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Simworx

With high-profile installations and the acquisition of RoboCoaster, the Simworx story unfolds


Simworx, one of the world’s leading suppliers of turnkey advanced media-based theme park attractions, is entering the next chapter of its story.

The West Midlands, UK-based company has blazed a trail in the industry since it was established in 1997, and today boasts a product portfolio that includes the Lost Temple at Movie Park, Germany, Marvel Avengers at Trans Studio Indonesia, Arthur 4D at Futuroscope and the London bus adventure at Merlin’s new Shrek’s Adventure midway.

Recent months have opened a new chapter for Simworx, thanks to fresh investment and the acquisition of ride system innovators RoboCoaster, whose technology is behind world-class rides such as the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios Orlando.

The two companies – which are both driven by in-house technological innovation and the desire to bring fresh offers to the industry – have been working together for some time, but when Simworx won £4.5m ($7m, €6.5m) in investment from the Business Growth Fund, the acquisition was the next step.

The established Simworx line includes the 4D cinema, the Stargazer Motion Theatre, the Cobra Motion Theatre, the Immersive Tunnel and the Flying Theatre (in partnership with Mondial). With the acquisition of RoboCoaster, the company is launching its next generation of new technology rides, include trackless and robotic attractions.

Next Generation
Simworx and RoboCoaster plan to focus on the design and manufacture of a next generation of dark ride and robotic attractions, adding to their existing portfolios.

One of the new products in development under the RoboCoaster umbrella - the difference between Simworx and RoboCoaster is that the latter’s products enable a huge range of linear and/or vertical travel, specialising in passenger-carrying robotic technology and trackless dark rides – is the Advanced Guidance Vehicle (AGV). The AGV is a dark ride vehicle for eight to 12 passengers and a trackless, cable-free dark ride experience. The AGVs are powered by Ni-Cad batteries which charge overnight.

The beauty of the AGV is that you can create any type of ride path and multiple route options within the site space, with a vehicle that can drive forward, backwards and spin. It can also move sideways, “in a crabbing motion, like a hovercraft,” Monkton says.

The RCX G2 – the second model from RoboCoaster – is a number of track-based robots that each works in conjunction with a dome dolly, meaning the screen travels together with the passenger vehicle.

“The Immersive Tunnel, where typically you board the simulator and it goes forward on a straight track into the show area, was really our first venture into actually physically moving people,” Monkton says. “But the RoboCoaster RCX models and the AGV move people around in fully immersive environments.”

According to Andy Roberts, operations director at Simworx RoboCoaster, the affordability of the RoboCoaster technology is central to the business strategy.

“If you buy a Harry Potter ride you need a £250 million purse, and only the likes of Disney and Universal can afford that,” says Roberts. “The robots that are used on the Harry Potter ride are welding robots and they’re so precise that they could weld a piece of hair together. With the RCX we value-engineered the cost of producing the arm to make a similar ride that’s more affordable.”

“We’ve taken the concept of seats on a robot and produced a new machine. It’s a manipulator arm that has the same movements but is more akin to a theme park collaboration than a high precision robot. We can deliver that ride to the mainstream theme park industry at a price similar to a roller coaster.”

“One of the goals that Terry and I set in the early days was to position ourselves to produce a quality product for a fair price, and to always aim to have repeat customers. By the end of every Simworx project we ensure our customer has got what he really wants – and that’s how we measure quality. We also ensure the equipment that we use and the raw materials that we use are always the best quality,” Roberts says.

Simworx is located on one of the biggest trading estates in Europe, and many of the materials are manufactured by suppliers in the nearby area. Simworx has built up working partnerships with many of those, and there are fabricators who have invested in learning new skills and techniques to maintain the high standards demanded and to advance their knowledge.

Success Stories
The Immersive Tunnels have been well received and are marked out as at the leading edge of this type of ride. Simworx is currently working on its third installation, on the island of Langkawi in Malaysia – a sign of the increasing popularity of cost-effective, indoor media-based attractions in the EMEA region.

“This summer we completed a project for Merlin’s new Shrek’s Adventure midway, the magical 4D DreamWorks Tours bus. The bus is a 40-seat simulator surrounded by a 360º 3D projection, with sensory effects such as water sprays and wind. The ride takes visitors to the kingdom of Far Far Away, meeting lots of DreamWorks characters along the way,” says Monkton.

