SB Machine’s owner Paolo Sidoli discusses the buoyant state of the kiddie ride market, and how his company is raising the standard with high quality designs and the latest technologies.
What is the state of the kiddie ride market?
We’ve noticed in recent years that there has been increased interest in kiddie rides from operators. However, what has happened over many years is that a lot of kiddie rides haven’t been replaced as often as they should be. Now operators are realising that they have to increase their proportion of budget on kiddie rides – but that’s got to be justified by strong performing kiddie rides. So, there’s been increased investment from the side of the operator, and there’s been increased investment in research and development in the latest technologies from us.
Which particular rides are driving the growth in interest you are seeing this season?
We have noticed this year, and in recent years, that we have a core of about five rides that always seem to consistently attract attention amongst operators, small and large alike. The rides that have commanded the operator’s budget have been the Double Pony Express, Tagamissile, Firetruck Roundabout, Missile and New Tagada.
What are the features of these rides that make them an advancement on the previous generation?
The key features that are distinguishing these rides from previous generations is the increased interactivity via a video screen and controls that allow the child to govern the movement of the ride. The Italian manufacturers have been well positioned to embrace new technologies in the rides that have allowed their products to thrive in the marketplace and also cement their position as a flourishing centre of the production of coin-operated rides in the world. Inverters allow variable motor speeds, such as acceleration/deceleration, and change in direction. Secondary motors allow enhanced movements while the fabulous Raspberry Pi computers allow seamless reliable integration of video with mechanical movements.
Are arcade visitors more demanding of rides and what is SB doing about it?
Arcade visitors and operators alike are more demanding from our rides as everybody is pushing the boundaries to provide the best coin operated leisure experience. Our rides have to compete in a cauldron of amusements machines and we do it by providing beautifully designed and presented equipment incorporating the very latest technologies. However, this has to be backed up by a bit of financial science. We rigorously site test rides on a variety of sites over a sustained period of time, looking at all of the aspects to see if there is anything we can do that will enhance takings and encourage repeat custom.
That probably leads to a final, more challenging question. So how does an operator make their choice on SB Machines for kiddie rides?
Our job and our remit is quite simple. We are specialists in the supply and maintenance of all Italian coin-operated rides. We do not swerve away from this principle. We take the worry of choosing a ride because we have done all the trialling and have the sums to prove it. We provide an unprecedented level of after sales service that enables us to provide technical assistance to rides that are over 25 years old. We offer longevity of product and continuity of spares, but most importantly the wisdom and knowledge in rides that we have accrued over 25 years of working in the sector.