With continuing concern regarding high energy prices, more companies are looking to cut the cost of their fuel bills. And, according to John Meale, managing director of Thorworld Industries, one of the first places to achieve energy savings is in the loading bay – particularly if you operate an ambient or temperature controlled building such as a cold store
In a warehouse, distribution centre, large store or factory, loading bays can be in frequent use throughout a working day. As a result, companies can incur increased energy costs and detrimental environmental conditions as their climate control systems struggle to maintain a consistent internal temperature not only in the warehouse but other areas within the company, during loading and unloading operations when external doors are constantly opened and closed. But minimising internal temperature changes and reducing energy costs in the loading bay and other areas of the company is not only simple but extremely cost-effective with the installation of Thortight inflatable dock seals, which provide virtually airtight sealed insulation between the internal and external environments.
Said to be effective, easy to install, operate and maintain, Thortight inflatable dock seals are fitted around the sides and top of each loading bay. The vehicle reverses up to the dock and, once in position, the Thortight seals are inflated – which takes around 30 seconds – to create a tight seal before the doors are then opened and loading/unloading can proceed. Curved sides guarantee an effective seal is maintained even in high winds.
Not only does a Thortight inflatable dock seal prevent the loss of refrigerated or warm air, it also helps prevent dirt, dust and insects from entering the building thus minimising the potential for contamination – vital where food or other hygiene critical products are prepared or stored – as well as providing an enhanced working environment for employees and customers in large stores and companies
Meale says: “Companies operating ambient or refrigerated environments invest a lot in the fabric, fixtures and fittings of their buildings in order to maintain the optimum internal temperature in the most cost-effective manner. Then every time an external door is opened to load or unload a vehicle, all that precious cool or warm air escapes, resulting in an unnecessary increase in energy costs – as well as being detrimental to the internal business operations, working conditions and satisfaction of your customers and employees
“We’ve already seen big supermarket chains investing in Thortight inflatable dock seals for distribution centres throughout the UK, joining a number of other major high street brands and independent operations. And with more and more companies now looking even more closely at their ever-increasing fuel bills and customer/employee satisfaction I’m certain this product will continue to further increase its popularity.”
Available in eight different sizes to fit doors between 3m and 3.3m wide and 3.2m and 4.6m high, Thortight inflatable dock seals are suitable for most loading bays and, thanks to their design, they are also suitable for use with a wide variety of different vehicle sizes and types. Bespoke seals can be produced to meet specific individual customer requirements.
The dock seals are constructed from four main components – the top cushion, two side cushions and the fitting set – with the largest having a unit weight of 150kg. This is covered by a corrugated steel roof and the fan used to inflate the seals is placed externally under the roof. Air is taken from outside so no internal heated or cooled air is used and noise level inside the building is low.
They are manufactured from neoprene polyamide fabric coated with chloroprene rubber making them smooth and durable. Because the seals are not inflated until the vehicle is in place, everyday wear and tear is minimised, ensuring they have a long working life. When used in conjunction with Thorworld wheel guides, alignment curbs and dock bumpers, the truck will never touch the seals at all, other than when they are inflated.
“These are hard wearing products, offering year after year of energy savings, as well as enhanced internal building environment control,” says Meale.
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