Simply the Best Hovercraft
Our brand strap-line “Simply the Best” serves to remind all of us at Hov Pod HQ to strive to be the best; to design and manufacture the best products and solutions.
More than this, it reminds us of the fundamental principle of design, to produce products that are simple to use and maintain. It also reminds us to strive to offer the best sales and after care service we can to our customers. We believe that marketing brand strap-lines should be more than just catchy marketing slogans – our products have been evolving over the last 20 years to improve product quality, performance, operation and safety.
Product Quality and evolution
20 years ago, we designed a glass-fibre 3 seater hovercraft, finally introduced at a UK boat show in 2002. The Hov Pod ACX 52 and 65 models looked great, were easy to operate, had many safety features such as rear safety cage to fan assembly, that other suppliers still don’t fit today.
The Hov Pod ACX caught the public’s attention, and demand outstripped supply, we couldn’t keep up so we designed the Hov Pod SPX manufactured from HDPE, a material which is strong, naturally buoyant and easier to repair than glass fibre. We exploited CAD and CNC technology to produce hovercraft parts with extremely tight tolerances, to reduce vibration and resulting wear, to ensure long component life.
Improved Delivery Times
New production techniques allowed us to produce hovercraft in batches of 9 – we offered a range of colours, so needed additional storage facilities to maintain stock of red, blue, yellow, teal, orange and grey hulls. The SPX model overcame delivery delay times, slashing delivery from months to days.
A new model version (3rd generation) the SPX TCC reduced weight, and improved the strength of the hull.
Larger Commercial, rescue and Military Hovercraft
Customers and dealers asked us for larger 9 seater hovercraft, but the SPX TCC production process had size restrictions, so we designed and introduced the Hov Pod Carbon Infinity model manufactured from Carbon Fibre / Kevlar and HDPE components.
Stronger lighter materials such as Carbon Fibre allow hovercraft to lift more weight, but performance can also be measured in terms of reliability. Early engines proved to be unreliable, so we had to replace these. Sometimes an engine can be very good, but the supply chain has problems, so if a supplier cannot deliver on time, or offer support in certain countries, so we needed to change supplier; this can cause delivery issues.
Operation and maintenance
Product evolution is customer led – we responded when customers complained that neoprene coated nylon skirts ripped after months of operation, then customers complained that the replacement Hypalon skirts failed, so we replaced these with anti-rip nylon skirts. The skirt segment design minimises replacement costs – no need to change a complete skirt, individual segments cost less, longer skirt life reduces cost of ownership, reduces unnecessary shipping costs.
Operator, passenger, bystander safety is of paramount importance. Competitor and homemade glass fibre hovercraft have cracked, allowing water to ingress into the hull, sinking the craft. Some hovercraft models plough into water due to weight imbalance and design, so we have designed the Hov Pod to overcome these issues. We fit rear and front fan guard cage assemblies to keep hands away from rotating fan blades, many suppliers still don’t fit rear guard assemblies – not everyone can read a warning sticker.
Future Development – Solution led
Many customers who use hovercraft in commercial, rescue, survey and military applications have asked us to source complimentary products, so with partners we now develop solutions to meet customer requirements.
For example, we supply water treatment solutions to reduce disease if drinking water is contaminated by flooding. We supply tethered drones with full surveillance capability for search and rescue, and drones with heavy payload capability, able to drop vital supplies. We offer robotic drones capable of automatic battery exchange, to significantly extend operation times.