Austrian attractions specialist Sunkid offers a wide range of outdoor entertainment solutions from applications for customer transport, rides, and activity towers for younger users, with more than 7,000 installations worldwide. Ronnie Dungan spoke to the firm’s marketing manager, Hannes Koschuta to get a close-up picture…

Tell us a little about the history of Sunkid

Sunkid has been striving to put a smile on the faces of its partners and their guests. Based on 40 years of experience in the amusement industry and more than 7,100 installations worldwide, Sunkid designs, manufactures and installs attractive rides for amusement parks and recreational facilities worldwide.

Moreover the Sunkid GmbH is known worldwide for its people conveyor belt system for outdoor applications, especially ski resorts. The enterprise is world market leader in this niche with more than 3.200 installations. Applications for people transport in amusement parks, conveying tubes or rafts or other innovative conveying solutions are of course also part of the portfolio.

The company’s roots regarding the production of playground equipment date back to 1974. However, the portfolio performed within relatively few years in the direction of the Family Rides. To this day more than 600 different Family Rides have been installed worldwide. Many of them are in use even after decades and millions of rides. Be there in the interactive and rotating around its own axis Tower, the Sky Dive with which you can feel like a bird. Or the Nautic Jet; the only amusement ride worldwide with a free flight phase.  Sunkid is positioned in the market as an all-in-one provider for products for leisure parks all year round.

How important is the family entertainment centre market to Sunkid? Is it a growing part of your business?

We experiencing a big grow in FECs for a few years now. Not only in UAE, but also in Europe, Russia and Korea we completed references in FECs for our family rides. It fits perfectly with the features of our rides: highly attractive for kids from three to 12 years, low space requirement, safe and still fun. Therefore we developed special solutions for our rides that can cope with usual allowed slab loads, and limited noise and heat emissions.

What kind of attractions are you currently targeting?

Currently, the interactive Loopster ride experiences a high demand in FEC’s. For FEC’s with medium capacity requirements, our new Sundancer will be a great novelty.

Which of your products are doing well in that sector?

Of course our interactive Tower, where kids from three years on can experience how to climb up, is very attractive to FECs. A space requirement of six metres in diameter including safety envelope and a capacity of up to 320 people per hour – that’s unique for an interactive ride. And this Tower can be set individually, or in double or threefold installation still handled by just one operator. So it’s highly attractive for large parks with high capacity requirements too.

Tell us about your recent launches, in particular the Wood Ball Tracks and Towers? Are these smaller footprint attractions becoming more popular?

Sunkid has launched in the Sundancer successfully last year. This is an interactive amusement ride aimed to the small parks that – at least in most European countries – run their attractions without an operator.

Wood Ball Tracks are aiming mostly for outdoor installations, where kids are animated to run along the tracks with a wooden ball. The ball itself usually can be purchased and taken home as a souvenir. The Ball Track Tower is a version that limits the space requirements. Still, following the ball and experiencing physical effects like gravity, acoustics or centrifugal forces keep the kids interested in this attraction for a long time.

How is new technology impacting on the rides you are creating?

We still keep with the “real experiences”. Interactivity is a very important part of our new products. This subject was also very important in the Sundancer, which has been launched in last year: Not only the rotation of the cabin can be controlled by the passengers, but also the speed at which the cabin goes around the centre. The larger the circulation speed, the farther will the cabin swivel out. In general Sunkid is strived to create products which motivate people/children to be active.

Which territories are performing particularly well for you right now? And is that down to the strength of the market in that area or your own activity?

Currently the UAE and Asia are performing well for us. Interactivity and low space requirements are important to FEC’s being built there right now. Another very special market are ski domes, where both our conveyors as well as our rides fit perfectly. Beside our marketing activities we believe word of mouth is a success factor – we proved that our products work for many years and can be fitted in nearly every environment.

How does Sunkid expand? Are you looking at new offices anywhere else perhaps? Or deals in other countries?

Sunkid has sales partners in more than 60 countries worldwide. Due to this Sunkid has a contact for its clients on site. At the moment this structure works very well and we don’t think about creating new subsidiaries.

What does the future hold for the company?

Those product lines that will have a larger portion of our turnover in the future: people conveying systems for outdoor applications in amusement parks and urban settings, components for amusement rides (e.g. we can retrofit existing rides and even replace complete trains; or delivering seat units including restraint systems to other manufacturers). And conveyors for waterparks, where we have leading know how in design and manufacturing, innovative solutions and a worldwide after-sales network.

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