NS Flex Coupling Maintenance

NS Flex CouplingBackground: The NS Flex Coupling was designed specifically for transit and car wash machines by our owner/founder Thomas Ennis to withstand the rigors and abuse seen in drive through wash systems. The coupling is designed and tested to 12,000 pounds pulling force and flexibility up to 90 degrees under the most extreme conditions. Our Flex Coupling, unlike other brush coupling in our industry, does not require lubrication or continual adjustment. Under normal operation, it will last over ONE MILLION vehicle washes.

Following are a few tips to keep your Flex Coupling operating correctly, as well as some signs that a coupling should be replaced.

1. Correct brush contact pressure against the vehicle will minimize torsional load as well as minimize brush wear and possible vehicle damage.

2. Correct spacing between vehicles through the wash system will eliminate accidental pinching of the brush between two vehicles, which will cause excessive binding loads that will start shearing the mechanical rubber bond between the internal wire braided cable and metal yokes at each end.

3. Correct vehicle speed during initial brush contact should not exceed 1.5 miles per hour. Ramming the brushes will create a momentary stall situation, which can cause torsional shearing to internal mechanical bonds as well as  torsional stress loads to the internal stranded wire braided cable.

4. Replace a Flex Coupling if there are any visible cracks on the encapsulating rubber. Cracks are a sign of extreme flexing and/or dry-rot caused by age or harsh chemicals. Cracks in a coupling may not hinder its ability to continue performing normally, but they are an obvious sign of damage. Cracks will also allow for water ingress, which can cause internal corrosion that will eventually damage internal components that keep the brush from falling.

5. Replace a Flex Coupling if there is any noticeable deformity to the mounting bolt holes. Deformed/elongated mounting holes are a clear indication of prolonged torsional load damage. To check for mounting hole damage, grab the brush and rotate it side to side. If the brush rotates but the coupling does not, this would indicate damage to the Flex Coupling mounting holes or support hardware.

6. Replace a Flex Coupling if there is extreme separation of the mechanical rubber bond to the metal yoke at each end. To check for rubber to metal yoke separation, you can push the brush towards the wash bay entrance to see if the rubber separates from the metal yoke at the top or bottom of the coupling. If there is a gap larger than 1/8” and a flat screw driver with a 3/16 blade width can be pushed in between the rubber and the metal more than a 5/8” into the gap, the coupling should be replaced.  If the gap depth is less than 5/8 ” but a gap is present, the coupling should be routinely inspected and replaced if the gap increases.

Omega coupling maintenance

NS Corporation uses the Omega Coupling as a drive element for our Top Brush cleaning element, vacuum producer, and most of our pump systems. To ensure continual operation and eliminate unexpected downtime of your equipment, monthly inspections of the Omega drive coupling are essential.

NOTE: LOCKOUT TAGOUT ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT PRIOR TO INSPECTION OR REPAIR.

When inspecting an Omega coupling, look for the following signs that indicate a potential failure or that replacement is required:

Look for any abnormal vibration of the equipment; this might be improper coupling alignment or damage to the Omega element.

Look for fatigue cracks on the element surface; if cracks are visible replace the coupling immediately.

Omega couplingLook for any missing or damaged hardware; missing hardware can cause vibration due to imbalance.

Look for discoloration of the elastomer element, which is a clear sign of material degradation and/or aging.

Look for damage or excessive corrosion of the element metal supports and shaft mounted hubs.

Proactive maintenance is key in eliminating down time. We recommend that the coupling element be replaced every 5 years, even if none of the above issues have been observed. Years of continual start and stop of the coupling can cause internal fatigue not visible by visual inspections. For any questions regarding this coupling or any other parts, contact NS Parts Sales at 1-800-782-1582.

 

Car Wash Kits to Reduce Your Downtime

If your car wash system is used frequently, you may notice that certain parts get worn out. Suddenly, you have to shut down for expensive maintenance and repairs, losing money and customers. To help you avoid breakdowns and reduce unnecessary downtime, N/S Corporation is proud to introduce our Retail Shop.

This expanded section of the N/S Corporation website allows you to purchase equipment to stockpile in the event that something happens to your system. When you’re reluctant to replace broken or worn out items due to hefty replacement costs, you can rely on the specific equipment kits we provide to invest in advance maintenance at lower costs.

Why Consistent Maintenance is Important

Many wash system operators may not understand why constant and consistent maintenance of their systems is so important. Often, they’re surprised by malfunctioning equipment and frequent system shutdowns.

