hand with tool

Case Study
Cork Harvesting

A challenge from the world’s largest cork processing group, Corticeira Amorim, has resulted in an innovative device. In partnership with AMORIM, our Design, Prototyping & Rapid Manufacturing Unit has developed a machine capable of simplifying the work of cork harvesters and preserving cork oaks, combining creative engineering with functionality..

1. Creating a new product from existing equipment

As the project progressed, we improved the product’s usability, facilitating its integration for users less receptive to change. Today we have a machine that is light and easy to use, with an aesthetic that conveys quality and confidence.
product design - sketches

2. Design Engineering

Traditionally, cork is removed from cork oaks using an axe, but the axe must not touch the trunk. This practice can influence and even compromise the tree’s ability to produce cork in future years. It’s evident that this process demands the skill and experience of the harvesters. This necessity led to the development of a device that could be easily operated, even by individuals with limited experience, while also preventing damage to the trees. In GRANDESIGN, our Design, Prototyping, and Rapid Production Unit, Amorim found a wide range of production techniques, allowing for the exploration of different solutions.
hand with tool
oil container for battery

3. Prototyping and Validation

Rotor Biosystems - mould making image
Harvesting for cork trees
We used rapid prototyping techniques to produce five initial prototypes, capable of withstanding the effort and rough handling associated with the tasks. Maintaining a focus on the project’s future, the GRANDESIGN team designed and painted the new parts to seamlessly integrate with the base machine, forming a cohesive unit. To ensure a robust assembly between the different components, small aluminum plates were used to create strong joints.
Amorim Cork Harvesting set
Amorim Harvesting Battery + oil deposit
Battery + Oil Deposit

4. Small Series Manufacturing

We conducted tests using the machine in real-world conditions, and some fine-tuning corrections were made. The results were very positive, leading to the advancement of serial production. For the 2024 production, improvements were implemented and applied in a small production run, maintaining the same processes and retaining 95% of the original machine.

Innovation, efficiency and sustainability

Through a collaborative, client-centric approach, we refined a device that not only addresses the specific needs of tree preservation but also enhances the efficiency of cork harvesters’ work.
Amorim Cork Harvesting
Amorim Battery Cork Harvesting
Amorim Cork Harvesting handle
Amorim Cork Harvesting battery
Amorim Cork Harvesting battery plug detail