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Preventing Energy Leaks at the Dock Door

Ways to reduce energy costs and retain treated air in the warehouse

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inner dock doors at a warehouse

Any operation with dock doors faces an uphill challenge when it comes to preserving the climate inside. In particular, air-conditioned and heated facilities must face the reality of losing large volumes of treated air when trailers must be loaded or unloaded. Managers will be asked to scrutinize every expense, and the loss of climate controlled air can be a significant expense.

So how can you minimize air and energy loss?

Dock doors

A typical dock leveler the bottom of dock door isn’t insulated or sealed. It’s easy to understand the air loss of an untreated door by feeling where the door meets the leveler or the floor. Insulating the bottom edge of the dock door is an easy way to reduce internal climate loss.

Installing vinyl strip doors that help contain climate during loading/unloading is a relatively inexpensive way to reduce air loss. Based on the traffic you’ll see – pedestrian, forklift, or a combination – you can specify strip doors for your facility that can work with many types of dock doors. Some operations that cannot install strip doors utilize curtain walls that segment the dock area from the rest of the facility to reduce cooling costs.

Dock leveler pits

Unless specifically designed for energy savings, most pit mount dock levelers leak  air through the small gaps between the edge of the machinery and the pit walls. The air volume lost this way is significant, and if you have multiple doors, it gets more significant. Treat the pit edges, or consider weather-seal systems that fill the gaps around the sides and rear of the leveler. All new dock levelers should be built with insulated sides and edges. For existing levelers, affordable and easy-to-install aftermarket insulation kits are available from a number of manufacturers.

More tips

Also, consider tighter control of your dock doors. Yard management systems and dock door control systems can help ensure that doors and levelers are engaged at exactly the right times, for exactly the right amount of time. High-speed doors can be used to minimize the time spent with an open door.
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Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Vice President of Marketing with more than thirty years of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. His work is published in multiple industry journals an websites on a variety of warehousing topics. He writes about automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations and those who operate them.

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