HOMAG CENTATEQ E-700 in the Starbank Panel Products manufacturing plant


Founded in 1976 by Gordon and Kath Darbyshire, Starbank Panel Products has remained a family business ever since. Now run by son Philip, managing director, and daughter Wendy, financial director, Starbank manufactures bespoke decorative, architectural and commercial panel furniture products.

“As a company, our strategy is simple,” explains Phil Darbyshire. “Our focus is on working with customers as a supply only manufacturing partner. As such, we deliver outstanding products for the interior fit-out markets. Experience, quality craftsmanship and first-class customer service set us apart from the competition. This professional, yet passionate approach has enabled us to build a strong network of customer and supplier partnerships that stand the test of time.

Phil continues: “One of the most important lessons I learnt from my father was the need to invest in the very best woodworking machinery available. It is a philosophy we follow to this day and it is why the majority of our plant list comes from HOMAG. From CNCs to edge banders and from sanding machines to postformers, HOMAG machines are the powerhouse of our operation.

“To stay ahead of the competition we constantly evaluate market trends and technological advances in woodworking machines. Our team recognised the increasing demand from our customers for a visually improved ‘zero joint’ edge finish. This was especially so on high end surface technology such as the super matt decors and white panels with white edging. This led us to look at a CNC that could handle shaped edging with a zero joint finish.

“Because each and every product we manufacture is bespoke, however, we also need to have flexibility. With these key drivers in mind, we sat down with our HOMAG area manager, Jon Lawman, and CNC specialist, Phil Pitchford to evaluate options.

“Both Jon and Phil are extremely knowledgeable and they have the ability to explain complex machine information in an easy to understand manner. Not only that, but they also understand our business and so we have total trust in their recommendations.

“After discussing the options, we made the decision to add the latest CENTATEQ E-700 CNC with the powerEdge Pro Duo unit to our growing portfolio of HOMAG CNCs.”

Workpiece clamped on one table of the CENTATEQ E-700

High-performance edge banding on two processing tables

“The CENTATEQ E-700 with the new powerEdge Pro Duo unit is essentially two machines in one. It enables us to produce different workpieces on each table and we can select either airTec zero joint or hot-melt adhesive edge finishing.

“The powerEdge Pro Duo unit has made a big impact on our production capabilities. Not only does it enable us to produce zero joint edges, but we can also edge tighter radius corners with improved butt-joint finishing for 360 degree workpieces.

“The CENTATEQ E-700 is controlled via the latest version of HOMAG’s software, woodWOP 8.0. One of the benefits of the 8.0 version is an improved wizard which makes programming much faster. This is really important for us because we have tens of thousands of programs due to the bespoke nature of every panel we produce. To maximise the benefits of the new woodWOP software we have upgraded all our HOMAG machines to the new 8.0 version.”

Production benefits that lead to increased customer satisfaction

”When we introduce something new to the production process, the initial reaction can be one of indifference to say the least. After all, change can be challenging; it means our operators have to learn new ways and that takes time and effort. With the PowerEdge Duo unit, however, the operators have taken to it like a duck to water. They actually prefer to use the zero joint edging because it is less messy and they have fewer issues with it.

“From a company point of view, not only does it give us edging options, but the airTec zero joint edging is far more energy efficient. The airTec system only uses energy when the edging is in progress; with the hot-melt EVA glue we have to heat the glue pot all day to ensure it doesn’t go off.

“Most importantly, our customers are benefiting from having the option to choose zero joint edges on even the most challenging shaped parts. The speed and versatility of the CENTATEQ E-700 also means we can shorten lead times for complex items. We are that impressed with the technology that we have introduced a new brand to the market to take advantage – ZEROedge®.”

HOMAG quality and service

“The partnership we have built with HOMAG UK has its foundations in the build quality, technical excellence and durability of its machinery. The company’s design engineers are constantly pushing the envelope to improve the technical capabilities of the equipment and software. That means we are able to invest in machinery that gives us a competitive edge.

“All this is backed up with great customer service and support. Everyone at HOMAG, both in Germany and the UK, has a friendly, professional approach and that makes dealing with them a pleasure. It also gives us tremendous peace of mind knowing we are partnering with the best in the world,” concludes Darbyshire.

For a demonstration or further information on HOMAG woodworking machinery or software, contact Adele Hunt at HOMAG UK on 01332 856424 or email: info-uk@homag.com