Friday, September 22, 2023

Vekoma: Heavy Metal

Vekoma roller coaster products make tracks around the world

interview by Martin Palicki

Charlotte van Etten (Account Manager) and Benjamin Bloemendaal (Senior Concept Engineer) of Vekoma Rides Manufacturing B.V. talk to InPark about upcoming installations and new ride concepts.

ABOVE: Rendering of Vekoma’s Bermuda Blitz coaster as Lech Coaster at Legendia (Poland) Photo: Legendia

Can you give us an update on the Space Warp launch coaster that opened at Energylandia (Poland) last year?

Benjamin Bloemendaal: Space Warp is the first model to debut of a whole new generation of Vekoma’s sit-down thrill coasters. It is the first thrill coaster to be designed using our latest track design tools, built using our new track production method and sporting the new MK1101 trains – similar to how family coasters like Orkanen (Faarup Sommerland) and Raik (Phantasialand) came to be. The first model at Energylandia has been performing right on spec and the overall feedback has been great. In order to further improve the quality of the MK1101 ride system there will be some minor changes implemented to this train type for use in future installations.

This year you are opening a Fire Storm coaster in Vietnam, which is also a launched coaster. Can you explain some of the differences between the Fire Storm and Space Warp Launch?

BB: The Firestorm model is based on the same MK1101 ride system as Space Warp, but it is more intense. For both rides the same design principles were applied, though Firestorm is significantly faster, taller
and longer than Space Warp. In fact, at 115km/h (71mph) it will be the fastest coaster Vekoma has ever produced and the track length is almost double that of Space Warp.

Are you finding customers tend to favor more thrilling coasters at present?

Charlotte van Etten: Currently, we are finding a greater demand for thrill rides in the Far East than in Western markets.

However, our line of Family Coasters is very diverse and while suitable for families, those certainly have some thrilling aspects to them. Our family coasters are popular with clients world-wide.. Their straightforward technology and standard parts provide a smooth ride and allow for uncomplicated operation and low maintenance. Standard or custom designed Family Coasters can be built both outdoor and indoor as well as being adapted to dark ride requirements with lighting and other special effects, or easily integrated into any landscape or imaginable theme. Their versatility is valuable for park operators.

The relatively new Family Boomerang coaster [opened in May 2016 as the Family Boomerang Rebound Velociraptor and Suspended Family Coaster Flight of Pterosaur at Paulton’s Park, UK] has also proved a great success, while the Vekoma Mine Train is still considered as one of the best in the industry.

Vekoma’s new Bermuda Blitz coaster integrates some special effects into the ride. Can you tell us more about what is involved and where we will see this coaster installed?

BB: Bermuda Blitz, along with several other new designs, was designed with interaction with the ride area in mind. The special opportunities these designs provide regarding near-miss effects and close fly-by’s are part of the key-selling points of these coasters.

Our concept is based on the idea of a wild plane ride over the Bermuda Triangle. The idea highlights different sections of the track layout, such as the track crossing over and under the station. It revolves around a central set piece, such as a shipwreck. Although it would be outside of Vekoma’s scope of delivery, the ride can also integrate lighting, sound and mist effects.

The first installation of this coaster, dubbed Lech Coaster at Legendia in Poland, will include all the suggested theme elements from our Bermuda concept, but cast into the park’s own custom storyline.

What drives decision making when a customer is choosing a coaster?

CvE: Customers are influenced by a wide variety of factors, depending on their target audience. There will always be parks that want to aim for records, such as tallest, fastest or first, but that isn’t important for everyone. Operators know that they must provide fun for all their specific target guests, which can be a mix of thrill and family attractions or sometimes just rides that are just suitable and fun for the entire family.

Brogent ride system as seen at E-DA park in Taiwan.
Vekoma partners with Brogent on media-based ride systems. Can you tell us more about that partnership?

CvE: Vekoma and Brogent entered into a partnership because we saw great potential for both our companies. Vekoma has a Business Development Manager who fully concentrates on the media based attractions. With Vekoma’s network, engineering qualifications and experience with TUV and other approval entities there is great synergy and good cooperation between our companies.

Although Vekoma already has a wide variety of coasters and attractions, Brogent’s i-Ride was a welcome expansion to our portfolio. With the panoramic flying theatre i-Ride, Brogent has very successfully captured a lot of interest in the market over the last few years. There are already quite a few installations around the world and three more are opening or have recently opened in Europe and the USA and Canada. Those are Mall of America (USA) Europa-Park (Germany), Ferrari Land at Port Aventura (Spain) and a cultural attraction, “This is Holland” (Netherlands). Further i-Rides are scheduled to open in the UAE, China and USA for 2017 and 2018. • • •


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Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.
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