“We also did a lovely Immersive Tunnel at Movie Park, where you enter a forgotten temple on a Jeep-style 3DOF dynamic motion-based simulator to rescue a scientist,” he says. “You encounter these dinosaurs which interact with the vehicle. When the T-rex charges the vehicle from the side the whole rocks.”

The vehicles come in configurations of 30, 60, 90 and 120 seats and a range of themes and film content can be supplied to create unique attractions.

Among other projects around the world, Simworx and RoboCoaster are working on seven new rides in the UAE, comprising of Immersive Tunnels, Cobra Simulators, 4D Cinemas and RoboCoaster G1s – all of them are attached to high-profile IPs – as well as two major European installations.

New Horizons
Another new innovation that Simworx RoboCoaster has been developing is “show action” technology. Show action robots are used to create visuals and scenes. Robots hold projectors and move along the ride path with the passenger vehicle projecting imagery onto screens, which can also be supported by robots. This opens up huge potential for storytelling, projection mapping and creating visual effects.

“It’s almost like advanced scenery design. One robot with a projector tracks another robot so it’s constantly projecting onto the screen, creating a 3D effect without using 3D technology,” says Monkton. “There are vast opportunities to create different illusions.”

Simworx has also been investing in VR, exploring ways to exploit the technology and develop new experiences around it. The company has used VR to recreate the experience of its existing attractions, a handy tool for communicating with clients around the world, but Monkton is also interested in finding new and innovative ways to bring VR technology into a mainstream visitor attraction experience.

“There’s been lots of development work in house and with external groups. We’ve worked on trackable VR devices that enable people to move around within an attraction using a VR headset with collision detection – basically you can detect other people in the attraction in the VR world,” says Monkton.

To further nurture the innovative design-driven nature of Simworx, the company has set up a division called Simworx Creative, and has established a creative lab of designers, engineers, VR and AV technicians, “a pool of high calibre, highly skilled creatively minded people who are developing technology to implement into wow-factor theme park rides and attractions”. This has also been extended to include team members who work on themeing and storyboarding.

“It’s about continually developing new concepts and technologies to stay ahead of the game,” Monkton says. “The RoboCoaster attractions, the development of VR, show action robotics, holographic technology, interactive technology - these are areas where we invest time and money to stay at the cutting edge and make rides that are different and unique.”


MEET THE TEAM
Terry Monkton
Managing Director



 

Terry Monkton
 

How did you come to establish the company?
I was the second “employee” and I was recruited in 1997. It was a new venture set up to manufacture a range of space capsule-style, entertainment motion simulators ranging from two to 20 seats. These were typically sold to museums, FECs, aquariums and corporate markets.

By 2004, this market was in decline, but we were fortunate to win a one-off custom project for a special effects cinema at an aviation museum called Kalamazoo Air Zoo in the US. It was one of the first of its kind outside Universal / Disney.

With the capsule simulator market in decline, early in 2005 Andy Roberts and I carried out a MBO of the company and concentrated our efforts in productising what is now commonly known as 4D effects cinema.

Is there a moment you would describe as a turning point for the company?
There have been quite a few, but the development of the 4D cinema was a big one. As a highly scalable product, it meant we were (and still are) able to offer clients anything from 16 seats to a few hundred seats. This scalability meant that the product was suitable for attractions of all sizes – now including theme parks. We now have a portfolio of nine different media-based attractions, but the 4D cinema is still a big seller.

The Immersive Tunnel has been a real game changer. This was something brand new, embracing immersive AV technology combined with dynamic motion and effects we could offer to larger theme parks. I’m also looking forward to our partnership with Mondial for the 360° Flying Theatre.

Naturally, the RoboCoaster acquisition leads us into the launch of the AGV dark ride and RCX passenger-carrying robotics rides. This combined with the new tech being developed by Simworx Creative is very exciting for the company.

What project means the most to you?
There are so many, it would be too difficult to name one in isolation. There really is no greater thrill (as well as a few nerves!) than launch day for a new attraction.



MEET THE TEAM
Andy Roberts
Operations Director



 

Andy Roberts
 

What did you do before establishing SImworx?
Before establishing Simworx, I worked as operations director for the AI Group where in 2005 Terry Monkton and I acquired the simulation division by way of a management buyout. Prior to this I had worked for automation and control companies Bristol Babcock and Rockwell Automation.

Is there a moment you would say changed the game for Simworx? What was it?
Growing Simworx over the past 10 years or so has been and continues to be extremely hard work. Initially our sales effort concentrated on raising the Simworx brand in our market sector and our product development focused on the introduction of new technologies and products to our market.

