One of the most exciting new innovations in the carwash industry today is the flat belt conveyor system.
The conveyor is not only safe for all the cars it transports, but it is also safe for the people who work around it. Since there are no trap doors or exposed sprockets for feet to get entangled with, the liability factor is greatly reduced.
As an example, one system on the market is constructed from polypropylene anti-static acetal flame retardant material and it does not rust like a standard track conveyor does; thus is always pleasing to the eye. This system also has two-inch pusher cleats, which engage and guide the tire, and a sufficient number of sprockets to effectively move the conveyor and pull multiple vehicles at one time. These sprockets are protected by a patent-applied-for bridge system which keeps the body weight of the car off the sprockets and helps to guide the belt over the sprockets. In addition, there is a patent-applied-for belt cleaning system which washes out foreign matter under the belt and acts as a lubricant for the belt.
When the car drives onto the conveyor belt, all four wheels are transported, which stops the car from wandering. Secondly, the car does not detect movement for the automatic braking systems to engage, thus eliminating the possibility of a rear-end collision with the car in front of it.
There are no entrance guide rails to cause bent wheels, blown tires or damaged front ends.
The belt on this system is 30 inches wide on both sides, which opens a new market for the washing of pickup trucks with dual rear wheels. The under clearance is reduced to half an inch, thus allowing cars with low hanging battery boxes (such as the Tesla), low rider cars and all types of exotic cars to be washed without causing any damage to the undercarriage.
The ease of use is another important factor. The vehicle can be driven onto the conveyor and put into the park position for safety. If the driver remains in the vehicle, the car can be left in neutral so that the vehicle can easily exit the wash at the end of the building.
For operators that have a full service tunnel carwash, the vehicle can be driven onto a “loading conveyor,” which is a belt system that moves on demand and is placed before the main tunnel conveyor system. The loading conveyor can be used for the purpose of prepping and vacuuming a car before it moves into the tunnel washing area.
With the advent of new technology, the new models of cars with the anti-braking systems all have different methods to turn off the system prior to entering the carwash tunnel. Needless to say, the car owners along with the carwash attendants do not have these steps memorized for all the various makes of cars going through the wash. Nor do you want a back-up and delay in the line trying to disengage the system on a busy Saturday. The answer to this new-age dilemma is the flat belt conveyor system.
As an innovative leader in the car wash industry for over 40 years, Martin Geller, president of Vehicle Wash Systems Inc., has developed custom systems for high-end automotive manufacturers as well as for the truck, bus and carwash industries. As an owner/operator of numerous carwashes over the years, he sees a huge future for the flat belt conveyor system.