Submitted to: World Cotton Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 6, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Drying and cleaning cotton as well as fiber-seed separation has been relatively uniform for several decades. As such, the cotton quality has been consistent within existing grading standards. However, changes in textile processing machinery as well as consumer demand requires improved fiber quality. New technology to monitor and control the ginning process was recently developed to allow prescription processing of cotton. The process monitoring and control system stimulates development of new technology in all phases of the ginning process. With accurate knowledge of fiber characteristics during ginning, less damaging machinery can be developed and implemented. As a result, cotton that meets current and future textile mill requirements will be available in the future. Cotton use should increase above current levels; farmer profits and textile profits should also increase.
Technical Abstract: The quality of baled cotton fiber is not solely dependent on ginning, instead it reflects the entire history of the bale including variety, soil type, geographical location, cultural practices, storage, ginning, etc. Controlling the appropriate factors before ginning and prescribing the appropriate gin cleaning and drying needs of cotton can substantially improve fiber quality and increase monetary returns to the cotton farmer and textile mill. The current process control system known as "IntelliGin" utilizes the cotton market price and the performance characteristics of gin machinery to determine the optimum drying level and machinery sequence. Cotton moisture, color, and foreign matter measurements are made with electronic devices at three stations in the gin system and are used to feed forward and feed backward to control the gin process. Special routing valves are used to bypass or select any combination of seed cotton cleaners, dryers, and lint cleaners as directed by a computer. When gin machinery is bypassed, the quantity of marketable lint is increased and the amount of fiber damage is decreased. The cotton gin process control system (CGPCS) minimizes fiber damage and machinery usage while optimizing profits. Control of fiber moisture and gin machinery increases bale value, fiber length, perceived fiber strength, fiber yield, reduces short fibers, neps, improves removability of seed-coat fragments at the textile mill, and decreases the number of seed-coat fragments.