Rotor, the American success story from Brushcom
Last year Brushcom presented the Rotor: a dry brush developed especially for the American car wash market. The brush with the striking bunny ears is proving to be a real eye-catcher across the ocean. “Motorists are even taking pictures of it in the car wash.”
Brushcom has been supplying brush material to American customers for some time. US car wash operators asked the company in Oss a few years back if they couldn’t supply a good dry brush. However, because car washes in the U.S. use a different mechanical system, such a brush was not easy to pull off the shelf. “In Europe we often use a C-core shaft,” explains Lance van Hees, sales engineer at Brushcom “There they often use a Starcore shaft. That’s actually a solid shaft over which you slide the parts. There was no solution for that, yet. So we started coming up with one.”
The development of the Rotor took place in Brushcom’s own workshop. Because it already has a distributor in California (QC Pacific), it seemed logical to kick off the first serious field test there.
“You can invent and test such a brush, but the amount of cars washed daily are rarely reached here. And the real test you can only do in the car wash anyway.”
At the end of 2021, Brushcom receives the first feedback from the U.S.. It turned out to be enormously positive. “Moreover, motorists were also pleased with the brush. After that, we decided to develop the Rotor specifically for the U.S. market.”
On the popular Facebook forum TalkCarWash, the Rotor brush is also discussed. Not least because of its striking design. The oval shaped brushes look a bit like rabbit ears. In Oss they follow along on the forum and decide to approach one of the forum founders (and owner of Camel Express Car Wash) Tyler Slaughter. Wouldn’t he be interested to try such a brush himself? Indeed he would.
“After Tyler received the brush, he was so lyrical about it that he immediately ordered the Rotor for all four of his locations. He also told us that his customers were taking pictures of the brushes from the inside of their cars. His support helped us tremendously. When we were at the car wash fair in Nashville with the Rotor, we got a lot of calls and requests.”
But what exactly is so special about the Rotor? “The distinction of the brush is in the material. We call it Microdry+, because we actually laminate two materials on top of each other. On the front you’ll find Microdry material, which consists of two fibers. One fiber absorbs the water, the other releases the absorbed moisture back into the air. I sometimes jokingly say that the brush dries itself by the twisting motion. On the back side of the brush, we glued a felt material that makes the brush firmer. As a result, you achieve the drying power you’re looking for.”
After the initial testing, some possible improvements come to light. Especially in terms of design and attachment, Brushcom fine tuned the Rotor to perfection. “We initially made the brush in one diameter. In the end it didn’t fit perfectly over a vehicle. We changed that. Now the diameter in the middle is a little smaller, so it falls over the vehicle more evenly. In addition, the Rotor is now available in seven different colors. Initially, it was only the color blue.”
“The individual rotor segments are all attached with Velcro. Compared to traditional dry brushes, this makes them much faster to assemble. There were already brushes with Velcro, but then you sometimes had to pull off 900 joints. We managed to reduce that to 160.”
The Velcro used cannot be compared to the fasteners used in sneakers or sportswear, for example. It is many times more durable and powerful, Van Hees assures. “The quality of Velcro is measured by how often it can be fastened and unfastened. Ours can be assembled and disassembled more than 10,000 times. Usually the brush is worn out by then.”
Exports to the US grew significantly after 2016, Brushcom’s website learns. Are there actually differences in the way of doing business between Americans and Europeans? “We mainly have e-mail contact with the US. In that, you do notice that Americans write email messages like we do send WhatsApp messages to each other. Very direct and concrete. Europeans are slightly more formal in their e-mails. At the same time, car wash people understand each other, no matter where they come from.” The time difference also plays a role in communication. “I regularly have Zoom meetings in the evening hours. Plus they use Facebook Messenger more than we do. So I can’t avoid checking Messenger in the evening hours from time to time.”
Brushcom prefers not to deliver directly to U.S. customers but instead likes to use distributors, such as QC Pacific for the southwestern U.S. “The customer deserves the best service and as a manufacturer we can’t always be on standby. We cannot provide the same service as a local distributor can. Hence, we try to play requests from the U.S. through a distributor as much as possible.Sometimes those are existing distributors, but often enough I also ask customers where they get their suplies from. Then we contact those companies.” Brushcom has the East Coast and in the southwestern part of the U.S. covered. “But in Texas, for example, we don’t have good coverage yet, and the middle some white spots remain as well.”
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