Taking control of a controlled-temperature dock
December 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial
A dry loading dock is a safer loading dock. Preventing moisture from building up on the loading dock is of particular concern for cold storage facilities such as Wegmans Food Markets in Rochester, N.Y. By installing new doors, the facility has improved safety and energy efficiency while reducing maintenance costs.
Jeff Smith, facilities maintenance supervisor, needed to replace failing vertical rise freezer slab doors that had heating strips embedded into the panels. He looked to a new supplier (TKO, tkodoors.com) that installed doors designed specifically for use with vertical storing dock levelers.
“The doors have cleared up all of our issues involving our dock doorways,” says Smith. “We are looking to replace all of our cold storage dock doors with the new doors.”
The 4-inch thick, R-23 rated panels equal the thickness of the building wall to provide thermal protection against energy loss and increased year-round efficiency. Along with providing a significant level of insulation, the door panels’ closed-cell XEPS foam cores resist moisture accumulation, leading to longer life for the door’s motor.
Another area of potential energy loss on Wegmans’ dock was the door seals. In a 20-degree temperature-controlled dock, the single seal on the previous doors did not keep out exterior temperatures. The new doors are equipped with dual-side compression seals, which fill gaps along the door and are mounted directly to the door panel rather than the door jamb. Raising the door removes the seals from the impact zone to avoid damage and provide a consistent, continuous seal. The door also has a durable double-loop compression seal at the bottom for a tight seal on the warehouse floor, without running the risk of the door freezing to the dock.
The door also offers a full-height polymer thermal break track, which is enclosed in an energy-reflective foil fabric. Unlike traditional metal tracks, the track design not only helps prevent energy loss, it prevents the accumulation of moisture on the dock that can cause mold buildup and make the dock floors dangerously slippery.
From reduced maintenance costs and decreased energy loss, the new doors Wegmans installed have made all-around operations more efficient. Enhanced safety from the reduced likelihood of slippery floors also helps Wegmans to keep its place on Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Places to Work.”