In order to avoid downtime, experts recommend that you take the minimum expense and purchase spare parts and kits to minimize the chances of an unexpected malfunction.

Common Issues

Some of the most common shutdown issues occur due to worn couplings, old brushes, and malfunctioning RO systems.

If the couplings in your wash system are worn, they can cause premature wear of brush material, motors, and gearboxes, as well as increased chemical and water costs and potential damage to vehicle paint surfaces. Fixing these problems is much more expensive than keeping a few couplings on hand for regular replacement. You’ll find that your system runs for longer with little to no shutdown time.

Another one of the pieces that wears out the quickest in a busy car wash are the brushes. Worn brushes can cost your business money when they scratch paint and attract dust, dirt, grime, and debris. Trapped in the brushes, the dirt and debris can get everywhere in your wash system, causing rust, stains, and other damages.

Many wash system owners also encounter problems due to old RO (reverse osmosis) membranes. An old RO membrane can cause premature wear of RO filters, damage to the RO system, vehicle spotting, and increased water usage.

Worn brush materials, as well as old reducers, couplings, motors, and pumps, all affect other parts of the wash system. If any part is old or worn, your entire wash system can be compromised by the impact. It’s not enough to inspect your wash system monthly—you also need to replace worn items before they break. The parts that are used on a daily basis need to be maintained with care and pride.

What You Can Do

Before our proprietary Retail Shop, you may have waited for an item to fail and then called a specialist to overhaul your system. Now, you can stock up on parts and kits that can help with your own wash maintenance.

At N/S Corporation, we carry specialized kits that are designed to ensure you have all necessary equipment and tools stored on-site, so you have everything you need in case of a shutdown. The uptime kits designed by our parts specialists  contain the recommended spare parts and common wear parts, specifically selected for the type of machine in use. With these kits, you have a guarantee that you can get your system back on-line with minimal downtime.

If you own a business running a wash system, it may be in your best interest to stock these downtime kits, as a broken machine during business hours causes unnecessary inconvenience to you and your customers.

Timely Upgrades

Upgrading to new equipment is critical when trying to ensure optimal performance from your wash system. While they may seem costly now, when you calculate the damage caused to other parts of your wash system by one worn out item, you’ll realize it’s better to replace one part now than your entire system later. Old equipment also uses more water and power, which increases your operational costs.

Upgrading to the latest innovations helps reduce costs substantially and ensures you check your equipment regularly for any indications of improper or inefficient operation.

An Eco-Friendly Approach

If you’re a wash operator who cares about the environment, you’ll appreciate the consideration we put into the development of our spare parts and kits. Many of our items are eco-friendly and ensure minimal impact on the environment.

The bubblizer technology, for example, makes use of bubbles to deliver chemicals instead of traditional foamers. These bubbles cover an extensive surface area, larger than regular foamers, and allows you to use less water, chemicals, soap, and water during operation.

Support & Service with N/S Corporation

Since our incorporation in 1967, N/S Corporation has been on the forefront of new developments in the wash industry. We hold many patents on parts and materials, so you can stock up on proprietary parts, equipment, and replacements directly from our website.

In addition to our cutting edge technologies, we also offer top-quality, buy-out products. Browse our online store to stock up on kits and hardware to repair and replace any broken, worn out parts right away. Minimize your downtime with N/S Corporation.

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.

Car_Wash

I’ve Bought My First Car Wash … Now What?

Car in a car washIt is truly an exciting time for the car wash industry. The number of vehicles (both for private and public use) is at an all time high, and the concern for a clearn car has never been more widespread. The options for a new car wash business are endless: retail washes, rental fleet washes, corporate transit washes, public transit washes, and many more. In order to get your car wash started on the right foot, you should use a car wash business model that is in line with your target consumer and overall goals.

Don’t Be Frugal With Marketing Costs When Starting a Business

In the digital age, we can’t emphasize enough that marketing is more important than ever. There are a couple of routes you can take with regards to promoting your business. You can employ a marketing agency, which can charge a pretty penny but will boast strong relationships with established advertising outlets. On the other hand, knowing how to market your business without outside help can be more affordable but will require more effort on your part. With any car wash business model, profitability shouldn’t be your number one priority in the first year of business. Instead, focus on gaining the attention of new customers and developing a strong, positive company image.

Learn About Your New Machinery

Many car wash owners either purchase brand new wash systems, or take over an existing wash with no prior knowledge of how these complex machines operate. Every experienced car wash owner knows that knowledge is key in any successful car wash business model. Knowing the operational basics of a car wash system, performing what little maintenance is required for upkeep, and constantly learning about how to make your wash more efficient can help you avoid any unexpected repair costs in the future. Many small problems have simple solutions, and knowing those solutions makes all the difference.