We developed our then core products such as the 4D cinema, Cobra motion platforms, and improved on the Stargazer theatre delivery by introducing 4D SFX and larger format audiovisual experiences.

The turning point for me was the delivery of our Immersive Tunnel Ride, not only a fantastic new ride concept but a ride that can be scaled to suit smaller venues and high footfall theme parks. The ride employs complex audiovisual and motion schemes taking advantage of the latest available technologies leading to a truly immersive experience for our customers.

The Immersive Tunnel did not only trigger interest from the larger theme park customers resulting in several ride contracts, giving the already growing Simworx sales a further boost, but also sparked the interest of RoboCoaster who expressed a desire to work with Simworx as a partner. The acquisition of RoboCoaster presents us a fantastic growth opportunity with the addition of passenger carrying robots and trackless AGV rides to our product portfolio.

What Simworx project has meant the most to you?
All Simworx projects mean a lot to me as we pride ourselves on delivering the best possible service to our customers, whether they are purchasing a spare part or a new attraction. It’s important to Simworx that we have customers who engage with us more than once and we always try our utmost to deliver to their expectations.

I did however feel especially proud to be a part of the team when we opened Drayton Manor 4D cinema several years ago (then our largest 4D cinema). Movie Park’s Lost Temple Ride and the Shrek magical bus ride also brought the team a great sense of achievement.



MEET THE TEAM
Gino Del Gol
Technical Director



 

Gino Del Gol
 

What do you do?
I founded RoboCoaster and I’m now the technical director of the Simworx RoboCoaster group.

What are you working on?
We have a significant bank of technology and IP to call upon, and we also have a pipeline to produce new dark ride technologies from a single source. My mission is to bring new technologies and products to the market.

What do you enjoy about your job?
I’m passionate about bringing cutting-edge technology into the entertainment arena, which was my motivation for starting RoboCoaster in the beginning.

What’s your favourite attraction?
Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey. It took incredible leaps forward with ride and show, creating a new benchmark for experiential quality and ride dynamics.



MEET THE TEAM
Edward Pawley
Business Development Manager



 

Edward Pawley
 

What do you do?
My role is primarily sales.

What are you working on?
Obviously a lot of confidential sales prospects. I am excited about our Immersive Tunnel opening at Panorama Langkawi, Malaysia and seeing the final version of our new Dinosaur Island film. I’m currently working on the launch of our Flying Theatre and AGV dark rides.

What do you enjoy about your job?
My background is operating attractions for my family business Drayton Manor. Now I’m on the “other side” of the table, I find it very rewarding to work with clients through the whole process of procurement, design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and operation. I think knowing what it’s like on their side of the table, helps me deliver all their expectations.



MEET THE TEAM
Rafael Smith
Sales Representative



 

Rafael Smith
 

What do you do?
I look after sales for the Spanish and Latin American market.

What are you working on?
I’m focusing on developing the Latin American market, and on a few ongoing projects in Spain.

What has been your highlight?
Seeing how much Simworx has grown to become a very big player within the dark and Immersive rides market

What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy working with everyone from Simworx. Although I don’t see them very often, every time we see each other it seems like it was yesterday.

What is exciting about the industry?
I love all the new rides that are coming to the market. It seems like there is always space for new ideas.



MEET THE TEAM
Andy Bates
Project Delivery Manager



 

Andy Bates
 

What do you do?
I act as a conduit between our clients and our design, fabrication and installation teams.

What has been your highlight?
The best part is on opening day, seeing guests come off a ride cheering.

What is challenging about your job?
The role is multi-disciplined and there’s always something new to learn, but I get support from my peers and directors.

What do you like doing when you’re not at Simworx?
I love spending time with my family and have recently rediscovered mountain biking – which I enjoy despite my capabilities lagging behind my imagination!

What’s your favourite ride?
I’m a sucker for a good old ghost train. I’d love to shake that concept up a bit.



MEET THE TEAM
Carl Johnson
Head of Procurement



 

Carl Johnson
 

What do you do?
I look after procurement, which includes supplier selection, carrying out tenders, reducing costs and mitigating risk wherever possible.

What has been the highlight of your time at Simworx so far?
The introduction of European standard EN1090 in 2014, which covers structural steelwork, created difficulties within our supply base. We had to either develop suppliers to meet the standard or find new ones that were accredited. We managed to do both, which has improved the quality of our fabrications.

What do you enjoy about your job?
Developing suppliers to meet the required standards is always a satisfying process. Negotiating and implementing mutually beneficial agreements with key suppliers also provides a sense of satisfaction.



