Imagine the scene: it is a hot summer day on a Sunday morning and a long queue of cars is waiting to enter their local car wash to get their cars sparkling clean. Suddenly the automatic car wash system breaks down due to a faulty bearing that has become ruined by the penetration of dirt and water. The owners of the car wash station may not be able to get service staff to fix the machine on a Sunday. Meanwhile, their car wash business is losing revenue while their customers are driving away disappointed.
This may be a familiar scenario because of the extreme conditions in a car wash and the use of bearings not fit for purpose.
“Normal bearings usually need to be replaced on an automatic car wash conveyor every 3-6 months. But with an Extreme Bearing, we believe no maintenance of the bearing will be needed for 8-10 years,” claims Martin Metterhausen, managing director of Wälz- und Gelenklager Lüneburg in Germany, an agent and distributor for Extreme Bearing.
A German company has become the first to offer customers the option of fitting Extreme Bearings onto a car wash system.
Extreme Bearings with a diameter of 60 mm were first tested on their conveyor system for 12 months with excellent results and no maintenance needed. Now the company is recommending all its customers to buy car wash systems fitted with Extreme Bearings.
A total of four bearings are located on the conveyor on two shafts that move a car slowly through the car wash tunnel. These bearings are right in the firing line for water, detergents and dirt that run off from dripping wet cars. In winter, the run-off water can also include salt spread on roads. Nevertheless, the cap and seal on the Extreme Bearing keep the dirt and water out giving the bearing an extremely long life.
So far the bearings have been tested in the conveyor equipment pushing the wheels of the car at ground level. However, in future, the bearings could also be used for the machines operating the brushes.
“The car wash industry is a completely new market for Extreme Bearings but one with great potential,” believes Michael Sigl who works closely with Martin Mettehausen and has been responsible for sales to car wash manufacturers in Germany through his company IMS Forgings. “It’s time for car wash companies to try a better bearing solution for their customers,” he comments.