Move air. Save money. Make profit.
By Meline Beach
Nowadays, the bestselling carwash dryer is the one that is more…. more quieter, more durable, more energy efficient, more powerful than before.
Carwash owners and operators are looking for affordable solutions to keep their business operational and profitable with the least amount of effort required. What is needed is a turnkey solution that addresses their pain points.
Noise and water are the two biggest challenges for most carwash businesses, according to Art Stephens, owner and president of International Drying Corporation. In his 39 years of industry experience, water has since been reclaimed and recycled, but the noise level remained an issue, especially as more carwashes moved into residential neighbourhoods. Until now. The Chicago-based corporation has always been focused on sound reduction and their latest innovation, called the Stealth Drying System, is the quietest of their lot. Stephens, who spent two years with an engineering firm to design this state-of-the-art dryer, claims it is the quietest, most powerful, energy efficient, open bay drying system in the world.
“We designed the Stealth model in an actual sound chamber to measure noise levels. Without requiring a sound absorption wall or insulation barriers, we’ve lowered sound levels by 25 to 30 decibels, dropped energy levels by 40 per cent in electrical consumption, and increased air pressure with options ranging from 15 to 100 horsepower,” says Stephens. “What used to take 200 horsepower to dry a car, we’re able to do with more air but half the power, less noise and lower energy costs.”
Since its launch to the market three years ago, the company has installed triple digits around the world.
If an operator is not looking to install a new carwash system but upgrade elements of it, Oasis offers a viable solution that doesn’t require a complete overhaul.
According to Cameron Bohannon, regional sales manager at Oasis Car Wash Systems, the real star of the Oasis line of dryers is the Adapt Drying System, for its compatibility with any manufacturer’s touchless or soft-touch In-Bay Automatic (IBA) setup.
“The Adapt Drying System features its own self-enclosed drying bay where an electronic sensing and positioning system instructs a vehicle to park to allow the system to make multiple drying passes over the vehicle,” says Bohannon. “Not only does the Adapt’s design allow for greater quality control with variable speeds, but it also enables higher throughput by allowing two cars to be processed simultaneously. When one car exits from the wash into the drying bay, the next car in queue can proceed into the wash.”
This, of course, would enhance speed of car flow and reduce wait times. But ultimately, what Oasis offers the carwash market is flexibility, offering a high-quality drying system that would be compatible with their existing equipment, which includes features that are typically reserved for tunnel operators, such as tire scrubbers and tire shiners, but geared to 24/7 low labour IBA stations.
Energy efficiency through motor control is AutoVac’s value proposition with its ultra durable AutoDryer system. Part of AutoDryer’s efficiency success is in the way it’s built. Its entire anti-rust cast aluminum housing, including impellers, outlasts and outperforms plastic-based competitor products and its DyerIQ advanced power management and motor control centre ensures maximum energy efficiency.
“We can move more air with less amperage then any other dryer/blower in the marketplace,” says Wes Taggart, chief executive officer at AutoDryer/AutoVac. “The impeller is 100 per cent aluminum and a hydrofoil, so there are no right angles, every edge is curvilinear, thereby reducing the load on the impeller and motor, thereby using less amps.”
AutoDryer’s motor control centre, which applies a soft start to every cycle versus a full load amp spike, allows the operator to set parameters for different types of vehicles. For example, larger vehicles, like trucks are easier to dry because they are closer to the blower exit nozzles which allow more air pressure to be placed on the vehicle. A truck that is taller may achieve the same drying result at 3000 RPM, versus the standard 3600 RPM. This custom control capability would achieve some RPM savings that could then be redirected to a smaller vehicle that is further away from the blower exit nozzles, at 4000 RPM, in order to achieve the same level and quality of drying as a big truck.
“As operating and start-up costs continue to rise, especially in these uncertain times, I believe the industry is looking for long-term and reliable cost saving solutions,” says Taggart. “Our reliable equipment with state-of-the-art motor controls have the ability to preserve the lifespan of carwash equipment and ultimately enhance an operator’s return on investment.”
Alex Pittman from Mikiz Pittstop Car Wash & Dog Wash in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia chose the LaserWash 360 from Maritime Car Wash for his IBA system. The local supplier, which installs PDQ systems, offered a turnkey solution for Pittman’s multifaceted carwash business. As an automotive enthusiast, he admits it was slightly more expensive than other options in the market, but feels confident in choosing a premium quality product.
“The LaserWash 360 is the most high tech, modern option that is touchless and uses lasers and sonar to detect the shape and size of cars,” says Pittman. “These dryers do an excellent drying job compared to other models that tend to run out of time before fully drying a vehicle.”
Averaging approximately 40 cars a day, the only maintenance that Pittman has had to perform to date is a periodic check to ensure nothing has gotten caught in the fan.
As dryers have the highest demand on electricity, which is the highest cost to the business, Pittman has the ability to select different options for drying time and thereby modifying the cost for the carwash cycle. During colder months, Pittman automatically increases the drying time by 15 to 20 seconds as a courtesy to his customers.
“Quality equipment is an investment that will attract a loyal clientele over time,” says Pittman. “You get what you pay for and if you do it right, you’ll have customers for life.”
Quality equipment, chemistry and warranty are key elements to carwash dryer success. With numerous products in the market, it’s imperative to identify the right solution for a carwash operator’s business needs and location. While initial capital costs may create a short-term burden, having a reputation for a quality carwash will build a loyal customer base and achieve stronger returns in the long run.
Meline Beach is a Toronto-based communications practitioner and frequent contributor to Convenience & Carwash Canada. In addition to freelance writing, Meline provides communications and public relations support to businesses across Canada. She can be reached at www.mlbcomms.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org