MEET THE TEAM
Cassandra De-Gol
IP Asset Manager



 

Cassandra De-Gol
 

What do you do?
Simworx RoboCoaster has a growing portfolio of patents and trademarks. I implement global strategies for both businesses.

What are you working on ?
I’m filing four new patents for Simworx, two for RoboCoaster and furthering the territorial reach of existing applications.

What do you enjoy about your job?
As an intangible asset rich company we value new ideas and prioritise protecting valued concepts. It means my job is technologically diverse and I’m lucky to watch a technology grow from concept to realisation.

What do you like doing when you’re not at Simworx?
My single greatest interest lies in photography and sharing images on social media such as Instagram.



MEET THE TEAM
Matt Clarkson
Creative Designer



 

Matt Clarkson
 

What do you do?
I work at the start of our projects, creating conceptual designs for our clients. I also deal with Simworx’s marketing campaigns.

What are you working on?
We are currently developing ride vehicle designs for brand new installation due 2016 with some very big IPs.

What has been the highlight of your time at Simworx so far?
Knowing my designs have helped Simworx win bids, and seeing those designs develop from concepts on a screen to highly regarded attractions.

What do you enjoy about your job?
No two days are ever the same here. I get to work on many exciting and innovative projects in an industry which, from a designer’s perspective, is not hard to get enthusiastic about.



MEET THE TEAM
James Clarkson
Project Manager



 

James Clarkson
 

What do you do at Simworx?
Manage complex and unusual projects.

What has been the highlight of your time at Simworx so far?
Presenting detailed plans to the customers and receiving positive feedback.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the challenge.

What is most exciting about the industry to you right now?
Being on the forefront of leaps forward in technology, with the Robot RCX, the AGV, our work with VR and so on.

What’s your favourite ride?
Nemesis at Alton Towers – a classic thrill ride that’s nothing particularly clever or special, just good honest fun.



MEET THE TEAM
Peter Reece
Project Manager



 

Peter Reece
 

What is challenging about your job?
Timescales to complete projects and the pace of change.

What do you enjoy about your job?
The variety within the job and new product development. It’s also quite interesting when interviewing new recruits for engineering roles that the candidates are excited about the industry. Sometimes they can’t believe an English company is involved in the full lifecycle of ride attractions.

What do you like doing when you’re not at Simworx?
Fishing.

What’s your favourite ride?
It’s our Immersive Tunnels because of the way they have evolved since 2012, each one improving in every aspect from themeing to the AV experience.



MEET THE TEAM
Richard Monkton
Project Manager



 

Richard Monkton
 

What do you do?
As project manager, I ensure all QCs are applied to the build and installation, budgets and deadline dates are met and the client is satisfied.

What has been the highlight of your time at Simworx so far?
It has to be the 326-seat Angry Birds 4D theatre at Thorpe Park. I was project manager for this job, and it was our first project for Merlin Entertainments.

What do you enjoy about your job?
It’s great feeling when the public experience the attraction for the first time. They always give a round of applause which even after 10 years makes the hairs on my neck stand up.

What do you like doing when you’re not at Simworx?
I enjoy playing golf and spending quality time with the family.



MEET THE TEAM
Linda Day
Financial Controller



 

Linda Day
 

What do you do?
I manage the accounting function at Simworx.

What has been the highlight of your time at Simworx so far?
Seeing the growth of the company since I’ve been here has been amazing. On a personal level, my highlight has been Carl Johnson joining the team. He is a larger than life character and makes me laugh every day.

What is challenging about your job?
Keeping everybody happy.

What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy the variation of the work along with the colleagues I work with.

What do you like doing when you’re not at Simworx?
I enjoy socialising and going to pop concerts to see my favourite bands.


Arthur L’Aventure at Futoroscope, France; a Simworx Cobra Motion Theatre
Simworx entered the atttractions industry with its 4D Cinema, and has installed 50 to date
Simworx partners with Mondial to launch the 360º Flying Theatre
Multiple robots can be configured and customised to create a unique dark ride experience with the RoboCoaster RCX G2
Simworx’s first Immersive Tunnel, the Lost Temple, was delivered to Movie Park, Germany, in 2014
Simworx’ Immersive Tunnel bus tour at Shrek’s Adventure
 


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23 Jul 2024 Leisure Management: daily news and jobs
 
