Vekoma is a roller coaster designer and manufacturer based in the Netherlands. Its name is an abbreviation for "Veld Koning Machinefabriek," which translates to "Veld Koning Machine Factory". Vekoma specializes in making and selling many compact coaster models.
The company was established in 1926. From 1930 onwards, the company produced equipment for the agriculture industry. In 1954, the name "Vekoma" was used for the first time and the focus of the company shifted to the production of steel structures. This was due to the construction of coal mines. However, in the early 1960s, construction of the mines was halted and the company began producing structures for the chemical and petrochemical industry.
In the late 1970s, Vekoma began producing amusement rides and in 1983 production for other industries was stopped entirely. In 1979, Vekoma's first roller coaster, Super Wirbel opened to the public. It had a double corkscrew element. The company had an agreement with American manufacturer Arrow Development, in which Arrow licensed its patents to Vekoma while Vekoma used Arrow trains on its roller coasters. Seven copies of Super Wirbel were produced.
Vekoma subsequently introduced the Whirlwind model, which packed two corkscrew elements into a more compact footprint than previous Arrow designs. The company also offered larger custom designs which incorporated vertical loops.
In 1982, Vekoma manufactured their first Boomerang, a shuttle roller coaster. It made use of Arrow's track design and trains, but had a new, very compact layout that packed three inversions that were traversed once forwards and once backwards. It was the first roller coaster with a cobra roll. The model was highly successful, with four installations opened in 1984 and another three opened the following year. Vekoma also introduced four Boomerang variants. The Invertigo had a nearly identical layout to the original Boomerang design, but with inverted trains. The first of these opened in 1997. This model was unsuccessful, with only four being built. The Giant Inverted Boomerang also had a similar layout, but was taller, longer and the two lift hills were vertical. The Family Boomerang was the most successful Boomerang variant. They come in many different layouts. The first one opened in 2011, and 33 have been built since then. More recently, Vekoma introduced the Super Boomerang model. This model is similar to the original Boomerang, but more versatile, with custom layouts. One of these is currently under construction.
In the late 1980s, Vekoma introduced the Illusion model and the MK-700 and MK-900 track systems.
In 2001, Vekoma filed for bankruptcy, citing a decline in orders due to a general decrease in attendance at amusement parks. Nine former Vekoma employees went on to form KumbaK.
From 2006 to October 2012, Chance Rides manufactured some of Vekoma's United States installations.
From 2013, Vekoma represented Rocky Mountain Construction in Europe.
In March 2018, Vekoma was purchased by Sansei Technologies, the owner of S&S Worldwide. This was followed by a company rebrand in June 2018, which was announced at the Asian IAAPA Expo.
Models of roller coasters made by Vekoma
- Big Air - Formerly named as Hammerhead Stall, this shuttle type ride is designed to replicate the feeling of flying in a plane. This ride has been installed in EDA park in Taiwan.
- Boomerang - A three inversion shuttle roller coaster. Designed over 20 years ago, it continues to be a successful product. In 1996, Vekoma introduced an inverted upgrade to this ride called an Invertigo. Five years later, in 2001, Vekoma introduced the Giant Inverted Boomerang, which has completely vertical spikes and provides a taller and faster ride. There are 45 operating Boomerangs around the world, including Sea Serpent at Morey's Piers in Wildwood New Jersey, this is also the first boomerang coaster in the United States.
- Bermuda Blitz is a large steel roller coaster model that features a beyond-vertical drop and many airtime moments and inversions. The first of this model is Lech Coaster at Legendia, in Poland, which opened in July 2017.
- Custom Designed Family Coaster - A classical roller coaster, designed to families with young children and custom to a park's layout and needs. The Vapor Trail at Sesame Place and Muntanya Russa at Tibidabo, in Spain, are examples of these roller coasters.
- Family Boomerang is a junior family version of the Boomerang roller coaster which does not contain any inversions. The Family Boomerang features trains similar to the Vekoma Junior Coaster, which are first taken backwards up a tire-driven lift hill. The train is then released through a series of hills, dips and turns before rolling back to the station in reverse.
