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Author Topic: Visit to the Cometa factory  (Read 6515 times)

ta0

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Visit to the Cometa factory
« on: April 09, 2012, 10:00:20 AM »

Bob Rule's site has a series of pictures of a visit to the Duncan factory (early 1960's ?) showing the manufacture of wooden tops.  I always loved the photographs of the tops in the assembly line.  I would argue that Cometa has now taken the role of Duncan as the world leader spintop manufacturer so I was very happy to be invited to the plant.  Here are some pictures:

I guess I felt like Aladin in the treasure cave, surrounded by diamantes and cobras piled up to the ceiling:



They do all the fabrication in-house, except for the interior silver paint or when they run out of capacity (1.2 million tops per month). You can see six of the injection molding machines:



This machine does a double injection: first injects one plastic into half of the mold, then the mold rotates 180 degrees and another plastic of a different color is injected.  You can see the funnels for the two plastics. It is used on the new model of Spider tops and it is probably the first spintop to use this technology. One worker removes the spintop bodies from the injection branches and the other ones deburr them.



At this station some tops get stamped with logos.



Here the tops are assembled by hand. They are also packaged in boxes by hand.



These automatic lathes running continuously are not enough to turn all the tips so they also contract out.



I am not sure what the workers are doing at this time, but you can see the hand presses used to install the tips.



They make their own molds in-house.  Typically 2 or 3 new models per year.  When I visited they were working on a new mold design and also refurbishing another mold.  I think this is for a small Diamante (Diamantin).





« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 10:02:37 AM by ta0 »
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Trevor

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 10:26:34 AM »

holy! that's a lot a lot a lot of tops! lucky ta0 to be in the sea of tops!
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Larry D.

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 10:38:01 AM »

WOW! Thanks for those incredible photos ta0. 
What an awesome experience it must have been!
The facility looks so spotless and well organized.
It looks like you should have worn a hard-hat amongst those crates stacked to the ceiling.  :)
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Dick Stohr

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 10:45:12 AM »

Sooo many tops, Sooo little time!  Looks like a great visit.
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poptop

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 11:13:46 AM »

wow!  So much to take in.
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jim in paris

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 11:35:14 AM »

Fantastic !! very interesting report  !

the factory looks clean , modern, and well tended : far from the cliché of sweat shops... the workers wear a blouse , have their hair tied, and that only, is a very good sign...and when Gus decides to do a "quality control" , it's probably the factory show  ;D ;D

thanx for the document

jim
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lincolnrick

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 01:00:39 PM »

Ta0 thanks for the pics.  It was interesting that they still could not keep up tip production and had to contract that portion out.  How long did the tour last?
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bAd

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2012, 01:46:13 PM »

Very interesting documentary, Ta0!
It looks a bit like an episode of "How it's made"... ;D
To be honest, I had no idea that Cometa tops were produced in those kind of numbers... Amazing!

Thanks for sharing :)
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Flavio

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2012, 03:43:38 PM »

Ta0 Hello my friend, will be that they will import to Brazil, we would be honored if this happens is, we are crawling but has enough people interested in an idea for them, LOL ...
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topper777

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2012, 05:08:37 PM »

its like fricken charlie and the top factory.!!! i know if i were there, i would be in ahhh.
i cant wait to see some pics of the final product.
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ta0

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2012, 07:39:35 PM »

Ta0 thanks for the pics.  It was interesting that they still could not keep up tip production and had to contract that portion out.  How long did the tour last?
Well, yes, they do go through many tips.  These are the left overs:



Actually, during peak time they also contract out production of the bodies to keep up with demand.

I believe the company started with one injection molding machine and made tops for 5 Estrellas, about 15 years ago. At one time it also made clocks, etc., but now it is 100% invested in trompos.  A poster on a wall confirmed a story I had heard, I believe from Miguel Correa, about a car given away at a contest:



That would have been a duration contest on the hand for kids (more about these contests on a future post about Gus)!  :o

The owner, Antonio (Toño) Cortes, was very gracious and personally gave me the tour and took me to lunch with the demonstrators.  I took the photos of the plant the next day with his son.  I arrived a special day as many "campeones" (demonstrators) were there to pick up the suits (blue jacket, black pants) they will use in Europe. This season they are going back to Spain, Hungary and Slovakia, and are starting in Germany.  English speaking countries are on the cards . . .

I talked with Antonio at some length about the spintop market and its future. He has a great vision for the future of spintops.  For example, he believes that with the right promotion he can convert any yo-yoer country into a topspinner country  ;)  Cuernavaca is the site of the Palacio de Cortés, the Spanish conquistador.  It is ironic that another Cortés is leading a conquest in the opposite direction.

I showed him my aluminum Spintastics tops and he took out a box of these prototypes of an aluminum top:



I believe they used a Cuper (2nd gen from Spain) as a model.  He was impressed by the smoothness of a Giulia and he commented about the quality of the bearings. Later I got a Turbo Car (thanks Cautín) and it is not a bad bearing top.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 10:21:57 PM by ta0 »
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johnm

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2012, 10:14:37 PM »

Wow! Fantastic!  That is an amazing place.  The crates of tops puts a new perspective on the big box Salvador sent you.  The inner mold for the Diamantin is great to see.  With two or three new models a year, I wonder if they had an historical display of all the models of the past?  The drums full of tips is almost bizarre to see.

That aluminum top prototype seems more appropriate for the hardcore spintop player rather than the average consumer of what must be regarded as a disposable toy for them to be processing and selling those types of numbers of plastic tops.  Are they maybe preparing a professional line which might include larger tops for 'big kids'?  Any idea what a Cometa top costs in Mexico?

Thanks for sharing all your wonderful experiences with us.
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TheRoyBit

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2012, 11:22:26 PM »

Wow that is a lot of tops  ;D I think it cool that there able to create so many jobs with just making tops.
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Triumph

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2012, 05:34:40 AM »

It is all so stunning and shocking to see.  I agree with johnm about all those barrels of tips!  Wow.  My head is whirling!!!
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ta0

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Re: Visit to the Cometa factory
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2012, 09:37:45 AM »

Wow! Fantastic!  That is an amazing place.  The crates of tops puts a new perspective on the big box Salvador sent you.  The inner mold for the Diamantin is great to see.  With two or three new models a year, I wonder if they had an historical display of all the models of the past?  The drums full of tips is almost bizarre to see.

That aluminum top prototype seems more appropriate for the hardcore spintop player rather than the average consumer of what must be regarded as a disposable toy for them to be processing and selling those types of numbers of plastic tops.  Are they maybe preparing a professional line which might include larger tops for 'big kids'?  Any idea what a Cometa top costs in Mexico?

Thanks for sharing all your wonderful experiences with us.

The drums actually have the iron shavings from making the tips (ready to send for recycling). But from the profile of the tips I am guessing the volume of the tips made would be similar.

The aluminum top prototypes show that the company is at least considering the competition in future markets . . .  The plastic tops are actually pretty sturdy. The cap separates from the body with an ugly sound when it hits a hard surface but generally survives to be put together again and continue playing. I did not have to buy Cometa tops (got a box for free) but other brands I bought were  less than two dollars per top (mostly less than one dollar). Of course, outside Mexico you pay importation taxes, higher distribution and marketing costs and higher margins, so the tops end up several times more expensive.  I believe the current production sells 70% inside Mexico and 30% is exported.
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