CarwashPro The news site for carwash professionals Mon, 14 Jun 2021 14:26:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ‘The focus in the car wash industry is shifting to quality, marketing and the environment’ Mon, 14 Jun 2021 14:25:48 +0000 The future is looking bright for the car wash industry, Arthur Wessels says. Mobile apps and paying at the wash will become more important in the following years according to WashTec’s executive vice president.
WashTec is one of the biggest manufacturers of car wash equipment in the world. Arthur Wessels has been with the company since 1992 and is familiar with the Dutch market, the European market and the global market. If anyone knows how the car wash industry is doing, it’s Wessels. He was a guest at the Car Wash Show Europe 2021 digital stage, that CarwashPro organized together with the ICA.

What state is Europe in right now?
I think from an industry perspective the European car wash markt is doing quite good. During the pandemic the industry has proven itself to be extremely robust. Of course in those countries where there was a full lockdown, business was down. In other countries business has grown. 2021 has been great so far. We hear this from our customers and see this at our own affiliates. Sales is growing. I think there is a very positive tendency in the industry right now.

Is that because or despite of the global pandemic?
I would say despite. In the last years business in general has been good in most countries. When we were first confronted with the corona virus everyone was nervous and holding back. But already in the summer months business was improving. All in all 2020 was a good year.

How are the markets organized in Western Europe?
When it comes to numbers, Germany has the most automated car washes, followed by France. The UK and France are comparable in the number of inhabitants, but not when it comes to the number of car wash installations. The UK has to deal with hand washes, although this is on the return now. What all countries have in common is high quality in washes.

Are there culturally determined differences between the Western European countries? For example: de the French like to use jet washes?
Yes. Germany has about 16.000 installed automated machines, France only has around 7.500. Also, there are 3.500 jet washes in Germany, while France has around 5.500. There are definitely some operators in France that are very successful in jet washes.

Are car washes usually next to fuel stations throughout Europe?
The biggest market is indeed washing combined with fuel stations, followed by stand alone washes. But let’s not forget car dealers who do commercial washes.

Do unmanned express washes such as in the USA lie in the future of Europe?
Wash tunnels make up a large portion of all car washes in Germany and the Benelux. We don’t see unmanned tunnels a lot. Interior cleaning is a much bigger trend, which is always manual labour. Express washes could be a trend, but the circumstances need to be just right. Just look at France. Just ty to find a piece of land in the Paris area where you can build such a site. The first step is always the location, which is very expensive in Europe. In the areas where building is possible you will also have to find the numbers to justify the business case. And the investment for such a location is high, I’m talking millions. If you have the right spot and then the potential clients, then yes, this is a good business case. But all the factors need to be there.

Can you name some current trends and developments?
What has really taken up speed during the pandemic is mobile payment. I think paying at the wash will grow. This is already very common in France and Southern Europe and Scandinavia. This means you don’t go into the store to pay for your wash, but use your phone or just pay at the wash bay. I also think that digital apps for buying a wash and subcriptions will take flight. Digitalization will definitely be big.

What does digitalization mean from an operator’s perspective?
It means to have better remote acces to your equipment for predictive maintenance. Right now the maintenance usually is done when there is a problem, not when there will be a problem. We’re now in a reactive mode, but moving towards pro-active. The result is that car washes have a better up-time.

WashTec is a market leader. The company is listed in the stock exchange, the turnover is about 430 billion euro. Do you still fight for every order?
Of course. High winds blow on high hills.Of course we have to fight for every order. Maybe even more than others, because of the expectations we want to meet. We want to do the right things and work on innovation and service. In the end the customer decides which company they want to work with, so we want to meet those expectations. Service is one of our strength. We have over six hundred technicians on the road, only in Europe. It’s all about availability. Every machine needs maintenance, every will break down now and then. How fast is the service engineer going to be there? WashTec guarantees a 98 per cent uptime on a full maintenance contract. And we have some higher scores in some countries.

In the future there might be less cars to wash. If you look at bigger trends populations are moving to cities, public transport and sharing cars are growing, car just might become autonomous. So where do opportunities lie for car wash operators in the further future?
Car ownership will change. Young people don’t want to necessarily own a car, but they do want to use it. And then the use of a clean car is even more important. Interior cleaning can get a positive impulse from this. But for now the number of cards one the read is still increasing. I see a very positive future for car washes because of both trends.

