Blog: Upgraded HydroMinder A Next-Generation Solution For Dosing Vehicle Wash Ultra-Concentrate Chemicals

Cleaning chemistries are an essential part of any vehicle-wash system. When combined with water in proper doses, these chemicals perform the tough task of removing accumulated dirt and grime from the vehicle, creating a bright, shiny surface, as well as – if the wash process has been completed satisfactorily – a bright, shiny smile on the driver’s face as he or she exits the wash bay.

Traditionally, wash chemicals have been pre-mixed with water at the manufacturing plant and then shipped to the wash operator. However, as shipping costs have increased, it makes little sense for this water/chemical mixture to be shipped when the raw chemicals can be mixed with water at the wash site.

To combat this problem, the manufacturers of wash chemicals have developed what are being called “ultra-concentrates” that can be shipped to the wash location and mixed on-site with municipal water, thereby saving the costs associated with shipping large containers of pre-mixed chemicals. Ultra-concentrates can run the full gamut of vehicle-wash chemicals, from presoaks, conditioners and detergents to tire cleaners, drying agents and sealants, all of which can come in low-pH, neutral and high-pH formulas.

However, while the use of ultra-concentrates offers many benefits to the wash operator, their formulation and the dilution rates that are required for their dosing do not make them a plug-and-play option for existing chemical-injection systems. There are generally four types of chemical-dilution systems:

  1. Low-pressure venturi eductors (i.e., float-valve technology)
  2. Water-driven pumps
  3. High-pressure venturi injectors
  4. Electronic metering pumps

Knowing the type of dilution being used is as important as the types of chemicals that will be used in it.

In this realm, Hydro offers its HydroMinder low-pressure venturi-based chemical-dilution system. For more than 20 years, HydroMinder has been the industry standard for chemical-dilution and liquid-level maintenance in vehicle-wash applications. When the liquid level in a chemical reservoir drops below a pre-set line, the HydroMinder’s float opens a non-electric, magnetic valve that allows a flow of water to siphon chemical concentrate into the water stream, automatically maintaining a level of ready-to-use vehicle-wash solution.

To be compatible with the new ultra-concentrates, Hydro made some modifications to the HydroMinder’s design and operation. The result was the creation of ultra-lean discs (ULDs) that complement traditional metering tips and are essential for use with ultra-concentrates in some cases. The ULDs are available in four sizes depending on the type of ultra-concentrate being handled. Instead of using a metering tip, the ULDs are layered and positioned strategically, then threaded directly onto the eductor.

Depending on the type of color-coded ULDs that are present and active, the length and complexity of the eductor’s internal channel changes, simultaneously increasing or decreasing the amount of time it takes the chemical to move through the ULD, in a setup that Hydro calls “tortuous path technology.” So, the longer it takes the chemical to move through the eductor, the leaner the dilution.

This design and method of operation offers many benefits for vehicle-wash operations that are utilizing ultra-concentrates:

  • Ability to create a standard 7:1 dilution rate and maintain dilution rates down to 1,500:1, 2,000:1 and even 2,500:1
  • Ability to maintain a +/-10% or less difference between actual and published dilution ratios
  • Less chance for clogging because the channels on the ULDs are wider than metering-tip holes
  • Since the chemicals pass through the eductor, they don’t contact the water valve or other internal components, which improves service life
  • The E-gap eductor prevents potentially damaging water backflow
  • Vibraseal thread sealant is used on all metal-to-metal connections with Loctite used for all plastic-to-plastic connections
  • A fine-mesh strainer creates better filtration capabilities
  • Ceramic magnets that are less susceptible to rust or corrosion
  • Can be used with low-pH, neutral and high-pH chemical formulations

In the end, the HydroMinder with ULD technology allows vehicle-wash operators to identify and maintain that sweet spot between ultra-concentrate chemical performance-robbing over- and under-dilution. Chemical under-dilution results in less chemical being used and, by extension, a still-dirty vehicle existing the wash, which can lead to unhappy drivers who may request a refund or rewash. On the other hand, over-dilution sees more chemical than is required being used during the wash process, which results in wasted chemical and a hit to the operator’s bottom line.

The benefits of ultra-concentrates are many for wash operators, ranging from reduced shipping costs to efficient “to the last drop” consumption of wash chemicals. For decades, wash operators have turned to the HydroMinder for reliable wash-chemical management and the new ULD-outfitted HydroMinder enables operators who are relying on next-generation ultra-concentrates to take that performance to the next level.

For more information on the HydroMinder or any of Hydro’s other chemical-dispensing, dosing and injection solutions, please visit

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Customer Service and Technical Support

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