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Cedar Fair working with Bitec for parts

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A Dayton manufacturer has launched a business to service a billion-dollar company with facilities across the U.S. and Canada.

"They (Cedar Fair) have trouble getting their parts made by a company overseas, and what we found is that if we can reverse engineer those parts, there is a huge opportunity to help them out," Rees told me. "They're very interested in what we have to offer."

 

Read more here: https://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/news/2019/01/30/exclusive-dayton-manufacturer-launches-new.html?ana=yahoo&yptr=yahoo&fbclid=IwAR23gSkdvJ6lK6zHKxbNeRCrA5ZJSAmooHs6Hf218xPpSmQn_Fo6mcQHrmk

It looks like keeping rides with hard to get parts is a priority for CF. This makes me happy!

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So my question is which overseas manufacturer "turned their back" on the US?  It is a company that has a lot of rides in Cedar Fair parks (160 legacy rides according to the article.

Intamin comes to mind immediately, but does Cedar Fair have that many Intamin rides?  

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Across the entire chain there are less than 160 roller coasters, RCDB puts it at 125 but I did not look into the number much.  So it has to be a company which makes flat rides and has a large variety of rides in general because there are only 11 parks in the chain that means an average of more than 14 rides per a park.  Two other options I think which should be considered, that it is not a single ride manufacturer and instead is a component supplier, or they included attractions from other companies for instance older flat rides from companies which are out of business.

But this seems to scream Intamin.  They are well known for having very long lead times on replacement components.  The 8 month time frame sounds like the length of time that Xcelerator was down.  Even still 160 feels high for even Intamin.

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Maybe a quicker turn around and cheaper? Once they get the fixtures for the parts they need, I would think they will be able to crank them out pretty quick. Seems like this is a good move for CF and us who may be able to keep around a ride longer to them being able to get the hard to get parts and hopefully at a reasonable price. 

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Intamin has made/makes more than just coasters.

Kings Island has at least 5 Intamin designs operational.

They have 8 Zemperlas (mainly, if not exclusively Kids attractions)

They have 2 Huss attactions.

My bet would be on Intamin, though Zemperla has put a ton of kids rides thruout the chain.  160 is a lot for any 1 company no matter how you slice it.

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27 minutes ago, silver2005 said:

Does S&S or Vekoma make Arrow parts?  If S&S, are they domestic?

It’s complicated because both companies are owned by Sansei Technologies based in Japan.  

But realistically it’s S&S which I would call the headquarters in Utah domestic.

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If you combine Arrow with S&S, they do have a lot of rides at the parks.  KI has three arrow coasters, Cedar Point has five arrow coasters.  Add in S&S, and you can get a lot of rides, but I don`t know if all those would add up to 160.  Seems like a high number.

It could be something like polyurethane wheel supplier, which could apply to not just S&S Sansei/Arrow, but could extend to Intamin, Premier Rides, and RMC.  That might get closer to the 160 amount.  

As Brad indicated, if the chain can get reliable parts cheaper, that do not jeopardize the safety of the ride, then it is a win win situation.

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1 hour ago, Rivertown Rider said:

Another example of Intamin is that Volcano broke down in June and never did reopen.

Those were the bolts for the entire coaster and only that coaster I believe. Volcano is a one off.

 

Also if Intamin was trying to get back into the states.....why make CF mad haha.

 

That is a good point that maybe its the polyurethane wheel supplier?

 

He also says " Legacy Rides". Is they an older ride collection?

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Cedar Fair may be signaling a new direction in management of ride assets.  With a quick turn around parts supplier Cedar Fair will be able to reduce operating costs of repairs, ride life extension, and possibly even ride refreshments and renovations.  The reduction in ride downtime can have several benefits including enhanced guest experiences, more effective installed capital productivity, purchasing and pricing leverage over traditional suppliers, and leveling of park staffing costs.

Recall some years ago Cedar Fair embarked upon a world wide effort to locate legacy flat rides which were rebuilt, repaired, and renewed by outside vendors and companies, then installed in several parks.  Those rides were more in the category of flat rides if memory serves me correctly.  This development could lead to Cedar Fair being able to bring this capacity more in-house and in cooperation with a local vendor.  Cedar Fair has been oversubscribing the marketable capital expenditures in the last few years.  Rather than the 10 percent of revenue goal, Cedar Fair has been clocking in about 40-50 percent higher at the 14+ percentage of revenue cap ex reinvestment.  At some point those costs must be brought into alignment with market guidance.  This may be an effort to reduce the costs associated with attraction operation and a trimming of capital expenditures down to the expected and projected ten percent range.

Cedar Fair, under the modern management era, has learned many valuable lessons.  When Cedar Point removed two legacy rides to make way for the iconic, energizing, and defining GateKeeper roller coaster, the reduction in maintenance costs associated with the discontinued rides produced adequate enough savings to pay for the installation and operations of GateKeeper.  Thus GateKeeper actually reduced operating costs.  Thinking along these lines I rather suspect management expects significant gains going forward.  The article reports Bitec/Simple Machining Inc plans to invest approximately $5 million in the next four years in the venture.  That suggests a large volume of parts are expected to be ordered and manufactured in the near future.  Assuming a very conservative ratio of $5.00 in orders for each dollar invested in plant and equipment that places a revenue value of $20 million in parts.

