New Gin Dryer is More Efficient and Gentle
By Don Comis
June 12, 1997
A dryer developed by
USDAs Agricultural Research Service
for use in cotton gins not only saves energy, but often improves the quality of
the tens of thousands of bales each gin processes each year. Thats the
word from cotton gins using the dryer, which can even handle cotton thats
been thoroughly soaked during rainstorms between harvest and ginning.
Sopping wet cotton often cant be dried by conventional tower dryers.
Tower dryers use a high-pressure blast of hot air to blow cotton pneumatically
through a series of racks.
ARS engineer at Lubbock, Texas,
designed the new dryer to force hot air through an even pile of cotton moving
on a wire mesh belt. The belt is 6 feet wide and 40 to 70 feet long.
The hot air can dry the wettest of cottons because the belt moves slowly
enough that the air has 90 seconds or more to do the job instead of 6 to 12
seconds with the tower dryer. The belt dryer uses air at 100 times less
pressure than the tower dryer.
The dryer also uses only about half as much heat and a fraction of the
horsepower requirements of tower dryers--resulting in sufficient energy savings
for the new dryer to pay for itself in one to five years. Another plus: The
belt dryers low heat reduces the chance of heat damage so it often does a
better job of preserving fiber quality.
An article about the belt dryer appears in the June issue of
Agricultural Research magazine. The
magazine can be viewed in *.pdf format on the World Wide Web at:
Scientific contact: Joseph W. Laird,
USDA-ARS Cropping Systems
Laboratory, Lubbock, Tex., phone (806) 746-5353, fax 744-4402,