ACM is excited to be partnering with the Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers (IAME), which has long been providing members from all corners of the automotive industry an array of services. This alliance sees the introduction of a new column, the IAME Segment, in which IAME Group CEO Peter Blanshard will cover topical issues in the automotive industry.
As Peter notes below, the IAME was originally set up to help circulate information in rural Australia, and ACM is looking forward to continuing in this tradition, getting the message out about what’s going on in the broader automotive sector to those within industry.
In this introductory column, Peter provides an overview of the history of the IAME, some of its functions, and how it has evolved over the years.
For those who do not recognise the acronym IAME, it stands for the Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers, and I am the Group CEO, Peter Blanshard.
The IAME was first formed in 1932 and was incorporated in 1936. Our forefathers had the idea of giving everyone a unique identifying membership number that, once you join, remains with you as you travel through your automotive career, noting that not every practitioner might be able to afford continual membership, but wanted an easy pathway to rejoin. With this in mind, the IAME has seen nearly 150,000 members come through our doors over our 89 years of life. For the practitioner, we are the peak body, and offer a great range of services and benefits of membership.
One of our main areas is our networking and collaboration with others. It is why we proudly now sit with ACM, offering our advocacy, social media, products and services to you. Membership is most certainly for the proactive practitioner, but we do have allied or associated industries, which the majority of motor enthusiasts should be able to fit into. Our membership extends into car clubs, caravan and camping associations, and other bodies Athat have assisted the IAME and their members throughout the years.
The main purpose for the IAME at the moment is assisting the government and practitioners with the changeover to hybrid electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Some of this also relates to the heavy vehicle industry, and we have been directly helping a member with hydrogen gas assistance in older style (Euro 2, Euro 3) heavy vehicle road transport, plant and equipment, and buses.
The IAME has a strong social media presence, which includes forums for practitioners. The depth of knowledge is immense, and for the proactive practitioner it is one place to ask a question and gain knowledge. The IAME was originally set up all those years ago to be a conduit of information to the rural sectors of Australia that had no real contact with the OEMs. Information was best delivered in person, and our representatives would turn up in town, host nights, and would communicate what they had learnt from either head office or other practitioners along the way. Conversely, today, we have the internet, and the IAME now uses this facility instead of having reps on the road and operating individually, and we can now do things on a broader scale. Nonetheless, the IAME still engages operations managers who are only a phone call away.
Some of our products and services include printing solutions, insurance (including professional indemnity), and equipment, such as digital headlight aligners, hoists, wheel balances, scan tools, SafeTstop, brake meters, tint meters and ADAS kits, just to name a few.
For the older practitioner, we still sell publications. The amount of times I’ve had a practitioner ask about a book on trouble codes or wiring diagrams is enormous. It really is sometimes easier to follow a wiring diagram in a book than it is on your handheld device. Being able to flick from page to page sometimes just has a better flow.
The IAME also has many specialist divisions, and in years gone by one of these was the diesel educators division, and as years move on that has been a well-covered division, but we still have very active divisions in the automotive transmission division. As we all know, technology is outpacing education, and our electronic gearbox is becoming more in sync with the drivability of the car than ever before. The Australasian Automotive Transmission Rebuilders (AATR) is Australia’s largest transmission division, which includes some of the best supplier members for tools, equipment and parts in the world. Our division is so strong that we are now getting transmission rebuilders in America joining our forum. The information flow is tremendous.
To this, don’t discount fluid fixes. It wasn’t that long ago that there was a problem with a certain American product which would develop a shudder under certain driving conditions. The number of transmissions pulled out and rebuilt, the number of computers exchanged, and the amount of driveline geometry that was bent, spaced and adjusted unnecessarily was vast. The fix sat within a 5 L container of oil. It was readily available from the States, and upon a good thorough flush, and about 200 km of driving, the car never played up again. The amount of red-faced technicians that were not members of our division was quite extensive. As a member of this division, you are more than welcome to join our forum, and ask the silliest of questions and receive the best possible answer.
Everything today is about relearning. What we knew with the old suck, squeeze, bang petrol or diesel engine, we now have to relearn with hybrid and electric. To this, the IAME chairs the Standards Australia EM-001-008 technical subgroup to assist with RS&R concerns, and our first call being WHS PPE. It infuriates me to think how dangerous a hybrid or electric vehicle is, and how naively people tackle problems without the correct protective equipment. These vehicles can sit between 400 and 1,000 volts, and could literally fry you on the spot. We’ve also heard that there are people offering performance kits that are lifting the voltage to in excess of 1,000 volts. Trust me, a Tesla is fast enough using normal Tesla voltage.
When it comes to tools and products, I’ll use my behind-the-desk column here to keep everyone informed as best we can for trends and problems within the automotive industry. There will be some challenges, as those that have put on a first-year apprentice today, by the time that apprentice has completed their training in 2025, they should really forget everything they have learnt and start learning about EVs, as five years later that’s all you will be seeing in your shops. I say that tongue in cheek, but it is true. Every OEM is forecasting more and more hybrid and electric vehicles coming into ACMthe marketplace each and every year. When you think that the average age of the Australian car is between nine-and-a-half and 10 years of age, the next eight-and-a-half years until 2030 is going to see a massive increase in hybrid and EV. I do not know how many of you have travelled between Sydney and Melbourne recently, but every 200 km, or in some cases smaller mileages, you will see a recharge facility for your EV. For example, there are 12 recharging points behind the Dog on the Tuckerbox at Gundagai. There are so many infrastructures growing that EVs are on their way and are here to stay.
In discussing the services that the IAME offers, I’d also note we have proudly been the auditors for Robert Bosch in Australia and New Zealand for over a decade, and Jaguar here in Australia. Over the years, we have audited for great brand names, such as BMW/Mini and Subaru (panel), however one division that I am extremely proud of is our Business Services division, which is a rather unique group of both mechanical and panel shops that have entered on a journey of striving towards world standards, and their businesses are responding.
IAME membership makes as much sense today as it did in 1932 when it first started. A practitioner in whatever facet of automotive employment can benefit from membership, and our membership can be graded to give you the use of post-nominals after your name. Our fees are tax deductible, which makes membership very affordable. Please look us up and read more on what we are working on in future articles. We are very pleased to be given the opportunity to associate with ACM.