This is a short history of the Lineal manufacturers that were right there in the first few years of this industry going commercial. These are the most common names you will see around today. It covers the good, the bad, and the ugly and may help explain some of the dynamics and relationships within the industry itself. It may help put into perspective opinions you may hear or read, and allow you to form your own opinions on who are the industry leaders or the industry followers.
Power Plate was launched in 1999 in Holland. The machine was a small stainless steel platform, with a range of frequencies and amplitudes.. Guus Van Der Meer often claims in interviews to be the inventor of the Power Plate, but in reality they only created a more user friendly version of the Nemes unit that had been tested years earlier by Dr Bosco. And you will also soon read that they were only one of a few companies aiming to do this. Marcel Tamminga was the primary engineer in the duo and his achievements will be mentioned again soon.
The company split in 2004 due to more unethical behavior from one of the partners in the form of getting replicas of the original machines made in China. Without telling the sales reps, distributors or other 3rd parties responsible for dealing with the consumer. Those who felt betrayed left to work for other companies or form their own.
Note: The new Chinese made machines were relabeled as " made in Holland " or other European countries. This is still considered acceptable practice by Power Plate to this day.
Initial research into the results given by the original steel platform between 1999 - 2004 was promising and hinted at better things to come. Awards were given out and the general consensus was this company was heading in the right direction. But that positive research was then used against the consumer post 2004, when it was all attached to untested plastic machines from China that had failed engineering tests. With seemingly no ethics possessed by upper management or Power Plates owners, every trick in the book was, and has been used to sell these machines and con the consumer. The list of offences against the consumer is so long it will be breached in detail in another article. But needless to say they almost single handedly made the entire industry look dishonest.
Power Plate proved to the industry beyond a doubt in past years that their engineering skills and "inventive" ability was sub-par, by releasing machines of such bad quality that they often fell apart within weeks. The consumer was sometimes blamed for the failure and breakages. It also set a trend of knock-offs coming out of China that continues to this day, a true blight on the entire industry.
They have recently moved their factory from China to India in an attempt to claw back some respect. Time will tell if too much damage has been done for this to happen.
Launched in 2004 by Marcel Tamminga in Holland to go up against his former partner and the unethical marketing giant Power Plate, they re-released the original well tested machine under the new label VibroGym. Helped by Kevin Barclay-Webb ( ex Power Plate distributor ) this company continued the journey it had started. In 2006 it had a small hic-cup when a contactor released faulty electronics and it itself had to make a decision weather to try and cover it up, or fix the problem. The exact same dilemma Power Plate was facing. VibroGym chose to openly communicate about the issue, fix the problem, and move forward.
Marcel Tamminga continues to make small but necessary changes to the original design and recently released the "Evolution". This unlike its main competitors "Next Generation" machines was an increase in quality. Quite a bold move for a company to make when everybody else was going cheap and nasty. But a smart move as the consumer becomes more educated in what to expect in a proper "Training" platform.
The machines are still made in Holland.
A U.S. based company. With the platforms design taken almost exactly off the original Power Plate this was the best Pro unit available and built in the U.S. and it success was driven by recommendations within the industry. In recent years it branched out into a wide variety of Home machines and encouraged to enter the Commercial products market. It is the later which may undo all the good work done in the years before.
After sales were set up for HyperGravity to help it break into a new market, and it touted itself as having the " workhorses of the industry " and " having the most reliable machines on the market " It misused those industry recommendations and goodwill by releasing untested machines, and again in almost identical fashion to Power Plate, blamed the consumer on the ensuing breakdowns. The very people who had once recommended these products had to then act aggressively to obtain refunds for businesses effected by the breakages. On top of this it came to pass that the company had engineering issues across its entire range of products that it had worked overtime to hide from its supporters. Putting the recommendation process at risk and causing consumer confidence to be lost.
With a complete lack of respect for those in the industry, and their many years of support, HyperGravity has since taken to attacking companies in random fashion with anti-competitive statements. And to show it had not learnt anything from the situation now attempts to sell untested, only sketched machines to the public.
Companies in crisis seemed to always show their true colors, and in this case it has not been good.
Body Shaker ...
Established in 1999 by Martin Lodewijk in Holland. Building all steel Pro machines of a conservative design but durable quality. This company continues to fly below the radar of most consumers because of its practice in putting all its money into the machines and not flashy marketing. To date it has never compromised on either the quality of its products or the ethics behind the company, bring about a loyal following of industry insiders. Basically there is not much to say about this company because it has simply done the same thing since its inception, with no fuss or drama.
It has recently gone into the home machine market, carrying over the same quality as it has with its Pro models bringing about what would have to be the best home machine available to the consumer.
All machines are still made in Holland.
Made by Gymna-Uniphy in Germany, a medical supply company. The first steel models were released in 2002 from technology it had gained from an acquisition in 1999. These medical models were designed with LCD displays to show programs and posture, a feature used heavily to sell all its models, but apart from that were identical to the original Power Plate ( now Vibro-Gym ). These units had been designed some time prior to 1999 so undermines Power Plates claim of "inventing" this form of Therapy.
Since its original medical designs it has released a large round Pro machine and a small Home unit. Being very careful to make sure their machines produced no random 3D vibrations, they aimed for true Lineal instead. ( the cheaper Chinese machines wobble in all directions ) . They even delayed the release of the Pro machine to ensure the quality was sound. Something a purely marketing driven company would never have done.
Fit-Vibes are still made in Germany.
Set up by Lloyd Shaw and Judith Shorrock in 2005. Lloyd Shaw being Power Plates Ex. Product Manager and the person who's idea it was to set up the worlds first Commercial Studio. Judith Shorrock being the first person to have Power Plate swap her 3 steel units from Holland ( already inspected and paid for ) , with fakes from China.
Partnering up together, and both agreeing that you do not have to be dishonest to be successful. Lloyd Shaw went about building and releasing the worlds first "full commercial platform". As at that stage all machines available had these limitations that were deemed unacceptable.
(a) Very limited warranty ( 1 year )
(b) Small plates.
(c) Limited weight restriction.
Believing the retail market was soon going to be saturated with poorly made rip offs. Vibra-Train set about concentrating on building up the world first studio chain. A properly structured license system with a no compromise approach to not only the machinery but the training programs.
It is Vibra-Trains belief that this approach is the future of the industry.
There are well over 250 brands now globally making vibration machines of some description. And some smaller brands that once only purchased generic machine and put their label on it, now produce machines of their own design. So the future leaders of this industry may yet to emerge.