Dock-seal fire problem identified

In the past 18 months, Frommelt Products Corp., a manufacturer of dock seals, has recorded nearly 90 incidents of dock-seal fire damage. Why the sudden rise in a problem that seemed nonexistent just a few years ago? The answer reads almost like a TV detective story. Several factors have converged since 1999 to cause the rise in incidents and property damage.

04/28/2003


In the past 18 months, Frommelt Products Corp., a manufacturer of dock seals, has recorded nearly 90 incidents of dock-seal fire damage. Why the sudden rise in a problem that seemed nonexistent just a few years ago? The answer reads almost like a TV detective story.

Several factors have converged since 1999 to cause the rise in incidents and property damage. First, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1999 issued an "interpretive rule" regarding the positioning of identification lamps and clearance lamps on the rear, upper header of trailers. Second, truckers began adding additional or larger alternators to their trucks to power the various accessories and onboard systems. The additional power produces more heat in truck and trailer lights. Third, until the recent research conducted by Frommelt, no one recognized the danger of leaving a lighted trailer in contact with the dock seal.

Now, it is evident that the required identification lamps in close contact with the dock shelter can generate enough heat to ignite the seal — in as little as 20 minutes.

The costs of such fires can run high, perhaps into the millions when the fire spreads to destroy the contents of a trailer. At the least, they damage the dock seals, leading to premature replacement.

According to Frommelt, few companies realize that dock seals pose a serious threat and that the problem can be prevented. Eventually, trailer lights will use cool, LED lamps instead of the hot, incandescent lamps that now prevail. But that changeover will likely take years. Administrative measures such as ensuring that trailer lights are off when at the dock will also help. Use of fire- retardant materials in dock seals can also help reduce damage, but they can't prevent fires. The most effective measure is the use of fire- resistant materials in dock seals designed to prevent the buildup of heat from hot-burning trailer lights.

Frommelt reports the number of undocumented fires caused by this phenomenon is likely to be substantially higher than the company-reported incidents. The company estimates there are well over 200,000 dock positions in the U.S. currently at risk for dock-seal fires.

"We find that most facility decision makers are totally unaware of the threat," says Frommelt President Paul Rowlett. "What's more, they also find it hard to believe it can happen to them."

Additional information is available from Frommelt at 414-355-2600 or ritehite.com .





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me