Are customers willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly wash?
Sustainabilitiy is high on the agenda. We’re working on this with chemicals, water consumption and recycling, power consumptions… All the aspects need to be looked at. And sustainability is even more important for younger people.

Is the future looking bright for the car wash industry?
Yes! I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years, I’ve seen ups and downs. Right now the focus in the industry is shifting to quality, marketing and the environment. The consumer is willing to use a car wash when it’s available. Do you still see your neighbors washing their cars on the street on Saturday? No. But it’s rather busy at the car wash on the weekends. That’s why we believe some more machines can be installed.

You can watch the interview with Wessels below. 

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Istobal reduces plastic in product packaging Thu, 10 Jun 2021 14:41:51 +0000 Spanish supplier Istobal is now using around a third less plastic in the packaging of its chemicals. In addition, the line of super-concentrated agents has been doubled, reducing the total amount of plastic at Istobal even further.
Istobal wants to lead the way when it comes to sustainability. The company is working in various areas to use less energy, water, chemicals and plastic.

As far as plastic is concerned: thanks to new packaging and different packaging for transport (e.g. with recycled cardboard), 28 percent less plastic is now used. In addition, the super-concentrated Xtract liquids make it possible to transport four times more chemistry, thus emitting less CO2. By packaging and transporting chemistry in a more concentrated way, a 20-foot container can now carry up to 13,400 litres of chemistry in 10-litre containers.

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For sale: villa with eight car garage and private car wash Thu, 03 Jun 2021 08:29:24 +0000 For 15 million dollars, a mansion in Minnesota, USA, can be all yours. It includes a garage for eight cars and a private car wash.
The house is located on a private island in Lake Minnetonka and you can enter the property by going through the car wash first. Visitors can drive onto the island via a bridge and from there through to the garage with an indoor car wash.

“By leading guests into the garage, they are immediately protected from prying eyes. Moreover, this is the safest way”, explains contractor David Erotas in The New York Post. A nice bonus, too, for family and friends, who can return home with a clean car.

Unfortunately, real estate agent Prudden Company does not have any photos available of the indoor carwash. Besides a car wash, the mansion has a bar, lounge, cinema, gym, sauna and six fireplaces.

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Indoor vacuuming and interior cleaning biggest trends for Western European car wash market Wed, 26 May 2021 12:21:32 +0000 The Western European car wash market is seeing an increase in indoor vacuuming and interior cleaning. There is some interest in unmanned express washing, but the personal contact with customers (especially in the prewash) is still too valuable for car wash operators. That was the outcome of a panel discussion between three Western branche organizations during the Car Wash Show Europe.
During the Car Wash Show Europe three Western European branche organizations discussed a few current topics and themes within the car wash market. The speakers were: Brian Madderson (chairman of the CWA in the UK), Thomas Drott (BTG Minden in Germany) and Mark de Graaf (of Bovag in the Netherlands).

Hand washes

Brian Madderson of the CWA started by explaining how the UK market is organized. He calls the market ‘very peculiar’ compared to the rest of Europe. The UK has the highest number of unregulated hand car washes. “The estimate is up to 20.000 locations next to 3.500 regulated automated washes on forecourts.”

“The number of hand car washes has accelerated over the last years”, he continues. “This has made a massive dent in the automated car wash market, we reckon it has shrunk by a third during those years. Right now we may just be seeing the effect of regulations talking place, and also of the Brexit and a new immigration bill.”

The hand washes avoid taxes and underpay staff. In some cases the hand wash is the backdrop of labour abuse and even human trafficking. “And then there’s the effects of hand washes on the environment, think of toxic waste and acid going into storm drains”, says Madderson.

Multiple bays

About 95 per cent of the 3.500 automated car washes in the UK are located at gas stations. The market has about 2.000 rollovers, well over 4.500 jet washes. “It’s usually a combination of these facilities. Brits like to wash their cars themselves.”

The latest trend for the UK is not an increase in belt conveyors or tunnels, but the installation of multiple bays with high quality jet washes to reduce waiting times and convenience for the customers.

