Simpson's Ride at Universal Studios

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In creating a new amusement park ride based on America’s favorite dysfunctional family, The Simpsons, architects for Universal Studios maintained a fully functional work environment by specifying a low-odor, fast-drying high performance coating system from Tnemec. “The project was on a very fast track,” coating consultant Tony Hobbs recalled. “It involved changing Universal Studios’ old Back to the Future theme ride to the new Simpsons Ride. They needed a dry-fall system that could be spray-applied to complete the job quicker.”

The project’s architect, Leidenfrost/Horowitz & Associates, Inc., a division of gkkworks, contacted Hobbs for help in preparing the recoat specification. Ten years earlier, the architect had used Tnemec coatings for the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Casino in Las Vegas. “We decided to do test patches with an epoxy and urethane system, and a semi-gloss advanced technology acrylic system,” Hobbs noted. “The test panels were cleaned and power-sanded prior to applying the coatings. When we performed the crosshatch adhesion tests, the acrylic system had the most tenacious adhesion.”SimpsonDistance SimpsonSteel on Simpson

The specification called for a primer coat of Series 115 Uni-Bond DF, a self-crosslinking, hydrophobic acrylic, followed by a finish coat of Series 1029 Enduratone, a high dispersion pure acrylic polymer. The original baked-on polyvinylidene fluoride-coated panels, a canopy trellis, and other miscellaneous steel featuring different combinations of paint, were cleaned and sanded prior to coating. “The advanced technology acrylic coating system was able to adhere tightly to all of these surfaces,” according to Hobbs. “Uni-Bond DF‘s ability to bond to the original surface was key to the success of the whole system.”

The dry-fall characteristics of both the primer and finish coats reduced the potential for overspray, allowing the painting contractor to continue working in and among all the other trades and adjacent to the operating theme park attractions without any distractions.

The coating contractor, Randall McAnany, and the maintenance department at Universal Studios also appreciated the ease of application and touch-up with the Tnemec coating system. “Once they found out that we were proposing a single-component finish coat with spray, brush, and roll characteristics, it made future touch-ups much easier,” Hobbs added. “In addition to being the best coating system, it was also a problem-solving solution.”

Construction of the Simpson’s Ride began at Universal Studios in mid-September 2007, with outdoor painting of the building starting in January 2008. The six-minute ride features 24 ride cars, each seating eight people, and a projection system featuring digital technology that makes the resolution two times better than most digital movie theaters.

project information

Project Name

Simpson's Ride at Universal Studios

Project Location

Universal City, CA

Project Completion Date

April 2008


Universal Studios, Universal City, CA


LHA, a division of gkkworks, Glendale, CA

Field Applicator

Randall McAnany, Los Angeles, CA