The Gravity Group pushes wooden roller coaster technology upside down and into China

Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 8:45 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Worried about the U. S. trade deficit with China? There is one U. S. product the Chinese can’t get enough of: wooden roller coasters. At least that is the impression one gets from The Gravity Group LLC, an engineering firm in Cincinnati specializing in the design of wooden roller coasters.

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Monday, February 24, 2014 9:24 PM

Yeah those communists are so horrible they build amusement parks with awesome roller coasters. Which is probably the only thing from the United States, that might never be made in China, and shipped here like everything else. Though, I'm sure someone has thought of it.

GM has started to build auto factories in China, and expects to sell 30 million cars there in its first year once the factories are completed. Makes one wonder if cars will become an import, and the last good paying factory job will be over seas.

All types of amusement park rides are currently in demand in China. I'm surprised that nobody comments on the vast amount of coasters at parks like Happy Valley. But, I'm sure if coaster manufacturers thought it was possible to build ride parts cheaper in China, and ship them, they would. Though Wood, is more of a north america thing.

Last edited by Timber-Rider, Monday, February 24, 2014 9:26 PM
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Monday, February 24, 2014 10:01 PM

wow...

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Monday, February 24, 2014 10:25 PM

Not at all sure what just happened.

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Monday, February 24, 2014 10:32 PM

Go home, Timber-Rider. You're drunk.

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Monday, February 24, 2014 11:34 PM

I'm sorry guys. I just saw the US deficit comment, and probably said something I shouldn't have. I'm just so tired of our government bitching about China, while they seem to have no problem borrowing money from them, and milking them for cheap labor. Mainly being a little sarcastic, in being surprised that roller coasters are not being built like puzzles over there, and shipped here like everything else. And my comment about wood being a north america thing, is mainly that a majority of timber industry is in the US and Canada.

So, I am mainly agreeing that roller coasters are probably the only real export this country has. As everything else is made in china. But, how long will it be before that changes too. Though I would think that mexico would be a more likely candidate for the future import of coasters. And, my comment about GM, mainly has to do with steel, and how a roller coaster manufacturer could easily set up shop in china, and build coasters in house over there. Then it is no longer an export, and eventually becomes an import. Like those future GM cars made in china.

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Monday, February 24, 2014 11:58 PM

GM builds cars in China because it's an emerging market, not so they can build them all there and ship them here. Maybe you aren't paying attention, but building stuff that big close to where you want to sell it makes a hell of a lot more sense. That's why Asian manufacturers have auto pants in the US.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 2:17 AM

I think the deeper, underlying issue here is that there's no Meijer in China.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 6:56 AM

There's also no Michigan's Adventure in China.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:35 AM

Actually, there probably is. They make knock offs of everything else, I'm sure they've got a Shivering Timbers over there somewhere...

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:56 AM

Bakeman31092 said:

There's also no Michigan's Adventure in China.

Which explains why China DOES get new coasters... ;~P

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 10:11 AM

Jeff said:

That's why Asian manufacturers have auto pants in the US.

What? Where? I want these. I'm tired of wearing manual pants.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 3:32 PM

Timber-Rider said:

Makes one wonder if cars will become an import, and the last good paying factory job will be over seas.

Those jobs are going away regardless, and are being replaced by robots. The level of automation in auto plants is remarkable, and the last few humans (not "in charge" of fixing robots, etc.) sticking around aren't there because their work can't be replicated by robots.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 4:12 PM

Timber-Rider said:
Which is probably the only thing from the United States, that might never be made in China, and shipped here like everything else.

The mantra that the US doesn't make anything anymore is heard a lot. But it isn't true. In terms of manufacturing output, the US is second in the world. Only behind China and China didn't pass us until about 5 years ago. But as dj noted, we are able to produce more now with fewer workers because of technology.

Steel mills in the US now are likely to produce lower volume, specialty steel products and in large part because of technology, employ 100s of workers rather than 1000s that they employed 30-40 years ago. Same is true for other manufacturing. Watch the Science Channel, Discovery, History Channel, etc. shows on factories in the US and you will see plants that would have required thousands of employees 20-30 years ago that now operate with hundreds. And have higher output.

In terms of exports, the US is second/third (some data I have seen has the US second behind China and other data has US third behind China and Germany). As the number of consumers rise in China, opportunities for exports to China will increase as well (though as noted, with products such as automobiles, expect to see US manufacturers to build plants in China to satisfy demand).

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 5:58 PM

And with someone like me in the automation field, we sell the idea/technology to produce more product with less people. Sadly that's the world we live in. And for the companies that don't adapt, they'll die off because they won't be competitive.

As for China, Jeff's right (except for the pants part). Factories are being built in China not for making cars to ship to the US, it's to sell to the emerging Chinese market.

It blows my mind every year when I see the same presentation on the estimations of the world's population that is entering the "middle class." It's mind boggling. So the incentive is there to produce, with as little cost as possible to make that oh-so-evil profit.

Yikes, I just rambled.

~Rob

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 6:42 PM

GoBucks89 said:
The mantra that the US doesn't make anything anymore is heard a lot. But it isn't true.

Just today I used a hand dryer in a public restroom that was made in Longmeadow, MA!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014 9:10 AM

That really blows.

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