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As tunnel operators know, when it's time to wash, we get limited days to do so. There are many tricks to keeping your wash up and running to get through the busiest of days. When night falls, we work on the carwash well into the wee hours of the morning.
The conveyor is probably the single most important piece of equipment a tunnel operator owns. Operators in most parts of the country are about to go into the prime wash season and need their conveyors to be in tip top shape. Here are things to keep an eye on before, during and after this busy season:
- In almost every tunnel carwash I visit, there is sand and dirt all over the conveyor shelves or shelf surface. This will wear your rollers faster than anything else. A simple remedy is to spray down the conveyor every night. Consider it as important as locking the doors before you leave. It is also a good idea to spray down the prepping and presoak areas as well to rid them of excess dirt.
- Many times, there is more slack than needed in the chain. Not only does this wear on the chain, it also wears on the chain guide rails and the rollers too. Plus, it can cause rollers to get jammed. Be sure there is adequate slack in the chain without excess.
- Sometimes, the metal wear strips on the conveyor shelf can come loose because of sand and dirt buildup. Make sure the strips are welded to prevent them from catching the roller chain and causing additional problems.
- Investigate the drive shaft area for leaks. Even the smallest leak can cause issues in a tunnel. While you're checking for leaks, also check the bearings and hydraulic fittings for wear. Ensure that the slide rail for the chain tensioner is clean, greased and moving freely and that the air regulator that supplies air for the tension is working properly.
- Check the roller occasionally to see if it needs adjusting. Also, be sure that the pulse switch is working properly.
While these seem like simple things that every operator should know, they are the first things to slip through the cracks when things get hectic. The conveyor is the heart of the tunnel- the wash won't work without it! Standard maintenance and a little extra diligence can help prevent a major problem from occurring when you have a line of cars around the block. Just like how good farmers always have their tractors running well for their busy plant and harvest seasons, so should you be prepared for your busy winter ahead!
Brent Anderson is the Midwest Regional Manager at Blendco Systems. Blendco manufactures a full line of detergents and waxes for the professional carwash industry. You can contact Blendco at: www.blendco.com.