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Bus cleaning: From manual scrubbing to automated washing

Go to the outskirts of any city in the morning, and it is a common sight to see interstate buses being ‘washed’ by a cleaner. This ‘washing’ is done in one of two ways: spraying with a hand-held hose spouting water at very low pressure, or wiping the exterior of the bus with a wet, old, dirty cloth. Whether dirt is cleaned off or merely redistributed is anyone’s guess.

What is needed now is a level of hygiene that cannot be achieved by manual cleaning. As more bus operators trust in commercial workshops to do the job, the latter need to optimise human effort, water, and detergent and time to remain profitable.

An automatic bus washer

ATS Elgi has launched an automatic bus washer that meets the high demand for automation from commercial workshops, improving productivity and lowering dependence on human resources. Owing to its automatic vehicle length sensor, the product is ideal for washing of all types of buses.

It is capable of washing buses up to 15 metres in length, 2.9 metres in width and 4 metres in height. With a hot dip galvanised coating to prevent corrosion, its 3-brush system (1 horizontal and 2 vertical) with overlapping brushes at the front and the rear washes the top and sides of the bus simultaneously, follows the contour of the vehicle and prevents dead spots.

Shampoo dosing is microprocessor-controlled. Optimally placed water and shampoo nozzles cover the vehicle with a minimum number of nozzles.

The role of sensors

The designs of bus fronts vary, but this system precisely senses the windscreen for washing, without damaging the front extended mirrors. Sensors in the horizontal brush direct it to move according to the design of the bus and make sure the roof AC filters and carriers are cleaned too.

Difficult-to-reach areas

The area under the chassis is washed by two high-pressure two nozzles. The curved surfaces of the tyres are washed manually with a high pressure trigger gun which is a standard accessory with the bus washer.

Saving resources

The system takes only 7-7.5 minutes to wash with the 2-pass wash system and 4-4.5 minutes to wash with the 1-pass wash system. It also lowers water consumption, with a maximum of 250 litres/bus wash with the 2-pass wash system and 100 litres/bus wash with the 1-pass wash system), and can wash 7 buses per hour.

Man vs machine

At present, it takes at least 4-5 people and 15-30 minutes to wash a bus manually. Manual washing of each bus also consumes 400-600 litres of water. With the automatic bus washer, a workshop can accomplish the task in 4-7 minutes with only 100-250 litres of water and reduced staff. Over and above this, 100% of the water can be recycled by an additional water recycling plant.

“In a commercial workshop setup with a wash load of 15 to 20 buses per day, investment will be recovered within 2-3 years”, said Deep Narayan Bhattacharya, Head – Marketing, ATS Elgi Ltd.

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