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Friday, May 20, 2011

Tippinators Tour of Tippmann Factory

Tippinators Tour Tippmann Factory in Fort Wayne

Finishing a twenty seven hours drive the day before, the Tippinators woke on Friday May 20, 2011 excited to pile into the car and visit the home of the team’s name, Tippmann Sports in Fort Wayne Indiana. The Tippinators drove from Halifax to Chicago to play the Living Legends IV scenario game a day early to visit Tippmann. After twenty seven hours in a car, what was another four to get to Fort Wayne?

The team arrived in Fort Wayne just after lunch and were met by Tippmann Sports Director of International Sales, Brent Cunningham. Team Captain Bruce Johnston and Brent exchanged pleasantries and started down a hall past a vintage Indian motorcycle on display. It wasn’t until the pair had gone a half way down the hall when they realized they were alone. The rest of Tippinators were still in the lobby, attention rapt on a floor to ceiling display of all paintball markers produced by Tippmann. The display had the team snapping photos, talking and pointing excitedly, as giddy as 10 year olds on Christmas morning.

Brent was a very accommodating host, who took the Tippinators on a complete tour of the entire facility. The team was expecting to see conveyer belts transporting marker bodies from station to station in the traditional assembly line configuration. The guys were shocked to see an ultra clean production area where employees at individual stations assemble a marker from start to finish. This production method is capable of producing over one thousand markers per day.

When the team walked into the shipping area with the rows of shelved boxes stacked twelve feet high that Johnston said resembled the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Brent introduced the team to Kyle Smith who happened to be walking past. Kyle the Tippmann Engineer who developed the TPX was kind enough to take the time to explain the development process from start to finish, including extensive testing with paint from all over the world. The TPX was a completely new design and a huge departure for Tippmann. The TPX valve system paved the way for the highly successful X7 Phenom.

After the very informative impromptu meeting with Kyle Smith the team moved on to the repairs department who service Tippmann markers after they leave the factory. The team talked about the kinds of calls and returns the repairs department receive. The team was amazed at what some customers will try to claim is a ‘warranty issue’. Because the name Tippmann is synonymous with customer service, the repairs department do everything they can to help every player who calls.

While with the repairs crew Chris Landry brought out his X7 Phenom that had been unused since September 2010 and which he planned to use the next day at Living Legends IV. The thinking was to test fire the marker under less than ideal conditions, if something broke, no problem, he was at the Tippmann factory where it could be repaired.

Landry loaded the Phenom with paint left over from the game in September and let it rip. The marker lived up to its name, phenomenal. The marker shot through a full hopper flawlessly in semi and full auto with eight month old paint.

The team finished their tour on the top floor talking with the sales team who field dealers and customers from around the world. After a short chat with the busy sales department the tour ended the conference room with pizza and a discussion of Tippmann and NXe products.

The Tippinators were very impressed with the Tippmann factory and how the company has set up a true 21st century production and sales facility. The team could plainly see that Tippmann, is the world's leader in high-performance paintball products and why at Tippmann, they pride themselves on producing high-quality, durable paintball markers and accessories at an affordable price. Having the opportunity to spend two hours viewing the Tippmann factory and talking to the professional staff was worth thirty one hours in the car to get from NS to IN.