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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Improved Method to Package Cotton

item Anthony, William

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 12, 2000
Publication Date: January 29, 2002

Interpretive Summary: Packaging cotton bales for domestic and export markets requires large electrical motors. Increased bale density requirements in order to achieve lower freight rates has placed an additional burden on older presses as well as increased energy requirements for all presses. A method to reduce the forces required to compress cotton about 35% was developed, field tested, patented, and licensed to three private firms. Use of this technology will significantly reduce the initial costs of new bale presses because of lower structural, hydraulic and electrical costs. It will also increase the expected life of presses, and allow older, marginally effective presses to be retrofitted and successfully used. Significant cost savings will be realized in all industries that package materials.

Technical Abstract: Devices to reduce force requirements by focusing compression at the narrow locations where bale ties are applied were developed for cotton bale presses. The devices reduced compression forces for a gin universal density cotton bale by 20 to 35% depending on whether one or both of the platens were modified to use the devices. Additional studies determined the relationship between the force required to compress cotton with one standard flat platen compared to platens that had either six or eight compressive inserts. The inserts were either 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0 in. wide across the width of the platen. Bales weighing about 500 lbs each were ginned and compressed to about 40 pounds/cubic foot density. Least square means for compressive forces (adjusted for bale weight and lint moisture) ranged from 854,021 lbs for the standard platen to 685,197 lbs for the 6- tie pattern with 1.5 in. compression inserts. The 6-tie, 1.5 in. wide inserts installed on one of the two opposing platens required about 21% less force to achieve the same compression density as the standard platen. The 1.5 in. wide inserts are suitable for use with the 0.75 in. wide strapping that is in use in the industry today, and the 1 in. wide inserts are suitable for use with wire ties, which are also in use today. A special unitized platen consisting of eight focused compressive areas was also constructed and tested. Compressive forces were reduced 18% when one unitized platen was used. Bales are about 0.44 in. larger at the hump when initially released from the press but this difference disappears after a few days. A different version of the unitized platen was constructed and performed well in field tests at a commercial gin for a entire ginning season.

Last Modified: 4/18/2015
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