this is the process of our artwork production

process51 on cork research

Cork is an amaizing material. It´s impermeable, buoyant, a prime-subset of bark tissue that is harvested for commercial use primarily from Quercus suber (the Cork Oak), which is endemic to southwest Europe and northwest Africa. Cork is composed of suberin, a hydrophobic substance, and because of its impermeability, buoyancy, elasticity, and fire resistance, it is used in a variety of products, the most common of which is for wine stoppers.

There are about 2,200,000 hectares of cork forest worldwide; 32.4% in Portugal, and 22.2% in Spain. Annual production is about 300,000 tons; 61.3% from Portugal, 29.5% from Spain, 5.5% Italy.

Once the trees are about 25 years old the cork is stripped from the trunks every ten years. The trees live for about 200 years.

The cork industry is generally regarded as environmentally friendly. The sustainability of production and the easy recycling of cork products and by-products are two of its most distinctive aspects. Cork Oak forests also prevent desertification and are the home of various endangered species.

(Source: Wikipedia)

In february 2012 I decided to start researching on cork material. Therefore i made a trip to San Vicente de Alcántara, Spain, a town with great cork manufacture tradition. I met there with the owner of Higinio Rodríguez Morujo, S.L. a Cork plank preparation company.

Camera operator: Adriana Mateos

Cork plank processes

1. Raw cork outdoor pile up. Cork is piled up depending on which meadow it comes from. Raw cork it´s stabilized for at least 6 months outdoor till it´s dry.

2. Raw cork boiling. The cork is placed in plates which boil maximum for one hour.

3. Stabilization in warehouse after boiling. Once boiled, the cork planks are placed in piled pallets, keeping them in the warehouse for two to three weeks.

4. Cork plank calibration. This is the first manual classification in the production line after the boiling. In this process the cork planks are separated by different calibers and grouped by qualities, separating all the refugo, yellow stain, agarras, burned cork and bornizo (cork not apt for wine stoppers production).

5. Cork plank trimming. Once the cork planks are classified by caliber, it is trimmed in order to differentiate it and select it by qualities.

6. Cork quality selection. The cork planks are classified and grouped by qualities according to the needs of the company clients. There is a second manual separation of cork planks not apt for wine stoppers production.

7. Packaging. Cork planks are packed for its presentation and later positioning in the different rows where will be identified by calibers and quality.

8. Waste and aparas grouping. Aparas and other sub-products are grouped and stored in dry place and on a concrete floor. This material is used for acoustic and thermal insulation in houses, bulletin boards, fishing floats and rods, etc,.

Photographs: Alex de las Heras

Another interesting and detailed video of the treatment and process production of wine stoppers:


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This entry was posted on April 19, 2012 by in Material, Research and tagged , , .
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