The long life of cores

A new product, a new core, has now been a part of the lives of paper mills for some years. It is COREX®: a core in thermoplastic material especially studied to be used for the winding of paper in reels and which is able to overcome many of the limits of traditional materials.

Perini Journal

COREX® is born in the research laboratories of Idrotherm 2000, a company that since 1978 has been producing polyethylene pipes for water and gas transport. Idrotherm 2000 is located near Lucca, in Castelnuovo Garfagnana: with its two facilities it reaches a production capacity of 16,000 tons per year. The company is leader is Italy and among the top five in Europe: it supplies more than 25,000 km of pipes each year and in total more than 200 million meters of polyethylene pipes have been installed in the world, through which waterworks, pipelines, sewerage systems and optical fibres flow. An inconceivable map of routes that develops under whole cities as large as Milan or Rome. An impressive underground net that supplies water, energy and other important services to millions of people and companies in Italy and abroad.

THE COMPANY HAS DIVERSIFIED PRODUCTION CREATING A WIDE RANGE OF PIPE QUALITIES, which vary for raw materials, geometry, kind of uses and colour. The introduction of coloured resins is indeed one of the distinguishing aspects of Idrotherm 2000, which has been the first to study, realise and introduce on the market polyethylene pipes in different colours according to use and destination. So today, under our feet, gas flows in black pipes with yellow stripes, or in yellow, or in orange; water flows in blue pipes or black pipes with blue stripes. From the research and development to find constantly new and different uses for polyethylene pipes and also from the position of Idrotherm 2000, in the heart of the largest European paper district, originated the research project that led to a new international patent.

IN 1994, THE COMPANY’S RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT LABORATORY BEGAN THE STUDY OF A SPECIFIC PRODUCT FOR THE PAPER FIELD: a thermoplastic core for tissue paper reels. After some years of research and tests, in 1998 COREX® was born.

This core is able to solve some of the main problems one encounters in paper mills during web winding into reels. This product has important qualities such has high mechanical resistance, fire resistance, hygiene, and it is safe and functional during handling and storage.

“The most critical aspect during product development”, says Fausto Sartini, Production Manager of Idrotherm 2000, “was identifying a material able to confer to the product qualities of resistance and non-deformability. A long study of thermoplastic polymers led to the choice of a compound that, with an especially studied extrusion line, allows to produce cores with a very long life, almost eternal.

As an example we could mention the first supply of 1000 cores to a customer, which dates back to 1998: today, about 980 cores are still working and in very good condition!”.

COREX® REPRESENTS AN EXCELLENT ANSWER, IN TERMS OF PERFORMANCE, TO MANY OF THE MOST COMMON PROBLEMS IN THE PAPER MILL. A non-deformable structure, highly resistant to compression, a material almost indifferent to weather conditions and heat resistant thanks to antioxidants: for this reasons COREX® can be stored outdoors. The product is also highly hygienic, considering that it can be washed! Through the use of powerful pressurised water jets, glue and tissue residues can be removed. Last but not least, this product has also a high value in terms of environmental protection: first of all because the cores can be repeatedly used over the years, and secondly because in future the plastic material can be recycled to produce other plastic items. So the realisation of specific compounds, i.e. mixtures of plastic polymers, stabilizers, antioxidant agents, fireproof agents, and the creation of extrusion lines dedicated to this brand new and flexible product have allowed the company to commercialise an item that soon met with many papermakers’ approval.

The diameter of COREX® can vary according to customer needs, reaching a maximum of 500 mm; also colours can be chosen to differentiate and identify the provenance of parent reels with respect to different lines or even facilities. Today, Idrotherm 2000 has a dedicated Division for the production and commercialisation of COREX®. Indeed, in these recent years, many companies - among which world leading multinational groups - have decided to purchase thermoplastic cores.

“We started out from tissue”, goes on Fausto Sartini, “but now we are going to enter the world of coated paper. This field presents different characteristics mainly consisting of the reel final weight, paper compactness, thermic and mechanical stresses during the winding phase. In order to appropriately answer the needs of this different kind of production, we elaborated a specific thermoplastic core thanks to a special polymer compound”. The choice of raw materials, the polymers and the extrusion line originated from this research are the “secret” of this new coloured core. •

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