What's new with in-bay automatics?
Q: What are some of the biggest trends right now with in-bay automatics (IBAs)?
A: Over the last few years we have seen the return of the soft cloth or brush type unit where touchless had been the trend for many years. Many owners and customers have shied away from touchless when they did not perform well yet had a need for a IBA type unit. A soft cloth provided the cleaning performance that the customer and owner desire, plus the per car cost for cloth units tends to be much lower because high volumes of presoak are not needed. In addition, the consumption of water is much less on a cloth unit than a touchless because there are fewer high pressure wash cycles.
Q. What kind of daily maintenance is involved in running IBAs today?
A. The units today tend to be far more efficient than units made a number of years ago. Many of the units today provide superior computer monitoring and status of equipment components. This allows an owner to have rapid information of pending or actual problems as they occur, which tends to reduce down time and increase customer satisfaction. More and more companies are beginning to offer advanced lighting systems in the bay and on the unit to draw potential customers attention to their operation. In most operations the biggest form of maintenance is keeping the bay clean. Many units are now using lifetime or sealed bearing so greasing of units has been greatly reduced. With the increase use of credit card systems many owners are finding they do not have to replenish their cash in cashier system as a majority of transactions are now electronic.