As an innovative leader in shipboard material handling systems, FEC has been a key contributor to an Office of Naval Research (ONR) led consortium focused on automating cargo transfer and stowage onboard the ship with the goals of reducing manpower and improving material flow rates. As part of a five year program, FEC designed and developed a working prototype or Proof of Concept (POC) system to automate shipboard material handling, referred to as High Rate Vertical to Horizontal Material Movement (HRVHMM).
The HRVHMM system incorporates linear motors for both horizontal and vertical propulsion of an aluminum payload carrier rated to handle loads up to 6,000 pounds. The automated loading and unloading of the elevator coupled with a split elevator platform design helps alleviate many of the bottlenecks experienced by ships force during replenishment operations by smoothly transferring cargo from the storeroom horizontally to the elevator for vertical transport. Along with these additional capabilities, the ship can maintain the benefit of using the system as a conventional elevator as required.
The system consisted of one cantilevered split elevator platform with horizontal material movement in both the fore/aft and athwartship directions. With continued support from the ONR sponsored team, FEC modified and installed the HRVHMM on the USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) for operational sea trial testing. To see the HRVHMM in action, from concept to the factory and out to sea, please open the video below.