An Italian manufacturer famous for the production of coin-operated kiddie rides is Automatic Toys Modena (ATM), based in the well-known town famous for certain Italian-built sports cars.
Founded in 1970 by Mario Fornaciari, the first ride to be produced by the company was a simple swinging ride, after which a variety of additional products were produced on a regular basis always using the most up to date technology and parts available. Eventually hydraulics were introduced to ATM’s products allowing more variety in the product range, while interactive elements were also added to provide a range of new features on newly developed attractions.
As well as the vast array of kiddie rides on offer, various other attractions are also supplied by ATM, including mechanical games, ball machines, trains, trampolines and more, while among the most recent additions to the catalogue is a range of furnishings. Having had numerous requests for such items, the company has created its Woody product range of tables, chairs, benches and wastepaper bins with bold colours and special details which are aimed at children’s play areas, birthday party rooms, parks, shopping centres, public and private gardens, terraces, shop windows and more. 
The company operates a significant spare parts division, even for products manufactured in the early days of the business, and to extend its offering even further, has recently taken over the full product range of GR Rondina, another well-known name in the children’s ride industry which has been in existence for over 40 years. The company in particular specialised in the production of battery cars and trains, which were sold all over the world and will now continue to be sold by ATM.
“Like everyone else these are difficult times,” explained Serena Fornaciari, daughter of founder Mario, “but we are still working well. We have a lot of customers in southern Italy and in the past have done a lot of business in the US, but  with the dollar rate, this has gone quieter as the Americans have bought more from Mexico where things are cheaper. Having said that, it’s now looking more positive for us over there. 
“We sell a lot of spares for trains in the US and there is a lot of interest from there in the new Rondina trains we are doing. Seven years ago we were doing 50/50 between sales in Italy and exports but now it is 70 per cent in Italy and 30 per cent around the world.”
ATM makes two or three new products each year and the latest include an interactive raft ride with parrots which speak to the child when buttons are pressed and can be made to go faster or slower. A two-seat aeroplane ride is another recent addition to the range, this featuring a screen in front of each rider and a variety of interactive elements. A number of rides are also now offered with interchangeable bodies, such as some of the vehicle rides.
“Europe is currently the best place for sales,” continued Ms. Fornaciari, “although it used to be the US and Middle East countries. Russia is also proving to be a good new market, as is Iran, where there are a few customers but all with lots of money! In Italy we sell to all sorts of venue from small ice cream shops to large FECs, shopping malls and arcades. 
“Our customers want to see more interactivity in our rides,” she continued, “because the riders want it. Our ideas for attractions come mainly from my father and others at ATM and sometimes from the customer. We try to balance between a good design and a good income generator, by thinking what the child would want and not necessarily what we want to do. We try to design models that will always be popular rather than follow things that, for example, are on TV and which are popular for a while and then go out of fashion.”