PROSPER MAGAZINE: ISSUE 01 | SIMWORX
THE KING OF THE THRILL MAKERS
WE UNCOVER THE KINGSWINFORD FIRM WHO ARE BRINGING EXCITEMENT TO MILLIONS AROUND THE WORLD
On a mission to create out of this world experiences, Kingswinford based Simworx has a well-deserved reputation as innovators bringing thrills and excitement to visitors in theme parks and attractions across the globe.
A leading supplier of 3D and 4D effects theatres whose customers also include major museums, zoos, visitor attractions and aquariums; we caught up with Simworx Managing Director, Terry Monkton to understand more about the magic behind their work with exports reaching from Malaysia to Dubai and New Zealand to Mexico.
Providing clients with full turnkey solutions, including an immense library of 3D/4D films, the company has grown to create more bespoke projects that continue to provide truly magical experiences, whilst championing Great British creativity, design, technology and manufacturing.
A global outlook is key to Simworx’s success and is central to Terry’s approach recognised by his recent appointment as a Department of Industry & Trade Regional Export Champion for the Midlands Area and recipient of EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
“There is strong demand for our products in overseas markets and through strategised exhibiting, at a number of global exhibitions, our business has grown rapidly in recent years. Whilst we are 95% export sales, probably a similar percentage of our supply chain is UK based so funds received from overseas are retained and channelled through the UK economy.
“Using the knowledge and expertise of the DIT, the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, UKEFG and our banks has been paramount to our growth planning. Our order book has grown from £6 million in 2016 to £41 million in February this year and we have recently signed contracts for new attractions in Toronto, Mexico, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.”
The Simworx team has grown from 25 to 55 in just three years as the company’s global prominence has increased.
Using their incredible skills and imagination to ensure that only the best quality productions are paired with attractions means the company’s highly regarded skills are in demand, producing award-winning designs and global installations for the likes of DreamWorks, Parques Reunidos, Ferrari Land and Oceanographic, Spain; National Geographic, China; Bollywood Parks and Motiongate, Dubai; Parc Spirou and Futuroscope, France; Movie Park, Germany and Universe in Denmark, as well as for UK entertainment venues, Thorpe Park, Paultons Park and Drayton Manor Park.
Growing in a fast-paced industry, the company ensures it has the best people ready to take on any new challenges. Their aim; simply to have the latest designs and technology to create any attraction with mind-blowing results for clients and attraction enthusiasts to enjoy around the globe.
Terry said, “From the start, we have embraced utilising the very latest technology prevalent in Audio Visual Design, Special effects and of course various types of ride system to ‘move’ the visitor during an amazing audio-visual experience. The 4D Effects Cinema was our very first product, that at the time – was only ever seen at parks like Universal Studios and Disney. We were successful in deploying this product to the much larger – privately owned theme park and visitor attraction sector. As an added benefit, because it was scalable, we were happy to produce a 24 seat 4D Cinema, as well as a 300-seat version – so it had an appeal to venues of all sizes and budgets.
“Following our success with the 4D Cinema, we continued to invest in developing new types of media attractions. The Cobra and Stargazer very quickly followed, but it was the Immersive Tunnel that was a game-changer for us. A truly amazing ride whereby 30 or 60 people load into a themed motion simulator- imagine a large jeep!
From there the simulator moves along a short track into a huge almost 360° degree 3D screen that totally immerses the riders so all they see is an amazing fantasy world that they could never experience in real life. This ride was used by Merlin to transport visitors on a ‘London Bus’ to a ‘Land, Far Far Away’, where they encounter Kung Fu Panda, Toothless and various other Dreamworks characters along the way. Other versions of the ride have seen riders transported to Islands, populated by Dinosaurs”.
Subsequent rides developed by the company include its new AGV Dark Ride Vehicle, a futuristic 8-seater vehicle that transports guests in a multi-screen and SFX laden room without requiring track or power cables. Plus, a Flying Theatre that lifts riders into the air - 7 or 14 metres with their legs dangling free, providing a flying sensation in front of a huge domed screen.
With sales forecast to reach £25 million by 2020, the company has worked on increasing its export presence as well as strengthen its working capital, changed its business model from manufacturing to design and outsourcing via its local supply chain, expanded its product range and increased bonding facilities.
Sales agents are also in place in countries around the world to help expand Simworx’s coverage across various territories, whilst helping to assist and facilitate meetings with the knowledge of local customs and language.
Terry concluded, “We will continue to beat pathways to customer doors. We will always make the effort to go and see them on multiple occasions and give them the confidence in what we do and what we offer. We invite clients to our facilities at Simworx as well as book meetings with them at trade shows in their territory.
“Of course, at the moment, no one is sure of what the outcome of Brexit will be. However, I have attended several consultations held by DIT regarding the subject and given that the UK Government has actively encouraged and supported companies like us to grow our export sales, I am confident that they will ensure that there is minimal impact on the UK companies’ ability to trade overseas.”