As more car wash operators embrace friction automatics for their locations it is important to understand some of the unique car wash chemical requirements that this type of equipment requires for optimal results.
An in-bay friction automatic is not simply a short friction tunnel car wash, and is very different in function than a touchless automatic, and so requires car wash chemicals specifically formulated for this type of application. You can’t expect to simply plug in chemicals that may work well in a tunnel or touchless and expect to get the cleanest, driest cars.
There is much less cloth at work in a friction automatic that in a tunnel, in fact most systems use new-generation foam washing materials instead of cloth. This material resists water absorption and is spun at a much higher speed than traditional tunnel cloth mitters.
Therefore, a friction automatic requires a car wash detergent formulated for high lubricity in order to clean better, be safer on the vehicle surface and reduce the chance of the material grabbing trim and edges.
Higher lubricity chemicals also keep the brushes cleaner, which enhances life span and cleaning effectiveness, and clean better when utilizing reclaim systems since they will dissolve more particles in water.
Faster acting presoak detergents designed specifically for friction automatics are also recommended, to compensate for the reduced amount of cleaning equipment compared to a tunnel friction system.
To promote optimal rinsing make sure to choose soaps that rinse off quickly and easily. Friction automatics also have fewer blowers than a tunnel, so require faster-acting, better-rinsing drying agents specifically developed for this application.
Some locations may experience lower volume periods, so be sure to select quality chemicals that remain stable in solution, especially across locations of varying water quality. Also, some friction automatics dilute the chemicals on-board, so highly concentrated chemicals will improve cleaning effectiveness and give you more bang for the buck.
In short, be sure to invest in high quality chemicals specifically designed for in-bay friction automatics to ensure your wash produces quality results and great looking cars!