Microprocessor Improves Roller Ginning
Although Eli Whitney is credited with inventing the saw-type gin stand in
1794, roller-type gins were used centuries earlier in India and are still used
to separate delicate, extra-long-staple cotton fibers from seed. But today's
roller cotton gins are much larger and more efficient, and they continue to
The latest improvement comes out of the Agricultural Research Service's
Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory in Mesilla Park, New Mexico.
Engineers there used a microprocessor to automatically control the rate at
which cotton is ginned.
If fed too fast, a roller gin stand will clog, possibly causing up to $1,200
in equipment damage and requiring several hours to repair and readjust. If fed
too slowly, the gin is inefficient and costs are greater.
"Basically the controller senses how much electrical power the gin's
rotary knife is using. If there is a heavy draw, it means the machine is
working harder and may plug. The microprocessor then slows the feeder,"
says Marvis N. Gillum, ARS agricultural engineer at the lab.
Gillum sought readily available electronic components to keep assembly costs
low and reliability high. He was assisted by Carlos B. Armijo of the
Agricultural Experiment Station at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces,
Glenbar Gin in Pima, Arizona, helped test the new controller application on
one of their 12 gin stands during the 1993-94 season. It was so successful that
they are now using controllers on all of their stands. They estimate the
controllers raise their processing rate by 10 percent or more. That translates
into additional savings of $50 to $75 per hour for the plant.
The electronic controller will help growers of extra-long-staple domestic
Pima cotton compete better with foreign producers.
"These specialty cottons have become more popular in recent years but
take up to five times longer to roller-gin compared to shorter fiber upland
varieties that are saw-ginned," says Sidney E. Hughs, ARS agricultural
engineer and research leader at the lab.
The engineers say other roller ginning plants have expressed interest in the
device. By Dennis Senft, ARS.
Hughs, is at the USDA-ARS Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory,
P. O. Box 578, 300 E. College Dr., Mesilla Park, NM 88047; phone (505)
526-6381, fax (505) 525-1076.
"Microprocessor Improves Roller Ginning
Efficiency" was published in the
January 1995 issue
of Agricultural Research magazine.