Hov Pod Hovercraft Craftsmanship
When choosing which craft is right for you many issues are important. Safety and durability are critical but so are many other factors and the Hov Pod was designed to make Hovercraft affordable for small and medium duty commercial and recreational use, they also needed to be easy to use, easy to service, easy to transport.
The reasons why Hov Pod are designed as they are to be safe and durable are covered in our buyers guide, but it doesn’t happen by accident so lets take a look behind the craft and how it operates to see the process from design & testing through to packing and shipping, how we manufacture the Hov Pod to make it the best small and medium duty commercial and recreational hovercraft available.
Design & Testing
Parts are designed using 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) to ensure tight tolerances. This software also generates the drawings or data file from which parts are manufactured or directly machined. The use of drawings or data files ensures replication and control of components during the manufacturing stages.
The 3D software allowed a complete analysis of the design & assembly of the craft and the interaction components.
Design should consider marine safety and hovercraft should be designed to withstand salt-water conditions. Flooded buoyancy tests were conducted to establish loading of the Hov Pod without sinking. Many hovercraft manufacturers ignore this or scrimp this aspect during the design stage hoping all will be well. The polyethylene foam core of the Hov Pod hull ensures the Hov Pod can float with far greater payload than possible to seat with a high factor of safety
Part Selection & Component Manufacture
From the CAD drawings, components are manufactured using Computer Numerical Control equipment (CNC). Once set up, these machines manufacture components without manual intervention, so computer control ensures repetitive and very accurate component manufacture, to produce a better hovercraft.
The drive component on the right is machined from a billet of aluminium (a solid piece of aluminium) whereas the drive component on the left is a moulded casting. Machining from a single billet of metal is a more expensive process but produces far better parts without the risk of moulding flaws or cracks. Almost uniquely all the Hov Pod metal drive parts are manufactured by this method. It was necessary to redesign many components for the Hov Pod because off-the-shelf supplied components were found unsatisfactory or prone to part failure. The advantage of CNC machining is that very accurate parts can be produced to ensure components fit together to the correct highly accurate engineering tolerances.
Other components are made to our specifications using jigs and templates to ensure replication of manufacture. Hov Pod parts are sub contracted out, this is more expensive but ensures parts are made under controlled environments by experts in their field.
The Hov Pod SPX is manufactured using high-impact polyethylene with built-in buoyancy composite layer. Unlike glass fiber, high impact PE can withstand considerable knocks; the material has been used in the production of F1 Racing crash barriers. Picture shows the air feed holes that will allow air to feed into segmented skirts to allow the craft to hover on its cushion of air. Note the additional underside protection from front and rear aluminium impact plates, wear bolts and heavy-duty aluminium runners.
Key Engine parts made robotically before assembly/testing and shipping to us.
Many Colors are available from a standardized production process. We no longer manufacture Hov Pod hulls from Glass Fibre (GRP) as this material proved too brittle for all terrain use. HDPE is a high impact material, as used in the past for production of F1 crash barriers and artificial joints. It is lightweight and very buoyant, nearly indestructible, so ideal for hovercraft construction.
Ordering & Goods in Quality System
The stock control system automatically triggers orders that are then placed to evaluated suppliers using standardized control procedures. The order forms are linked to each supplier using a revision control system to ensure correct component supply.
On receipt at the factory parts got through a goods inwards inspection procedure to ensure they conform to standardized quality reports.
Store & Stock System
Craft are made in a range of colors and stored ready for build customization.
A part control system gives many hundreds of parts a unique number, which identifies its method of manufacture and what it is used for. The parts are stored in a racked & numbered stock bin system ready for use.
Parts are made up into a range of completed sub assemblies ready to be assembled on the final production line.
Hulls are prepared. The air feed holes are cut and the wear plates and impact plates are added to give maximum wear down & impact protection. The skids and wear plates are easily changed yet offer substantial extra impact protection in addition to the SPX hull natural strength.
Other sub assemblies are prepared for batch production methods.
Engines are built up prior to installation and final testing.
The Hov Pod has 65 segmented skirt sections to minimize damage should the skirt get damaged through everyday wear and tear. There are four types, A, B, C and D type skirts, each shape controls the air in a different way to give the Hov Pod it’s unique handling characteristics. They are clipped to the bumper bar that surrounds the craft. In tests no body has been able to pull or rip the skirt fabric apart………. even if we help them out to start with by putting a cut in the fabric.
We connect the underside of each skirt with 2 cable ties. Should the Hov Pod hover over an obstacle that could damage the skirts, the cable tie is designed to break first, thus having a sacrificial relationship with the skirt, to minimize damage and operating costs. Should a skirt need replacing, replacing one skirt section is easier and cheaper than replacing the whole hovercraft skirt.
The assembly line process is controlled through a computerized manufacturing system, which documents every aspect the crafts assembly process.
Gauge control panel showing the handlebar steering and throttle with engine management gauges located behind a clear Perspex console. Also shown is the front storage locker and removable front seat to give access to a drop in drinks & equipment storage tray.
Engine installed ready for final run up and testing.
Rudders, rear access panel and rear guard (we understand we are the only supplier to fit a rear guard which we regard as safety common sense).
Cockpit showing grab handles, upholstered seats, and safety interlocks. Some hovercraft manufacturers fail to fit safety interlocks or kill cord safety engine cut-out switches – we know these features cost more time and money to specify/ fit, but we choose not to compromise our customer’s safety.
Craft labelled up with customer details ready for shipping.
Pre Delivery Inspection, Manuals & Instructions
Pre delivery inspection & sign off. A final clean, preparation for shipping & double check through key assembly points.
Each craft is shipped with a full manual detailing operation and preparation. Additional information sheets are supplied with extensive engine manuals.
Shipping, Packing, Delivery & Post Delivery
Craft are handled in the UK by a specialist packer & shipper used to the complexities of handling and controlling worldwide shipments of luxury goods.
Craft prepared for urgent airfreight to a disaster relief area.
Hov Pod hovercraft are easy to drive & service, in addition to the manuals a range of technical information sheets covering key topics is available. We offer a comprehensive training program ranging from 1 to 3 days duration and covering all aspects of preparation, driving, servicing & maintenance.
Hov Pod are great fun, and we enjoy receiving images from customers all over the world, experiencing the thrill over travelling on a cushion of air at speeds of up to 45 mph. There are many commercial uses for hovercraft and the Hov Pod is frequently used for rescue work, commercial surveying, oil exploration, and reaching areas that other vehicles cannot reach.
We Take Pride in Our Craft
Good safety design is no accident; extensive development has gone into designing the Hov Pod. Safety is a very important aspect of design, and our designers have considered many factors not found on other craft. For example, we fit a front and rear guard to the fan assembly - who in their right mind wouldn’t? (Actually, the majority of hovercraft don’t).
Consider heavy duty sealed batteries for starting even on the coldest morning and ventilated fuel tank spaces for example. Some craft put the electrics and fuel in same compartment! Some use simple open electrical connections. Some have even fitted their own fuel tank without any official safety approval! We utilize CAD design and CNC billet manufacture to ensure parts are of a repeatable design, high quality and strong in use. Again the Hov Pod has gone through full independent governmental engineering, safety and operation certification.
Hov Pod come in unique sizes the Carbon Infinity 750 the first ever Truck Styled Hovercraft hauls up to 9 people or 1500 lbs. (678 kgs) and it has a cargo bay.