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Interview-Antony Leadbetter, AKA "Ledz" of Planet Eclipse

  • Written by 
  • Monday, 04 November 2013 12:37
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(1 Vote)

Ledz we all know the history of Planet Eclipse.  But the question many have is, how have you been able to maintain a top level position in paintball as a manufacturer for so long? How have you been able to keep Planet Eclipse's products cutting edge, hip, cool, and in the forefront?

So you want all the secrets straight out of the gate…

Of Course!

OK, then :)

I’m afraid this might be too much of a corporate feeling response but it’s also the truth. The team we have here at Planet Eclipse are pretty amazing. We have a team of guys and girls that really care about the product, the customers and the company. We have, ever since day one wanted the same thing as we do today. To create Paintball products that work and perform really well. We continually push each other and technology not just because we can but because we want too. We have a pretty good reputation for customer services and that’s because we know how important it is to keep people playing Paintball. We try and support our advance Paintball markers as much as we can. We have more and more tech’s on the deck at more and more event each year. It’s not always our product that fails it can be the loader, air system, paint or even something as simple as the battery but the marker always gets the blame… We send techs to events to not only give support but when we can, we educate as well. As for being hip and cool… you're talking about me right… Well, some things just come naturally to me :)

Can you talk a bit about the process of developing new products?

We try and listen to the playing public to see what it is that they want… We are never going to be able to please everyone but there is no point us making a marker that can shoot 100 Balls Per Second if the firing rate is capped at 12. So that’s one aspect…..Listen. We also look at improving the product in lots of different ways, some that you wouldn’t even appreciate unless you’re a tech. We try and put the same amount of effort and passion into making our latest and greatest advanced Paintball marker as we do into a pair of gloves. We don’t simply come up with an idea and launch it, testing can also take us a long time, it might take us nearly a year just to fully test some products and some product never see the light of day!

How and where are Planet Eclipse's products manufactured, assembled and packaged for sale?

All Planet Eclipse Advanced Paintball markers are produced in house, we do not employ any third party to produce any of our markers.

EGO, GEO and SL are all produced, tested and packaged in the UK facility. ETHA and ETEK are produced and tested in the Planet Eclipse Taiwan facility, then shipped to Planet Eclipse UK or USA to be re-tested and packaged prior to shipping out to dealers.

I won’t lie to you, we do not produce every component in house, we use the best component manufacturers from around the world no matter where they are. For example if we feel the best PCB manufacturer happens to be in the UK that’s where we will have them made, if the best LCD manufacturer is in Taiwan, then that’s where we will have them made. We are quite proud of the fact that we still have our high end markers manufactured and assembled in the UK, we could produce for a lower cost if we had everything produced and assembled in the Far East but we have chosen not to do that, manufacturing in the UK gives us a great hands on control on quality and the flexibility to be able to produce low volume custom product.

When we looked into making the ETHA we had a much lower price point that we needed to hit and we quickly found out that we wouldn’t be able to do that in the UK. So we expanded our office in Taiwan, trained production staff, installed our test equipment and procedures and we now produce most of the ETHA’s there.

We have amazing staff in Taiwan like we do here in the UK and in America, we all follow the same procedures, we don’t compromise on build quality or components and give ETHA the same level of product support that we give to all our markers. It’s important to Planet Eclipse that when you buy any Eclipse Advanced Paintball marker, no matter which Eclipse facility has produced it, you can take it out of the box on day one and go and have fun.

What part of the development and/or manufacture of PE's products are you most proud of?

It makes me smile so much when I see players having fun and kicking ass with our gear. When you talk to players that LOVE the products we have made and how happy they are you can’t be anything other than happy and proud of what the whole team at Planet Eclipse has achieved.

Can you give us a sort of behind the scenes description of Planet Eclipse? What does it look like? What is it like to work for PE? What is your typical day at the office?

We are actually in the process of making a short "behind the scenes" look at Planet Eclipse video. I’ll let you see it when it’s done… It’s a pretty cool work environment but it’s still exactly that….Work. We have a job to do I just think we do it in a more relaxed environment that in turn leads to a more creative and fun place to work. We are not practicing commando rolls in the office from day to day as some people might think.. :-)

How about giving our readers the scoop on something new happening at PE?

New at Planet… We are really excited about the New ETV ‘The Roster’ which is coming out really soon (insert trailer) apart from that.. Well you will have to wait until World Cup, I hear we have a new Umbrella ;-)

What's next for you and/or Planet Eclipse?

I’d be lying if I said we had a five year plan. We are pushing forward all the time with every aspect from Markers to Clothing to Concepts. We are happy with the direction of Planet and we are weathering this World economy funk pretty well, we are lean and keen and ready for when Paintball blows up again. And we can’t wait for that to happen.

Thanks Ledz!

Written By:

Super User
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