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MTTC Continues Efforts to Make Navy Maintenance and Safety Headaches Disappear Photo of the Vertical Package Conveyor

On September 5, 2003, the U.S. Navy issued approval to MTTC for a Fleet Maintenance Project addressing the maintenance-intensive and failure-prone chain system in the shipboard vertical package conveyors (VPCs). This is the 31st project MTTC will undertake to solve some of the Navy’s top maintenance concerns.

VPCs are continuous “dumbwaiters” used to upload and download stores from the refrigerators and dry storage areas deep in the ship. In a previous project, MTTC sponsored a very successful effort to solve a serious safety issue with the VPCs as well as introduce an automated lubrication system.

The Navy asked MTTC to look at ways to keep the four chain systems in the VPCs (two drive chains and two carrier chains) aligned and properly tensioned. If one side of the conveyor becomes misaligned or unequally loaded, the package trays will bind, causing system breakdown and often catastrophic breakdown.

MTTC will join with the Navy engineering activity in Philadelphia and the manufacturer to develop a programmable logic controller (PLC)-driven system of tensioners and alignment mechanisms that will eliminate most, or all, of the failures. The chain tensioning system will receive extensive testing at the Philadelphia land-based test side before going to sea for a period of real-world use. The entire effort will take less than two years.

For more information, contact Dick Gilbert, MTTC Technical Director, at [email protected], or call (502) 452-1131 ext. 307. You can also visit the MTTC Fleet Maintenance Reduction Program page.