 
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Features List



SELECTED ISSUE
Attractions Management
2015 issue 4

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Simworx

Promotional feature

Simworx


With high-profile installations and the acquisition of RoboCoaster, the Simworx story unfolds

RoboCoaster RCX comes in the small G1 model and larger G2 for theme parks
Arthur L’Aventure at Futoroscope, France; a Simworx Cobra Motion Theatre
Simworx entered the atttractions industry with its 4D Cinema, and has installed 50 to date
Simworx partners with Mondial to launch the 360º Flying Theatre
Multiple robots can be configured and customised to create a unique dark ride experience with the RoboCoaster RCX G2
Simworx’s first Immersive Tunnel, the Lost Temple, was delivered to Movie Park, Germany, in 2014
Simworx’ Immersive Tunnel bus tour at Shrek’s Adventure

Simworx, one of the world’s leading suppliers of turnkey advanced media-based theme park attractions, is entering the next chapter of its story.

The West Midlands, UK-based company has blazed a trail in the industry since it was established in 1997, and today boasts a product portfolio that includes the Lost Temple at Movie Park, Germany, Marvel Avengers at Trans Studio Indonesia, Arthur 4D at Futuroscope and the London bus adventure at Merlin’s new Shrek’s Adventure midway.

Recent months have opened a new chapter for Simworx, thanks to fresh investment and the acquisition of ride system innovators RoboCoaster, whose technology is behind world-class rides such as the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios Orlando.

The two companies – which are both driven by in-house technological innovation and the desire to bring fresh offers to the industry – have been working together for some time, but when Simworx won £4.5m ($7m, €6.5m) in investment from the Business Growth Fund, the acquisition was the next step.

The established Simworx line includes the 4D cinema, the Stargazer Motion Theatre, the Cobra Motion Theatre, the Immersive Tunnel and the Flying Theatre (in partnership with Mondial). With the acquisition of RoboCoaster, the company is launching its next generation of new technology rides, include trackless and robotic attractions.

Next Generation
Simworx and RoboCoaster plan to focus on the design and manufacture of a next generation of dark ride and robotic attractions, adding to their existing portfolios.

One of the new products in development under the RoboCoaster umbrella - the difference between Simworx and RoboCoaster is that the latter’s products enable a huge range of linear and/or vertical travel, specialising in passenger-carrying robotic technology and trackless dark rides – is the Advanced Guidance Vehicle (AGV). The AGV is a dark ride vehicle for eight to 12 passengers and a trackless, cable-free dark ride experience. The AGVs are powered by Ni-Cad batteries which charge overnight.

The beauty of the AGV is that you can create any type of ride path and multiple route options within the site space, with a vehicle that can drive forward, backwards and spin. It can also move sideways, “in a crabbing motion, like a hovercraft,” Monkton says.

The RCX G2 – the second model from RoboCoaster – is a number of track-based robots that each works in conjunction with a dome dolly, meaning the screen travels together with the passenger vehicle.

“The Immersive Tunnel, where typically you board the simulator and it goes forward on a straight track into the show area, was really our first venture into actually physically moving people,” Monkton says. “But the RoboCoaster RCX models and the AGV move people around in fully immersive environments.”

According to Andy Roberts, operations director at Simworx RoboCoaster, the affordability of the RoboCoaster technology is central to the business strategy.

“If you buy a Harry Potter ride you need a £250 million purse, and only the likes of Disney and Universal can afford that,” says Roberts. “The robots that are used on the Harry Potter ride are welding robots and they’re so precise that they could weld a piece of hair together. With the RCX we value-engineered the cost of producing the arm to make a similar ride that’s more affordable.”

“We’ve taken the concept of seats on a robot and produced a new machine. It’s a manipulator arm that has the same movements but is more akin to a theme park collaboration than a high precision robot. We can deliver that ride to the mainstream theme park industry at a price similar to a roller coaster.”

“One of the goals that Terry and I set in the early days was to position ourselves to produce a quality product for a fair price, and to always aim to have repeat customers. By the end of every Simworx project we ensure our customer has got what he really wants – and that’s how we measure quality. We also ensure the equipment that we use and the raw materials that we use are always the best quality,” Roberts says.

Simworx is located on one of the biggest trading estates in Europe, and many of the materials are manufactured by suppliers in the nearby area. Simworx has built up working partnerships with many of those, and there are fabricators who have invested in learning new skills and techniques to maintain the high standards demanded and to advance their knowledge.

