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New Hoffman Car Wash uses self-developed robotic system

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — The robotic system profiles each car that enters the tunnel to give it a thorough cleaning.


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — According to, Hoffman Car Wash opened a new location on Route 50 on April 22nd that uses an automatic robotic system to conform each wash cycle to the vehicle that comes through the tunnel.

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Ultrasonic sensors, which profile the vehicle to an accuracy of three-quarters of an inch, feed data to water jets and foam brushes so that they can adjust themselves to a vehicle’s profile in order to attend to details such as cleaning underneath spoilers or staying above roof racks, the article continued.

Tom Hoffman Jr., co-owner of Hoffman’s Car Wash, stated that the company not only designed the system but also installed most of it, the article noted, since he is not aware of any industry suppliers who offer such a system.

Hoffman is currently looking into registering patents and may perhaps sell the system to other carwashes in the future, although Hoffman Car Wash would not do the production work itself, the article stated; most of the robotic equipment fabrication was completed by Miller Mechanical Services of Glens Falls, New York.


Hoffman, who enjoys working with mechanical automation, developed most of his skills on his own over the decades in this family business, the article stated; according to Hoffman, he attended workshops and classes to learn specific skills and has been writing computer code for various types of automation for decades.

“I’d been kind of dreaming about these robots for 10 years,” he said, “but I didn’t have the mechanical skills.”

What also prompted him to start was the fact that better software and more powerful computers have become available recently, the article added.

The company tested some pieces of the robotic system at the company’s Colonie, New York, location, but it took 10 months to piece it all together at the new Saratoga Springs location, the article noted.


While part of the motivation is labor savings, as a more thorough wash means less wash prep, the larger part of the motivation, according to the article, was efficiency and effectiveness in order to provide cleaner cars and more satisfied customers.

The company plans to implement this technology at its 20 other locations over time, the article concluded.

Read the full article here.

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