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Published: September 1st 2017
We visited the Novacortica cork production factory. Very interesting! This factory is one of nearly 600 in Portugal. It is considered a medium-size factory. It is a 3rd
generation family business and currently has 43 employees. Each factory specializes in a certain area of the cork production. This business makes only discs and granules that are used in the production of champagne and wine stoppers. More than 60%!o(MISSING)f cork is used in stoppers. Portugal produces nearly 50%!o(MISSING)f the world’s cork. Cork comes from a cork oak tree that is all over Portugal. We saw many of them as we drove down.
· First harvest after 25 years. Because of its irregularity, it is used in flooring and insulations, etc
· Second harvest after the next 9 years, still not of production quality, is used in other items such as women’s shoes.
· Third harvest, after another 9 years, is ready for full production. Used in cloth and other high-quality products.
· They carefully strip the bark from the tree. This is done manually by individuals that, typically, are trained by previous generations of family members.
· Once it’s
The texture and density of the first harvest is very uneven.
stripped it is cut and placed on pallets.
· These pallets are lowered in a water chamber and boiled to kill any fungus and bugs. This process also flattens it.
· The boiled pallet of cork is then lifted and placed on the factory floor to dry.
· Once it has dried, it is ready for cutting. One of the pictures shows the lady placing the bark into the first cutter machine.
· The first cut is vertical into strips (approximately 6”-8” inches).
· The next cut is horizontal to make 3 slices. The top slice, the bark, is more dense and heavier and is used in flooring and insulation. The middle slice is used for cutting the stopper discs. The last slice is much thinner and more flexible. This layer is used to cover fabrics. The fabric slices are placed in large boxes in a “puzzle” pattern and the pieces are glued together. Once they are dried, they are “sliced” extremely thin. This is the “cork skin” which is placed on other materials such as nylon for umbrellas and leather for purses, hats, wallets, etc.
· The cut that is used for discs
This harvest is a little better
is placed in another cutting machine that cuts the discs. These discs are fed through the quality control machine. This machine shoots a laser through the disc to determine the density and quality. Each disc is fed into a bag. Unfortunately, the machine cannot tell the difference in the dark spots of the cork. Some dark spots can mean fungus or just discoloration. A lady then goes through each of the “good” discs and makes a visual determination of the cork.
· There are 3 grades of stoppers.
o Made using the highest quality of discs. These are glued together to make long tubes and then cut to the appropriate length. These are, typically, sold to France for use in champagne
o Made using the highest quality of discs and the densest granules. The use 2 discs and granules glued together to make these. These are, typically, sold to France & Spain for use in higher quality wines. Wines that will remained bottled longer because these stoppers will remain intact longer.
o Made using the lower quality of the discs and granules. These are, typically, sold to Italy.
This harvest is the reproduction grade of cork.
are 40,000 discs in a bag.
Tot: 0.406s; Tpl: 0.04s; cc: 9; qc: 54; dbt: 0.0475s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb