Technifex® continues to build on its legacy of 38 years in the business
by Judith Rubin
With CEO Monty Lundi at the helm, Technifix It has taken steps to stay well positioned in the mainstream of attraction trends, and to maintain and grow its position as an innovative and influential leader. The company celebrated 38 years of success Over the past few years, it has revamped the company’s structure, expanded its leadership team, revamped its business model, and added prestigious and ground-breaking new projects to an already distinguished portfolio.
Collaborating with experienced designers at the forefront, today Technifex helps develop and deliver key elements to energize high-profile brands, high stakes IP-based attractions, immersive virtual environments, free roving virtual reality (VR) experiences, and bells and whistles gamification, the current boom in Location Based Entertainment (LBE) and more.
Examples include Dreamscape Immersive venues and Stranger Things: The Experience. We delve into the company’s work on these and other projects below.
Founded in 1984, Technifex was unique in defining itself as a provider of special effects, across the spectrum – not associated, for example, with digital effects, fabrication, projection equipment, fountains, fire, or illusions – but with talent To produce it all and more. This was unusual at the time, and still is.
Lunde explained that the original concept of the company originated from his business history, his partner’s history and Rock Hall Founder (now retired)after both hone their careers and versatility at Disney developing special effect systems for EPCOT. (A wave of new entertainment and consulting firms formed after EPCOT opened in 1982, as team members were forced to move on.)
“Our work at Technifex was an extension of what we have been doing at Disney: working with and innovating a range of technologies within our design-build store to produce theme park quality effects,” says Lunde. This was not a large-scale attempt to be all things to all people, nor the creation of a one-stop shop; Rather, it recognizes a range of needs within the company’s target markets and understands, based on experience, where it can shine, while keeping minds and eyes open to identify and pursue opportunities.
“Being working experts is key to our continuity; Technifex was a chameleon, and was able to adapt quickly depending on what kind of effects were popular at any given time. In the early years at Technifex, Peppers Ghost illusions were extremely popular, now the development of innovative water features is mainstream for us. us,” says Lundy.
one becomes three
The chameleon culture continues to bear fruit.
Part of what has kept Technifex thriving for nearly four decades is having a presence in more than one market segment at a time, and a recent reorganization of the company has been made to help it better respond to certain segments. From the original Technifex Inc. Three companies have blossomed to spark immersive experiences for entertainment, education, training, simulation, and more. They are Technifex LLC, Technifix products And the Technifex XR™.
Technifex LLC perpetuates the original company, helping customers realize their vision through the custom design and manufacturing of display systems and artistic effects.
Technifex Products presents a list of updated models of the company’s patented products on a ready-to-use basis, including rentals. Examples include the popular FauxFire® (one of the company’s most popular products); Sensory Floor™ (which received a lot of attention at the 2021 IAAPA Expo) and many special effects bundled into modules for use in 4D experiences, game experiences, and LBE venues. Technifex applies the latest technology and production techniques to improve its time- and value-tested creations, making them more robust, easier to manufacture, and more affordable.
Active in the immersive, multisensory and virtual realms, Technifex XR provides systems, technology and effects for training and simulation used by government agencies including the military, fire and police departments. This includes all the different “realities” – extended reality, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality (XR, VR, AR and MR), as well as physical elements that work in unison with AR/VR components.
Immersive Dreamscape is a chain of stand-alone Virtual Reality Adventure Centers currently located in seven locations around the world in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Offers combined experiences with sensory effects and body tracking. Guests wear light backpacks, hand and foot sensors, and headphones. With customizable avatars, guests can view and interact with each other and with the environment. Technifex products provided all 4D effects for different places. The scope of work included the design of the structure surrounding the play area incorporating modular effects.
Dreamscape Immersive was the brainchild of Bruce Vaughn, who was previously a creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering. After 22 years with Imagineering, Vaughn has continued to apply his expertise in new directions, co-founding Dreamscape Immersive with Walter Parkes, who is the current CEO.
“Bruce contacted us to help enhance the VR experience with 4D effects and take guest immersion to an even higher level,” says Lunde. “The engineering department at Technifex and the team at Technifex Products worked with the Bruce team to develop a suite of 4D effects that worked well and were also easy to service and operate. They debuted at our flagship Dreamscape facility in Century City.”
These systems are now available through Technifex Products. “We’ve now taken the technology through more and more iterations, resulting in some very elegant and fairly inexpensive ways to create 4D effects and incorporate them into immersive environments,” says Lunde.
Stranger Things: Experience Take fans of the global hit series inside some of the most iconic settings on an intimate, guided adventure alongside their favorite characters. The adventure follows a chance to hang out in an actual real-world space filled with items from the Stranger Things universe, food, drink, and merchandise. It opened in 2022, first in New York City and San Francisco, and will soon appear in several new locations after these successful operations.
“Things can get even more complicated when we’re working with high-level IP,” says Lunde. “Projects of this kind have a built-in audience and fan community that you can benefit from, but it is a very demanding audience that knows the story, setting, and characters inside out. To satisfy stakeholders and satisfy true fans, you have to get things right.”
Technifex has worked with design firm Mycotoo for co-producers Netflix and Fever on Stranger Things: The Experience. “We introduced a range of effects that mimic the mind control phenomena that are so integral to the show,” says Lundy.
In Fever’s official 2021 announcement, Greg Lombardo, Head of Trials At Netflix, “We know our Stranger Things fans will seize the opportunity to be the protagonists of the story.”
Event launch products
Technifex FauxFire It is the company’s most well-known and enduring innovation. Now, across Technifex’s products, there are new versions being rolled out, including campfires, torches and burners that have recently been used to help ignite the brand’s revitalization.
The classic FauxFire system is based on steam. FauxFire’s first installation was the Indoor Dark Pleasure ride in Valhalla, which opened in 2000 at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. “It’s since gone through multiple redevelopments, and it’s led to a lot of offshoots,” says Lundy. “Rental products can be set up easily and are very popular with exhibiting companies. In general, we have worked to produce systems that represent the natural elements – fire, water, heat, etc. – and help clients implement them in their own program or programme.”
Dragon’s Lair (Images: HBO)
Technifix products are supplied FauxFire Roadiesa portable version of the standard FauxFire product, For the flame effect behind the Iron Throne selfie station and FauxFire fire for Dragon’s Den AR Walkthrough Experience At HBO Activation for George R. R. Martin’s Dragon House prequel to Game of thrones At ComiCon International: San Diego (2022). Technifex got into the mix via exhibition designer Showtec. Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, in Ciroc Passion Vodka Product Launch Event At Harlem Parish in New York City in July 2022, Technifex Products FauxFire Roadie presented a bar fire effect. Technifex was brought in by the NVE Experience Agency.
The FauxFire Roadie comes in a durable road case and uses stage smoke (instead of steam) with special LED lighting. The FauxFire Campfire from Technifex uses stage smoke and LED lighting to create the appearance of a real fire flame and is designed for temporary use; A steam-based version has also been developed for permanent formulations.
Siroc launch event (Photos: NVE Experience Agency)
“Technifex products do much of our business in the LBE market,” says Lunde. “We have worked hard to make our patented products robust and the Technifex quality our customers expect, at a cost lower than the custom systems produced by Technifex LLC. These products can be easily and efficiently reproduced. Through our in-house process, we will take a new product development process through a series of designs Iterative, prototyping and prototyping to keep quality and function high, while lowering costs. We also look at our supply chain and materials to determine the most cost-effective manufacturing solutions.”
This process was applied to the company’s water effects. “we took Variable Pattern Nozzle (VPN) And I revamped the manufacturing process to where it can now be fully 3D printed,” says Lundy. “It works better, costs less and can be made very quickly. Now we’re looking at components for our rain curtains as well, and I think the revamped version will revolutionize the rain curtain market — which, admittedly, is a niche, but a promising one.”
Technifex’s line of water effects includes Aquashot® that Lunde advertises as “the most powerful water cannon ever for entertainment,” the popular WaterWeb™ Curtain Labyrinth and Tunnel Vision™ for water slides. Other innovative products include Dragon’s Breath™ – Heat Blaster and FauxFire Afterburner, to name a few.
Vision, innovation and trust
Technifex is a prominent member of a generation of companies that have grown out of the creative community that created EPCOT. They set out to do something that hasn’t been done before, and now, in a state of maturity, they are producing the results of that work while continuing to innovate.
Any business needs to be a chameleon to survive and thrive for 38 years, and Technifex’s innate diversity is vital in the attractions industry, where there is always a need to upgrade, reinvest, and reinvent to keep offerings fresh and guests engaged. Invention and reinvention are rooted in the art and craft of themed entertainment.
The spark that created Technifex also led to the creation of a powerful industry association – The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), which was founded by Lunde in 1991 – helping to catalyze an industry at the time to go into its own sector. As Technifex continues to expand its reach and help lead the way to the future of attractions and sister markets, Lunde’s influence and influence in the attractions sector has been enormous.
“Bring us your impossible ideas,” is one of the catchy phrases of Lundy. Time and time again, the Technifex team has made the impossible reality. But even a technology company with a solid product line, poised to take on the next challenge and reach the next, knows that relationships and service are the essence of success. “Although we build display systems, we are a service company,” says Lundy. “We take our customers from idea to finished product, and always try to build a bridge of trust throughout the process. This is what makes customers happy and repeat.”