Essential information for end of life vehicle dismantling, depollution and recycling


Make light work – use a wheel popper

Adrian Pierce, Business Development Director at AutoDrain provides an important thought. What does ‘Made in the UK’ really mean and why it matters if we are trying to make a profit with the equipment we invest in?

In the current economic climate, it would be fair to say that for many ‘cost is king’. Far eastern manufacturing has driven prices in many markets down to levels that would have been impossible to imagine twenty or even ten years ago. But cheapest isn’t always best and there is still a need for quality equipment that, whilst not cheap to buy, represents an investment, and delivers value over years in use. Sadly we can’t rely on “dearest is best” either, as everybody fights to maintain margins in a competitive world.

“We don’t make anything in the UK anymore” is heard across canteens and bars every day. And yet UK manufacturing still employs over 2.6 million people and we are the eight largest manufacturing country in the world, with growth in the sector that may well see us return to the top five in a few years.

At AutoDrain we combine importation of some components from the Far East, some from mainland Europe, some purchasing through local suppliers around our Yorkshire base and the contracting out of some manufacturing work to other specialist UK businesses. By such careful selection of suppliers, we are able to optimise value rather than cost. So, is our equipment really “made in the UK”?

Critically we keep assembly, and therefore quality assurance, in house. Components are inspected before we assemble, and most of our suppliers have worked with us for many years. Every piece of equipment is tested and checked before dispatch. Is it made in the UK? Yes!!

A great example of our approach is the Wheel Popper. In production for many years now, we have sold hundreds of these machines, which have separated literally millions of tyres from wheels all over the world.

The Wheel Popper frame is robust and formed from a mixture of welded and bolted construction to give the best balance between rigidity and compliance, making this a machine that has been through tens of thousands of operations for our customers.

What wheels can it handle? Light commercial wheels or 4 x 4’s are no problem, and the simple hydraulic actuation means steel or alloy wheels can both be dealt with on this machine.

For something that weighs 750kg it’s fast too! If your operators are fit enough (and you have enough wheels!) it would theoretically be possible to do over two hundred wheels an hour. In the real world one Wheel Popper can keep pace with most yards’ needs. Its compact footprint and near zero installation cost also means that if you are really cracking through ELVs at a rate, more than one Wheel Popper can fit into any high-volume ATF operation.

Simple design also means easy repair. The electro-hydraulic powerpack is readily serviceable to any skilled maintenance fitter and the AutoDrain team are only a phone call away to offer help and support.

The Wheel Popper is a great example of UK manufacturing both in terms of global supply and export success, and it is part of a much wider range of AutoDrain equipment designed to improve efficiency and capacity for the Pro ATF operator. 

At AutoDrain we are constantly working to improve our own processes, the skills of our team and the quality of the products we deliver to our many and varied customers. By producing durable, well-engineered products that are built to last, we can deliver real value. 

And for those who talk about UK manufacturing only in terms of the past, we are just one of thousands of UK manufacturing businesses whose focus is firmly on the future. 

To find out more about these machines, contact AutoDrain on 0113 205 9332 or visit their website here

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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.