Two dark roaring exhaust pipes end the short breather the two pre-washers were taking. A blue Ferrari drives round moments later to the entrance of the Fahrzeugpflege Jena car wash centre and brakes remarkably hard at the wide red stop beam. The man behind the wheel makes the pistons in the cylinders dance even faster, deafening noise promptly comes out of the "pots". Then there is suddenly peace again because the driver switches off the engine of his vehicle and orders the "Premium" care programme. His name is Franke, Roy Franke. Together with Ben Engelhardt, he took over a car wash business in Jena from a car wash operator who had been washing vehicles here for many years and is now enjoying his retirement.
Roy Franke from Jena has been working as an independent vehicle valeter since 2011. "That's how I know the facility." An acquaintance from Hanover, who also prepares vehicles there, got him into this business. "I helped out in Hanover for some time, but returned to Jena to offer my extensive expertise in vehicle preparation to car dealerships here. I drove to them and carried out complete preparations and also window tinting." Roy Franke talked to the former car wash operator of Fahrzeugpflege Jena from time to time. They talk about his work as a vehicle valeter and automatic vehicle washing. While he was doing contract work in the car dealership right next to the car wash, "I was constantly driving through this system. From day to day the feeling grew that we could get much more out of the car wash." When he finally valeted vehicles for Ben Engelhardt, a reliable investor, we also talked about possible business ideas that we could implement together." Both then decided to take over and operate the car wash as joint business partners. "In Ben Engelhardt I found a man who was financially strong and willing to take the entrepreneurial risk. We make a perfect team. Each of us initially thinks for himself and develops their own personal ideas and concepts. When we then talk about these, we realise that we were thinking the same thing."
The long-standing washing business of its predecessor left its mark on the wash bay and washing technology. "First of all, we continued to operate the business as it was until summer 2017," says Roy Franke. "In mid-August, we started to upgrade the old system technology. But when the repair costs exceed the leasing instalments, it's time to change something," he explains. "First, we renovated the paintwork inside the building and also gave the outer facade a new, unmistakable look." Then the two of them thought about which washing technology from which manufacturer they should choose. At that time there were already three large conveyor tunnel system car washes in the Thuringian university town. The decision in favour of WashTec mainly came about because "our consultant for washing chemicals advised us to do so. I don't know a better man. He always takes care of things immediately and comes up with good solutions to problems – in his professional, patient and friendly manner. We trusted his expertise and thus got in touch with the world market leader for vehicle washing in Augsburg."
Ben Engelhardt and Roy Franke wanted to avoid breakdowns at all costs. That's why we "worked with WashTec experts to plan everything down to the last detail." The discussions at eye level resulted in a SoftLine² Vario conveyor tunnel system, which was adapted to the requirements of the bay and equipped with the desired innovative details. The modular design principle of the SoftLine2 Vario conveyor tunnel systems fulfilled the wishes of both business partners.
Customers, who drive up to the Fahrzeugpflege Jena car wash centre today, receive a very thorough high-pressure and power foam pre-wash from extremely meticulous pre-washers. The white/black tiled chessboard floor in the spacious, glazed section set in front of the wash bay building is reminiscent of American-style floor coverings. The bay dimensions of the pre-washing area not only allow the pre-washers a lot of freedom of movement, but also make their workplace independent of the weather. Everything fits together well here.
A dark blue illuminated foam arch begins its work as the Ferrari, pulled by a closed steel conveyor belt, reaches the Smart LED entrance gantry. As soon as the intensive foam shower stops, the longitudinal wheel and sill washers start moving. This is followed by linearly travelling roof and side brushes. They prolong the direct wash brush contact on the vehicle surfaces in order to achieve even better cleaning results. The efficient and energy-saving blower dryer brings a breath of fresh air to the vehicle surfaces as soon as the Ferrari has left the preservation arch. The red-blue textile of the revolving cloth dryer ensures drip-free drying before the sports car passes through the high-speed door and drives out of the bay looking sparkling clean over the same decorative tile flooring as in the pre-wash area.
Text/ Pictures: Bernd Fiehöfer