January 29, 2008 This UFO-shaped curiosity is the Hammonds Omni-Directional Vehicle (ODV), and its zero turning radius and freely rotating hitch promise a revolution in bulky materials handling. Originally shelved in the aftermath of 9/11, the ODV has finally gone into production, and Boeing have ordered four of these intriguing units to assist with production of their new 787 Dreamliner.
Hammonds Technical Services has announced receipt of Boeing's order for four G-90 Series Omni Directional Vehicles. The vehicles have a 90,000-pound towing capacity and will be utilized to handle materials and fixtures supporting the assembly of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner. The unique material handling capabilities of a Hammonds’ ODV make it possible to position large, heavy objects with surgical precision in confined areas with limited maneuvering room.
The Hammonds’ ODV is a highly versatile vehicle that has been configured to handle aircraft, position large components, and used as a platform for snow management equipment. Essentially a heavy-load tractor, its key advantages are its perfectly round body, zero turning radius, and a freely rotating 360 degree hitch that allows an operator to make pinpoint direction changes and switch from pushing to pulling of large loads instantly and without ever having to look over his shoulder.
The ODV technology was originally developed and about to be commercialized just as the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred in 2001 – which was exceptionally unlucky timing for Hammonds because the subsequent global downturn in air travel put airline companies in survival mode – and in no position to start investing in new technology. After shelving the concept for several years, Hammond has now found the market willing to experiment with the ODV's unique capabilities.