Success Stories
The Immersive Tunnels have been well received and are marked out as at the leading edge of this type of ride. Simworx is currently working on its third installation, on the island of Langkawi in Malaysia – a sign of the increasing popularity of cost-effective, indoor media-based attractions in the EMEA region.

“This summer we completed a project for Merlin’s new Shrek’s Adventure midway, the magical 4D DreamWorks Tours bus. The bus is a 40-seat simulator surrounded by a 360º 3D projection, with sensory effects such as water sprays and wind. The ride takes visitors to the kingdom of Far Far Away, meeting lots of DreamWorks characters along the way,” says Monkton.

“We also did a lovely Immersive Tunnel at Movie Park, where you enter a forgotten temple on a Jeep-style 3DOF dynamic motion-based simulator to rescue a scientist,” he says. “You encounter these dinosaurs which interact with the vehicle. When the T-rex charges the vehicle from the side the whole rocks.”

The vehicles come in configurations of 30, 60, 90 and 120 seats and a range of themes and film content can be supplied to create unique attractions.

Among other projects around the world, Simworx and RoboCoaster are working on seven new rides in the UAE, comprising of Immersive Tunnels, Cobra Simulators, 4D Cinemas and RoboCoaster G1s – all of them are attached to high-profile IPs – as well as two major European installations.

New Horizons
Another new innovation that Simworx RoboCoaster has been developing is “show action” technology. Show action robots are used to create visuals and scenes. Robots hold projectors and move along the ride path with the passenger vehicle projecting imagery onto screens, which can also be supported by robots. This opens up huge potential for storytelling, projection mapping and creating visual effects.

“It’s almost like advanced scenery design. One robot with a projector tracks another robot so it’s constantly projecting onto the screen, creating a 3D effect without using 3D technology,” says Monkton. “There are vast opportunities to create different illusions.”

Simworx has also been investing in VR, exploring ways to exploit the technology and develop new experiences around it. The company has used VR to recreate the experience of its existing attractions, a handy tool for communicating with clients around the world, but Monkton is also interested in finding new and innovative ways to bring VR technology into a mainstream visitor attraction experience.

“There’s been lots of development work in house and with external groups. We’ve worked on trackable VR devices that enable people to move around within an attraction using a VR headset with collision detection – basically you can detect other people in the attraction in the VR world,” says Monkton.

To further nurture the innovative design-driven nature of Simworx, the company has set up a division called Simworx Creative, and has established a creative lab of designers, engineers, VR and AV technicians, “a pool of high calibre, highly skilled creatively minded people who are developing technology to implement into wow-factor theme park rides and attractions”. This has also been extended to include team members who work on themeing and storyboarding.

“It’s about continually developing new concepts and technologies to stay ahead of the game,” Monkton says. “The RoboCoaster attractions, the development of VR, show action robotics, holographic technology, interactive technology - these are areas where we invest time and money to stay at the cutting edge and make rides that are different and unique.”


MEET THE TEAM
Terry Monkton
Managing Director



 

Terry Monkton
 

How did you come to establish the company?
I was the second “employee” and I was recruited in 1997. It was a new venture set up to manufacture a range of space capsule-style, entertainment motion simulators ranging from two to 20 seats. These were typically sold to museums, FECs, aquariums and corporate markets.

By 2004, this market was in decline, but we were fortunate to win a one-off custom project for a special effects cinema at an aviation museum called Kalamazoo Air Zoo in the US. It was one of the first of its kind outside Universal / Disney.

With the capsule simulator market in decline, early in 2005 Andy Roberts and I carried out a MBO of the company and concentrated our efforts in productising what is now commonly known as 4D effects cinema.

Is there a moment you would describe as a turning point for the company?
There have been quite a few, but the development of the 4D cinema was a big one. As a highly scalable product, it meant we were (and still are) able to offer clients anything from 16 seats to a few hundred seats. This scalability meant that the product was suitable for attractions of all sizes – now including theme parks. We now have a portfolio of nine different media-based attractions, but the 4D cinema is still a big seller.

The Immersive Tunnel has been a real game changer. This was something brand new, embracing immersive AV technology combined with dynamic motion and effects we could offer to larger theme parks. I’m also looking forward to our partnership with Mondial for the 360° Flying Theatre.

Naturally, the RoboCoaster acquisition leads us into the launch of the AGV dark ride and RCX passenger-carrying robotics rides. This combined with the new tech being developed by Simworx Creative is very exciting for the company.

What project means the most to you?
There are so many, it would be too difficult to name one in isolation. There really is no greater thrill (as well as a few nerves!) than launch day for a new attraction.



