In the forest
From ancient forests to our tables:
The first and fundamental phase for the manufacture of cork is the extraction of the raw material. This phase consists in the recovery of the cork from the trunk of the oak and is carried out between May and August when the extraction is simpler and the tree suffers less damage.
To perform this operation it takes considerable experience to avoid damage to the trunk and the cork itself. It is generally used an ax or sharp knives by specialized workers, called extractors. They are made is divided two horizontal cuts one at the base of the trunk and at the top, and then vertical. Then he builds with the handle of the ax to loosen the bark.
The operation is generally performed every 10-12 years, but not before the trunk has reached a circumference of 30 or 40 cm then ever before the 20th year of age of the plant. The first time, that the cork is extracted from a plant that is said male cork, virgin or “sugherone“. It is of poor quality, resulting woody, therefore not suitable for a machining of high levels and is generally ground
But when the plant has already undergone previous draws that its best producing cork called gentle or female. This is elastic, smooth, light, gentle, workable but at the same time waterproof and insulating. And ‘perfect for our processes and can enter fully into our manufacturing process
In the company: the preparatory stages
After the extraction labors in the forest cork transported to be selected and separated, according to qualitative characteristics, and classified for subsequent processing by separating the good from the lower one and the one destined to grinding.
The friendly cork is piled and left to mature for a period ranging from six months to two years, during which the planks loses moisture.
After this period, the cork is ready for boiling, which is done to cleanse the planks removing parasites contained in the bark, the tannin and other substances. The boiling is carried out for about an hour, in boilers or tanks covered with copper or stainless steel, filled with water which is heated up to about 100 °. At the exit from the tanks over the cork to be “sterilized” acquires a morbidity that allows him to flatten out due to its own weight once ripiled
In the company: the definition of the cap
A new classification is expected to bring the quality of cork stoppers enough to be transformed into a towards the cutting processes. The first cut is in the “circulation in gangs” (the cork strips) which in turn are directly or punched, or first cut into squares (grid) to then be punched.
The die-cutting (manual or mechanized) finally gives rise to the raw cork.
In the company: the final work
The crude cork must finally be finished, ground, polished, washed and sometimes bleached (depending on the customers’ requests). Often bevels are required, conical transformations, drilling, and other custom features. All under the constant supervision of specialized personnel.
I to finally head caps must be glued to the head itself. The operation in this case was performed manually using a hot glue gun to natural. Today through a new machine are arranged the heads and plugs bonding takes place in an automatic way.