Newcastle-based Zytronic UK has won deal to supply equipment for an international manufacturer of retail car wash units.

Nilfisk Car Wash Business Unit has chosen Zytronic’s Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT) touch sensors to provide the user interface and interactive digital signage features for its Wap WaschBär self-service car wash systems.

Nilfisk selected the 12-inch ZyBrid touch sensors because of their consistent, reliable performance in a wet environment. Nilfisk has more than 1,000 systems deployed in locations throughout Europe.

Martin Seitz, product manager for car wash products at Nilfisk, said: “Nilfisk pioneered the introduction of touch screens into self-service car wash installations. Currently, 80% of German customers and 50% of Russian and Polish customers specify the touch screen version of the Wap WaschBär over the lower cost version with control buttons.

“The screens make our car wash much easier and more intuitive to use, with short video clips on correct operation supplementing written instructions. Operators are also able to increase sales by promoting special offers. For example, it is common to offer a longer wash time during the night at 24 hour stations. Also, operators can capture additional revenue by selling space on the screens for advertising.”

Self-service car washes represent a very demanding environment, as they are outdoor, used year round in all weather conditions and almost constantly wet. Sometimes, for example, the user may direct the wash hose at the control unit.

The challenge for Nilfisk was identifying a touch technology that was completely sealable, worked reliably when wet and delivered a great user experience in all conditions. It found that many touchscreens performed erratically or failed altogether when water was present on the screen.

Seitz continued: “Zytronic touch sensors are completely unaffected by water even if it is on the screen itself. The sensors are exceptionally reliable and give the outstanding user experience that our customers expect from a market leader.”

In addition to providing intuitive and easy to follow operating instructions, the ZyBrid touch screens offer a flexible interactive digital signage platform. Nilfisk provides a web interface, enabling images and videos to be uploaded and changed from a remote, networked location. In addition to their own special offers, operators typically use the screens to promote car accessories and other products available within the forecourt store, and even allows customers to make purchases direct from the terminal.

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