UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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MattsDesigns
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The animatronics problem

Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:47 pm

Animatronics = the moving/talking models of mainly dark rides
The problem= they’re used all day and that causes them to break down

I have suggested before that maybe if they were built by the people who build (car) manufacture robots, using the same systems maybe that would help. They definitely have the duty cycle.

Another thing I thought was how Honda have been working on ASIMO for years and his body movements are supposed to be the finest out there but duty cycle is another issue especially since he can only stay on for an hour. In any case the AI movement must know something about robot maintenance – especially Japan.

Most ride companies probably know what kind of motor to use to run something all day but I noticed production lines are doing complicated things all day - could they be any inspiration.

Can anyone tell us exactly what the problems are, what causes them to break down after long usage?
Is it the tubes of the pneumatics, motor brushes, solenoids? Or is it just money and a solution already exists?
Last edited by MattsDesigns on Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Themeparksandy1981
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Re: The animatronics problem

Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:17 pm

Well it all depends on how much you pay for the animatronics. Like look at Disney attractions like the Haunted Mansion and Carousel of progress theses run all day 365 days a year.
 
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Re: The animatronics problem

Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:17 pm

I think the animatronics made and used in this country must be the cheapest and use the lowest quality components available.

At the end of the day they should be built with good quality industrial components and not things like hobby RC servos, although I know the ones in Duel are mostly controlled by air but I think they must be lacking in the lubrication department.  :P

All mechanical things need to be maintained though and that's something the likes of Alton Towers just cannot be bothered with. All our cars breakdown when not looked after and its the same with animatronics.
 
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Re: The animatronics problem

Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:40 pm

Yo Pete ! That is pretty true about things need fixing but when I thought about why this was, I feel that a purely pneumatic animatronic figure should last years. Its the expendable components and life span of the raw materials used in our cars and such that means we need to fix things. Belts and motor brushes wear down (I guess this is the whole reason they use pneumatic/hydrolic) but if all you have is pistons in a fibre glass shell then then that part atleast should be very reliable. The most potential for failure must be in the little tubes that bring the air to pistons,so I wonder if thats a problem.

There are 3 other parts to a pneumatic animatronic system. The compressor, the solenoid valves and a computer which controls the whole thing. Basically the computer controls the valves which let air in the pistons and you get movement but to my limited knowledge solenoids are very simple and computers these days are very reliable and controlling animatronics is a miniscule computer task.
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Re: The animatronics problem

Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:21 am

They break because like any mechanical system, it will eventually wear down and break...

Components degrade in a natural sense, even more so when they're being used constantly every day, there's not really anyway to get around it even with current industry standards... It's unavoidable really...
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Re: The animatronics problem

Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:45 pm

I understand that everything is always moving towards a state of disorder but when you have a problem like this, what is needed is invention - one of which might actually be out there, the aforementioned robot arm:

"The major advantages of industrial robots is that they can be programmed to suit industry specific requirements and can work continuously for years, consistently meeting high manufacturing quality standards. The economic life span of an industrial robot is approximately 12-16 years"

Thats aslong as a cat lives which is quite a long time. Not only do these arms work continuously for years, they are used all across the country and likely have a number of people who are able to repair them, spare parts are probably readily available and the software easy to use.

Also: I'm having trouble finding the price of new robots cause its all POA but the second hand ones seem to go from about £4000 - £25,000 which doesn't seem too bad (though they're irrelevant cause you need the life expectancy). In the Themes & Screams documentary they say a single animatronic figure cost them £30,000 - £60,000 - granted those ones are capable of many more individual movements.

With a pretty simple arm you could maybe have it inside the top half of a tiger appearing over a wall - the tiger can pan from side to side, turn his head and raise up and down, if the arm has grippers you can open the tigers mouth, squirt water...
Last edited by MattsDesigns on Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The animatronics problem

Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:43 am

But those things aren't 'maintained' by Merlin. Look at attraction anamatronics maintained by Disney, all working all year and they don't even get an off season. Technology cannot work without proper maintainence, just look at Duel...
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Re: The animatronics problem

Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:36 pm

I am sure the problem lies with maintenance, yes if its not maintained properly things will break. The trouble is, rides with lots of animatronics means a lot of maintenance, alot of maintenance means a lot of money for upkeep. Thats just how it is. Massive company's that use these robots can afford to upkeep there machinery, after all, production would stop if they didn't.

I think this high maintenance cost is reflected in rides such as Charlie and the Chocolate factory, which uses significantly less animatronics than their dark rides a decade or so before. This was more than likely done on purpose to save on maintenance costs.
 