Privately owned

BTG is the only trade organization in Germany. In the last years the number of car washes in Germany has declined, Thomas Drott of the BTG explains. He says this is a ‘good development’. The estimate for Germany is that there are 2.400 tunnels, 2.400 to 2.800 jet washes (with more than four bays) and 14.000 rollovers. The rollovers are mostly located at gas stations and belong to oil companies that lease them to the operators.

The car wash tunnels are mostly privately owned by people who usually have one to five locations. There are a few businesses that run more than five locations and only a few chains in Germany – the best known are Mr Wash and CleanCar.

Less washes, but higher quality

The number of washes per car per year in Germany has decreased over the past years. Drott explains: “this used to be between ten and twelve, now it is down to six to eight washes. However, the customer has higher demands for the washes they do buy, they choose premium car wash programmes.”

Drott explains the decrease in the number of washes by the increased number of cars Germans own.

Typically Dutch

Mark de Graaf of Bovag spoke about the Dutch market. “Over these past few years the market has really professionalized. We see a lot of car washes from the rollover type change to tunnels.” Typically Dutch according to De Graaf is is that larger car washes invest in interior cleaning belts and (indoor) vacuum locations.

In the Netherlands most car washes are privately owned and not in the hands of big chains with multiple locations.

The coming years

The three men close their panel discussion with a look to the future According to Madderson of the CWA the land in the UK is too expensive for quick expansion and the market will likely remain consisting mostly of mom-and-pop stores. “The investment is too large”, he says. “And there is still the problem with the hand washes, those do not leave room for growth of the automated market.”

Drott of BTG Minden sees a future for unmanned express washing, but the personal touch will remain even more important – especially when it comes to the prewash areas. “The bigger trend in Germany is similar to what we’re seeing in the Netherland: we’re moving to indoor car washes with room for vacuuming and interior cleaning.”

You can watch the discussion between Drott, De Graaf and Madderson below. 

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A car wash nightmare: 80-year-old crashes and causes 300.000 euro damage Wed, 26 May 2021 09:26:21 +0000 An elderly man has caused almost 300.000 euro worth of damage in a carwash in Lindau, Germany. He totaled his own car and two other cars. The carwash suffered damages as well as all the cars, which are all in the ‘exclusive’ segment.
An 80-year-old accidentally accelerated and pushed two other cars through the thirty-metre-long car wash. The cars eventually ended up against the garage door at the end of the conveyor. The local police in Lindau reported this in a press release. It was not disclosed at which car wash the accident occurred.

The driver of the front car suffered a whiplash, but everyone else was unharmed.

The front car was being dried, the second car was just entering when the elderly man accelerated. The police state that the driver ‘was probably overwhelmed by the operation of his powerful electric vehicle’.

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New truck rollover from Istobal saves water and electricity Mon, 17 May 2021 08:22:35 +0000 Istobal has developed an innovative commercial rollover that provides faster, more efficient and more sustainable high-quality washes thanks to the introduction of new technological developments that enable greater control of energy, water and chemical products, among other advantages.
Intended for goods vehicles and buses, the new Istobal HW’COMPAK model reduces electricity consumption by 35 per cent for a standard wash of an 18 metre truck. Brush control using variable-frequency drives makes the equipment run more smoothly and allows the use of less powerful motors (1.1 kW instead of 1.5 kW) for brush rotation. In addition, the redesign of the hoses and nozzles has made it possible to use a less powerful centrifugal water pump (1.5 kW instead of 2.2 kW), thus reducing electricity consumption.

This new commercial rollover also optimises water use. During the wash of the front and rear with the horizontal brush, water consumption is reduced by 7 per cent thanks to the installation of independent solenoid valves. This saves 30 litres of water per standard wash of an 18 metre truck. The machine also enables the use of recycled water.

The flexible configuration of wash programmes and speeds, as well as independent control of the different solenoid valves enables greater water and electricity savings. In addition, the dosing pumps provide controlled and efficient chemical product injection.

Another advantage is the inclusion of an optimised nozzle system as standard, which improves the rinsing of the windscreen and windows and eliminates the usual manual rinsing process when washing trucks.

