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smokun

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FYI...

Heard about a new hybrid inbay concept called INBAY EXPRESS. It combines a flat-belt moving floor conveyor with an rollover unit, and is reported to increase throughput capacity by 40%.

I was told to go to inbayexpress.com and click on "product 3-D demo". There's a video. Maybe this concept can compete with the short tunnels because many feel that an inbay gives a consistently better wash & dry. In the past, the only drawback for inbays was the time required that caused customer waiting and lines that prompted drive-aways.

The maker claims to fit everything in the same inbay footprint, so no additional space or building is needed.
 

rph9168

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Hrbrid or Mixed Breed

This might be a start but I have never seen one like this that fits into an in-bay footprint. If someone wants to really make it in this market they need to be able to retro fit their unit into an existing bay. If someone is building it from scratch they could just as easily put in a short tunnel as this unit. Unless I am missing something I don't see any real benefit or advantage here except for the maybe the conveyor belt.
 

Waxman

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Size Matters

The whole purpose of conveyorized car washes, from the limited amount I know, is VOLUME! To me, 75'-100' seems like the length you'd want for a conveyorized automatic car wash.

I know there are mini tunnels and now this IBA/Tunnel concept, but isn't the whole point of a tunnel car wash negated as the tunnel length shrinks?

Doesn't a shorter tunnel result in less dwell time, feature less mitters or curtains or whatever they're called, fewer product application and dryer arches, and result in a more limited throughput as well as an inferior product/service than a nice, long tunnel?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but don't operators need nice, high volumes of squeaky clean cars coming out of a tunnel to justify the larger initial expense of constructing a tunnel car wash as well as the higher operating expenses of these type washes vs. IBA car washes???

Like the song says; 'Size Matters!'.
 

smokun

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Size Is Relative. Efficacy Reigns!

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but don't operators need nice, high volumes of squeaky clean cars coming out of a tunnel to justify the larger initial expense of constructing a tunnel car wash as well as the higher operating expenses of these type washes vs. IBA car washes???

Okay, since you offered, I'll accept. Your statement isn't actually wrong; just narrow-minded and short-sighted. And, not accurate.

Bigger isn't always better, especially if the burden of being "big" is unsustainable. The key to sizing a carwash is to match the operation to its optimum profit potential; it's efficacy. Size is relative to the desired result.

For example: Ideally, an in-bay automatic operating with no wasteful downtime equates to optimum performance, meaning maximized capacity is achieved. Same is true with a conveyorized tunnel that goes non-stop with minimum separation between vehicles being processed. Optimum output.

Regardless of the task or environment, the financial engineering focuses on maximizing efficiency to reduce costs, thereby improving the performance yield. Often, bigger isn't better... if being big brings with it the burden of a sizable overhead. I've seen many carwashes that do great numbers (volume) yet suffer from sizable losses. Reason: Although their revenues seem high, when costs offset the gains, the NET profitability erodes. Simply stated, it's not what you MAKE that counts; Rather, it's what you KEEP!

So, at the end of the day, the bottom-line relates to NET, not size or volume.

Erosive pricing simply means higher volume operations tend to lose more money, more quickly. Irrespective of the type of operation, if your NET profits aren't in line, it's absurd to think you'll make it up in volume. Duh!

Every operation, tunnel or inbay, must rely on the same economics. If a small operation is engineered to optimize it's potential, it will be every bit as proportionately profitable as the biggest ones. It may also have much smaller headaches.

Lke the old adage: It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but rather the size of the fight in the dog!

Seasons Greetings ? Have A Merry!

-Steve
 
Etowah

rph9168

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Probably the most misunderstood format in our industry is the conveyor wash. Most IBA/Self Service operators try to think of a conveyor operation in the same framework as their wash. As Steve points out, bigger doesn't always mean more profitable. I see many of the conveyor washes making many mistakes before they even wash their first vehicle.

The first is the site plan. Squeezing a conveyor on a piece of land is just as detrimental as overbuilding on a massive piece of property. In many cases there is more thought on how the wash will look from the street and cosmetic issues than more important factors like traffic flow on site and the ability to process vehicles in a timely, effective manner. Even someone planning on operating an express or traditional wash should plan for the facility to be able to operate in a flex serve if conditions merit it.

After the site plan, the equipment package must also fit the needs of the operation. All too often over-kill seems to be the operative word here. Sometimes I think the idea is to beat the dirt off. The proper mix of chemical application and friction (the hybrid format) does a safe, effective job of cleaning. The more equipment in place the better chance for breakdowns and even enhance the chances for damage or to create the perception of potential damage in the view of the customer.

Finally there are basic operational issues. It is almost an artform to be able to train and schedule manpower successfully. Too many employees or ill-trained ones are a drain on profitability. On the other hand, too few adversely affect quality. Training employees to be able to multi-task is essential. It makes scheduling simpler and gives the operator the flexibility to operate effectively with fewer bodies.

There are several more issues but these are the basics for a successful conveyor operation. IBA/Self Service operators who are tempted to go the conveyor route should consider all the ramifications of such a move. If it is profitability they may want to look at improving their current operation rather than going the conveyor route. If a conveyor is the route chosen, be prepares to enter a different world of car washing.
 

smokun

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Conveyors are no longer synonymous only with tunnels.

