Saturday 22nd Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Dock ready for double-deckers

John Lewis has been increasing its use of double-deck trailers and to cater for this has installed new inflatable dock pad seals  

from Thorworld. 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 protection against bad weather, 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. Branch maintenance manager, Mark Allen says: “Our loading bay doors face towards the Mersey, so whenever there’s a prevailing wind we’re at the mercy of the elements.”

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.

“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,” says Thorworld technical manager, Ian Langan. 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.

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.