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In a follow-up to last month's tip we are again focusing on chain speed, because it is often a big issue. Many operators are of the opinion that chain speed is not something that should be changed with great frequency.
The faster the chain runs, the lower all your costs become, especially chemical and water. The reason the costs are often less, is because each application is on for a shorter amount of time. When setting your chain speed the rule of thumb is one CPH per linear foot of conveyor. For example, if your conveyor is 120 feet and you have the right equipment package the chain can be run at 120 CPH. Setting the CPH at the right speed will help to ensure that the cars come out clean and dry. If you are an express or flex-serve car wash, the goal is to get the chain speed set to the highest CPH possible to get a clean, dry, and shiny car. Once you have found that sweet spot, don't change it.
If you happen to be a full-service wash your CPH might need to be changed to accommodate production flow. There is no point in sending cars through the wash at a fast speed, only to have the customer watch it sit out front. If you are going to have two speeds, find the fastest and slowest speeds that work best. After identifying both speeds, place a mark on the flow control valve for each. And just like last month, if everything is set up right you might be able to bend the rule by 15% to 20%.
Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College. Robert can be reached at RAndre@sonnysdirect.com. For more information about CarWash College certification programs, visit www.carwashcollege.com or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.