Loading dock seals at the Midland Co-operative Society  Distribution Centre have been upgraded to sara LBS equipment after the original inflatable dock seals started to cause concern. The seals on all seven of the original loading bays had worn extremely quickly and lost vital insulation, resulting in increased energy costs for the distribution centre. The replacements, which were supplied and installed by sara LBS, offer effective insulation and require little maintenance.

Independent from the Co-operative Group, Midlands Co-operative Society is one of the largest independent retailers in the UK. Its principal business activities are retail and funeral services, though it also has interests in retail garages, specialist vehicle construction, coffin manufacture, florists and farming; as well as managing a significant investment property portfolio.

Its core business is food retail, which generates around 70% of its total turnover. A large distribution centre, located in Leicester, which supplies its own stores as well as neighbouring branches of the Heart of England, Midcounties and Tamworth Societies’.

With seven loading bays and a busy delivery and pick up schedule it is able to keep the wide network of shops stocked with the Society’s popular Fairtrade products. However, with such regular deliveries it is important the insulation capabilities of the loading bays are kept to a high standard as the warehouse needs to remain chilled to ensure the longevity of the food. When it was discovered that the original equipment dock seals, supplied by a different manufacturer, had worn uncharacteristically early; loading bay specialist sara LBS was asked to advise on a solution.

Alan Ryder, sara LBS Area Sales Manager for the Midlands, comments: “We were approached to inspect the loading bays at the distribution centre as it had been found that the original dock seals were failing to provide the adequate level of insulation. I visited the site and it was clear the original installers had installed incorrect sequencing instructions which led to premature damage of the seals. We were able to retro-fit replacement seals to the existing loading bays that would help to maintain the warehouse’s chillled temperature and require very little future maintenance.”

sara LBS supplied dock seals that were designed to fit the existing shelter structure, keeping the replacement costs to a minimum. Using insulated side and roof panels and a horizontal head curtain, attached with a special aerolastic wind guy system to maintain curtain position, the new seals help to maintain the cool temperature in the warehouse when the doors are opened for loading and unloading vehicles.

Speaking on behalf of the Midland’s Co-operative Society, Brian Till adds: “The service we received from sara LBS was fantastic. After visiting the site Alan was able to identify the problem with the existing sealing solution and offer us an alternative. By designing the new seals to fit the architecture of the existing loading bay he also reduced costs and installation time. The new seals offer the perfect level of protection from the outside environment during operation and will require very little maintenance in the future.”

sara LBS Dock Seals

The wide range of vehicles used in industry, and the strong demand from particular sectors such as Manufacturing, Food and Cold Storage, have led to the development of three types of sara LBS dock seal: Wipe Seal, which uses flexible curtains on a framework; Touch Seal, where inflatable air bags press onto the vehicle; and Compression Seal, where the vehicle reverses onto projecting buffers and compresses part of the foam pads beyond the buffer line. Each offers varying degrees of insulation and flexibility and can be installed at dock or ground level.

Additional options include rigid or retractable frames, enhanced insulation panels on the side frames and ‘combination shelters’, which incorporate the benefits of two standard designs. Available with all sara LBS designed loading bays or as replacement parts for existing units, all sales will be preceded with a site visit from an expert sales engineer to ensure that the correct solution is designed for each application.

sara LBS


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