MEET THE TEAM
Andy Roberts
Operations Director



 

Andy Roberts
 

What did you do before establishing SImworx?
Before establishing Simworx, I worked as operations director for the AI Group where in 2005 Terry Monkton and I acquired the simulation division by way of a management buyout. Prior to this I had worked for automation and control companies Bristol Babcock and Rockwell Automation.

Is there a moment you would say changed the game for Simworx? What was it?
Growing Simworx over the past 10 years or so has been and continues to be extremely hard work. Initially our sales effort concentrated on raising the Simworx brand in our market sector and our product development focused on the introduction of new technologies and products to our market.

We developed our then core products such as the 4D cinema, Cobra motion platforms, and improved on the Stargazer theatre delivery by introducing 4D SFX and larger format audiovisual experiences.

The turning point for me was the delivery of our Immersive Tunnel Ride, not only a fantastic new ride concept but a ride that can be scaled to suit smaller venues and high footfall theme parks. The ride employs complex audiovisual and motion schemes taking advantage of the latest available technologies leading to a truly immersive experience for our customers.

The Immersive Tunnel did not only trigger interest from the larger theme park customers resulting in several ride contracts, giving the already growing Simworx sales a further boost, but also sparked the interest of RoboCoaster who expressed a desire to work with Simworx as a partner. The acquisition of RoboCoaster presents us a fantastic growth opportunity with the addition of passenger carrying robots and trackless AGV rides to our product portfolio.

What Simworx project has meant the most to you?
All Simworx projects mean a lot to me as we pride ourselves on delivering the best possible service to our customers, whether they are purchasing a spare part or a new attraction. It’s important to Simworx that we have customers who engage with us more than once and we always try our utmost to deliver to their expectations.

I did however feel especially proud to be a part of the team when we opened Drayton Manor 4D cinema several years ago (then our largest 4D cinema). Movie Park’s Lost Temple Ride and the Shrek magical bus ride also brought the team a great sense of achievement.



MEET THE TEAM
Gino Del Gol
Technical Director



 

Gino Del Gol
 

What do you do?
I founded RoboCoaster and I’m now the technical director of the Simworx RoboCoaster group.

What are you working on?
We have a significant bank of technology and IP to call upon, and we also have a pipeline to produce new dark ride technologies from a single source. My mission is to bring new technologies and products to the market.

What do you enjoy about your job?
I’m passionate about bringing cutting-edge technology into the entertainment arena, which was my motivation for starting RoboCoaster in the beginning.

What’s your favourite attraction?
Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey. It took incredible leaps forward with ride and show, creating a new benchmark for experiential quality and ride dynamics.



MEET THE TEAM
Edward Pawley
Business Development Manager



 

Edward Pawley
 

What do you do?
My role is primarily sales.

What are you working on?
Obviously a lot of confidential sales prospects. I am excited about our Immersive Tunnel opening at Panorama Langkawi, Malaysia and seeing the final version of our new Dinosaur Island film. I’m currently working on the launch of our Flying Theatre and AGV dark rides.

What do you enjoy about your job?
My background is operating attractions for my family business Drayton Manor. Now I’m on the “other side” of the table, I find it very rewarding to work with clients through the whole process of procurement, design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and operation. I think knowing what it’s like on their side of the table, helps me deliver all their expectations.



MEET THE TEAM
Rafael Smith
Sales Representative



 

Rafael Smith
 

What do you do?
I look after sales for the Spanish and Latin American market.

What are you working on?
I’m focusing on developing the Latin American market, and on a few ongoing projects in Spain.

What has been your highlight?
Seeing how much Simworx has grown to become a very big player within the dark and Immersive rides market

What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy working with everyone from Simworx. Although I don’t see them very often, every time we see each other it seems like it was yesterday.

What is exciting about the industry?
I love all the new rides that are coming to the market. It seems like there is always space for new ideas.



MEET THE TEAM
Andy Bates
Project Delivery Manager



 

Andy Bates
 

What do you do?
I act as a conduit between our clients and our design, fabrication and installation teams.

What has been your highlight?
The best part is on opening day, seeing guests come off a ride cheering.

What is challenging about your job?
The role is multi-disciplined and there’s always something new to learn, but I get support from my peers and directors.

What do you like doing when you’re not at Simworx?
I love spending time with my family and have recently rediscovered mountain biking – which I enjoy despite my capabilities lagging behind my imagination!

What’s your favourite ride?
I’m a sucker for a good old ghost train. I’d love to shake that concept up a bit.



