Bühler has announced that it is to expand into the natural hazelnut market with the Turkish launch of its combination of sorting technologies. This commitment is set to transform the industry and help increase yield and efficiency, similar to levels already achieved by US almond, pistachio and walnut processors.

The decision to move into natural hazelnut processing is the next logical step for Bühler following the major success of its SORTEX E and SORTEX F optical sorters with BioVision technology, in the American walnut, almond and pistachio markets. Producers there are reporting increases in yield and efficiency as a result of process optimization, with natural hazelnut processors expected to achieve similar results once the new technology is available to them.  

Bühler has invited hazelnut processors to its launch event on April 28, to be held in the Black Sea port of Ordu, in the heart of Turkey’s hazelnut growing region. Turkey is the world’s largest producer of hazelnuts, currently responsible for 60 - 65% of the global market.

Already recognized as a key player in the processing of roasted and blanched hazelnuts, by entering the natural hazelnut sector Bühler is now able to provide a total sorting solution from harvesting to end product for all hazelnut variants.

The move will significantly increase the technological options open to natural hazelnut processors, a historically challenging sector for sorting, because of the complexity of distinguishing between skin and shell while also being able to recognize nut damage and shape distortions.

Natural hazelnut processors are currently reliant on laser and ultra sound technology when sorting their natural material. The Turkish launch of the SORTEX FB range and BioVision technology introduces the natural hazelnut market to four processing technologies, wrapped up in one innovative solution, capable of detecting color defects, shell and foreign material in one process.

It is estimated that the Bühler solution will increase yield by simultaneously removing more unwanted material while ensuring less loss of good material per pass. Sorting times, and therefore production costs, are decreased by reducing the need for multiple-pass sorting, maximizing profitability from graded product, while reducing waste of good product.

The four technologies being brought together are BioVision, Enhanced InGaAsHD, ColorVision and PROfile. BioVision™ technology has been designed specifically to optimize shell removal in the sorting process. After launching in Turkey Bühler plans to launch its new solution into the global hazelnut market.

Bühler had already successfully launched its sorting solution in the almond, walnut and pistachio markets before announcing its move into the natural hazelnut sector.

Christophe Parrot, head of Segment Coffee Nuts and Cocoa at Bühler’s Digital Technologies Business Area said:

“What is exciting about the launch of BioVision™ is that it is the missing piece of the jigsaw which now makes our solution complete. BioVision now combines with our existing sorting technologies, allowing us to confidently enter the natural hazelnut market with a unique combination of solutions in one sorter.

“Nuts are among the most difficult commodities to sort and so sorting technology must be at its most advanced, which is why sophisticated solutions like the SORTEX FB optical sorter with BioVision technology, is needed and will have a huge impact in the industry.

“The main advantage of this new technology for the processors sorting natural hazelnuts is that they will be able to achieve a higher accuracy and higher throughput, with less good product lost. Each of the four technologies play a complementary role in stopping unwanted material getting through while making sure the good material is not rejected.

“We have already had great success with many of the big processors turning to us and achieving higher yields in the Californian almond, walnut and pistachio sectors and we will be working on accomplishing a similar success in the hazelnut market, by demonstrating the unique abilities of our solution.”