• Self Service Carwash

Fitwash bvba recently opened a new self-wash on the Kernenergiestraat in Wilrijk. The site is literally a stone's throw from the old site, where the company operated its cleaning business in the past 30 years. The new facility has several pluses to make it stand out among the fierce competition in the area.

Old recycling centre

In 2012, Wilrijk’s recycling centre moved from the Kernenergiestraat to a new location on Neerlandweg, where all inhabitants of the city of Antwerp can take their household waste since then. Fitwash bvba, which has operated the self-service car wash across the street for 30 years, seized the opportunity to buy the old recycling centre, which has an area of approximately 1,300 m². We said goodbye to the 30-year-old car wash and moved to the new location on the other side of the road, where a 340 m² business unit with warehouse and a 120 m² office space (currently still for rent), and a self-service car wash with 5 vacuum-cleaner bays was built.

Mandatory infiltration basin

The licensing process of this site went quite smoothly.

“Antwerp's environment office cooperated constructively, but imposed a few conditions that had to be met. We were required, for example, to provide a business unit in addition to the self-car wash installation. We also had to fence off the premises with a fireproof wall. Other requirements included the construction of infiltration basins and a 'green' roof. We also recover rainwater via the drainage system on the roofs of the buildings. After filtering, this rainwater is suitable for use in the car wash installation. If not enough rainwater is available, the switch to city water is automatically made. Finally, we were forced to reconstruct the entrance and exit to the site according to the regulations of the city of Wilrijk,” reports Iben Schellekens of CTW Cleaning Systems.

Smooth construction process

The work was started around September 2019.

“We managed to stick to the planning without too many delays and problems. Due to excessive rain, we lost a little less than a week in laying the wash floor, because the weather did not permit us to pour the concrete. We finished the other foundations, the structural work of the business unit, the stainless steel construction, the landscaping and the realisation of the technical installation perfectly within the planned time frame. The opening of the car wash was planned for the beginning of 2020 and we had no trouble meeting that deadline”, says Iben Schellekens.

7 cleaning programmes with extensive payment options

The new self-service car wash installation consists of 6 covered washing bays. The stainless steel construction, designed and manufactured by Cavale Steel Company, was made slightly higher than normal, allowing vans to be washed without any problems, even if they have a ladder on their roof.

“Each bay contains 7 programmes, i.e. rim cleaner, pre-wash, foam lance, foam brush, rinse, hot wax and gloss rinse. A manhole cover in front of each track, which serves as a waiting pit so that any blockages at the sludge collection point can quickly and efficiently be solved. Furthermore, 2 of the bays are equipped with a Velogroom, which allows customers to clean their bicycle easily and conveniently. Originally, these bicycle stands were not planned, but during the test phase we noticed that several customers came in to wash their bicycles, so there was potential for these devices. Verhoeven finished the entire rear walls with black sandwich panels, giving the project an extra special look”, emphasises Iben Schellekens.

The Valina payment kiosk is located on the outside of the technical room. Customers can pay with 5, 10 and 20 euro notes, 1 and 2 euro coins, with a bank card or with their smartphone.

Technical specifications

The area of the technical room in Wilrijk is larger than it would usually be.

“The dimensions of the technical room are 4 by 7 metres. This makes it pleasant to work in and also allows a considerable amount of chemicals to be stored. We offer the operator of a self-service car wash the choice of using hot or cold water for each washing programme. With a simple click on the touchscreen controller, operators can decide about gas consumption by either or not heating the water (and can possibly save on energy costs). Remote control of the system is also possible. Foam systems with a lance or brush are available in all forms, both under low pressure in combination with compressed air and under high pressure. We always adapt the pump unit according to the wishes of the end customer. We work with Inter-pump references as standard, but in this case, we chose to work with CAT high-pressure pumps with an operating pressure of 140 bar”, explains Iben Schellekens.

Iben Schellekens - CTW Cleaning

Self-service car wash; extra-long opening hours

Late night cleaning? No problem! The self-service car wash is open from 7:00 to 0:00.

“Since we are located in a business area and there is very little residential activity here, we can offer extra-long opening hours. In order to allow the customers to clean their vehicles comfortably, even at night, three lampposts with LED lighting were installed. The car wash site is also equipped with various accessories so that customers can also clean the interior of their vehicles. The site has 5 vacuum cleaners, 3 mat beaters and 6 rubbish bins. In addition, a partially underground Traflux waste container is also available. The vacuum systems only work with tokens, to reduce the chances of burglary. With this in mind, and also to prevent illegal dumping, the site is monitored by cameras”, Iben Schellekens explains.

Great start

“In the initial phase, some customers had to be reminded of the new address and would still accidentally drive to the old self-car wash location”, says Iben Schellekens. “But with clear signs, including an advertising column with logo, LED strips on the car wash construction, flags, and banners, we managed to solve this issue.

To support the launch of our new self-car wash, we unveiled a remarkable marketing campaign. We sent flyers through the post in Wilrijk, on which we announced that customers could wash their car for 10 minutes for €2. This initiative was a success.”

Technical details of the project

  • Location: Kernenergiestraat 43 in Wilrijk
  • Operator: Fitwash bvba
  • Number of washing bays: 6 washing bays
  • Accessories: 5 vacuum cleaners, 3 mat beaters, 2 x Velogroom, 6 rubbish bins, 1 underground waste container of 5,000 litres and 3 lighting poles.
  • Opening hours: Every day from 7:00 to 0:00.
  • Main partners in project: CTW (technical installation), Traflux (waste container), Ballast Nedam (washing floor), Cavale Steel Company (construction) and Verhoeven Contracting (building of business unit, sandwich panels and site construction).

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