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Drive through vs. roll-over gantry comparison

Drive through system - Equipment is fixed and vehicle moves

Pros:

  • Can process vehicles faster since the vehicles drive through the wash under their own power
  • Typical wash speed is 1-foot per second thus wash time in seconds equals wash bay length plus length of vehicle. Ex. 120-foot wash bay plus 60-foot vehicle equals 3-minute wash time.
  • Generally wash volumes are only restricted by ability to recover water faster than that what is being used and how many vehicles are allowed to be in the wash at a given time.
Cons:
  • Less wash consistency and unpredictable results
  • The main disadvantage is that the speed of the vehicle is totally dependent on the individual driver and type of vehicle
  • The equipment is mounted to the floor and the vehicle drives past it so there is only one opportunity at cleaning the vehicle
  • Chemical dwell time is critical and this must occur in the space prior to the vehicle entering the high-pressure side of the wash
  • A heavily soiled vehicle should be pre-washed with water first to remove heavy soils otherwise chemicals are useless. This adds considerable length to a wash bay
  • The inability to control wash speed limits the types of technologies that can be used. Oscillating or spinning spray heads cause striping effect if vehicle travels too fast
  • Since the equipment is positioned linearly and chemical dwell time cannot be compromised then wash functions may need to be limited or more pumping equipment is required to perform additional wash functions in a limited space or simply a longer wash bay is required
  • Typically a longer wash bay is required for a drive through system since the equipment is mounted linearly in the bay. This translates into higher capital costs for infrastructure. Although drive through wash bays are squeezed into smaller foot prints (shorter wash bays) the wash results are compromised
  • Shorter wash bays results in less space for chemical dwell time
  • Shorter wash bays results in portion of vehicle in high-pressure wash function while rear of vehicle is still in chemical application which often results in chemical being diluted or rinsed off prematurely
  • Short wash bays results in more carry out of water by vehicle
  • If water recycling is utilized a fresh water rinse is required as the last wash function. A short wash bay results in recycled water contaminating the rinse area resulting in spotting
  • Vehicle washing creates steam and mist and it can be very difficult for a driver to see if they are navigating through a drive through wash system

Gantry (rollover system) - Vehicle is stationary and equipment moves

Pros:

  • The ability to control the wash speed enhances wash performance
  • Wash bay length is typically limited to 25-30 feet longer than the longest vehicle to be washed. Although for commercial washing this length should be extended to 50-60 feet longer than the longest vehicle to be washed
  • The ability to add wash functions without increasing wash bay length. For example a high-volume pre-wash could be applied to remove heavy soils prior to a chemical application
  • Can offer wash programs to suit different vehicle types or vehicle soil conditions such as
    • High-volume pre-wash to knock off heavy solids
    • Extend dwell time
    • Reduce speed of gantry to increase wash results when heavily soiled
    • Ability to repeat wash cycles if desired
  • Wheel and chassis wash is applied as vehicle enters wash thus cleaning power can be maximized with no additional pumping equipment since the same equipment used to wash the exterior of the vehicle is used to clean the wheels and chassis
  • The ability to utilize more than one gantry in tandem to divide wash functions will reduce wash time. It is possible to wash an 6-foot truck in 5-minutes
  • Since the vehicle is stationary during the wash process the driver does not have to worry about navigating their vehicle
Cons:
  • Wash times are slower and depend on the number of wash functions utilized, speed of wash and length of vehicle. The wash time for a 60-foot vehicle with a chassis and wheel wash applied upon entry, chemical application (plus 30-seconds dwell time) and high-pressure application and exit building would be about 5-6 minutes at a 1 foot per second wash speed

Recycled wash water and solids management system

There are two ways to approach a truck wash operation that has access to sanitary sewer. One approach employs single use of fresh water, solids accumulation and periodic solids removal. The other approach involves a high degree of wash water recycle and on-going solids management.

The 100% fresh water system is simple, but the ongoing cost of water would be expensive and prohibitive in many jurisdictions. The significant on going operating costs of a 100% fresh water system can be reduced by implementing an effective wash water recycle and solids management system.

Recycled water management: The requirements for an effective recycled water management system involves solid/liquid separation to remove settleable solids and water treatment to handle finer solids and other contaminants. These can be site and application specific but are typically designed to achieve three main objectives: (1) meet water quality discharge objectives; (2) enable a higher degree of water recycle, thereby decreasing the volume of water discharge; and (3) reduce odors and in some applications provide disinfection prior to reuse.

Solids Management: Settling pit systems don't manage solids reliably or at lowest cost. The water tanks are reservoirs of liquids, not solids. Also storing solids in the tanks or pits interferes with water recycle, decreases equipment life due to abrasion on pumps and all cleaning operations, risks all of the solids being managed as hazardous wastes at high costs, is generally interrupting to operations, and is expensive. To provide reliable facility operations, to minimize dissolved solids, BOD and odours, and to minimize costs, solids should be removed from the wash water management system on an on-going basis. Disposing of solids with the trash rather than periodically as a hazardous waste is both responsible and cost effective.