MEET THE TEAM
Carl Johnson
Head of Procurement



 

Carl Johnson
 

What do you do?
I look after procurement, which includes supplier selection, carrying out tenders, reducing costs and mitigating risk wherever possible.

What has been the highlight of your time at Simworx so far?
The introduction of European standard EN1090 in 2014, which covers structural steelwork, created difficulties within our supply base. We had to either develop suppliers to meet the standard or find new ones that were accredited. We managed to do both, which has improved the quality of our fabrications.

What do you enjoy about your job?
Developing suppliers to meet the required standards is always a satisfying process. Negotiating and implementing mutually beneficial agreements with key suppliers also provides a sense of satisfaction.



MEET THE TEAM
Cassandra De-Gol
IP Asset Manager



 

Cassandra De-Gol
 

What do you do?
Simworx RoboCoaster has a growing portfolio of patents and trademarks. I implement global strategies for both businesses.

What are you working on ?
I’m filing four new patents for Simworx, two for RoboCoaster and furthering the territorial reach of existing applications.

What do you enjoy about your job?
As an intangible asset rich company we value new ideas and prioritise protecting valued concepts. It means my job is technologically diverse and I’m lucky to watch a technology grow from concept to realisation.

What do you like doing when you’re not at Simworx?
My single greatest interest lies in photography and sharing images on social media such as Instagram.



MEET THE TEAM
Matt Clarkson
Creative Designer



 

Matt Clarkson
 

What do you do?
I work at the start of our projects, creating conceptual designs for our clients. I also deal with Simworx’s marketing campaigns.

What are you working on?
We are currently developing ride vehicle designs for brand new installation due 2016 with some very big IPs.

What has been the highlight of your time at Simworx so far?
Knowing my designs have helped Simworx win bids, and seeing those designs develop from concepts on a screen to highly regarded attractions.

What do you enjoy about your job?
No two days are ever the same here. I get to work on many exciting and innovative projects in an industry which, from a designer’s perspective, is not hard to get enthusiastic about.



MEET THE TEAM
James Clarkson
Project Manager



 

James Clarkson
 

What do you do at Simworx?
Manage complex and unusual projects.

What has been the highlight of your time at Simworx so far?
Presenting detailed plans to the customers and receiving positive feedback.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the challenge.

What is most exciting about the industry to you right now?
Being on the forefront of leaps forward in technology, with the Robot RCX, the AGV, our work with VR and so on.

What’s your favourite ride?
Nemesis at Alton Towers – a classic thrill ride that’s nothing particularly clever or special, just good honest fun.



MEET THE TEAM
Peter Reece
Project Manager



 

Peter Reece
 

What is challenging about your job?
Timescales to complete projects and the pace of change.

What do you enjoy about your job?
The variety within the job and new product development. It’s also quite interesting when interviewing new recruits for engineering roles that the candidates are excited about the industry. Sometimes they can’t believe an English company is involved in the full lifecycle of ride attractions.

What do you like doing when you’re not at Simworx?
Fishing.

What’s your favourite ride?
It’s our Immersive Tunnels because of the way they have evolved since 2012, each one improving in every aspect from themeing to the AV experience.



MEET THE TEAM
Richard Monkton
Project Manager



 

Richard Monkton
 

What do you do?
As project manager, I ensure all QCs are applied to the build and installation, budgets and deadline dates are met and the client is satisfied.

What has been the highlight of your time at Simworx so far?
It has to be the 326-seat Angry Birds 4D theatre at Thorpe Park. I was project manager for this job, and it was our first project for Merlin Entertainments.

What do you enjoy about your job?
It’s great feeling when the public experience the attraction for the first time. They always give a round of applause which even after 10 years makes the hairs on my neck stand up.

What do you like doing when you’re not at Simworx?
I enjoy playing golf and spending quality time with the family.



MEET THE TEAM
Linda Day
Financial Controller



 

Linda Day
 

What do you do?
I manage the accounting function at Simworx.

What has been the highlight of your time at Simworx so far?
Seeing the growth of the company since I’ve been here has been amazing. On a personal level, my highlight has been Carl Johnson joining the team. He is a larger than life character and makes me laugh every day.

What is challenging about your job?
Keeping everybody happy.

What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy the variation of the work along with the colleagues I work with.

What do you like doing when you’re not at Simworx?
I enjoy socialising and going to pop concerts to see my favourite bands.



Originally published in Attractions Management 2015 issue 4

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