Flat Belt Conveyors Offer Niche Solutions for Car Wash Safety and Convenience, Increased Car Count, and Reduced Maintenance

Apr 29, 2022




by Tim Fitzpatrick, Mid-Atlantic Sales Manager, Howco, Inc.

While several iterations of Flat Belt Conveyors have been used in the car wash industry for approximately 20 years, recent advances in this constantly improving niche product present an easier and safer method of moving vehicles through wash tunnels. Consequently, Howco is increasingly presenting and quoting flat belt options, particularly for express exterior car washes and detailers.

The advantages of flat belt conveyors include eliminating track entrance rails and difficulties for apprehensive customers and inexperienced employees loading vehicles onto the track.

As vehicles are driven onto the flat belt conveyor, all four wheels are equally transported and remain stationary. Furthermore, the vehicle does not need to roll in neutral as it does in a track, so anti-collision sensors do not engage the automatic braking system, eliminating the possibility of the car jumping the roller or climbing the rail. Flat belt conveyors allow the car to be in park or neutral (with a foot on the brake) if the driver prefers.

Car wash operators incorporating flat belt conveyors find that the benefits include:

  • - Flat belts offer ease of use and elevated safety for employees and customers, as:
  1. A larger belt footprint without push rollers makes loading easier and quicker, enhancing the customer experience.
  2. Drivers no longer must understand and know how to override their vehicles’ constantly changing safety systems, such as automatic braking,  that raise the risk of in-tunnel collisions.
  3. Concerns about drivers turning, braking, or shifting out of neutral while on the conveyor are eliminated.
  • - Increased car count is realized by loading them closer together for more efficient throughput.
  • - Flat belts have fewer moving parts, which reduces malfunctions and failures and results in lower maintenance needs, downtime, and damage claims.
  • - Flat belt conveyor technology is constantly improving with advanced polymers, belt depth and width flexibility, and belt customization from some manufacturers.
  • - Flat belts can accommodate vehicles with dual real wheels (“dualies”) as well as low-profile sports cars.

Please contact your Howco representative to determine if a Flat Belt Conveyor system is right for your wash.