Washing a car effectively takes more than soap and water; it takes proper equipment. At the heart of the operation is the motor. Motors actuate brushes, cars, water-hoses and more within a car washing system. Because these motors must operate for long hours under harsh conditions, motor selection presents a unique engineering challenge. For example, electric motors last longer but can be more expensive. Conversely, hydraulic motors are more cost-efficient, but reputed to suffer periodic oil leaks.
Electric motors: advantages vs. disadvantages
While electric motors appeal to consumers because of their longer life, applications in water-rich environments can lead to issues. Water and electricity do not mix. Leaks, rust, and corrosion are prevalent in a car-wash application and can lead to premature failure.
In addition to problems with water, an electric motor’s long life comes with a cost. Simply put, electric drive motors are more expensive. Typically, electric gear motors cost four to five times as much as a hydraulic motor with comparable performance. If repairs are required, electric replacement parts cost more as well. However, in an application that requires a long service life, the costs of an electric motor may be justified.
The hydraulic motor solution
A hydraulic motor is more cost effective, but has the reputation of creating a mess. While hydraulic lines can break and lead to oily spills, hydraulic motors should operate indefinitely, if the proper system maintenance is followed:
Regular inspection and replacement of worn hydraulic hoses.
Use of stainless steel tubing.
Standard maintenance of hydraulic power unit tank to the float level.
When water and metal is involved, corrosion is a concern. By design, hydraulic motors can withstand corrosion in a way that electric motors cannot. Unpainted and sealed hydraulic motors form a rust coating that allows the motor to adapt to a wet environment, without compromising motor performance.
Parker light duty hydraulic motors for car wash applications
Parker Low-Speed/High Torque (LSHT) motors are used in conveyor systems, wheel polishers and/or brushes. They offer a two-pressure zone, high pressure shaft seal that does not require a case drain line back to the reservoir. This design reduces cost, while retaining possible leak points on fitting and hose lines. The internal flow passage of the motors allows oil to reach all internal components, keeping fresh oil at the internal bearing and ensuring seal shaft lubrication. Fresh oil for components means longer life.
Robust bearings withstand higher side loads for applications that may require chain or sprocket shaft connections such as the car conveyor. The rugged construction of the TK series motor can transmit over 23,000 lb-in of torque in a compact, 6 x 10 inch package.
Discover more in this interactive video about Parker’s motors used in car wash application motors.
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