Establish a Relationship With Your Supplier

Calculating financial dataTake some extra time to talk with the company that you order your machinery or replacement parts from. More likely than not, they will have knowledge and experience about an efficient car wash business model that they are willing to share with you. For one, the highly trained team at N/S Corporation has worked with virtually every type of car wash system, and is ready to walk you through the planning and setup of your new state-of-the-art retail or transit wash. Not only can we recommend complete system layouts based on your target consumer, but we can also lend advice about how to streamline your wash for smooth long-term operation.

Share What You Learn With Your Team

Encourage your employees to learn about the wash system they are working with. A strong team will be a vital component of your car wash business model. Even if you are confident that you could run your wash without any help, it’s better to be safe than sorry when giving an employee any degree of responsibility. Treat your team as an extension of yourself and you are bound to see positive benefits. In addition, extensive employee training means that you can feel confident when having to leave your wash under the supervision of a shift manager if need be.

For more ideas on running your first car wash, call N/S Corporation and speak with a team member today.

yelp

5 Car Wash Business Ideas for the Modern Age

Starting up a car wash is very similar to starting up any other kind of modern business: establish a target customer base; reach out to that customer base and make your business visible to them; make sure the product or service you offer is up to par with your marketing; and establish incentives to bring in new customers seasonally and year-round. Of the multitude of car wash business ideas that exist, you only need to adhere to a few extremely important ones. With a mindset for success, you can drive your new car wash business to prosperity.

Bring Your Company Into The Digital Age

Yelp sign on doorAlthough the idea of a retail or corporate car wash isn’t new by any means, modern strategies to publicize and grow a car wash have emerged with the advancement of technology. In particular, digital marketing can allow for a business to reach new customers without traveling from door to door. Websites like Yelp and popular social media platforms like Facebook give businesses an opportunity to connect with their audience on a more personal level. Of all the car wash business ideas mentioned in this article, this may be the most important. Internet resources allow you to give others the chance to boast about their experience and in-turn strengthen the positive word of mouth reputation of your business.

Be Conscious of the Environment

Whether you share your views on environmental sustainability with the public or not, it is extremely important to keep eco-friendliness in mind when thinking of modern car wash business ideas. Not only is waste management a continuous expense, but the planet will only benefit from the use of water recycling and eco-chemicals—not to mention that a focus on “green operation” will do wonders for your public image. All Eco Saver car wash systems and layouts from N/S Corporation include an underground tank for water storage and recycling. They also offer above ground water recovery and clarification units that help reduce smells and groundwater contamination.

Build a Story Around Your Business; Invite Your Customers to Take Part

Visa payment cardThese days, consumers enjoy taking part in a bigger narrative—in other words, make your customer feel like they are contributing to a greater cause than just the cleanliness of their vehicle and putting money in your pocket. Many car wash business ideas deal with reducing operational costs, rather than smart ways to invest in your business and help it grow. What is your statement of purpose? By publicly focusing on environmental sustainability, for example, what do you plan to accomplish besides lowering waste management costs? Make your answers to these questions part of your aspiration, and make that aspiration obvious to your consumer.

Cash-only is a Thing of the Past

If you were to ask every potential customer to pay in cash, most of them would say that they don’t carry cash anymore. The advent of credit cards, mobile banking, and smart phones are forcing businesses to diversify the ways in which they take payment for their product or service. One of the smartest car wash business ideas you can utilize is allowing your company to harness the buying power of the modern consumer. This means taking paper, plastic, and any other type of digital payment that currently exists.

Visit N/S Corporation’s website to learn more about products and services that can help you build a car wash for the modern age.

come-in

Car Wash Promotion Ideas for Your Grand Opening

Now Open signStarting a new business can be worrisome, but the excitement of breathing life into a new venture is an incomparable feeling. Due to the exponentially rising number of vehicles that are going to hit the road this year, demand for a quality car wash that is easily accessible is higher than ever. With some quality equipment and some great car wash promotion ideas, you can take your new wash business to the next level. Here are some important modern marketing concepts to keep in mind.

Incentives, Incentives, Incentives

Let’s say that you decide to open up a new retail car wash in your neighborhood, which is already saturated with established businesses. For the average local consumer, there must be a good reason to visit a newly established wash rather than visit the dependable one they’ve been going to for years—and there’s no better reason than saving some money. One of the best car wash promotion ideas is to offer deals and other various incentives to drive up consumer interest in the first few months of business. Know the demographic and estimated size of the customer base in your area, and make sure you only dish out enough service discounts that you are still able to somewhat recoup your initial operational costs.

