By Christian Murillo
What critical factors should purchasers consider when spec’ing a bus wash system for their operation? The specific location of the system, or if it needs to be portable, is certainly a consideration. Do you bring the bus to the wash or the wash to the bus? In most situations, a company cannot have an outside installation. For instance, with an outside electric system, the hoses freeze in the winter. We have customers who want to wash outside but cannot have a permanent outside installation. With a battery powered machine, typically, the customers tow their unit indoors and roll it out during the day to do their bus washing.
Road conditions or weather should also play into a transit agency or motorcoach owner’s choice of wash equipment. Fleet operations in areas with harsh weather (such as snow and slush) should use a more aggressive detergent and/or an under-chassis sprayer to avoid rust from salt on the road.
Additionally, there are various environmental factors which purchasers must consider when researching or spec’ing new wash equipment. The drainage and filtration system for a smaller car wash starts at about 1,000 gallons an hour, with many averaging as much as 4,000 gallons an hour. Our mobile systems use far less water and only need drainage of about 200 gallons an hour. We figure they use about 30 gallons a wash. That is six washes per hour, or 200 gallons an hour.
When it comes to choosing chemicals and wash products, closed pore foam is the default product now. Some people call it closed cell foam. This simply means that the foam is smooth. It does not have depressions wherein sand particles can lodge with the soap and become an abrasive.
Our application fits well in a small-l to medium-sized fleet that washes about 30 vehicles in one shift. They can also be used with larger fleets that have a small operation location, temporary construction (rebuilding of the facility) or as a backup to a fully automated system.
Our wash machines require little more than 15 minutes of maintenance every three months. We tell our customers that it adds up to an hour per year. The unit has seven grease points — four wheels plus the traction wheel down, and two grease trunk points on top of the machine. It literally takes a technician 15 minutes to do everything.
Ultimately, the agency or operator will have to base their decision on a few factors, including the size of the fleet, how many vehicles will they like to wash in a certain timeframe, and what can their wash bay handle at a given time.
Christian Murillo is office manager for Bitimec Wash-Bots, Inc. Bitimec’s cost effective mobile machines are designed to make jobs easier and faster while using far less labor, water, and time than conventional methods. Call (203) 340-9388 or visit www.wash-bots.com for more information.