Bell-Fruit Games is an iconic name in the World Gaming and Entertainment Industry and has been the leading player in the United Kingdom for many years. Bell-Fruit has been based in Nottingham for over 50 years and its continued success has been as a result of its focus on delivering the very best products through investment in core skills, technology, innovation and product design, served by a flexible and efficient manufacturing facility. The Bell-Fruit Group comprises two design houses, Bell-Fruit Games and Mazooma Interactive Gaming, who share production in the Nottingham site.
From its Nottingham site where it employs over 200 people the Company, immediately recognisable by its famous three bells logo, develops and manufactures product for European and Worldwide markets. The Bell-Fruit Group is well placed and supported by being a wholly owned subsidiary of the Novomatic Group.
With a turnover of more than €3.5 billion in 2013, the Novomatic Group of Companies is one of the largest integrated conglomerates of the International Gaming Industry. Founded in 1980, the Group comprises affiliated companies in 45 countries and exports high-tech gaming equipment to more than 80 countries.
The Bell-Fruit Group aims to be known and recognised as a centre of excellence and innovation that consistently generates more successful products than any other company in the UK and Europe. In order to achieve objectives, the Company is committed to recruiting and developing the best people and supporting this innovation with efficient, responsive manufacturing and marketing operations.
Our People are Important
At Bell-Fruit Games we firmly believe that our people are at the heart of the business and are our most valuable asset. With a strong customer-facing emphasis and reliance on delivering new and fashionable products our team of specialist people, such as technologists and innovators, are the source of our success in an extremely competitive and challenging market.
With a team-centric focus our employees bring unmatched industry experience, talent, drive and commitment to our Company. This motivation and dedication exemplifies the Company’s heritage which has resulted in the famous “Three Bells” logo becoming an iconic worldwide brand.
Investing in people is vitally important and we are particularly proud to have developed an extremely strong and talented team that has positioned Bell-Fruit as market leaders in the UK Gaming and Entertainment market. Our record of people development has many success stories, which include many of our senior management team progressing through the ranks to take up vitally important and strategic roles. Indeed, two of our directors (Director of Technology and Director of Games) started as apprentices before progressing to their current lead positions in this dynamic and successful business.
Our staff development programmes are purposely designed to meet specific circumstances and involve a combination of in-house and external training. At Bell-Fruit there are no barriers to employing bright new talent who have little or no experience. When faced with a knowledge gap we have had considerable success in adopting a mentoring approach, where our key skilled and experienced managers operate in a one-to-one relationship. By offering the necessary support, coaching and guidance we ensure that new entrants are well equipped to succeed in their respective roles.
Development Area – Games Design, Programming (Game structure and Statistical profile) and Test Play
The gaming and amusement industry is a fast moving, highly competitive, fashionable business that demands a consistent supply of new games and designs to provide the very best player experience. Our talented, highly skilled, experienced and multifunctional Development team is a critical component of our aim of ensuring that we are well placed to compete in this challenging market. This team includes expert Game Designers, Statisticians, Software Engineers and Functional Testers who work together in an exciting and rewarding environment.
Games Designers work closely with our Statisticians, using creative flair, imagination and research to come up with new and exciting games and features that players will love to play. Game concepts are brought to life with the main structure, sound effects, and lamp visuals or video graphics of the games being written into code by our experienced team of Software Engineers. Our highly skilled Statisticians then complete the game by using creative thinking, problem solving and logic skills to develop code to control the pay-out profile, perform analysis for legal requirements, and simulate real life player profiles so that we can be sure that our games will perform as well as expected in the real world. Unlike many other gaming products where games are random, most of our games are controlled and therefore require us to come up with creative, innovative, and interesting methods and systems to ensure they are always the best they possibly can be. It’s an exciting and interesting environment to work in as our games are constantly evolving.
The final stage of the Development process is a comprehensive test phase with our team of dedicated Testers, where each game is rigorously tested for functionality and performance before it heads out the door after perhaps only 8-10 weeks in development. We see our projects out entertaining people in the real world within a very short time frame, which is incredibly rewarding for the whole team.
R&D System Technology Design
Our in-house technology design and development team of highly skilled and resourceful engineers provides extensive design and development expertise that ensures Bell-Fruit Games stay ahead of the competition by developing our own electronic hardware and embedded system software. This has resulted in our technology platform attaining the esteemed position of being widely recognised as the most reliable best of breed solution, serving UK and European reel based machine markets.
By developing our own hardware and operating systems we are able to stay ahead of the field by constantly making improvements to our platform technology and systems, which also allows us to take advantage of emerging methods, devices and technologies.
Our talented team of highly skilled and experienced engineers, led by a Technical Director, is constantly technically challenged to come up with new and imaginative solutions for ever evolving products. The team provides a wide range of design services, including Electronic Hardware Design (including Microcontroller FPGA and ASIC design), Embedded System Software, PC based video system software design (Windows and Linux) and Peripheral Electronic Product Integration.
In addition to providing ongoing system operating solutions for our products, which are intricate electromechanical products in their own right, the team faces added technical challenges of overcoming security obstacles, as our products host a range of cash handling systems.
