Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Justin Emerson operates the programmable logical controller to clear faults for vertical package conveyor (VPC) number three for loading and unloading. VPCs are used to transport parts, perishables and supplies from the hangar bay to storage compartments below decks. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Heather Seelbach/Released)

Story and photo by
MC2 Heather Seelbach

During PIA, Sailors from engineering department’s steam and heat shop and contractors are performing maintenance on vertical package conveyors (VPCs), which are elevators with revolving trays used to transport items from the hangar bay to work centers and storerooms below decks.

“Vertical package conveyors are a vital part of supplying the ship with perishables, parts and equipment,” said Machinist’s Mate Fireman Timothy Rinehart. “It alleviates the need for excess manpower and prevents Sailors from having to carry heavy loads up and down ladderwells.”

Stennis has 11 working VPCs, some able to hold 85 pounds per tray and others 175 pounds of weight per tray. The VPCs are in various locations from foc`sle to fantail, and some run from the 7th deck to the 03 level.

Sailors are removing trays from the VPCs to thoroughly clean metal surfaces, using wire brushes, sandpaper and rags to remove dirt and corrosion. In the course of this preservation maintenance, they will also replace light bulbs, switches and other consumable parts. Contractors will be performing indepth maintenance such as calibrating the auto oilers and weight testing each VPC.

VPCs are essential to moving goods between decks. Supply department Sailors use VPCs to bring stores below decks after they are craned aboard in port or brought on the ship by vertical or connected replenishment underway.

When maintenance on the VPCs is complete, engineering department will have the VPCs up and running again to take a load off Sailors.