Perla Fruit

The Perla Fruit team

New Turkish packer and exporter Perla Fruit says it is well on the way to completing its first cherry season in spite of the many challenges it has faced from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Set up last year by president Kerim Taner and general manager Murat Hamdi Taner, the company said it fully expects to close its first season with a result that will place the company among the top cherry packers and exporters in Turkey.

“In our first season, we made the most of openings in the UK, German and Scandinavian markets, said Kerim Taner. “We also export by air to Far Eastern and Middle Eastern markets, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Bahrain and Qatar.”

When they established Perla Fruit in June 2019 the Taners said they knew that they needed to hit the ground running if they were to be ready for the beginning of their first cherry season the following April.

They made the strategic decision to install Compac’s automated sorting technology at their new plant.

“It was our first season, so it was critical that we deliver on our promise to growers, to customers and to our team,” said Hamdi Taner. “We had limited time to make all the preparations, and one of the most important elements was the sorting machine. One reason for choosing Compac was the technology, but more important was the fact that we felt safe working with them.”

In spite of the unprecedented travel restrictions and lockdowns, Compac was able to install the new turnkey solution – a full Compac InVision2grading system and 16L Small Fruit Sorter (SFS) with 27 packing outlets – in time of the beginning of the new cherry season.

According to Compac, the InVision2platform “achieves extremely accurate and consistent grading for size, shape, colour and blemishes through a combination of powerful imaging using colour and infrared technologies, controlled lighting and cherry rotation”.

“This is very important for us,” said Hamdi Taner, “because some days we pack for 10 different customers, 15 different types of packaging, different colours, different sizes – even different customer specifications, as some have zero tolerance while for others it can be 3 per cent or 5 per cent. This machine allows us to make all kinds of combinations.”

Perla Fruit said the system has also enabled it to redeploy its 250-strong workforce efficiently to address the issue of labour shortage, as the selection lines only require one worker on each side instead of the high number of workers needed on the selection conveyor of a manual line.

This has resulted in an 80 per cent reduction in manual grading labour, allowing the company to meet the social distancing demands required by the pandemic.