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animatronic connecttions

Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:22 am

I am currently bulding animatronics for a theme park in somerset but last year i made a baby t-rex the sme mechanism with walking withthe dinsoaur show in arena,  the problem is im not a big company but im design team are good enough to compete with anybody else. also im t only person who made a dinosaur animatronic costume same done by creature company in austrlia /walking with the dinosaur.
Id be hapy to show my dinosaur video sme of my latest animatronic troll, hyena and firies to someone interested to see. just emai me [email protected] 
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Re: The animatronics problem

Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:31 am

Ah... based from my experienced in theme park design, life span of atraction will be atleast 1-2 years and you have to change the attraction and your animatronics... also people get bored of story telling stuff, most of haunted house in the Uk is a bit boring,  maybe because they use to much of naration andhisory telling stuff. lso the way they desgn the entrance and exit is wrong.  and arranging the path ay for thrill seeker and mechanical props is in worng place.
why do we go in theme park ? the answer is we are thrill seeker.  its like can get one ticket for hauntd house please and scare me to death... simple as that. a proper interactive involving the visitor...
animatronic comparisson?
motor sucks
pneumatic the best . rain or shine they last long aswell.
 
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Re: The animatronics problem

Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:01 pm

The Moon wrote:
But those things aren't 'maintained' by Merlin. Look at attraction anamatronics maintained by Disney, all working all year and they don't even get an off season. Technology cannot work without proper maintainence, just look at Duel...


Maybe in the good old days but not now. Splash has had broken AA for months, granted it down at the minute for extensive refurb but there was a time when the ride would go off line until it was fixed, deemed as bad show. Nowadays you can see bad show all over the parks, shame. I will post an example when I get to my laptop
 
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Re: The animatronics problem

Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:14 pm

Anamatronics are by their very nature, crap. My point is, Disney DO take care of their rides. Duel was last refurbed '03 and for the most part doesn't work. Splash, '92. Doesn't look a day over '08. Of course some things won't work all the time, there are so many things going on.

Also, Disney has 4 theme parks plus water parks plus Downtown etc. That's just in FL. Alton has 1 medium size park, golf and a water park. Yet it can't fix its one dark rides buggered anamatronics.
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Re: The animatronics problem

Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:10 pm

The Moon wrote:
Anamatronics are by their very nature, crap. My point is, Disney DO take care of their rides. Duel was last refurbed '03 and for the most part doesn't work. Splash, '92. Doesn't look a day over '08. Of course some things won't work all the time, there are so many things going on.

Also, Disney has 4 theme parks plus water parks plus Downtown etc. That's just in FL. Alton has 1 medium size park, golf and a water park. Yet it can't fix its one dark rides buggered anamatronics.


Disney isn't the company it once was, I could go into all kinds of details about the subject. The point I was making was that back in the day if one, If one AA on a ride was down that ride was shut down until said AA was fixed. Having one AA down was deemed bad show, the broken AAs got fixed pretty sharpish.

Everest has been running with a broken yeti for years  whilst Splash has been in a poor state of repair for a long long time with multiple AA out, see here>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Nv_xKKv2IQ & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Nv_xKKv2IQ and backed up here http://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/splash-mountain-falling-apart-literally.855607/ 37 pages on  the subject.

There are many cases of this across the resort. Don't get me wrong I love Disney, I have an AP and an apartment there and usually  go for 4 weeks a year. People see Disney through rose tinted glasses. All im saying is they ain't as good as they used to be, and I have certainly seen a steady decline over the years.

Uni are catching them quick and the next 3 to 4 years are going to be huge for Uni. Disney need to get back to doing what they do well else they are in danger of losing their crown.

Have a nice day  :P
Last edited by Roodlesnouter on Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: The animatronics problem

Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:08 pm

The Moon wrote:
Anamatronics are by their very nature, crap. My point is, Disney DO take care of their rides. Duel was last refurbed '03 and for the most part doesn't work.
That's not really fair on the maintenance team. Duel has repeatedly been maintained each closed season since 2008, with newly fixed effects and improved lighting always popping up during the season. In 2011 they brought back several effects that has been missing for a decade, so they do care.

And personally I thought the ride was working fine on my last visit. The Haunted House does have deliberately simpler effects, though, not really traditional animatronics but air pressure mechanisms, so it should be easier to maintain.
 
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Re: The animatronics problem

Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:37 pm

roodlesnouter wrote:
The Moon wrote:
Anamatronics are by their very nature, crap. My point is, Disney DO take care of their rides. Duel was last refurbed '03 and for the most part doesn't work. Splash, '92. Doesn't look a day over '08. Of course some things won't work all the time, there are so many things going on.

Also, Disney has 4 theme parks plus water parks plus Downtown etc. That's just in FL. Alton has 1 medium size park, golf and a water park. Yet it can't fix its one dark rides buggered anamatronics.



Disney isn't the company it once was, I could go into all kinds of details about the subject. The point I was making was that back in the day if one, If one AA on a ride was down that ride was shut down until said AA was fixed. Having one AA down was deemed bad show, the broken AAs got fixed pretty sharpish.

