Three years ago, Integrated Cleaning Systems announced an agreement with Istobal SA of Spain to distribute Istobal’s line of conveyor washes.
This month, the staff of Professional Carwashing & Detailing® magazine catches up with Kevin Collette, President of Integrated Cleaning Systems, to learn how the Spanish manufacturer is faring in North America.
Professional Carwashing & Detailing: Where is Istobal located and what does the company manufacture?
Kevin Collette: Istobal is located in a small town outside of Valencia, Spain, called L’Alcudia. The U.S. distributor (for both the U.S. and Canada) is located in West Palm Beach, FL.
Istobal manufactures a wide range of products for the car care industry: roll-overs, washing-drying tunnels, payment terminals, jet washes, enclosures, roll-overs for truck and buses, washing accessories and water treatment.
PC&D: How was Istobal founded?
KC: Istobal was founded by Ismael Tomás Alacreu in March 1950. At the time, Alacreau operated a small vehicle repair shop. He learned to make equipment to service vehicles easier and faster. This included greasing equipment and hydraulic lifts – all designed to make fixing vehicles faster and more efficient.
While working within that process, he found he could make more money and enjoyed making the equipment, and this is how the company began. From that point forward, he became a manufacturer of automotive service equipment.
In the beginning, manufacturing focused on simple washing machines as Istobal became more deeply involved in the carwashing industry in the 1980’s.
PC&D: What does the future hold for Istobal?
KC: Istobal continues to invest in the industry with a long-term view. They have a state-of-the-art factory and highly computerized factory machines called CNC machines.
They have several welding robots, do all of their own fabricating, including their own galvanizing. They have invested heavily in the R&D portion of the business in order to continue to develop products that serve the industry and gain market share.
Instead of just selling a carwash, Istobal can now sell the customer the building the carwash goes in, the payment system that is used to collect the money and activate the carwash. We are also investing heavily in the water treatment part of the carwash industry and the water treatment industry in general.
PC&D: What are Istobal’s most popular products and have there been any new product additions?
KC: The Istobal M14+ is a new addition to the line. It is a contouring, touchless automatic.
Their best selling product is the M12, a combination carwash automatic that provides contouring, touch-free cleaning in combination with whisper touch friction (soft-touch) to wash the vehicle.
Istobal produces over 2,500 units per year including automatics, conveyors, truck washes, and bays of self-serve equipment.
The rollovers alone are close to 2,000 units per year.
PC&D: Can you explain the manufacturing process?
KC: Each carwash unit is manufactured and test run in Spain. It is then disassembled and shipped to the U.S. where it is received, unpacked, reassembled and packed for shipping throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Integrated Cleaning Systems is charted to provide full support through a distribution network with over 35 distributors across the U.S. and Canada. They are all responsible for selling, servicing and providing warranty-type support for all carwashes within their territories. Intergrated’s distributors all maintain a staff of factory trained technicians and houses parts inventory for their area and their Istobal customers.
Integrated Cleaning Systems trains all of their distributors, keeping them up to date with technical developments, providing 24/7 service, maintaining the master parts inventory as well as the new machine inventory.