Conveyor Tunnels are at high volume car washes that generate the most cash flow. Your conveyor is the heart of the wash, which is why it is so important to make sure that your chains and rollers are in perfect working condition. Conveyor chain maintenance is key!
There are multiple types of chains and there are multiple types of rollers. Both serving one purpose. As your customer comes into to the tunnel, the chain turns on, the vehicle drives over it, a roller will raise up and the roller will catch the back wheel and push the car forward. Simple as that, right? Not quite!
Chains work congruently together by using a pin and cotter which keeps the links together. There are 16-link chains and 32-link chains. The pin and cotter gives the chain the ability to shorten or lengthen when needed. There always has to be a way to adjust the chain, because after running for a while it will stretch.
Stretching causes the chain to jump off the gears, and/or pop a roller which in turn will keep the system from working. The car wash operator always wants to keep the chain at a certain tension. Tom Allen, Senior Technician, says that 99% of car washes have a tensioner on which is usually made out of air over hydraulics or air cylinders. Both stretch the chain when you turn the system on to keep the chain tight.
“If the chain is not tight, it will not operate correctly and will end up popping off drag gears,” Allen said. “And if that happens you could very well break a link meaning your chain has broken.”
Car washes will run successfully on how much you keep up with the maintenance on site. There should not be any surprises if you physically watch how your chains and rollers are moving through from time to time. On many chains such as X458, X358, and C188, you can usually replace a link if needed. On some other chains, like the D88K chain, you may have to replace the entire chain if there is a problem with a link. Not sure what kind you have? You can look for the identifying number on the side of the chain.
Allen says high volume car washes should be checked once a week. Standard car washes that wash 75-100 cars a day should be checked once a month. If you have a wash that brings in 200-300 cars a day, then it should be checked daily.
“Nothing is worse than your whole system breaking down due to low maintenance work and you have to call up Kleen-Rite asking for extra rollers next day air,” Allen said. “The time to replace your chains and rollers is taking away business from you and that is not what you want as an operator.”
To keep proper preventative maintenance, car wash operators should always have extra rollers, link chains, links and pins on their shelves. No matter what kind of chain you have, you must have spares of everything!
When ordering new chains, rollers, and other parts, be sure to know what kind of products you need when calling your distributor. By knowing the kind of chain in your system, the distributor can match it to the appropriate links. Whether it is a high-profile car wash or low profile, Allen says Kleen-Rite must know every detail to ensure customers get exactly the right products for their needs.
Keep up with those chains and rollers, and your Conveyor tunnel will be in great shape!
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