WashTec and AUWA in red and yellow liveries
Master butcher Franz Josef Scheuten not only prepares sausages and meat in the Rhine metropolis of Duisburg and sells his delicious specialties, but actually runs a car wash equipped with modern WashTec technology in the Buchholz district of Duisburg. Above all, he is a clever businessman – he owns flats that he rents out, he bought land on which an automotive garage repairs and services vehicles, a steel and metal construction company produces customer orders and on which a warehouse for roller bearings is located. In addition, a conveyor tunnel system was washing vehicles on his commercial premises, which he had leased out. "My father is a very orderly person," says his daughter Pia Scheuten about him. "It bothered him more and more that the tenant of the conveyor tunnel system did not look after equipment properly, the car wash was not kept as clean as it should be, the leaking roof never got fixed and instead of investing, money was only taken out. When the lease expired, my dad did not renew it and took over the car wash business himself. "
Scrap by the kilo
The entrepreneurial master butcher himself quickly recognised what was necessary as a newcomer to the car wash business and started by having the 20-year-old washing technology and the above-ground part of the water conditioning plant dismantled. The wash bay was completely gutted, sterilised and then renovated, the roof renewed and low-maintenance white plastic panels attached to the interior walls. "They are made of the same material used in the butchery and therefore even meet the strict hygiene regulations for selling meat and sausage." Only the drag chain survived the renovation. It was extensively overhauled – receiving new rollers, bearings and chain links. "The separators were completely drained out and tested for leaks," says Pia Scheuten. She now knows everything about the conveyor tunnel system, and grew into the task of "car wash operation" over the course of its renovation. Commitment and friendliness ensure that the pre-washers do a good job and the car washing business took off.
We do it now with WashTec
"In the autumn of 2014, we started thinking about what to do with the car wash business. Finally, in the summer of the following year, we decided we would do it now." Franz Josef Scheuten then looked into two major suppliers of car wash technology, in order to be able to make an informed decision as to which technology should be installed and which chemicals should be used. He eventually awarded his contract to the world market leader in vehicle washing technology, whose responsible sales representative Thomas Bolz not only knew how to convince in his verbal presentations, but also captured the heart of the Scheuten family. He gave us the necessary confidence through what he said and did in practice. "His dedication impressed us, his super customer advice makes him a real authority on car wash technology. He explained everything wonderfully.
Gold, silver and bronze from and with "F.J. Scheuten "
Once the bay and the separation technology had been renovated, new water pipes laid and the "chaos" of the works on the site of the car wash had ended, large trucks rolled into the yard, bringing the technology modules of the SoftLine2. "One WashTec installation team began work in the heated building, which it completed in a little over two weeks." For the past year, the Smart LED entrance gantry in a stainless steel design has been welcoming car wash customers with "F.J. Scheuten" and inviting them to choose gold, silver and bronze washes with and without underbody washing. "My father wanted to greet his washing customers in person, so as to convey to them that there is a human behind the washing technology."
Each vehicle coated in active foam first reaches longitudinal, powerful wheel and sill washers, before then passing through the brush station, whose roof and side brushes move along linearly, prolonging the washing duration. The brushes of the following care station apply AUWAs ShineTecs® evenly over the paintwork surface. The contour-tracking and linearly moving blower dryer gets even critical areas on the vehicle perfectly dry thanks to the up to 30% longer drying action. Franz Josef Scheuten nevertheless intends to have a revolving cloth dryer retrofitted in order to deliver perfect drying results. "We then have to move the drying station about 90 cm. This should still be technically possible."
Exiting the wash bay should also be perfectly smooth and safe. That is why the Scheutens opted for WashTec's countdown traffic light. "It's easier for customers. The traffic light counts down and the customers are busy keeping their eye on it, while the rear of the vehicle continues to be dried, before driving off when the arrow changes to green. It was often the case in the past that customers were surprised and confused, or did not know exactly when they could or should exit. The traffic light gives them a clear and unmistakable signal when to start. What is more, the animation is nice to look at."
WashTec in red and yellow
After reopening in late March 2016, it took a while for people to realise, "Oh, they've got new washing technology that runs and works really well. We advertised in the local press in April and had advertising signs made and put up." The red and yellow livery of the Scheuten car wash matches the butcher's corporate identity. "We had yellow wrapping paper right from the start. At that time our delivery vehicles came with their red livery." Over the years, these two colours established themselves as a brand with the values and the strength of Scheuten's butcher's. Today, red and yellow laminated advertising signs are not only at the entrance to the site to the "Scheuten" car wash and on the premises, but also at the nearby roundabout. The Scheutens thoughtfully put on a second lane in front of the entrance. The space available lends itself to such a lane system. Customers waiting here cannot overlook important information about the car wash and read, among other things, that the SofTecs® material washes very gently and thoroughly and that it actively cares for the vehicle paintwork. "The waiting customers are kept occupied reading the information and then know what they are getting from us with WashTec technology and AUWA chemicals." Clear care messages that are precisely formulated for the textile "Autowaschstraße Süd" in Duisburg – high gloss drying, RainTecs® protection, ShineTecs® high gloss polishing, SofTecs® gentle wash, for example.
The Scheutens observed how the response from customers grew day by day because of the great washing and care results. An important prerequisite for this is a thorough manual pre-wash. Two pre-washers are on the pre-wash in order to remove the worst of the dirt from the vehicles. During this time, the pre-washers also talk to the customers, advising them and providing useful information before the chain takes over the movement of the vehicle from the driver. "The human aspect before the automatic washing process is important to us. This allows special customer requirements to be met easily and tips from the pre-washer can be quickly put into practice. "In the months following our opening, we noticed how the car wash business was gradually picking up and customers were increasingly praising the excellent washing performance. A situation with which we too were satisfied relatively quickly."
"In addition to the car wash customers with their private cars, business customers who come to us to have their fleets washed and cared for are also satisfied with the washing results. Both these groups of regular customers now say that the washing performance is simply better than at the competitors' in the local area." One decisive reason for this is the high quality of the process water provided by the new water conditioning and osmosis plant, as the water is very hard in southern region of Duisburg. For leased company vehicles, for example, professional washing and care is important in order for them to be returned in the best possible condition after two or three years. "We offer a 10 wash card for private and commercial customers who are frequent users of the car wash. That makes things even better." To go one better, a so-called 1.50 euro coupon is available on all washes. "We announce the promotion in the weekly Stadtpanorama newspaper and Wochenanzeiger advertiser, both local press publications. People really do cut out the coupons and come to us to get our high-quality washes cheaper. "
They belong together
The washing, care and drying results, so highly praised by customers, are also achieved above all because "we only wash with AUWA chemicals. We now know that WashTec technology and AUWA chemicals work well together. Both are perfectly matched. The cleaning plans for the facility by the pre-washers are also coordinated. They take care of the facility in bad weather and carry out the maintenance cleaning. Twice a year, "my dad also comes along to help with the thorough cleaning. This is when we really get down to some serious cleaning, which also involves cleaning out the shafts and everything that is not so easily accessible. "Irrespective of all the cleaning, the fitter inspects the system technology every two weeks. He always performs his visual inspection every second Wednesday before opening the car wash. "Nevertheless, we signed a maintenance contract with WashTec, which ensures that the system remains under expert supervision. For practice on the ground, this means, "if a roller now comes loose on the drag chain, our maintenance man deals with it. If there's anything in the closed technology, we call WashTec's service technician."
Text/ pictures: Bernd Fiehöfer