Heathrow Terminal 5 Transport Pods

In 2001 our customer won the UK government Innovative Transport contract resulting in m funding for the design and development of a full prototype. Three years later and the Ultra pod system was approved for public use by the UK Regulatory Authority (HM Rail Inspectorate).

In 2005, Ultra was chosen to build a pod system at London’s Heathrow Airport.
‘Series of computer-driven vehicles known as pods provide convenient and comfortable transport for up to four passengers, along with personal items such as luggage and shopping’

In 2007 APHollings were asked by the tier 1 supplier of the vehicle, to design tooling to vacuum form all the interior and exterior plastic parts. Also requested, was to undertake the completion of all sub assemblies of skinned panels and doors, including fitting of tinted glass supplied by Pilkingtons.
The plastic chosen was acrylic capped ABS, the properties of the material combining robustness, weather and UV stability as well as the importance of formability.

From the CAD data received from the tier 1company, a suite of vacuum form tools were machined from tooling board.  Due to the depth of drawer and complexities of the parts, the tooling board was built up in layers of 50 -100mm slabs to enable the curvature of the vehicle panels to be repeated.
These tools were vented and mounted to backing boards, to suit the frame size of our vacuum form machine.