Everest has been running with a broken yeti for years  whilst Splash has been in a poor state of repair for a long long time with multiple AA out, see here>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Nv_xKKv2IQ & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Nv_xKKv2IQ and backed up here http://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/splash-mountain-falling-apart-literally.855607/ 37 pages on  the subject.

There are many cases of this across the resort. Don't get me wrong I love Disney, I have an AP and an apartment there and usually  go for 4 weeks a year. People see Disney through rose tinted glasses. All im saying is they ain't as good as they used to be, and I have certainly seen a steady decline over the years.

Uni are catching them quick and the next 3 to 4 years are going to be huge for Uni. Disney need to get back to doing what they do well else they are in danger of losing their crown.

Have a nice day  :P


I'm sorry but since they announced the Fantasyland project they been doing the park up. I been following it on Orlando Park News. The runaway minetrain been done up with a interactive queue line. Splash Mountain having a long rehab at the moment. Space mountain was done up about 2 years ago. There added new interactive games and lots of shows. Tomorrowland is next for big changes.
 
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Re: The animatronics problem

Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:10 pm

Themeparksandy1981 wrote:
roodlesnouter wrote:
The Moon wrote:
Anamatronics are by their very nature, crap. My point is, Disney DO take care of their rides. Duel was last refurbed '03 and for the most part doesn't work. Splash, '92. Doesn't look a day over '08. Of course some things won't work all the time, there are so many things going on.

Also, Disney has 4 theme parks plus water parks plus Downtown etc. That's just in FL. Alton has 1 medium size park, golf and a water park. Yet it can't fix its one dark rides buggered anamatronics.



Disney isn't the company it once was, I could go into all kinds of details about the subject. The point I was making was that back in the day if one, If one AA on a ride was down that ride was shut down until said AA was fixed. Having one AA down was deemed bad show, the broken AAs got fixed pretty sharpish.

Everest has been running with a broken yeti for years  whilst Splash has been in a poor state of repair for a long long time with multiple AA out, see here>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Nv_xKKv2IQ & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Nv_xKKv2IQ and backed up here http://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/splash-mountain-falling-apart-literally.855607/ 37 pages on  the subject.

There are many cases of this across the resort. Don't get me wrong I love Disney, I have an AP and an apartment there and usually  go for 4 weeks a year. People see Disney through rose tinted glasses. All im saying is they ain't as good as they used to be, and I have certainly seen a steady decline over the years.

Uni are catching them quick and the next 3 to 4 years are going to be huge for Uni. Disney need to get back to doing what they do well else they are in danger of losing their crown.

Have a nice day  :P


I'm sorry but since they announced the Fantasyland project they been doing the park up. I been following it on Orlando Park News. The runaway minetrain been done up with a interactive queue line. Splash Mountain having a long rehab at the moment. Space mountain was done up about 2 years ago. There added new interactive games and lots of shows. Tomorrowland is next for big changes.


Granted the mine train was recently refurbished but not before rocks fell off on passengers heads, the queue line has not been done yet either. Splash is being done at the minute and is long over due. Space mountain refurb was cut back beyond belief there, they call it value engineering these days.

The reason next gen (interactive queuing) is coming in is down to fastpass+ (google it) which will make stand by lines longer.

FLE is nice and new yet the mermaid ride is falling to bits already. I think you mean Orlando Themepark news? they are a good site and have some great photo updates but you need to read a few different websites to get a true reflection, not just take the pixie dusters words for it.

Tomorrowland is a mess and there has been speculation for years, the latest being a Tron ride to replace the dated speedway. What are the new shows you mention?

You can be as sorry as you like, but as I say I go yearly so see it first hand and  I know what I see.

It's not all bad it's just not as good as it used to be and with the ticket prices going up and up the customer is getting less, folk are not happy. .

Look who is getting all the new attractions it sure ain't Disney but you can get a nice new RFID wrist band instead. What about Avatar, Hyperion Wharf or Flamingo Crossings all announced yet where are they, being value engineered.

Have a magical day :-).
Last edited by Roodlesnouter on Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: The animatronics problem

Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:17 am

Disney is not what it was. What is? Have you noticed the recession? I personally prefer BGT, Cheetah Hunt confirmed that in my eyes. But Disney DO NOT leave an attraction 15 years before even PAINTING it!
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Re: The animatronics problem

Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:55 am

Sure there is a recession...but that's not stopping the spending.

Disney spending 2bn on MyMagic+
Uni spending 500m potter 2, Transformaers 50m, Simpsons expansion, Jurassic park coaster, New lagoon show at IOA plus much much more.
Also look out  antarctica empire of the penguin at seaworld, opening soon.

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I agree about BGT, stunning park and a possible new coaster for 2014 (B&M hyper maybe) SW is also starting to up their game and will be a big threat to Disney.
Last edited by Roodlesnouter on Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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