Automated Shipboard Provisions and Material Transfer System

Period of Performance: 06/10/2002 - 12/09/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Benedict Engineering Co., Inc.
3660 Hartsfield Road
Tallahassee, FL 32303
Principal Investigator


Automated storage and retrieval systems have proven effective methods of increasing efficiency and lowering overhead costs in many land-based industries. Implementing such systems in Navy Destroyer class ships is the objective of the next generation DDX. Automated or semi-automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) improve the efficiency of and reduce manpower required for storing, retrieving and tracking inventory. An (AS/RS) decreases time needed to re-supply the ship and retrieve supplies on demand, while increasing the stowage capacity of the ship, a direct result from more efficient use of manpower and space in the cargo hold. Before a system concept can be developed to fit (or retrofit) the destroyer or any vessel, a thorough spatial analysis must be performed to assess feasibility. This analysis will allow insight into design content selection, clearly show features most critical for a successful systems operation, and provide information for simulating the entire system. Thus, development time and cost of the scaled model in Phase II will be reduced, allowing for more effective design effort to be spent on creating an evolutionary, cost effective, rugged, user-friendly, and operationally reliable AS/RS, which satisfies shipboard constraints and restrictions. No strike down is required. Development of this automated or semi-automated storage/retrieval system AS/AR as described in this proposal will benefit many existing industries by providing a low cost, reliable system, which will improve inventory tracking and maximize storage density. Currently, billions of dollars are spent annually on the installation, maintenance and management of inventory through the use of existing storage and material retrieval system. The simplicity of the proposal concept, coupled with its multidirectional capability by use of multiple transporters will enable many businesses to automat3e their material handling of inventory, whereas in the past this was cost prohibited. Thus, they will become more cost competitive and profitable. Industries that will benefit include but are not limited to: military logistics commands, distribution warehouses, assembly lines, baggage handling (both airline and cruise ship), and parcel/package services such as FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service. This system will also translate into future applications in the medical industry for homebound and handicap patient mobility.