The brand new and ultra-modern Raiffeisen WaschPARK in Emlichheim offers customers automatic and self-service vehicle washing as well as vacuum cleaner and care stations regardless of the weather in a building under a flat roof, which is divided in its length by an arc-shaped light band. The resulting natural incidence of light creates a bright, friendly atmosphere during the day. The extensive glass fronts along the seven vacuum and care stations also allow just as much daylight in from the side into the 49-metre long and 23-metre wide building complex, whose anthracite-coloured exterior façade has an extremely sophisticated and elegant appearance. "The width of the building was dictated by the technology requirements. We also wanted to offer our customers enough space to be able to drive in, through and out comfortably even with their large cars," says Joachim Jansen, explaining the generous floor space concept and adding: "The cars are getting bigger and bigger. We wanted to take this into account no matter what."
With the innovative concept of the indoor car wash, the Lower Saxony joint municipality of Emlichheim or the entire Lower County is getting a car wash as a professional service at an extremely high level. "We now operate Emlichheim's first car wash under one roof. We would not have needed a third gantry system here," says Joachim Jansen happily, listing its advantages: "We now offer our customers a great time saving because they no longer have to wait an hour when they are in sixth position in the queue. With our extremely thorough pre-wash we create the basis for perfect cleaning and care results. Last but not least, we positioned vacuum and care stations as well as the self-service washing stations also in the building so that every customer can maintain their vehicle in the dry, warmth and protected from the wind on all days of the year." Because: "With our weather it often happens that it is too wet, too windy, too hot or that it snows and freezes. There are other problems, too. Water and frost turn surfaces into skating rinks and force me to grit, as I have to comply with the obligation to maintain safety. Severe cold can burst water pipes outdoors. I am assuming that we will be spared these problems with the indoor car wash." This also included having thermostatically controlled underfloor heating installed in the pre-wash area. "This way my pre-washers aren't left standing out in the cold either." Heat is also provided by a heating fan above the pre-wash area, which is installed on the ceiling. "We directed the slats towards the entrance to create a heat screen between the inside and outside air."
The decision to opt for technology from WashTec, the world's leading supplier of innovative vehicle washing solutions, was a particularly good one. WashTec's technology is tried and tested, meets the highest standards, achieves maximum business benefit, not only promises it, but is also durable, low-maintenance and reliable. The business economist and experienced petrol station entrepreneur Joachim Jansen always made and makes decisions for good reasons and based on mature considerations. He fondly recalls that the business cooperation with WashTec for the "Raiffeisen WaschPARK Emlichheim" project did not begin at a desk: "It was quite an experience for me when the experienced WashTec sales representative Thomas Bolz spontaneously invited me to Neuss to see a car wash with modern WashTec technology in action. My original, already well-developed idea of buying simple washing technology immediately vanished when I saw the indoor facility there," says Joachim Jansen in praise of the extremely useful viewing. Otherwise I would not have been able to see that many customers made good use of the self-service washing and vacuuming areas inside the building, even though the temperature outside the building was 36 degrees Celsius, which restricted activity." His final decision in favour of an indoor project was made on the same day, when he was allowed to inspect a second location with WashTec technology a few kilometres from Neuss. The system had been washing the vehicles there reliably for 20 years with very good results. However, in contrast to the facility in Neuss, the self-service areas stationed outside remained unused due to the sweltering heat. "The idea of creating a car wash centre that would achieve consistent sales in all areas of vehicle washing and care, regardless of weather conditions, then seriously matured. He also knew that he had an extremely experienced expert at his side in WashTec man Thomas Bolz, who succeeded in finding "a tailor-made system solution for our site and for us". The result: SoftLine2 Vario with a washing width and height of 2.40 m each, JetWash system with three wash stations, seven vacuum and care stations with compressed air gun. The special feature of the first self-service washing booth is the convenience of drying the car drip-free with a self-service air dryer.
With the first project ideas in his head, Joachim Jansen met on 1 October 2015 with the mayor of the joint municipality, Daniela Kösters, and Dieter Lindschulte, who is responsible for business development, to find an ideal site for the spectacular project. At the beginning of 2016 he established the first contact with the Raiffeisen Warengenossenschaft Ringe-Wielen-Georgsdorf and presented his ideas to the then Managing Director Jan-Harm Kemkers as well as the Management Board and Supervisory Board of the Raiffeisen Warengenossenschaft. "Having RWG Ringe-Wielen-Georgsdorf as a strong and reputable partner at my side, we founded Raiffeisen Tankstellen GmbH as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the cooperative in spring 2017," is how Joachim Jansen describes the most important prerequisite for future business success. A good two and a half years later, a modern petrol station with shop and bistro, the café and restaurant "pleno", outdoor terrace, children's playground and parking area for 60 vehicles were built next to the Indoor WaschPARK.
Two access roads have led to the indoor car wash centre since autumn 2019. One entrance leads to the self-service area, the second entrance leads to the double pre-wash area, which is initially operated with a ceiling gyroscope and allows convenient and thorough pre-washing on both sides with a high-pressure lance duo. "We know how important it is to pre-clean the vehicles. That's why we carefully trained our pre-washers, had two full-time employees trained by the Gebrüder Derksen for two days at the car wash in Emmerich-Ost am Rhein. A WashTec conveyor tunnel system that was only installed in 2018 washes and maintains the vehicles there using the very latest system technology and SofTecs® washing material. During their stay, they also learned that "the entire cleaning and maintenance process must run at a reasonable speed in order to be able to properly present customers with all the advantages over a gantry system."
