"One night in Hamburg as we began to close our shop for the evening, a gentleman from a nearby fair approached me with a microphone. The man explained that he owned a game at the fair and without his microphone, he couldn't call in customers to his game and they were not making any money," Koch recalled. Having not ever repaired a microphone, he explained to the man that he didn't think he would be able to help him. The man opened his wallet and tore a German mark (the equivalent to $200 USD) in half and gave Lars one half and put the other half back in his wallet and told Lars that he would get the other half as soon as he could repair the microphone and bring it back to the fair. "I thought to myself, what am I going to do with half of a German mark? So, after he left, I played with the microphone and figured out how to take it apart and discovered a loose wire inside" said Lars. After repairing the microphone, Lars went to the local fair and returned it to the gentleman. The showman immediately plugged it into his amplifier and begin calling people in to his game and soon had a large crowd. After the fair closed, he took Lars around the midway and introduced him to several other German showmen who needed some stereo equipment repaired. After doing repairs for several other men, Lars soon became well known as the go-to guy for electronic repairs for European showmen.
"I would spend up to 5 weeks at Oktoberfest in Munich doing repairs for showmen there" Lars recalled of his past. A German Showman who was having a new Break Dance built by Huss approached Lars and asked for his help in creating a spectacular light show for his new ride. Lars responded by inventing flood light rack cages that house multiple flood lights, strobe lights, and stage lights, all with a single plug that are mounted on the backside of the signs in front of the ride. Soon thereafter, all the Huss rides were adding these cages and, eventually, other manufacturers, such as Mondial, worked with Lars on light cages for their rides. Lars began developing stunning light packages for rides and held a world record for creating the world's largest lighting system on an amusement ride, a Mondial Commander, with over a half million watts of lights.
Lars began offering his products worldwide, and exhibited at IAAPA where his products grew in popularity in the USA. Soon thereafter, he moved his company to the USA, but popularity dropped out which resulted in having to re-develop the product line to make them in-demand again. In 2005, Lars developed the first full color LED lighting system for Morey's Piers' Giant Wheel in Wildwood, NJ. In 2013, Lars brought on a partner, Peter Gaughn, who became the President of E-Works, and Lars the vice-president.
Currently, E-Works has RGB Led Lighting Packages installed throughout the country on a variety of large amusement rides including: the Chance Giant Wheel at Pacific Park in Santa Monica, CA, the Capital Wheel in Washington, DC, the Giant Wheel at Morey's Piers in Wildwood, NJ, and many others.
E-Works developed an economical, yet, high-quality line of LED systems geared toward the portable sector of the amusement industry. These lights are manufactured in the USA and are built using the highest quality of components available on the market. "All of our electronic boards are coated with a coating that's used by NASA for waterproofing" said Gaughn. "The lens is made from a high-quality poly-carbon that will not yellow in the sunlight. The same material is used on the headlights of BMW and Mercedes automobiles" said Koch.
E-Works is now working with several US ride manufacturers and installing their lighting packages on new rides. ARM is now featuring E-Works LEDs on all its Vertigo, Super Shot, and Rock Star rides and other manufacturers such as Chance and Battech have been using E-Works packages on factory installs. Lars mentioned, "Last year, we sold a LED package to a show in Wisconsin who transformed their Ali Baba into a Rock Star. After realizing how easy they were to install, they soon ordered more LEDs from us to use on other rides on their midway".
At the show, E-Works debuted their new High Color 4-Series lighting package, which allows videos to be imported into the light show and displayed. The company recently installed a High Color 4-Series lighting package on the Giant Wheel at Pacific Park in Santa Monica, CA. "The park can scroll messages to their customers across the wheel spokes and sell sponsorships and display video advertisements through the light show itself," explained Lars. The computer is designed to keep the graphics displayed right-side up as the wheel turns, so videos will always remain easy to view. "The money in sponsorship potential could outweigh the revenue brought in by ticket sales," echoes Gaughn. Currently, E-Works is the only lighting company to offer a package of this nature to the amusement business.
Peter Theunisz of Netherlands based KMG reported that the trade show has been successful for KMG ride sales. By the end of the day Thursday, Theunisz could confirm several completed ride sales and that another was in the works.
New Jersey based Amusement of America purchased two Speed rides - one to be delivered in October of 2017 and the second just in time for the 2018 trade show in Gibsonton. Both rides will be decked out with many options including a battery backup system, full backwall scenery, additional signage, stainless steel fencing, and an automatic ride cycle program.
A Freak Out was sold to Kevin Tate of California Carnival Company with a March 2018 delivery date. A second deal for another Freak Out was also in the works, but could not be confirmed at the time of publication.
Last week, KMG delivered an Inversion themed "Rock It" to Greg & Michelle Brooks' Crescent City Amusements; it will be on display at the IISF Trade Show in Gibsonton this February. At KMG's factory in the Netherlands, they are currently wrapping up production of a Fire Ball themed "The Beast" for Talley Amusements. "The Beast" will be shipping in December and is slated to debut at the Ft. Worth Stock Show in Ft. Worth, Texas. KMG is almost ready to begin production on another Fire Ball for Deggeller Attractions with a custom theme, "Hydra", which will be shipping in March of 2017. Hydra will have a blue and turquoise color scheme to resemble water, with some eye-catching graphics on the backwall scenery.