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Dursun Oğuz Gürsoy, Chairman of Gürsoy, said: "Although our production volume varies from year to year due to yield and export conditions, our sales volume ranges from 10,000 to 14,000 tons of hazelnut kernels. To achieve this capacity, we benefit from the advantages of the TOMRA machines. These are usually on the natural hazelnut line because if the raw material is sorted well, you do not need to sort the product again after processing. We also have TOMRA optical sorters on the processed hazelnut lines. As we are happy with our partnership with TOMRA, which dates back over 20 years, we decided to invest in their newest machines and use the TOMRA 5C for the first time for sorting hazelnuts."
Dursun Gürsoy explained that Turkey exports hazelnuts mainly to Germany and Italy, as well as other EU countries such as France, Poland and Austria. He commented: "To meet the high expectations of European markets, we manage the production process meticulously. Therefore, the investments in automation that we and our customers trust become more significant. Above all, we trust the organizational structure and the continuity of TOMRA. The high productivity and success in achieving quality products with TOMRA's solutions add value to our processing operations. On the other hand, everybody knows that optical sorters reduce operational costs. Firstly the reduction in labor costs, then the advantages of high sorting capacities, and the ease of sorting the defects that are impossible to detect through visual inspections made by workers - these factors all reduce operational costs."
On the subject of exporting, Gürsoy explained: "Turkey supplies 65-70% of hazelnuts in the world every year. Although Italy, the US, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Chile, and Spain are also top producers, Turkey leads the way globally in terms of volume and quality. In 2020, Turkey exported 280,924 tons of hazelnut kernels for a value of $1.9 billion. Year-on-year hazelnut exports decreased by 12% and year-on-year foreign currency exports by 4% due to the downturn in export markets caused by the pandemic. The pandemic has hit the domestic market harder, with demand decreasing by 15%. However, in 2021, the strict measures and vaccination campaigns in the European countries will positively affect the markets for the June-December period, which will accelerate the positive trend in consumption. So, we think hazelnut producers should keep investing in their facilities."
The pandemic has brought to the fore once again the importance of automation and optical sorting solutions in the food industry. The rapid increase of labor costs, the added costs of the measures necessary to protect workers in and out of the facility, as well as the costs relating to the loss of labor, are all factors that highlight the importance of automation and mechanization.
Dursun Gürsoy explained, "Although Turkey started using optical sorting solutions about 10-15 years ago, the use of these machines is still not sufficient. The rapid increase in financing costs makes it impossible for small- and mid-sized companies to invest. Large-scale companies strive to equip their facilities with optical sorting systems in accordance with their financial capabilities. However, the high finance charges and the downward trend of profit margins due to strong competition in the hazelnut sector are slowing down investments in optical sorters. The percentage of optical sorting systems in small- and medium-sized companies is below 5%, and despite widespread use of these systems in large-sized companies, it is still below 50%. But I believe that the negative effects of this pandemic will accelerate decisions to invest."
Gürsoy stated that using TOMRA machines has dramatically decreased the number of complaints about foreign materials and added, "While reducing labor costs, we increased our production capacity. Also, fast maintenance service, spare part service, and high machine performance are among the most important advantages of TOMRA. The return on investment for the optical sorters has improved because of all these advantages."
Gürsoy thoroughly researched the market before deciding to purchase the new TOMRA 5C: "We analyzed different optical sorter solutions. The main factors in preferring the TOMRA 5C were its sorting performance, capacity, and ability to detect the defects which other machines would miss, and our previous experience with TOMRA machines in the past years."
TOMRA Food Turkey Sales Manager Ahmet Koçyiğit said: "The TOMRA 5C premium optical sorter combines industry-leading sensors with machine learning and big-data analysis to ensure the most accurate foreign material removal possible. High-resolution lasers and the latest generation sensors help the TOMRA 5C detect and analyze the smallest defects, which are impossible to scan with other machines. With this sorter, we address the biggest challenges of the nut and dried fruit industry, such as labor, food safety and product quality. Gürsoy will be the first hazelnut processor in Turkey to use this special machine thanks to its approach being always open to improvement."