Digital Signage Gets Hosed Down

August 3, 2016 by Dave Haynes


Whether this is better termed a kiosk than digital signage could be debated endlessly, but what’s more interesting here is how a company has figured out a way to make projected capacitive touchscreen technology to work reliably in the crazily harsh environment of a car wash.

Cleaning equipment manufacturer Nilfisk has developed with touch overlay maker Zytronic a 12-inch touch display that is running happily in some 1,000 car wash bays across Europe.

If you don’t know touch terminology, projected capacitive is what you are working with on an iPad. It’s not the cheap and simple boink-boink experience of an ATM screen.

“Nilfisk pioneered the introduction of touch screens into self-service car wash installations,” says Martin Seitz, Product Manager for Car Wash Products at Nilfisk, “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.”

My assumption is that with all the water and dirt and general crud involved with a car wash, it would be pretty impressive to get a screen running reliably, never mind one with sophisticated touch.

The digital signage bit would be that operators are rolling in special offers in the programming, and have the opportunity to sell advertising time on the screens.

Says a press release:

Self-service car washes represent a very demanding environment, as they are outdoor, in operation 24×7, used year round in all weather conditions and are 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 delivers a great user experience in all conditions. It found that many touchscreens performed erratically or failed altogether when water were present on the screen, causing great frustration to customers, particularly if the problems led to car wash selection errors.

Martin 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 provide 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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