transit wash system maintenanace

The Importance of Proper Maintenance on a Transit Wash System

 

Though many wash system operators believe that a system needs minimal maintenance once it is installed, a frequently used wash system needs a lot of servicing in order to maintain an effective wash and avoid problems like water leaks and chemical waste.

Often, when a system isn’t functioning properly, it can cause damage to the environment and raise the cost of operation. There are many parts that need more maintenance than others, as well as several indications that your wash system may not be operating at full capacity.

Water Leaks

While leaking water may seem inconsequential when you’re considering the amount of water being used during each wash, multiple small leaks at a single site is a serious problem. In fact, according to the USGS, over the course of a year, a single small drip can leak over 2,000 gallons of water.

In many cases, simply checking your nozzles, applying specialized tape or tightening pipes and caps can be enough to fix water and chemical leakage.

Well Maintained Tunnel Equipment

High volume locations require diligent maintenance schedules.  See your customized operating manual or NS’s standard product manuals for more detail.  Here are some common areas that may require your attention on a regular basis.

If your wash system is prone to breaking during peak hours, you may be tempted to blame the issue on the traffic volume. However, it could be a maintenance issue.

Inspect your conveyor regularly. Since this piece of equipment needs to accept a high volume of vehicles on any given day, you need to make sure that its chain and rollers are working properly and free of wear and tear.

You’ll also need to examine the shocks and bearings in your system and ensure that none are ready to fail. Over or under greased bearings, loose shafts, and broken seals need to be found and replaced. Bearings need to be properly greased to allow for smooth motion.

Nozzles are another important part of your wash system. At N/S Corporation, we recommend checking your nozzles every three months and replacing them annually to prevent inefficient washes, blockages, and leaks.

Even the cloth in your system needs to be clean and undamaged to properly wash a vehicle. That means there should be 3 to 6 inches of penetration, wherein 3 to 6 inches of cloth lays flat on a vehicle’s surface.

An improperly maintained tunnel is obvious, as vehicles may come out only partially cleaned. You’ll also be able to tell there are problems by watching the system in operation. Strange water spray patterns will reveal issues in your nozzles, while a misaligned vehicle in the wash points to issues in conveyor alignment.

The Back Room

High-pressure pumps should also be checked for pressure and oil, and belts need to be replaced if there are any signs of wear.

Air compressors and chemical pumps also need to be checked monthly. If you maintain your wash system correctly, you’ll prevent any major failures during your busiest seasons.

N/S Corporation’s Comprehensive Transit Service

In order to keep your business going and to get your customers back on the road, we offer several maintenance and repair packages designed to keep your operations running smoothly.

With new service warranties, as well as preventative maintenance, our mission is to help your business go above and beyond. If you have questions about our products or services, or you want to learn more about wash system maintenance, call our toll free number at (800) 782-1582 or contact us online.

brush adjustment

N/S Wash Equipment: Brush Adjustments

The wrap around brush was one of N/S Corporation’s first patents, issued in 1967. These brushes—especially those made with Lammscloth (another N/S Corporation patent)—are still in use today. Wash systems everywhere use wrap around brushes during a vehicle wash.

Please watch the video below if you’re interested in arm adjustment, and browse our NS Corporation channel on Youtube for more helpful wash system videos.

Wrap Around Brush

Each wash system usually has two wrap around brushes stationed on either side of the wash system. These brushes spin on an axis in a circular motion, resembling the action of a hand wash, in order to reach a wider surface area while the vehicle is moving through an automated wash system.

The brush walks on either side of the vehicle, and as the brush reaches the end of the vehicle, a properly aligned brush should have enough pressure and penetration to sweep against the rear bumper and clean it. In this way, wrap around brushes eliminate the need for a rear brush installment.

Unfortunately, when wrap around brushes aren’t properly aligned, they don’t have appropriate pressure or coverage when washing a vehicle. Fortunately, an alignment is easy and usually only requires the use of an impact ratchet, a rubber mallet, a ¾ inch wrench, a marker, a ladder, and measuring tape.

How to Determine Coverage

Penetration is the term that refers to the amount of coverage each strip of cloth, foam, or other material should have along a vehicle. For the best wash, N/S Corporation recommends that 3-6 inches of material lays against the surface each time the wrap around brush swishes by the vehicle.

Adjusting the brushes throughout your wash system should be part of your regular maintenance.

Please refer to our video to aid you in your arm adjustment efforts, along with many other helpful wash system videos from N/S Corporation.

reduce carbon footprint

How to Minimize Your Transit Wash System’s Carbon Footprint

When the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration last examined the carbon footprint left by the U.S. transit systems, it concluded that transportation, including private vehicles and public buses, released 30% of all greenhouse emissions in the United States.

To combat this, the Federal Transit Administration recommended that the public transit system could reduce emission by providing low emission alternatives to driving, reducing the need to drive long distances, and minimizing the carbon footprint of transit operations—operations that include fleet washes.

N/S Corporation’s Contribution
As a leader in the vehicle wash industry, N/S Corporation has made it one of our goals to help the environment. N/S Corporation has developed systems that reduce power consumption and water usage and today, we are continuing to adapt and improve our methods.

NS designs are meant to help transit authorities and other organizations that have high wash volumes and  create a greener environment.  With over five decades of experience in the field, NS believes that most wash systems are overpowered – in that they use much more power than they should – this applies not only to brush motors but also to the choice of pumps. Allow NS to understand your wash goals and engineer a system that is not wasting energy.

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning

Transit authorities who manage large fleets can minimize their operation’s carbon footprint by investing in lower horsepower pumps. Lower horsepower translates into less water and electricity used. Meanwhile, a small change in soap delivery can make a huge impact. While foam was once the industry standard, bubbles have revolutionized the way transit washes clean. An effective bubble system can reduce water usage by up to 30%.

Water Reclamation
Today, vehicle wash systems are one of the largest consumers of water. In many regions, especially California, water usage needs to be tightly controlled due to droughts and other environmental concerns. By using a water reclamation system, water can be recycled and reused effectively.

N/S Corporation offers both above and below ground reclaim systems. These systems recover and filter washing water, so it’s clean enough to reuse in the vehicle wash system.

Though the reclamation systems we offer come in several sizes, each includes some basic components. Particle accelerators, pumping motor, and activation systems all come standard, but each reclamation system can also be customized. Additionally, our reclamation systems can be adapted to any existing wash system—from bus washes to train installations.

How We Can Help

One of our many goals at N/S Corporation has always been environmental conservation. We’ve focused our attention on environmentally friendly products for years, and we want to bring those products to transit operations everywhere.
With the help of our ECO wash systems, eco-friendly pumps, foam delivery system, and water reclamation solutions, we’re sure that any transit system, no matter its size, can benefit from the tools and experience of N/S Corporation.