs are more vivid, consume less energy, are longer lasting, have a faster response time and just, well, they just look cooler than standard car lights.

The only real drawback of LED is that is isn’t quite as bright as bulbs with a filament, but you will find that the colour is more intense.

Let’s breakdown the facts:

1) LED is more energy efficient than regular lighting which saves you running costs.

2) But it’s not all about the money – LED bulbs have a faster on/off response time which means your visibility to other road users is immediate the moment you switch your lights on.

3) With a massively long lifespan of around 50,000 hours LED car bulbs simply outperform other bulbs in terms of endurance.

4) Say goodbye to boring white! LED comes in a wide range of rainbow colours from red, white and blue through to yellow, orange, green and even hot pink, so if you want to turn the inside of your car into a technicolour light show, then go for it!

5) The range of LED bulbs out there is huge. You can literally upgrade any of your car, van or truck’s lights. Don’t just go for the headlights – your brake and tail lights, indicator/turn lights, fog lights, interior and dashboard lights and side lights can all have a piece of the action too.

Swapping your existing car bulbs for LED bulbs makes your car stand out amongst those road users who haven’t yet seen the light and are still using standard bulbs, so whether you’re after a Barbie-pink dashboard or you want vivid white headlights, there’s a huge range of cars LED lights on the internet meaning you’re sure to find the lights you’re looking for.

Upgrade to LED car bulbs today and you’ll be saving costs, increasing your safety, adding value to your vehicle and making your car stand out from the crowd – all for a minimum of time, money and effort.


Source by Rachel Ann Zhang

Plastic Cellphone Accessory Markups Create Drastic Profits


For a brief period in my younger days I worked temporarily for an importer of cheap Chinese goods. Indeed, I was completely amazed at the markup of some of the plastic things we import, so cheap in fact, I used to pull them apart just to look at what was inside, after all, I could buy some of these items for around a dollar. I remember pulling apart a little cigarette adapter for a cell phone. I was blown away how cheaply it was made, yet how good it looked on the outside. It worked, worked well, but there was nothing to it.

Buy 1,000 at a time and your price was $.89 and if you buy 100 still only $1.19 and yet, they sold retail for about $15.99 as an impulse item – talk about a mark-up, wow. Okay so, let’s talk shall we?

While I was in the car wash business we used to have such items in the lobby of the car wash for business folks who needed them. At that time cellphones were new and the minutes were costly, not like today, thus, only business people really had them, as they could justify the cost, and yet, they still made their phone calls as brief as possible, and some had cellular phone bills of well over $800 per month.

Today, the quality of these small accessories hasn’t gone up much, although I’m sure they are a little better due to rules and regulations and UL ratings. The price too isn’t very much more than they were back then. The markups are still unbelievable, so there is plenty of money available in that deal. In fact if you offered a small business owner who was selling a cell phone accessory device a mere five dollars, their markup would still be 100%, and that is paying one-third the normal price. So even with all the inflation over the years, and the loss of the value of the dollar, folks that sell plastic cell phone accessories still have incredible markups that truly create intense profits.

It is amazing how valuable information is in this day and age – those that know where to get boxes of these types of items can make a killing, and all those little cell phone stores that can sign you up for service with one of the larger carriers, you wouldn’t believe how much money they make on all those accessories, or how much in bonus they’re willing to pay the sales people were able to get you to buy these items on impulse. Please consider all this and think on it.


Source by Lance Winslow