I agree, but leave room for hybrid alternatives. Think outside the box!

The premise of this thread was to focus on a hybrid inbay automatic format that incorporates a moving-floor conveyor as a means of increasing production within the same basic footprint of the inbay paradigm.

My comment was merely to avoid people thinking that when you say "conveyor", you automatically mean "tunnel". That isn't necessarily the case anymore. The Inbay Express hybrid changes that misconception.

Enough said.
 

DavidM

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I like the general concept. I think the hybrid idea should be taken somewhat farther. Possibly the addition of presoak and rinse arches, maybe tire shine applicators.

Customer load and unload times are not that significant, at least at our sites. Some customers are slow but those same customers are probably the ones who will not get on the conveyor until the car ahead is out of the bay or find some other creative way to slow down the process. We have two inbays with nothing on the floor and the load times are very short because there are no guide rails to fight with.

The advantages of this hybrid system would be finding ways to shorten the wash time itself with items like presoak and rinse arches or increasing profit margins by offering services such as tire shine, something difficult to do when the customer controls their vehicle. This would have to be done while keeping in mind the type of operation you want to run. A typical tunnel requires employees on site when it is open. If a hybrid could improve the Inbay, while continuing to be a self service wash then it sounds good to me.

There are certainly markets that are not big enough for a full blown tunnel but can use a good inbay. Another advantage would be improving the capacity of an inbay allowing a ground up site to build one hybrid bay rather than two inbays side by side.

Just thinking out loud.....

David
 

smokun

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What you say makes good sense. I recall the narrator suggesting time-saving fixed arches to condense the process and a fixed air dryer as an option. Some inbay units have the add-ons, but you're absolutely correct about implementing more time-saving features. It's intended to be self-serve, so no labor is required.
 

Axxlrod

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I've been running an "in-bay express wash" for 5 years now, although I didn't know that was what it was called. I've detailed the specifics of my operation on the old forum, but basically I have a touchless automatic in a 40' long bay, and I have a 20' long steel-framed awning over the entrance of the bay, and a 27' long awning over the exit of the bay. I have a free-standing blower 25' outside the exit end of the bay. I have two prep guns plumbed into the entrance awning, and a staff of 4 employees that completely preps and hand washes each vehicle. The customer then drives their soapy vehicle into the bay, and the IBA (which has been modified) rinses the soap off, and applies drying agent and spot free. The customer then drives out and under the blowers. I guess you could say it's an Exterior Hand Wash.

We can process 35 cars per hour this way, and it has been a tremendous success. So much so that 35 cars per hour can't keep our line out of the street; our street has 50,000 cpd traffic count. So we will be closing in February 08 and ripping out all the concrete, and dropping an 85' conveyor in the ground, and adding a soap arch, cta's, rinse, wax, rain-x and spot free rain bars, tire shiner and 3 more blowers. We're going to be keeping the hand wash format as it is our edge against the other EO's in town.
 

DavidM

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I have been thinking about this concept as I have looked at potential locations where this may work. It is exciting to me, I can see it fitting well into our market.

Steve you mentioned a reported 40% increase in this post and recently mentioned that number again in another post almost as if it were fact. Are there any sites operating like this to prove the degree of increased efficiency? I believe it is obviously more efficient but how much?
I believe this may be a first step to some exciting new options in the in bay side of the industry. As more people look at this concept and see way to make it work well it could really shake things up. I would like to see and hear more than just an animated video though. It seems the in bay manufacturers would have to come on board to make some modifications to their systems.

Are there any plans for anyone to actually try this or does it currently exist only in theory at this point?

David
 

Greg Pack

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What would be the advantage of the "inbay express" over a belt conveyor with regular tunnel equipment? The latter would likely be much more simple/reliable and cheaper. I ran a short conveyor with a single set of wraps and it cleaned the crap out of cars at 60 CPH chain speed.
 

DavidM

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One of the main goals is to stay away from requiring a "loader" An Inbay site doing decent volume should still be attended but there is a big difference between having someone on site most of the time and requiring someone to be there for each car that gets washed.

On the other hand, the flat belt conveyor may be simple enough to load that a tunnel could run without a loader. There would still be employees on site but not required to wash each car.

We are in an area that is borderline. Not enough people to justify a tunnel but probably enough to keep several automatics busy.

David
 

TSchmitz

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This thread needs to have a come back. More ways to increase throughput of IBA's, the better.
 

JBene

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This thread needs to have a come back. More ways to increase throughput of IBA's, the better.

The IQ Express from D&S is the only system that I'm aware of that is a cost-effective and overall solid Express IBA. Here's the video from their youtube channel that goes into the overview and some specifics of the machine:
 

soonermajic

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Oasis has the Eclipse
Autec has their in-bay Express
D&S has their IQ Express

Eclipse just has tire shine & off board dryers. Works well, but doesn't increase speed immensely.

Autec & D&S seem to rely on customers to know when to leave 1 section for the next, & maintain proper speed.

I have a good friend who spent $900k on Autecs Express (counting 6 free vacs) & his has a boatload of problems. Mainly customer centered. His wash is a GREAT site & washing 27 cpd!!!

Instead of this in-bay Express, i wondwr if you could just do a dbl IBA, for a lil less, & double your throughput...& have a running bay when 1 goea down?
 
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