- Firestorm is the larger launched roller coaster model currently offered by Vekoma. It has 3 inversions and reaches a speed of 71.5 mph. Two models are currently being built in Asia, one at Vinpearl Land in Vietnam and one at World Fairytale Land in China.
- Flying Dutchman - A flying roller coaster. Riders are reclined back into a lay-down position and turn around on the first drop of the ride into a prone 'flying' position. There are three models of the Flying Coaster: Flying Dutchman - 843m Prototype, Flying Dutchman - 1018m and Stingray. There are two operating Flying Coasters around the world, Nighthawk at Carowinds and Batwing at Six Flags America.
- Junior Coaster - A small family sized roller coaster. Most installations are clones with several turns and helixes.
- MK-1200 - Vekoma is providing several models of roller coaster with inversions.
- Mine Train - A mine train roller coaster. Four Mine Trains exist around the world, including Flight of the Phoenix at Happy Valley.
- Motorbike Coaster - A coaster that uses motorbike trains. There are two models of Motorbike Coasters, the 600m and the Custom.
- Shockwave - A launched roller coaster with a splashdown. The first of these will open at Energylandia in Poland in 2020 under the name Abyssus.
- SLC (Suspended Looping Coaster) - An inverted roller coaster. The standard model has a roll over immediately after the initial drop, followed by a sidewinder, and finally a double inline-twist before returning to its station. There are a few variations, including a longer model with an extra helix at the end of the ride. Vekoma also offers custom SLC models. There are seven models of SLCs: the 662m Prototype, the 689m Standard, the 787m Extended, the 765m Extended w/Helix, the Shenlin, the Shenlin w/Helix and the Custom. There are 40 operating SLCs around the world. The SLC roller coaster model has earned a reputation among critics for being uncomfortable while most recent installations have begun to address the issue with updated wheel assemblies and train designs.
- Space Warp is the smaller launched roller coaster model currently offered by Vekoma. It has three inversions and reaches a speed of 49.2 mph. The first installation of this model was Formuła at Energylandia in Poland. This roller coaster model is also available with a lift hill instead of a launch, as exhibited at two Oriental Heritage theme parks in China.
- Suspended Family Coaster - There are nine Suspended Family Coasters operating in the world. Cedar Fair owns several models of the same layout themed to Snoopy the Red Baron pilot. Frontier City in Oklahoma has a smaller model named Steel Lasso.
- Suspended Thrill Coaster - A Suspended Thrill Coaster is a Suspended Family Coaster but with inversions. Currently there is only operating one: Hals-über-Kopf at Erlebnispark Tripsdrill.
- Swinging Turns - A suspended roller coaster. Vekoma also provided replacement trains for the Arrow Dynamics designed Vampire at Chessington World of Adventures. There are three operating Swinging Turns around the world, including the Hanging Coaster at Dream World.
- Tilt Coaster - A standard roller coaster with a vertical drop at the start. Trains enter the vertical drop via an unusual tilt section. After leaving the chain lift, instead of going down a first drop, the rider is held on a horizontal section of track, which then tilts forwards, to become a vertical section. This leads into the drop, then into the rest of the coaster layout. There is one operating Tilt Coaster in the world, the Gravity Max at Discovery World in Taiwan.
- Top Gun Launch Coaster - A compact launched roller coaster with single car trains. This layout was unveiled in 2018, and currently there are three roller coasters in construction.
- Wooden - A roller coaster that is made of wood. There are two operating Vekoma wooden coasters around the world, ThunderCoaster at TusenFryd, in Norway, and Loup-Garou at Walibi Belgium, in Belgium.
The other coaster models by Vekoma are Custom MK-700, Custom MK-900, Energy Storm, Enigma, Hurricane, Hyper Space Warp, Illusion, LSM Coaster, Powered Coaster, Splash Party and Wild Mouse.
- ↑ Netherlands Coaster Manufacturer Files For Bankruptcy - Ultimate Rollercoaster
- ↑ Nine Former Vekoma Employees Come Back With Kumbak Coasters - AllBusiness (Wayback archive)
- ↑ "Achtbaanbouwer Vekoma uit Nederland in Japanse handen". RTL Nieuws. https://www.rtlnieuws.nl/economie/beurs/artikel/4134096/achtbaanbouwer-vekoma-uit-nederland-japanse-handen.