CARWASH DRYERS – Stronger, Greener, Quieter.
By Meline Beach
Dryers play a vital role in the whole car washing experience. Not all dryers dry equally and not all vehicles dry the same. While drying systems are not one size fits all, it’s important to choose the right system that’s most reliable for you and your location in order to create the best experience for your customers. Convenience & Carwash Canada spoke with three manufacturers of carwash drying equipment to learn of the features and benefits of their innovative products.
International Drying Corporation
Not one to rest on their laurels, International Drying Corporation launches a new piece of equipment every two years on average. Their most recent product launch is the Stealth Quiet Drying System – the only system with sound levels certified to meet OSHA requirements, followed by the Back Blasters – best designed to get rid of the excess-hard-to-remove water on the back of minivans and SUVs. Quiet is the operative driving force behind their innovations.
“In order to meet customer requirements, we need to know their available space, the type of wash, site voltage and the number of vehicles washed per hour,” says Art Stephens, owner and president of Drying Corporation. With 40 years of industry experience, Stephens is confident they have dryers to fit any carwash footprint. “We can install a new dryer within four to 10 weeks from deposit depending on current orders.”
Beyond recent innovations, the Chicago-based company’s top selling dryers are the Stealth, Spyder and Whisper.
The Stealth boasts quiet smooth air technology with patent-pending low turbulence design. Constructed from surgical stainless steel, the Stealth meets or exceeds most US and international sound regulations. Also constructed with surgical stainless steel, the Whisper offers sound frequency control with anywhere from three to ten motors at ten to 15HP. The Spyder is the company’s most economical yet powerful drying system designed using fully welded reverse flow centrifugal high pressure drying technology and molded resin. It is best suited for tightly spaced car washes.
International Drying Corp’s value proposition? All systems are built to last.
“Our axial systems are extremely energy efficient with unmatched warranties,” says Stephens, who encourages customers to call their shop anytime for technical or installation support, and CAD layouts for regular and custom systems. “Our stainl
ess housings and axial fans are guaranteed for life and our centrifugal systems are guaranteed for three years.”
A customer’s perspective:
“International Drying Corp has been a strategic partner for us,” says Jeff Casillas, western sales representative at NCS. Located in a residential area in California, NCS has the Stealth system installed. “When it comes down to noise, the Stealth was our best choice and it dries really well. We haven’t received any complaints from customers or nearby residents.”
With 50 years in business and numerous patents associated with its products, Proto-Vest has launched several industry firsts. Earlier this year, the Arizona-based company launched its new Elite 460 dryer, featuring four bags at 60HP. It was produced for high volume locations with line speeds of 100 vehicles per hour.
In comparison to a standard dryer with eight 15HP motors, running 10 hours a day, at the average cost of $0.13/kWh (CAD), the Elite 460 with two 30HP motors achieves an annual savings of $25,417. According to Jeff Reichard, president of Proto-Vest, at an average cost of $40,000, the Elite 460 pays for itself in one and a half years.
“With the elimination of not having to connect six motors, at $7,000 each, you avoid the $42,000 for installations, which is more then the cost of the entire new dryer,” says Reichard. “The first-year energy savings of $25,417 combined with the cost avoidance of installation of $42K achieves a savings of $67.5K, which is the price for two new Elite 460 machines! The energy savings each year after will continue at $25,417.”
The company targets a new product launch, or a complete redesign of an existing product every two to three years, and can produce and ship any standard dryer in less than one week. The lead time for custom design work, which accounts for 35 per cent of their orders, takes up to four weeks depending on the complexity, scope, and quantity.
Beyond recent innovations, Proto-Vest’s top selling dryers are the Windshear II, IP Stripper and S130. The Proto-Vest IP Stripper dryer is designed to provide the best fully automated drying results while only using 30HP and one overhead bag. Its front and rear sensors follow the contours of any vehicle within inches to optimize drying performance, up to 210 cars per hour. The Windshear II dryer model uses two 30HP blowers, plenum and three Proto-Duck patented air delivery bags to effectively dry the top and sides of a wide array of vehicles at various line speeds without touching. The S130 single 30HP unit has pinpoint drying capabilities using pressurized air flow to dry windows, doors, and fenders of a vehicle without touching at a variety of line speeds.
Proto-Vest’s value proposition? Energy reduction and cost savings.
“Proto-Vest is well known for its leadership in having the quietest dryers that actually dry,” says Reichard. “We wanted to develop and manufacture a product that we could mathematically demonstrate real energy cost reduction as the cost of energy is only increasing. The Elite 460 offers tangible results.”
A customer’s perspective: “We really like our IP Stripper. It strips the water right off and it works better than our previous seven blower system,” says Scott Hewett of Sunshine Superwash. The Orillia Ontario-based carwash has been a loyal customer of Proto-Vest for over 30 years.
Aerodry Systems prides itself on addressing customer needs when it comes to launching innovative equipment. The Colorado-based company takes into consideration customer comments and experiences to determine when and if a solution must be found for a particular concern.
“While it’s difficult to specify a schedule for launching new products or features, all innovations are thoroughly considered and field tested prior to launch,” says Cheryl Ehmen, chief executive manager at Aerodry Systems. “Performance and uptime are always top priorities when it comes to innovative equipment launches. The product must prove useful for its intended purpose, operate cost effectively and consistently, fit within a specified space and target a specific shaped object, all while being safe to employees, customers, and the neighborhood. Limitations abound and balancing all these aspects is not lost on Aerodry, as we move forward with new innovations.”
Aerodry commonly provides 180HP or larger systems for express model carwash systems. While the small hand wash or automatic market remains active, their expertise is with larger operations typically located in high traffic areas which requires low sound levels.
“Our Advantage and Base Drying Systems are top-quality products,” says Ehmen. “Our lightweight fans typically utilize 66 per cent of the available running amps, when on 60HZ; therefore, the motor is not overtaxed and allowance is made to increase performance through added rotation, if the customer so chooses. As the air passes directly over the motor for cooling, speed can also be reduced without concerns of overheating.”
In an effort to expedite delivery requirements and mitigate material shortages, the company maintains a large inventory. This also guarantees quality control as it allows staff to thoroughly inspect products prior to shipment. Replacement products are typically shipped within days. The planning and construction process for a new carwash may take as long as two years. Each system is designed specifically to a customer’s needs and can cost anywhere from approximately $30,000 upwards to $100,000 or more.
Aerodry’s value proposition: Communication with integrity.
“We maintain constant communication to schedule appropriate delivery dates and provide thorough installation instructions as well as recommend pre-installation conference calls,” says Ehmen. “That said, we are always available, prior to, during and after installation for questions on installation and operation. Communication can be via phone, text, or video chat with the customer and their designated engineers, installers, and electricians.”
A customer’s perspective: “After extensive research, we found that Aerodry Systems was the quietest dryer on the market that met our municipality’s noise restrictions,” says Cosmo Oppedisano, co-owner and operator with his wife, Teresa, of Aqua Auto Spa in Nobleton, Ontario. Oppedisano purchased two top dryers and two side dryers for his automatic tunnel carwash, launched earlier this year. “Aerodry Systems has been a great partner to work with when designing our wash. We are completely satisfied with their product.”
Every step of the carwash experience aids in achieving maximum performance. The dryer, being the last step of the process, leaves a lasting impression. While airflow, outlet angle, and ductwork configuration are important factors, choosing a manufacturer that meets your needs in terms of quality, sustainability and customer service will create a positive experience in owning and operating a carwash.
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.