Focus on the pala factory StarVie, all of whose rackets are handcrafted in the brand's own factory, northeast of Madrid.
Padel Magazine : Can you tell us about the history of the StarVie factory? Why did you choose to manufacture snowshoes in Spain?
StarVie: “We started producing palas in 2013 in our own factory, which is located in Azuqueca de Henares, Guadalajara. We wanted to manufacture our products ourselves, which gives them added value. In this way, we control the entire production process and ensure better quality.
Moreover, it means bringing to the economy of our country, which helps to strengthen the industrial fabric and industry of padel in particular by exporting a large percentage of the production to meet the demand which has followed the international growth of recent years.
We also generate employment. Our workers are highly specialized and they participate in 99% of the production process with a high level of professionalization thanks to their training in specific pala production programs. With such qualified staff, we reduce errors and increase performance, as well as the quality of the rackets. ”
Padel Magazine : How are snowshoes made?
StarVie: “This is a 100% Made in Spain artisanal process. This process includes 12 steps that take place in the Azuqueca de Henares factory. Currently, due to the great demand, the factory has doubled its production compared to 2020, and despite this, it is impossible to fully meet the demand.
In order to meet the company's quality standards, all the materials used come from top quality suppliers, who meet specific technical criteria. ”
The manufacturing process of StarVie palas
- Design : in collaboration with the Azuqueca de Henares factory, this phase takes place at the brand's central headquarters, located in the center of Madrid. The various stages, which go from the creation of new molds, to the final aesthetic of the pala, take place there. An important point is the time spent on research, development and innovation. It is a permanent search for new materials and new forms of palas in order to improve the aesthetic, mechanical and aerodynamic aspects.
- Trimming : this is the first manufacturing step. The materials received in bulk are cut according to the shape of the mold of the pala to be made. The EVA foam and the fabrics of carbon fiber, aluminum, basalt and glass are prepared in order to offer different sensations to the players, depending on the model.
- Casting : during this phase, the previously cut materials are impregnated with epoxy resin by an operator. Then they are placed in an aluminum mold and then put in an oven where they are “baked to a suitable temperature”. The molding is one of the most important phases since it is at this moment that the characteristics and the quality of the palas are largely determined.
- Sanding : during this step the cosmetic phase begins. Sanding removes all excess material from the mold and after cleaning by hand with soap, the racquet is ready for the next phase.
- Coating: it is the moment when the possible defects and impurities which could result from the molding phase are eliminated.
- hiding : we cover the pala with masking bands to be able to apply the different colors of the design. Depending on the model there may be more or less layers of bands, they are gradually removed until the painting phase is completed.
- Impression : we pass the first printing layer of the pala in a booth before coating it and then painting it.
- Handling : during this phase, all possible remaining pala faults are eliminated.
- Painting : the painting process begins. This is done in a booth where paint and lacquer are applied. Each year, the brand tries to ensure that the different colors appeal to users and that they are in line with market trends.
- Layer : water layers are used, in order to create models with the most attractive designs possible.
- Drilling : this is the only automatic manufacturing process, it is carried out with a numerical control machine. Each model receives a specific drilling plan, which aims to improve the mechanical and cosmetic aspects.
- Finish : this is the last step, it consists in putting in place the wrist strap, the closure cap on the handle and the grip. Once again, this is a phase that is done by hand.
Currently, it takes an average of 10 to 12 days for the StarVie factory to produce a pala.
Note that the StarVie factory has had quality certifications for the environmental management system (ISO 2017: 14001) and its control system (ISO2015: 9001) since 2015.
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