Insurance broker Richard Hennemann and financial services provider Michael Graf created a masterpiece for the washing and care of vehicles on the southern edge of the small town of Kemnath in Upper Palatinate, Bavaria. Masterful, since they opted exclusively for the latest WashTec technology and the corresponding chemicals from AUWA, and masterly, since in their considerations they paid meticulous attention to resource-saving aspects in dealing with the environment and invested in the necessary technology. The result was a grey-dark red complex on the generously dimensioned corner plot, which rightly bears the special name "Waschwerk". In fact, a work that in every respect delivers superlatives and not just the promise of these. "We made an effort to offer the customer clear structures – simple processes, simple operation, above all a feeling of security, the best results and a truly special experience anyway," says Michael Graf. "The idea for the car wash centre was born when an insurance customer of mine in Grafenwöhr – about 15 minutes by car to the south – had a similar facility built." His thoughts led to ideas about wanting and being able to do such a "great thing" himself. Michael Graf considered where such a project could still be implemented and decided: "Kemnath is the place with the greatest potential here in the region. Large companies moved into this area, the population grew and continues to grow. Kemnath as the location for the car wash was then decided quite quickly."
The project "Waschwerk" was to be a joint project of the trained technician Hennemann and the financial planner Graf. Both are colleagues and have been friends for years. "I finally talked to him seriously about it for the first time in February 2016. Three days later, he called me and said: Yes, we'll do it," Michael Graf remembers very well. Both immediately set about planning and crunching numbers. After the insurance customer from Grafenwöhr and car wash operator put them in touch with WashTec, "we immediately got together with WashTec and stuck with the world market leader in vehicle washing." They discussed the project and jointly analysed the location, which produced results that were actually felt to be positive from a business aspect. On this basis, the configuration of the car wash centre was devised – a SoftCare Pro Classic gantry, three self-service car wash stations, water conditioning, solar thermal energy. "WashTec not only drew us the basic plans, which were fully implemented, but also selected the site in the Kemnath industrial estate with us. The council was offering commercial plots for sale. "We asked Heiko Blochberger to join us as the industrial area here is pretty large." The promising start was followed by an excellent working relationship with the experienced WashTec field service in particular and with WashTec in general. It was also important to the future operators of the car wash centre to also involve regional companies. The project was so successful in practice that only the shed construction was outsourced and the floor slabs were supplied from Thuringia.
Once the wash bay is erected, WashTec technicians install a grey-coloured SoftCare gantry which can wash and care for vehicles up to 2.58 metres wide and up to 2.60 metres high. The equipment details include underbody wash, WheelFlash, side high pressure, MultiFlex. "That was important to us and also that it worked very well," says Michael Graf. Because we wanted to exclude known problems right from the start – inadequately cleaned wheel rims and poor drying of the rear of vehicles, for example. "The customers are satisfied now, and so are we. That convinces us," confirms Michael Graf. He also says: "People feel comfortable here, the building is bright and spacious, the design is young and fresh. A lot of heart and soul has gone into this." The gantry height allows vans to be washed. "This was intended to give the companies here in the industrial estate the opportunity to also wash their Sprinter vans."
The self-service washing facility is visually and technically convincing. The customers like the attractive design of the shed roof, which spans a sturdy grey steel structure. The dark red partitions of the wash stations stand out clearly but pleasantly from the grey of the wash bay façade. Self-service customers use the latest cleaning and care equipment to wash their vehicles, including a power foam lance. The traffic light coloured hoses, which lead to the high pressure and power foam lances and the foam brush, make it easier for customers to choose the right implement according to the programme they have selected. A rack system, which was not installed in a container but in the technical room, supplies the self-service washing stations. The gantry car wash is also supplied from there. The AquaPur2 water conditioning system completes the WashTec technical suite. The two operators owe its high performance to an almost one hundred percent recovery of the washing water. The physical cleaning achieves up to 600 washes per month without any addition of chemicals. The amazing efficiency is just as convincing as the cost-saving effect for water and chemical treatment. The solar thermal installation on the roof heats the washing water. "We didn't calculate beforehand when the solar system would pay for itself, but said: Okay, after funding, the plant will cost us around ten thousand euros. The environment is worth it to us, full stop."
The dimensions of the technical room are so large that WashTec fitters have plenty of room for their work, without having to climb over anything or fight their way to the technology of the gantry and the self-service stations. "The advantage of a new building is – as long as the size of the site allows – to plan and utilise the space for the technical equipment in such a way that we were also able to implement our philosophy of keeping everything neat and tidy in the technical room," says Graf. LED spotlights will soon illuminate the very clean and perfectly tidy technical room. The service technicians then work under conditions similar to those of a photo studio. Both operators had the required lighting professionally calculated for the LED light that illuminates the installations and outdoor spaces effectively. This resulted in desired and suitable lighting conditions – both homogeneous and accentuated, not too bright and not too dark.
The marketing strategy is also eye-catching and appealing. The modern and clearly structured company website of the car wash centre in Kemnath has a distinctive, high-quality look. It not only encapsulates the essence of WashTec's services and those of the car wash centre, but also offers customers the opportunity to buy washes with the help of an online customer card. This system brings them in from near and far and relieves the burden on the automatic pay station.
And marketing on site? Large-format graphics, showing washing situations as impressive close-ups in black and white, cover the splash protection walls. They help to create a perfect setting for every self-service car wash customer. As darkness falls, modern, energy-efficient LED spotlights begin to light up, making the eye-catching graphics even more striking for customers and giving all customers a feeling of security. "We are also thinking about an LED-illuminated eye-catching feature that will focus customers' attention even more closely on the benefits of the latest WashTec technology, symbolise something beautiful, really captivate everyone and noticeably emphasise our USP in the Upper Palatinate region even more strongly than before". The two operators, and newcomers to the industry, have long been captivated themselves. Because "it is simply a real joy for us to drive onto the premises of our car wash and chat with our customers, who give us ideas and make suggestions, from which we try to implement the best. Thanks to WashTec, we also have the best partner in the car wash industry at our side.
Text/ pictures: Bernd Fiehöfer