Vekoma, A Manufacturer Profile
In 1926 Hendrik op het Veld formed Veld Koning Machinefabriek (Veld Koning Machine Factory). This was abbreviated to Vekoma, and another legendary Dutch ride builder was created.
Only inline with many amusement ride manufacturers, it actually wasn’t. Originally it built farm equipment, and equipment for the mining industry.
After the 1956 closure of the Dutch mining industry, the company switched to producing pipework for the petrochemical industry.
1970’s And The Move Into The Entertainment Industry
The US based roller coaster manufacturer Arrow Dynamics contracted Vekoma to build the steel work for their European rides in the 70’s. As demand in Europe increased Vekoma eventually licensed the technology from Arrow and began building rides in their own right with 3 coasters being produced in 1979.
Named the Super Wirbel the first coaster was an inverted double corkscrew installed in Holiday Park, Hassloch Germany. Two of the first riders were the German Formula 1 drivers Rolf Stommelen and Harald Ertl , eventually they produced 7 examples. They went on the produce the Invertigo, Boomerang and Whirlwind coasters.
Alliance With Chance Morgan
In 2006 they formed an alliance with the USA based manufacturer Chance Morgan, with Chance building the steelwork for the coasters. They produced four in total during this period.
Acquisition Of Bussink Wheels Of Excellence
Vekoma acquired the Wheels of Excellence range from Ronald Bussink, whereby Bussink would continue to build the 100 metre wheels and Vekoma would build wheels in the smaller 40-80 metre market. They terminated the agreement with Chance in 2012, but licensed the R60 metre wheel to a new offshoot of chance called Chance American Wheels.
Madhouse And SkyShuttle
Vekoma also manufacture a couple of other attractions. The most curious in the aptly named mad house. Designed to give the riders the illusion of weightlessness and spinning upside down. In actuality, it is an updated version of the ‘Rib Tickler’, a ride that graced British fairgrounds in the 80’s, though never presented as well as the Vekoma version.
The other is the SkyShuttle. Raising riders upto 50 metres into the sky with a gently rotating gondola, the ride allows spectacular views over the full site.
Acquisition By Sensei Technologies
In 2018 Vekoma was acquired by Sansei Technologies a Japanese based company who specialises in both Amusement rides and elevators. The agreement was that Vekoma would continue to be run as a separate entity, so hopefully the brand will continue.