Bell-Fruit Games employs an in-house Graphic Design Team consisting of five artists with wide and varied experience. This blend of individual talent offers a variety of styles and influences that combine favourably to ensure that our products are brought to life with imaginative, creative, graphic designs. Our product is heavily reliant on strong graphics to attract and capture as wide a player audience as possible. The final screen printed artwork is further enhanced by way of back illumination using a mixture of lighting techniques, including strobe and coloured LED lighting. This means that our Graphic Designers work closely with the Game Design and Technical departments to maximise the final machine aesthetics.
Many of our games are themed or carry high profile licences to exploit popularity and give added appeal, familiarity, and entertainment to our audience. This means that our Graphic Designers work with iconic names, TV shows and Hollywood blockbusters, such as Noel Edmonds and the Deal or No Deal show, Lord of the Rings, I’m a Celebrity, Shooting Stars with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, The Royle Family, Ant & Dec, and the rock group Queen.
Our Graphic Design studio is well equipped with modern 2D and 3D computer graphic design equipment to enable our designers to work interactively and imaginatively. To quote the head of this department “we are passionate about what we do and enjoy the constant challenge of creating the right graphical solutions for a wide and varied audience.”
Engineering – Mechanical Product Design
BFG has invested in an in-house mechanical design and development resource that encompasses an experienced team covering new 3D conceptual design and modelling, detailed design, prototyping and manufacturing engineering. This facilitates a timely response to the introduction of new product developments, and ensures that Bell-Fruit Games is in the best possible position to respond to product changes and modifications.
The Product Design team works in an engaging manner to generate excellent results and ensures that our ideas reach the end user as quickly as possible. In addition to producing innovative new product designs, our Design Team is also involved in ensuring that an extended, reliable, and appropriate development and manufacturing solution is in place involving many UK and overseas companies.
Research – In today’s increasingly competitive gaming climate, market and product research are vitally important. It is fundamental that our Design and Development Department responds to the fast changing market, and is conscious of the current trends and needs of our target market. At Bell-Fruit Games we believe that the support of technological implements, such as 3D CAD modelling, is essential; also that it is used in conjunction with the right research, which is evaluated at various stages of the design process.
Concept – We have the right design and development concept tools, from sketching to prototyping, that ensure our designers are well equipped to produce outstanding results. Visual conceptual design is interactive, and other departments are encouraged to engage in this process to ensure that all appropriate concerns and ideas are considered.
Style – We ensure effective utilisation of product styling to create a product that is right for the market, is aesthetically pleasing, and appeals to the right audience. Good product styling incorporating both ergonomic and aesthetic principles can inspire physical and emotional reactions, thereby contributing to a product’s success.
Visual – Product visualisation is part of our technological product design process, which includes the creation of photorealistic images and animations to help visualise and better understand the product and its function.
3D CAD Modelling – The “3D SolidWorks” CAD design system used by our designers mirrors that used by our parent company (Novomatic), based in Vienna. This system is linked in real-time so that Group designers can collaborate on new or shared projects. This, together with “Inventor” which is used by the Draughtsman, is widely used throughout the world of product design and manufacturing.
Prototype – We employ and source the latest rapid prototyping, available from our parent company, alongside traditional prototyping techniques which are produced in-house. We believe that the design process should involve prototyping throughout, and it is vital that any new product is tried and tested in a real world environment from an early stage.
Opportunities – We are always keen to encourage bright new designers and have worked with local university students on new development projects. This provides Bell-Fruit with fresh ideas and also provides students with valuable experience of working on real world concepts and products.
Supply Chain Management
The demands of the Gaming and Amusement industry dictate that Bell-Fruit Games has access to an agile and responsive supplier network. Through a team of highly experienced and professional material specialists, working closely with a diverse range of both domestic and global suppliers, we are able to ensure that the needs of the business are met. In an environment where the business develops a succession of new and exciting games, it is essential that we are best placed to secure goods and services, cost effectively, under exacting conditions.
Bell-Fruit Games is committed to developing mutually beneficial and co-operative relationships with highly competent suppliers, which enable us to tap into their resources and expertise to ensure that we are able to deliver competitive, supply-side solutions. Use of integrated planning and forecasting tools ensures that our materials’ management capabilities match the dynamic nature of the business, delivering materials where they are needed at the right time.
The manufacturing facility is designed to handle an assembly and test operation with the added aspect of accommodating a product refurbishment and waste management process. Bell-Fruit Manufacturing operates a flexible philosophy that is aligned with supporting the highly volatile coin operated machine industry. This requires a flexible rapid response and efficient demand-driven manufacturing solution which we have honed over many years, and are recognised as best of breed in a demanding and challenging industry.
The highly flexible and efficient multi-skilled production workforce is extremely important to our business and we are proud of our reputation for delivering quality products within an extremely short sales order lead-time, and our second to none reputation for customer satisfaction.
Building on our success of manufacturing our own products, we also offer a contract manufacturing service which allows our customers to benefit from our strong reputation and experience in supplying quality products in a timely and efficient manner.
Our production facility consists of:
• Highly trained, skilled, experienced and highly motivated production teams with a “customer first” culture at the heart of their operation.
• Lean agile production process capable of supplying a wide and varied array of electromechanical products.
• Quality awareness throughout the production process where our operators take ownership of building quality into the product.
• Accreditation for ISO 2009
• Proficient at managing unpredictable sales requirements with minimum forward visibility.
• Highly flexible with proven track record of successfully responding to change and challenging time frames.
• Established continuous improvement program involving cross functional teams based on Business Improvement Techniques (BIT).