Conventional Dock Seals are a wood backed foam assembly wrapped in vinyl or neoprene. Dock seals are installed on the building wall at the loading dock and typically project 4”- 6” beyond the face of the dock bumpers.
When a truck backs into position at the loading dock the back of the truck compresses the dock seal until the truck contacts the dock bumpers. This 4”- 6” of compression forms a seal on the sides and top of the trailer minimizing energy loss when the truck is in positon with the overhead door open.
Properly specified and installed compression style dock seals meet the requirements to minimize energy loss with a truck in position at the loading dock. The most common and costly mistake at the loading dock is over compressing the dock seals. Over compressing the dock seal creates excessive pressure on the building wall which could cause damage to the facility.
When the truck is being loaded it is common for the bed of the truck to move up and down as the lift truck enters and leaves the trailer. This up and down movement on an over compressed dock seal causes extreme abrasive wear and possibly tearing to the face of the dock seal. It may also loosen the anchor bolts holding the dock seal in position.
An inflatable dock seal has a wood backing, air bags and a inflating blower. When not in use the dock seal is deflated and rests in position behind the dock bumpers.
When the truck is in position at the loading dock the dock attendant activates the inflating blower using an On/Off switch. Turning the inflating blower to “On” inflates the dock seal air bags and they extend out to meet the back of the trailer creating an effective energy seal. Inflatable dock seals contour to the back of the trailer providing the best seal with no pressure on the building wall.
Inflatable dock seals can be interlocked to the overhead door. With the overhead door closed the air bags are deflated, if interlocked, when the overhead door opens the air bags automatically inflate creating a seal at the back of the truck.
An additional advantage of an inflatable dock seal is the dock attendant determines when they are to be used or not. Based on the weather conditions there may be 5-6 months of the year that a door seal may not be required. A conventional compression style dock seal is impacted and compressed every time a truck backs into position causing additional wear.
Although a little more costly at time of purchase inflatable dock seals provide the best seal with no pressure on the building wall and minimal wear on the face of the air bags when the truck body moves up and down when loading occurs.
The initial extra cost at time of purchase is quickly recovered through improved energy savings, less wear and tear on the air bags and eliminating any potential damage to the building walls.
For additional information on inflatable dock seals please contact the Pentalift Sales Department.