Automation of the wash process

Equipped with the latest Smartwash by Istobal connectivity technology, the Istobal HW’COMPAK enables digital, automated and monitored wash process management and more efficient remote maintenance, reducing manual wash time and ensuring maximum operational availability of the facility.

Istobal HW’COMPAK optimises the wash time thanks to features such as the side high-pressure system that can be used with recycled water, the automatic application of foaming chemical spray that covers the entire vehicle with a dense foam, and the underchassis wash. These features enable automated washing and control of energy, water and chemical product consumption. With these features, it is possible to wash an 18 metre trailer in just 12 minutes, halving the wash time compared to manual devices.

Easy to use and to install, it has standard rail height and width dimensions suitable for 90% of goods vehicles, fits better in indoor installations, and also makes the replacement of older machines easier without the need for further civil engineering.

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Christ places prewash inside their newest wash tunnel Wed, 12 May 2021 11:15:36 +0000 Equipment manufacturer Christ Wash Systems places high pressure prewashing inside the wash tunnel, saving up to 60 per cent of time. Staff can use that time to focus on cross-selling and getting more cars ready for the tunnel. Alexander Christ (owner) and Marko Maricic (head of sales) gave a tour of the manufacturer’s showroom in Germany during the Car Wash Show Europe, showing the tunnel and their newest rollover Vega.
Christ Wash Systems is a manufacturer of car wash equipment, based in Germany. Since 1963 Christ has been one of the leading manufacturers in wash equipment. It is still family owned and has a turnover of about 170 million euro’s per year. Christ employs about 1.500 people in production, sales and customer service.

The manufacturer has a wide range for car washes: rollovers, wash tunnels, train washes, jet was systems, recycling systems, vacuums, high pressure products and car care products. About 60 per cent of the production is for the export market.


Christ was part of the conference programme of the Car Wash Show Europe 2021 Digital Stage and presented new techniques during a tour of the showroom. The tour had a few showstoppers, including Vega, the rollover that has just won a big design award. Christ and Maricic start their tour standing inside this machine.

Their second stop is the POS equipment, which has a touch terminal. “It is accessible online for the operator, so you can check on your phone how many washes a day are being done.”

Alexander Christ describes the POS equipment as a way to showing your customers you have the best equipment in town. He mentions his favorite actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He always says to visualize your succes and then go make it happen. The POS helps operators visualize their success – and also helps them make it happen.


The next stop is a second Vega. Christ has a few reasons why this portal wash is the best around: it has no problem with larger cars, only high end materials are used and it can wash a high number of cars per day.

Prewashing within the wash tunnel

Marko Maricic demonstrates the wash tunnel of the Evolution series. “It has a double plated plastic conveyor belt which ensures maximum convenience for clients, and we all know convenience now is key in the cas wash industry”, Maricic explains.

The tunnel has a high pressure prewash inside the tunnel, which can save up to 60 per cent of the manual prewash. Maricic continues: “So staff can use that time for cross selling or preparing the cars to get ready for the wash.”

The brushes are on a so-called X-rail system, which is comparable to the rails used in rolledcoasters. “Low in maintenance, very quiet and four o six times more friction to the car surface than common systems.”

You can check out the entire tour below.

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Responsible Car Wash Scheme launches hand car wash licence pilot project in the UK Tue, 11 May 2021 11:59:54 +0000 The Responsible Car Wash Scheme (RCWS) launches a pilot project today, funded by the Home Office in the UK, to test the effectiveness and value of introducing licensing for car wash businesses. The pilot is based on a RCWS accreditation scheme for hand car washes to ensure these businesses treat employees, customers and the environment fairly.
The pilot will be independently evaluated by Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and is supported by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and the Police. It is funded jointly by the Home Office and a consortium of RCWS supporters.

6.000 to 7.000 hand car washes

The number of hand car washes in the UK is between 6,000 and 7,000. Whilst some operate lawfully, this has consistently been identified as an industry where workers are at risk of exploitation ranging from poor working conditions to modern day slavery. Legitimate businesses are undercut by those breaking the law, creating an unfair competitive landscape. Many operate from unsuitable premises that discharge dangerous effluent into water courses and where staff are given ineffective protective equipment when handling dangerous and corrosive cleaning materials.

