The auto wash systems are going through modification and innovative solutions are being included into the product. Clean India Journal traces these developments with KKE.
How did the auto car wash system evolve? What are the first models that were manufactured at your end?
The early commercial car wash industry started with normal washing with soap and water. When the idea caught on, as nobody wanted to do the messy job during the cold season, these car wash centres started getting really busy. To fulfil the demand, some came up with an idea of so called Tunnel where the vehicles were pushed to each station and there were people just to do that particular operation like Prewash, Soap Spray, Rinsing, Wiping, etc. This is how Conveyorized car wash equipment was born in the 1960s in the USA. Trolley Type systems or Inbay Automatic System came a little later, in the 1980s. KKE made its first Automatic Car Wash in 1993 with a two-stage system washing and brushing in station one and drying in the next.
What is the most important process in the car wash system?
A Basic Car Wash Process in Indian climate is Prewash, Soap Spray and Brushing Rinsing. All these processes are equally important. Prewash loosens the dirt, Soap breaks the dirt from the car surface. A correct pH is required for the soap to clean and hence an Automatic Car Wash Shampoo should be used. Any Hand wash soap shall not work. And lastly the brushing part. We have seen people bragging about how less water their car wash uses which is so dangerous for the cars being washed. In friction washes or Brush Type Automatic Machines, water needs to be flooded to have the brushes clean every time they touch the car surface. So, using less water for car wash is totally incorrect and damages the car finish. In all the KKE machines, we use substantial amount of recycled water enough to have clean brushes touching the car, keeping friction level low.
Are the Smart Cities coming up across India, an encouragement to the auto wash market?
Definitely yes. Cities are going to be much cleaner once the projects get over. Even a small spec of dirt would then be an eyesore and people will need to clean their cars more often.
Also, Automatic Car Wash Industry can help in building a smart green city. With climate change on everyone’s mind, it is no longer the case “Out of Sight means Out of mind” and everybody needs to be very conscious about the resources they are using. One way is to install a Water recycling system. Water recycling systems reuse generally 80-90% of water again making it more sustainable as compared to what somebody would use when they wash their car at home making their driveway and street dirty. Another way is to use Biodegradable Chemicals which don’t affect the environment and are eco-friendly. We encourage our Automatic Vehicle Wash System customers to put a water recycling system for a sustainable environment and business and most of them go with it.
Public transport is the back bone of the city and it has a vital role in Smart City projects. There would be an increased demand in the automatic wash market for public transport vehicles as quick, hygienic and effective cleaning solution.
Using less water for car wash is totally incorrect and damages the car finish. In all the KKE machines, we use substantial amount of recycled water enough to have clean brushes touching the car, keeping friction level low.
What has been your experience in this market? Where do you see the growth in demand in the next two years and why?
See, cleanliness is something which will never go out of fashion. Businesses come and go, but however bad the economy is people always keep their valued possessions neat and clean. Car Wash business is here to remain unless there is some disruptive change which takes away all the cars out of the road.
Car Wash Business being one of the very high return on investment businesses, people who understand the game go on adding multiple installations. Some have even started franchise business using our machines. The economy is showing signs of revival and number of new cars on the road have again started increasing. Definitely the right time to get into the car wash business.
What are the popular auto wash systems available today?
Based the washing technology there are two types of systems:
1. Touchless / High Pressure Equipment: These equipment use high pressure water to clean the cars. Such systems use a combination of chemicals and water pressure to clean the car effectively.
2. Friction / Brush Type Equipment: Polyethylene or Foam bristles are used to clean the car. Lesser chemicals are required as the brushes replace the rubbing action. These systems are more popular in India as the cars in India.
Also there is a distinction made based on how many cars are washed at a time:
1. Tunnel System: These kinds of systems can wash approximately 20-120 cars per hour. The cars are taken on a conveyor and the conveyor pulls the cars through the various washing stations.
2. Inbay Automatics: These are trolley type systems where the car is parked near the machine and then machine performs various washing functions on the car. These kinds of systems have a typical throughput of 5-10 cars per hour based on the number of cycles selected by the customer.