Go Digital

Many new car wash businesses are beginning to offer virtual tours of their washes, especially when they have state-of-the-art wash systems to display. By building a solid online presence, you can become visible to consumers outside your normal area of reach. Word-of-mouth marketing is often confined to city limits, but digital marketing has no bounds. Not too familiar with digital car wash promotion ideas? Partner up with other related, non-wash businesses that are digitally savvy and return the favor by promoting their business to your customers.

Assemble an Experienced Team of Wash OperatorsCar wash employee cleaning

Car wash promotion ideas are as only as effective as the team promoting them. Even though many modern car wash systems can be operated remotely through electrical control panels, good customer service still reigns supreme in consumer satisfaction. Make sure your employees know how to quickly address any operational issue that may arise, and try having a group of team members offer a towel dry or wax service for new customers post-wash. Besides their contribution to success on-site, more team members means more people spreading the word about your company outside of business hours.

Boast the Most Advanced Equipment in the Industry

Nothing says more about a business than the quality of the product or service that business offers. If you are thinking about starting a retail or transit car wash business, then you should consider the cutting-edge car wash systems from N/S Corporation. Since 1967, N/S Corporation has been the leader in the retail and niche transit car wash industry, making all of our patented parts in a 60,000 square foot factory in Inglewood, CA. We’ve worked with thousands of new car wash business owners who are looking for effective car wash promotion ideas and reliable equipment, and we’d be happy to assist with yours. Contact us today to find out more.

carwash

Get the Most from Your Car Wash Startup Costs with These 5 Tips

Soapy car wheelThere’s no doubt about it—the world’s population is growing. Thus, there is a need for larger and more efficient systems of public transit. Though more and more people are finding they need adequate transportation, they still want to make sure that they’re riding in a vehicle that’s extremely clean both inside and out. Therefore, it’s a great time to get into the transit/retail wash business. With the help of N/S Corporation, you can minimize car wash startup costs and maximize your return on investment.

1. Keep Waste at a Minimum, Just Like Your Expenses

Waste comes in many forms, and our planet could use much less of it. In the car wash industry, waste usually consists of used water, cleaning chemicals, and broken components headed to the landfill. Thanks to N/S Corporation, your initial car wash startup costs will not go to waste. We hold a number of patents, both inside and outside the U.S., that guarantee the value of our products. In addition, many of our ECO wash systems include layouts and parts for water recycling bays, which keep your environmental footprint extremely low.

2. Get Quality Components Up Front, Not Down the RoadInside of car windshield being washed

Many wash system owners try to minimize their car wash startup costs by purchasing inexpensive system parts in the beginning, and then worry about inevitable repair costs after they’ve recouped their expenses. In our opinion, it’s always better to get it right the first time and purchase a quality car wash system. N/S Corporation manufactures all of our high quality, durable parts using efficient, eco-friendly methods. By minimizing repair costs down the road, you can extend your timetable of profitability without having to worry about breakdowns.

3. Know Your Customer, and their Vehicles

Are you planning on running a wash system for oversized transit vehicles, a fleet of rental sedans, or a retail wash system for everyday people? Put your car wash startup costs toward the right layout for your wash system. Knowing your target customer now means less overhauling later. If you think you’ll eventually expand your business, make sure to leave enough space in your wash bay for a wide variety of vehicles.

Commuter train at the station4. Rely On Quality Machinery To Lower Labor Costs

In the past, anyone thinking about starting up a car wash business was required to assemble a team of employees, only to find out later that some worked more efficiently than others. This operational strategy only leads to frustration, unnecessary employment costs, and other avoidable problems. All wash systems manufactured by N/S Corporation can be operated remotely through a state-of-the-art electronic control panel, removing the need for extensive employee training and high car wash startup costs.

5. Only Purchase Wash Systems and Components from a Reputable Company

N/S Corporation has built an incredible reputation in the international wash industry for our quality parts, unmatched customer service, and roster of successful clients. We pride ourselves on sustainability, durability, and satisfaction. Low costs mean getting your setup right the first time, and you can trust the experienced team at N/S Corporation to help you throughout the process. We are proud to have worked with companies like Turtle Wax, Washmasters, Thrify Car Rental, and more. Whichever company you choose, make sure it’s one you can trust to help you start a successful business.