The LED-backlit WashTec Design entrance gantry of the car wash in Emlichheim's WaschPARK can be compared to a high-quality business card. Its stainless steel construction frames six illuminated wash programme panels and LED price display on the left-hand side and important customer information for car washing on the right-hand side. The friendly words "Herzlich willkommen" and "Hartelijk welkom", which are carried by the transverse construction, give a friendly welcome to both German and Dutch car washers. A few seconds after the pre-washer presses the start button on the CP5 Terminal Touch, the plastic conveyor belt picks up the left front wheel without damaging the tyres and rims and transports the vehicle under the high-quality Design Portal. At the rear, AUWA foam descends from the units integrated at the entrance gantry onto the vehicle surfaces. Customers experience FoamSensation as a deep purple illuminated foam curtain, which delivers an impressive show experience and optimally complements the work of the pre-washers. "The foam helps to loosen the dirt further before the automatic high-pressure wash," Joachim Jansen is convinced. In the next step of the washing process, the wheel and sill washers located longitudinally on both sides performs their task of cleaning wheels and sills thoroughly and to complete satisfaction. Four oscillating BPS spot spray nozzles, from which the water-chemical mixture can hiss at a pressure of up to 70 bar, complete the high-pressure and powerful pre-cleaning process. They are positioned at the top and sides on both sides so that their pendulum movements reach almost all vehicle surfaces. Their frequency is adapted to the speed of the plastic conveyor belt. The SoftLine2 Vario takes care of the extremely thorough but gentle automatic washing in the brush station with linear technology – one roof brush and four side brushes of equal height. The vehicles then receive a ShineTecs application and reach the polishing station, which is equipped with a roof brush and two high and two half-height side brushes. At the spray arch that follows the vehicles are prepared for drying thanks to DryTecs. "WashTec supplied a comprehensive starter kit from its subsidiary AUWA, which has really convinced me so far," says Joachim Jansen, assessing the perfect formulations of the high-quality, high-performance and environmentally friendly washing and care chemicals. An efficient, energy-saving and above all powerful blower dryer as a combination of roof and side blower transfers the vehicle to the revolving cloth dryer, whose 45 plush strips attached to metal brackets in a diagonal arrangement dance rhythmically across the vehicle surfaces. "The highly absorbent, soft and therefore paintwork-friendly textile significantly improves the drying result," confirms Joachim Jansen after only a few days of operation.
Customers who take a 180-degree turn after the countdown traffic lights have changed to green, instead of driving out, can clean vehicle interiors at a total of seven pay vacuum cleaner stations. Car washers who "buy our two highest quality wash programmes receive tokens from the pre-washer to vacuum for free." The stations are generously laid out in length and width with regard to the ever-increasing size of the vehicles and all have a compressed air gun. In the area of the vacuum stations, Joachim Jansen also offers his customers a self-operated mat cleaning device. In addition to the vacuum cleaner stations "I wanted to have the self-service washing inside the building. Three wide self-service washing areas were important to me. I used to work with two stations when I was still working as a petrol station operator for a petroleum company, so I know that on Saturdays a queue quickly forms, which can lead to conflict potential. Another reason for the third wash booth was to offer in future also car preparation, interior cleaning and the application of polishes as a service by appointment when the number of users is not so high." First of all, there is no need to worry about getting rid of the moisture that arises from the use of the self-service washing areas in the building. On the one hand due to the fact that the building doors remain up during opening hours and on the other hand thanks to the heating blower installed above the entrances to the washing booths.
Joachim Jansen remained uncompromising when it came to equipping the self-service wash booths in order to offer his customers easy-to-use equipment and all the freedom they need for their vehicle washing, without neglecting business management aspects. For him, great flexibility and ease of use for his customers as well as low costs for chemicals, water and electricity were just as important as a brilliant washing experience in particularly wide wash booths. WashTec's JetWash system offered him the solution he was looking for. Added to this is the SelfTecs "Wash & Shine" concept, with which customers can achieve even better washing results and even better gloss and protection of vehicle paints through simplified processes. Associated with this is, above all, WashTec's innovative self-service colour-coded concept for the clear programme structure. A real customer experience and the small but significant difference in self-service washing was finally achieved by Joachim Jansen's decision to use power foam, where he also trusts AUWA's chemicals for all programme steps.
The washing water required by customers in the self-service washing stations and the technology of the car wash is reprocessed by a high-quality gravel filter water recovery system. It saves around 85 % in fresh water, thus considerably reducing operating costs, keeps the washing water odour-free and is easy to use. The coming weeks and months will decide to what extent marketing will be necessary. The three-pillar project – petrol station with shop and bistro, the "pleno" restaurant and the indoor car wash centre – as a whole presents a solid business foundation. "We want to be a fair partner to our customers, so we sell our fuel at a fixed price over a long period of time. We are not going along with the repeated ups and downs of fuel prices and hope to win many private and commercial regular customers for our vehicle washing and care services," Joachim Jansen speculates confidently. The fact that he can also count on a large number of Dutch customers certainly will do little harm to WashTec's automatic and self-service car washes with the latest technology – quite the opposite, in fact. Because "fuel prices are much more expensive in the neighbouring country. And those who refuel, wash their vehicles as well."
Text/ pictures: Bernd Fiehöfer