Ian Clark, professor of work and employment at Nottingham and Trent University said: “Our research into hand car washes has shown widespread non-compliance which has far reaching implications for workers and the environment. The government recognises that an accreditation scheme designed to promote compliance and drive up standards for hand car washes can play a role in preventing exploitation of workers and water pollution in this sector. Our role is to explore the efficacy of the RCWS trial and test this as a workable system to implement mandatory licencing on a national level.”

Risks resurface after lockdown

Teresa Sayers, managing director, RCWS said: “With car washes now reopening after lockdown, risks are resurfacing with regards to violation of labour, employment, health and safety and environmental regulations. RCWS aims to ensure compliance, improve standards, and give consumers confidence that they are choosing a fair car wash, by accrediting businesses that adhere to the RCWS Code of Practice. With Home Office backing and an independent evaluation, this has the impetus it needs to work on a nationwide level.”

The pilot builds on previous RCWS initiatives such as a voluntary accreditation scheme working with supermarkets and national network operators.

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‘Washing your vehicle in a car wash is the eco-friendliest thing to do’ Tue, 11 May 2021 11:44:29 +0000 Car washes can make an important contribution to the environment by choosing eco-friendly chemicals, using up to date equipment and by reclaiming water. Tim Ewing of Turtle Wax Pro is convinced car washes can make a difference in helping the planet.
Tim Ewing is the executive vice president of Turtle Wax Pro, owned and operated by the Transchem Group in Canada. Ewing was a speaker at the Car Wash Show Europe 2021, he focussed on sustainability and talked about the role of the car wash industry in helping the planet.

According to Ewing sustainability requires a reponsible use of resources to perpetuate life in the future in the same ways we know it now.

Temperature, chemicals, mechanics and time

The car wash has four elements for ideal cleaning: the mechanics, water temperature, chemicals, and time. If you increase one of these elements, you need less of the others and vice versa.

What Turtle Wax Pro aims to do is improve the chemical impact without increasing the time need, water temperature or mechanics. They do this by using specialised ingredients and hyperconcentrates. “It is aimed at washing more vehicles with the same amount of water”, Ewing explains.

Home wash versus professional wash

Ewing argues that professional washing saves resources and is better for the environment when compared to home washing. “Professional washes use less water and the chemicals are collected afterwards.” However, customers need to be made aware of this. That is a job for both the manufacturers and the operators.

You can watch Ewing’s presentation below.

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Spectro uses data to manage detergents inventory of car washes Mon, 10 May 2021 09:52:15 +0000 The use of data helps operators manage their detergents inventories. And thanks to the system invented by Spectro, they never run out again. Spectro is the manufacturer of detergents and calls the concept ‘the Internet of Spectro’. They want the concept to be a step forward in the use of data in the car- and truck wash.
Spectro has run several pilots over the past year and now officially launches their ‘Internet of Spectro’. Among other thins, the Internet Modules, Spectro Technical Service and the Spectro App are all connected within the concept. For the car- and truck wash this means you’re never out of detergents.

Order moment

At users of our innovative cleaning solutions they install a special Spectro Internet Module, which can communicate with all of Spectro’s dosing equipment and sensors. This data will continuously be passed on to their server, where they can further analyze and if necessary edit.

The first practical application of the ‘Internet of Spectro’ therefore is monitoring large packaging like IBCs and MiBCs in the car- and truck wash and the food and beverage processing industry. Spectro is able to read out data to the minute and with this when a user reaches the moment for order, after which they automatically send out new product. Furthermore, users always receive a notification when they’ve completely run out.

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The Internet Modules, sensors and dosing equipment are all developed and produced by Spectro itself in their energy neutral factory. Furthermore, equipment is professionally installed by their Spectro Technical Service Team, which is available 24 hours per day to help our users whenever needed. In addition, they work completely CO2- neutral through only using electrical transportation.

Another important aspect of the Internet of Spectro is the launch of their rebranded app. The Ecodos App has officially been transformed into the brand-new Spectro App, that comes with many more functionalities. For example, you can request installations via the Technical Service, generate work reports, and in the near future users will even receive notifications when a product is (almost) empty and needs a refill.

Car Wash Show Europe

Laurens Metternich is Spectro’s CEO. He was a speaker at the Car Wash Show Europe 2021 Conference. You can watch the interview below.

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