Report from the second trade fair day in Stuttgart

On the second day of the UNITI expo 2024 trade fair, visitors came across further innovations and new launches in the car wash business.

WashTec, the washing technology manufacturer, presented two innovations for the car wash industry in Stuttgart: In the self-service car wash, customers can use the FlexiBrush to prevent annoying unpaid washes in the self-service car wash. “We have recognized the need in the market, as operators have repeatedly told us that there are people who continue to scrub their vehicles with the brush without inserting coins. We prevent this by only allowing washing with a fixed brush head when coins are inserted again. At the end of the day, this generates more revenue for our operators,” explains Matthias Thomann, Sales Manager Austria, WashTec AG.

Secondly, there is the new wheel washer, the new generation of WashTec’s wheel washer for the SoftLine² car wash. It promises the best wheel washing quality with modern, robust technology. A wide range of performance and safety features guarantee high-performance and safe operation within the washing process, with the aim of significantly reducing manual pre-washing work thanks to intelligent control. The new wheel washer can be retrofitted to all SoftLine² washing lines. “Especially for systems with a plastic conveyor belt, our new wheel washer is a way to ensure excellent rim cleaning despite the wheel being stationary,” Thomann continues.

Insect remover

Schäfer Chemie, a company that has been reliably supplying car wash operators with high-quality washing chemicals for 25 years, is an indispensable part of the car wash industry. Current products such as the EXPRESS insect remover with TITAN fragrance, convincing spray pattern and accompanying marketing were presented in Stuttgart.

The technology company Superoperator offers software solutions that enable car washes to quickly and easily go digital. This can increase sales by increasing car wash capacity utilization, open up new customer segments and retain existing customers through integrated marketing and customer loyalty functions. For the operator, the laundry business becomes more transparent and controllable thanks to digital analysis tools.


twenty4U offers next-generation store systems and vending machine solutions. At the point of sale, highly intelligent dispensers come together with intelligent software packages to offer car wash customers all services in the to-go business and other offers beyond at the moment of the car wash. Following on from car washes, it is possible to view the queue before purchasing the wash and, in conjunction with digitally controlled dispensers, all desired products can be reserved to go and ordered ready for collection. This increases the added value for the car wash customer, who can conveniently and easily use all services and takeaway products tailored to their needs in addition to high-quality car washes.

Panel discussion: sustainability

The CarWash Forum concluded with a panel discussion on the topic of sustainability. Alexander Christ, Member of the Board Christ Wash Systems, Sebastian Kutz, CSO and Member of the Board WashTec AG, Patrick Ginster, Sales Manager Service Stations & Carwash, SONAX GmbH and Markus Schmoll, Managing Director Nais Wasseraufbereitungstechnik GmbH examined this topic from different perspectives. It became clear that sustainability in the car wash industry will always be a compromise between environmental and resource conservation and washing turnover and customer satisfaction.

Otto Christ AG, for example, takes the approach of using energy in a targeted manner and only using “full power” in the energy-intensive drying stage of the laundry process where it delivers the desired results.

WashTec is pursuing the goal of improving sustainability through more washes. “If subscription customers wash their cars more often, operators can reduce their use of chemicals, water and energy,” explains Kutz.

Markus Schmoll explained that it is theoretically possible to produce fresh water from any type of process water in the water treatment plant. However, this would not make sense as the use of resources and the costs would be disproportionate. With regard to the different phases of water treatment, for example, only as much air should be added to the energy-intensive biological treatment process as is necessary and no more in order to save energy costs.

Two special topics in the industry were also examined in terms of their sustainability: Fragrance and paint foam. SONAX has spoken out completely against the use of colored foam for reasons of sustainability, but Ginster explained: “As is so often the case, there is no black or white here. You have to use this in a targeted and conscious way. Ultimately, however, the laundry customer also has to be involved in the sustainability process.”

The fact that sustainability has not yet reached the end of the road was put up for discussion by Alexander Christ in a promising statement: “A little more pressure on our manufacturers is certainly a good thing so that sustainability can grow. I think there is still room for improvement in this area.”

all photo’s: Sandra Schäfer

Author: Sandra Schäfer

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