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This May I was fortunate enough to be a guest of the Italian Trade Commission (ICE) as part of the U.S. Delegation to Autopromotec, an aftermarket auto show held every year in Bologna, Italy. ICE invited me, as well as Eric Wulf, executive director of the International Carwash Association (ICA), to tour the newly expanded carwash exhibition, as well as to participate in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the ICA and the Federlavaggi (Italian Carwash Association).
The outdoor show was amazing, despite the nearly 90 degree heat. There were working carwashes, complete with water and soap, and a plethora of new products and services for the Italian, European and international carwash markets. What I was most struck with, though, were the green equipment and supplies on display. Just like the American market, the European suppliers and manufacturers are busy fiddling around with green technologies and determining what works for carwash owners and their customers. They are exploring the marketing opportunities, as well as certification possibilities and cost-saving benefits.
On the topic of certification, Marco Mattioli, CEO of Ma-Fra S.p.A., a supplier of carwash chemicals to the European and Asian markets, stresses the importance of preparation for the future. His is believed to be among only a few carwash companies to have ISO-9001 and ISO-14001 certification and he is especially proud of the 14001 recognition, which shows Ma-Fra’s commitment to the environment.
The ISO-14001, which acknowledges companies for operating in an environmentally sustainable manner, was granted in 2004. Mattioli talks enthusiastically about the company’s Ecomaf chemical line, and the goal he has set for his customers: To have washes reclaiming and recycling 70 percent of the water used.
Meanwhile, another Italian company, Favagrossa Edoardo SRL, has developed new foam materials to encourage eco-friendly carwashing. The new Granline materials allow the carwash operator to use minimal water and chemical, and also achieve a faster wash process, thus realizing greener business practices.
Last but not least, one of the most exciting displays at Autopromotec was the Ceccato booth which unveiled the company’s new branding, logo, and structural designs. The new carwash structures emphasize both the color green as well as the presence of the outside environment through the use of cut-out wall spaces and fluid lines that mimic waves of water and other elements of nature.
Managing Director Sergio Vinci said the goal was to think outside of the box and create a carwash building that was a work of art. The modern looking buildings are just one part of the company’s overall vision to take carwashing to the next level.
Perhaps it’s time for carwash operators all across the world to take a page from Ceccato’s playbook. Think outside the box. Take the road less traveled. Color outside the lines. Just make sure you’re using a green crayon.
In a story included in the April 2 edition of Professional Carwashing & Detailing e-News, “Worker hospitalized for hydrochloric-sulfuric burns,” it was falsely reported that an employee at Four Seasons Car Wash had previously suffered an injury due to contact with acid in September. In fact, this was the first time a worker had suffered an acid injury at the carwash.