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Thorworld’s inflatable dock pad seals provide a double-deck solution for John Lewis

Leading loading and unloading specialist Thorworld Industries has supplied existing customer John Lewis with new Inflatable Dock Pad Seals, to cater for the retailer’s increased use of double-deck vehicle trailers.

For over a decade, loading bays at John Lewis’ distribution depot in Liverpool have been fitted with Thorworld’s Inflatable Dock Pad Seals, which provide a virtually airtight sealed insulation around docked vehicles between internal and external environments. This ensures effective protection against inclement weather, in order to reduce energy costs as well as providing a healthy working environment for warehouse employees.

For John Lewis’ Liverpool operation, the dock pad seals have been invaluable, as the depot’s Branch Maintenance Manager, Mark Allen explains: "Our loading bay doors face towards the Mersey, so whenever there’s a prevailing wind we’re at the mercy of the elements. Thorworld’s Inflatable Dock Pad Seals are extremely effective in maintaining a consistent internal temperature, for the well-being both of our staff and our heating bills."

In recent years, the increasing use of double-deck trailers has put new pressures on the loading bays and the original dock pad seals were beginning to be damaged beyond repair by activity for which they had not originally been fitted.

Thorworld’s Technical Manager, Ian Langan, explains: "While the seals themselves can easily accommodate a double-deck trailer, the height of the fans used to inflate the seals was based on single-decker usage. Inevitably, the subsequent arrival of double-deck trailers has resulted in the fans being damaged."

John Lewis realised that long-term efficiency of the depot required a swift upgrade, and the company asked Thorworld to provide new and up-to-date Inflatable Dock Pad Seals. "Thorworld has done a great job in the past, as the reliability of their seals is matched by the responsiveness of the company’s service, so we’re happy to use them again," confirms Mark Allen.

Four pairs of Inflatable Dock Pad Seals were ordered to accommodate the depot’s loading bays. Thorworld then worked closely with John Lewis on the planning of the installation, which required the removal of the old seals as well the repositioning of the fans to the top corner of the bays, high enough to avoid coming into contact with double-deck trailers.

Extremely effective and easy to install, operate and maintain, Inflatable Dock Pad Seals are fitted around the sides and top of each loading bay. The vehicle simply reverses up to the pad as normal and, once in position, the 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.

Inflatable Dock Pad Seals are normally complemented by the provision of Thorworld Alignment Curbs, ensuring that trailers can be quickly and correctly positioned at the loading bay to minimise the time the dock door remains open before the seal is inflated. In the case of John Lewis, Thorworld curbs were not required because the depot already had its own concrete curbs already in place.

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