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National Car Wash (NCW), a wash chain of more than 40 sites, primarily self-serves, based in Tennessee, announced earlier this year it was making its way into the manufacturing side of the carwash industry and planning to produce a version of a tunnel controller for carwash sites.
Since then, NCW has introduced its product to the carwashing industry and now intends to continue developing products for carwashes.
PC&D talked to the man behind the equipment, Special Assistant to the President Mike Gammons, to learn more about this growing segment of the NCW company.
PC&D: How did this move to manufacturing come about?
Mike Gammons: We were in the process of retrofitting one of our tunnels at our headquarters and we had bought a tunnel controller.
During the installation process I realized that with today’s technology, there just didn’t seem to be any reason to put something in like that [controller we had purchased].
I started searching for something different and couldn’t find anything, so we installed the equipment. After a while, I still thought there had to be a better way.
PC&D: What was your plan of attack after that moment of realization?
MG: Well, about that time, Schneider Electric, the parent company of Square D, stopped by and asked if there was anything they could do for us — they had visited one of their local electrical suppliers and decided to go out in the field to talk to customers.
So, I brought up the idea of a tunnel controller — one that used today’s technology and communication and touch screen controls, graphical representation of what happens in the tunnels — and they said, “Well, we have those types of components. What we will have to do is figure out how they all can tie together and control energy within a tunnel in an efficient manner.”
PC&D: Now that the product has been fully developed and installed at a few NCW locations, are there plans to sell this technology to independent washes?
MG: Yes. We debuted it at the Michigan show [the Midwest Carwash Association’s 2006 Expo] and we got an overwhelming response.
PC&D: What name will the products be branded under?
MG: It’s probably more than likely that we’ll brand name it under Tunnel Commander LLC.