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.
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?
But what does it take to maintain such things, how do you keep your chains from breaking and what do you do to fix it.
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 otherwise 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, Operations of Kleen-Rite, says that 99% of carwashes 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.”
There is never a way of keeping track how often you should replace your chains and rollers but more so on how often does the system get checked. You can replace a link most of the time but if you have chains such as a D88K chain, marked on the side of the chain, and it is not pinned and cottered then you have to replace an entire section.
Now if you have chains such as X458, X358, C188 etc. you can replace the chain link by link.
Car washes will run successfully on how much you keep up with the maintenance on site. If you maintain and take care of your Conveyor Tunnel, when it starts to wear and tear you can replace parts with no problem. There should not be any surprises if you physically watch how your chains and rollers are moving through from time to time.
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. All and all you should be visually inspecting all conveyor tunnels and car wash bays.
Car wash operators need to know what chain he uses, what links he needs and rollers for distributors to be able to complete the job. If he knows what chain he’s using, then the distributor will know what links to fix it with. Whether it is a high-profile car wash or low profile, Allen says we must know every detail.
So, ready to give your customers the most convenient car wash of their lives? Then think Conveyor tunnels. These tunnels are readily available and continue to appear in car washes around the United States. They generate the most revenue out of any automatic bays, are safe for you and your customer’s cars, and are little to no maintenance.
Keep up with those chains and rollers, and your Conveyor tunnel will be in great shape!
By Chelsea Dimmig
Kleen-Rite Staff Writer
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