This strategy also allows Cedar Fair to hedge against disruptions to the parts supply chain by circumstances such as embargoes, punishing trade tariffs, or demands by competitors which might temporarily restrict availability of parts from overseas.  Given the lack of progress in trade agreements with Asian countries such a move seems very wise.         

   

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3 hours ago, silver2005 said:

^That doesn't mean they're buddy buds with CF yet.

I agree. They have a lot of work to do in order to get back on CF's good side. Their most recent work with Intamin didn't go so well to the point where they had to remove/ redo certain rides.

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5 hours ago, silver2005 said:

HUSS also comes to mind.  Also with Intamin, there are more than just Intamin coasters at CF parks.  

Does S&S or Vekoma make Arrow parts?  If S&S, are they domestic?

S&S has an Arrow Division which focuses on making Arrow parts. 

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13 minutes ago, SonofBaconator said:

I agree. They have a lot of work to do in order to get back on CF's good side. Their most recent work with Intamin didn't go so well to the point where they had to remove/ redo certain rides.

Potter coaster ? Or  the sea world coaster?? Seems like Universal loves to work with them? Sorry I am not trying to make this an Intamin thing. Haha I just don't think its them and that unbias!

 

** EDIT I also just re-read your post and I retract my question lol. I305?

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1 hour ago, Arrow said:

S&S has an Arrow Division which focuses on making Arrow parts. 

I knew that, I was just verifying  if they were still in Utah/the US or not since I knew they were apart of that Japanese firm, which has been answered.  

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Here’s the rundown, yes it’s great that someone reverse-engineered the parts, but it’s a catch 22 situation.

With the reverse-engineered parts you can get the parts at a cheaper rate, however, if they don’t know any company protocols used for the production of said parts, you’re going to have to replace them more frequently than the authentic parts needed replacement. If that’s the case, then you’d likely be paying the same amount for both cases.

If this sounds ludicrous, here’s my point. While many of the ride companies make money off of selling new rides, a portion of their profit comes from selling replacement parts. Is a company really going to be giving the manufacturing procedure to a potential rival? 

It’s an interesting solution to a common problem. I wish both companies the best of luck.

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I wonder if a majority of the parts are for older rides whose parts at one time were possibly cutting-edge, but are easily reproduced now.  Sort of like all the reproduction parts now available for older cars.

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8 hours ago, gforce1994 said:

Here’s the rundown, yes it’s great that someone reverse-engineered the parts, but it’s a catch 22 situation.

With the reverse-engineered parts you can get the parts at a cheaper rate, however, if they don’t know any company protocols used for the production of said parts, you’re going to have to replace them more frequently than the authentic parts needed replacement. If that’s the case, then you’d likely be paying the same amount for both cases.

If this sounds ludicrous, here’s my point. While many of the ride companies make money off of selling new rides, a portion of their profit comes from selling replacement parts. Is a company really going to be giving the manufacturing procedure to a potential rival? 

It’s an interesting solution to a common problem. I wish both companies the best of luck.

I was going to comment on this as well.

I'm a Mechanical Engineer, have worked in manufacturing my entire professional career.

Reverse Engineering will probably work for a significant portion of things.  They'll likely replace the part, confirm everything works as normal, and then sign off on that item as a suitable replacement part.

There are some items, that they'll struggle with.  Items that are patented.  Expensive components like gear boxes, hydraulic pumps, etc.  However, it should help out with a significant portion of things.

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The more I think about this the less likely I find the company in question being a ride manufacturer, I suspect it is a company which makes components.  It also would not surprise me if most of us have never heard of the company.  Maybe someone who makes replacement parts for rides which are no longer being manufactured, or just a component supplier whose parts go into several companies rides.

The article and the quote never said the company manufactured 160 attractions, it just says the chain has 160 attractions consisting of parts from the company.

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On 2/1/2019 at 11:22 AM, teenageninja said:

I was going to comment on this as well.

I'm a Mechanical Engineer, have worked in manufacturing my entire professional career.

Reverse Engineering will probably work for a significant portion of things.  They'll likely replace the part, confirm everything works as normal, and then sign off on that item as a suitable replacement part.

There are some items, that they'll struggle with.  Items that are patented.  Expensive components like gear boxes, hydraulic pumps, etc.  However, it should help out with a significant portion of things.

I've always been curious if the ride companies are the ones actually MAKING the parts to... I'd assume a large chunk of the stuff is contracted out while the actual company oversees the design, installation, warranty work and maybe a small amount of operation with the park as a hand off.

I haven't done any real research, but I don't see these companies handling a lot more than that. Correct me if I'm wrong though. I can see like trains and bigger things being purchased, but when it comes to the majority of wear and tear parts I'm pretty sure we are going to get them through a contracted supplier/vendor.

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On 2/3/2019 at 12:10 AM, TheRickster said:

I've always been curious if the ride companies are the ones actually MAKING the parts to... I'd assume a large chunk of the stuff is contracted out while the actual company oversees the design, installation, warranty work and maybe a small amount of operation with the park as a hand off.

I haven't done any real research, but I don't see these companies handling a lot more than that. Correct me if I'm wrong though. I can see like trains and bigger things being purchased, but when it comes to the majority of wear and tear parts I'm pretty sure we are going to get them through a contracted supplier/vendor.

Probably depends on the manufacturer.  Hard to say who makes what components though.  It's pretty apparent that no one is making their own track.  

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