Extraction testing of whisky stoppers

Specification

To improve the quality and storage of their premium $1000 product, the R&D team at a leading Scottish whisky maker needed to optimise the design of their bottle stoppers. They decided that the strength and performance of their reusable stoppers could be ensured by systematic testing of the characteristics of both portions of the stoppers.

Cork portion:

  • bottle-neck finish
  • cork lubricant

Bar top portion:

strength of the adhesive that binds the bar top to the cork portion
 

  • Torque - de-corking begins with a twist. Twisting of the cork must be possible using acceptable torque
  • Extraction force - the cork is pulled up and out of the bottle. Pulling of the cork must be possible using acceptable force


The maker's stoppers must comply with the ISO 9727-5 standard, which specifies a test method for determining the maximum force needed to extract a cylindrical cork stopper.

Solution

Working closely with the R&D team, Mecmesin developed the CombiCork-i Extraction Tester, an innovative multi-function cork extraction testing system that tests both phases of de-corking (twist and pull) synchronously. A manually operated chuck grips the cork and a bottle cradle secures the bottle. The cradle is positioned using thumbnuts and threaded columns and the bottle is locked into the cradle using quick-release toggle clamps. When the test is begun, the chuck that is gripping the stopper rotates anti-clockwise and the cradle moves downward, mimicking the normal action of de-corking. Torque and force is recorded and the test ends when the stopper is removed. If data describing stopper performance over repeated opening and closing is required, multiple-cycles can also be programmed. The closing phase of the cyclic test is the opening test in reverse: that is, the chuck rotates the stopper clockwise and the cradle moves the bottle upward to meet the stopper's bar.

Torque data is sent to a PC running Mecmesin's Emperor Lite™ program and force data to the full Emperor™ program running on the same PC. A customised Excel® workbook combines the torque and force data for presentation of the test in statistical and graphical formats.

Other fixtures can be attached to the CombiCork-i so that tests on cork shear and tensile separation of the bar top and cork can also be performed.

System

The Combi Cork-i Extraction Tester includes:

  • Bi-directional force and torque testing system
  • Rotary torque sensor capacity 15N.m
  • Digital display AFTI
  • Grips and fixtures for corks and bottles
  • Emperor™ software and Emperor™Lite software
  • Dedicated Excel® workbook

CombiCorkCork extraction tester

Sparkling wines
CombiCork-dV

The CombiCork-dV is a purpose-built tester to reliably and objectively measure the release torque when extracting a cork from a sparkling wine bottle. The closure is extracted with a representative helical motion; combining twist and pull.

Its innovative bottle clamping design makes it quick and easy to carry out batch testing of champagne corks fitted to bottles ranging in size from 25cl to Magnum.

CombiCork dedicated torque cork extraction tester for sparkling wines and champagne
Still wines and spirits
CombiCork-i

The CombiCork-i is a purpose-built tester to reliably and objectively measure the both the pull-out force and release torque when extracting a cork from a still wine or spirit bottle. The closure is extracted with a representative helical motion; combining twist and pull.

Its innovative bottle clamping design makes it quick and easy to carry out batch testing of capsulated 'bar-top' design corks and stoppers fitted to bottles in a wide range of sizes.

CombiCork dedicated force and torque stopper extraction tester for still wines and spirits

The CombiCork is a purpose-built tester to reliably and objectively measure the release torque (and optionally the pull-out force) when extracting a cork from a sparkling wine or spirits bottle.

Its innovative bottle clamping design makes it quick and easy to carry out batch testing of champagne or capsulated (‘bar-top’) corks fitted to bottles ranging in size from 25cl to Magnum.

AFTIAdvanced Force and Torque Indicator

A versatile force and torque display unit, with interchangeable 'smart' sensors, that provides high accuracy and flexibility.

The AFTI can be used as a handheld device for mobile applications or it can be used as the measurement device for integration into your own test rig.

 

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