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Inflatable dock seals from Thorworld Industries reduce energy bills

As energy prices look set to continue rising throughout 2010, more and more companies will be looking to cut the cost of their fuel bills. And, according to John Meale, Managing Director of Thorworld Industries Ltd, 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 typical warehouse, distribution centre or factory, loading bays can be in frequent use throughout a typical working day. As a result, companies can incur increased energy costs as their climate control systems struggle to maintain a consistent internal temperature during loading and unloading operations when external doors are constantly opened and closed.

But, says John Meale, minimising internal temperature changes and reducing energy costs in the loading bay 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.

Extremely effective and easy to install, operate and maintain, Thortight Inflatable Dock Seals are fitted around the sides and top of each loading bay. The vehicle simply reverses up to the dock as normal and, once in position, the Thortight seals are then 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 that 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, but it also helps to 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.

Speaking about Thortight Inflatable Dock Seals, John Meale said: "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 and working conditions.

"We’ve already seen one big name supermarket chain investing in Thortight Inflatable Dock Seals for all its 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, I’m certain this product will become even more popular in 2010."

Available in eight different sizes to fit doors between 3m and 3.3 m wide and 3.2m and 4.6 m high, Thortight Inflatable Dock Seals are ideal for the majority of loading bays and, thanks to their unique 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.

Thortight Inflatable 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.

Manufactured from Neoprene Polyamide fabric coated with Chloroprene rubber, the seals are smooth and extremely durable. And because the seals are not inflated until the vehicle is in place, everyday wear and tear is minimised, ensuring that they have a long working life. In fact, 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 extremely hard wearing products, offering year after year of energy savings, as well as an enhanced internal environment," said John Meale.

Thorworld is firmly established as one of the foremost designers, manufacturers and suppliers to the loading bay and materials handling sectors and is recognised as both a market leader and innovator in the supply of quality engineered equipment.

The company provides a one-stop, single source for what is claimed to be the most extensive range of high quality loading bay and materials handling products, safety aids and accessories in the UK, including dock shelters and seals, dock levellers, modular loading docks, dock plates and boards, dock and vehicle bumpers, wheel chocks, vehicle restraints, traffic lights wheel guides, alignment curbs and mobile yardramps (available for purchase or rental through the company’s RentARAmp operation, on a sale or return basis), together with the Truckloada mobile yardlift and the Dockloada scissor lift platform.

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