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Patent approval for loading and unloading equipment specialist Thorworld Industries

Leading high quality loading and unloading equipment specialist Thorworld Industries has been granted a UK patent for its unique new sliding nylon dock bumper (patent no. GB2468733), which is designed to provide customers with years of cost-effective, shock-absorbing protection to help reduce vehicle repair and building maintenance costs.

The company is now in advanced negotiations with a number of major companies regarding the national roll-out of the new bumper to warehouses and distribution centres throughout the country.

Dock bumpers are designed to increase safety and prevent considerable damage to both the vehicle and the infrastructure of the building. This is caused by misjudging the stopping distance while reversing a large vehicle up to a loading dock. A 30 tonne vehicle reversing into the dock at just 4mph will jolt even reinforced structures, resulting in costly repairs.

The Thorworld sliding nylon bumper incorporates a number of cost-effective features and comprises a heavy-duty black powder-coated steel frame, which is fixed to sound concrete or steelwork on the loading dock. The frame houses a solid block of nylon, and a unique fixing method enables the incorporation of a thick, heavy duty rubber packer at the rear to ensure maximum shock absorption. As a result the Thorworld bumper helps to reduce damage to both the building and the vehicle, as well as helping to protect any goods being carried.

The innovative sliding design means that each bumper can be turned upside-down and back-to-front to ensure even wear, thus extending its lifespan by as much as four times that of a traditional nylon dock bumper and significantly more than that for conventional rubber dock bumpers.

Added to this, the sliding action helps to extend the bumper’s lifespan still further because the nylon can move with the vehicle thus minimising abrasion damage – making them ideal for use with air suspension trailers.

The smooth front surface of the nylon, without any holes, also helps to protect both the vehicle and the bumpers themselves from potential damage that can occur when protruding objects on a vehicle get caught in the fixing holes on standard dock bumpers.

The standard 760mm (30") long version is suitable to cover a wide range of vehicle heights for most standard applications, however they can be fitted above the loading dock with appropriate support and can also have corner cut-outs to allow unrestricted access to the vehicle in above dock applications.

Speaking about the patent approval, John Meale, Thorworld managing director, said: "This announcement confirms the benefits of applying years of expertise in the design and manufacture of loading and unloading equipment into new applications that have proven customer benefits.

"Without installing dock bumpers, an organisation with multiple loading bays could incur literally tens of thousands of pounds in repair bills every year and yet this damage is entirely preventable, simply by investing in a relatively low cost piece of safety equipment."

In preparation for the launch of this new product, Thorworld initiated extensive field trials that further confirmed the effectiveness of its solution. By early 2010, the company had units on trial at a number of key sites throughout the country, across a range of different end-user applications. On several of these sites, the sliding nylon dock bumpers were trialled alongside alternative safety devices with great success.

"Our new sliding nylon dock bumpers offer exceptional value-for-money and whilst the initial purchase cost might be slightly higher than for standard non-sliding versions, when the nylon wears in one area, you can simply rotate and reverse them, extending each bumper’s effective working life by up to four times. What’s more, once the steel framework is fixed in position, the nylon insert can then be easily changed or rotated in seconds – without the need for any special tools", concluded 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 the UK’s widest range of high quality loading bay & materials handling equipment, safety aids and accessories, including dock shelters & seals, dock levellers, modular loading docks, dock plates & boards, dock & vehicle bumpers, wheel chocks & vehicle restraints, traffic & dock lights, wheel guides & alignment curbs, access ramps, trailer safety jacks and mobile yardramps (available for purchase or rental on a sale or return basis through the company’s RentARamp® division), together with the Truckloada® mobile yardlift and the Dockloada® scissor lift platform.

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