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New Lint Cleaner Reduces Cotton Waste

By Jim Core
February 19, 2003

A new invention developed by Agricultural Research Service engineer W. Stanley Anthony reduces the amount of usable cotton typically lost in gins and increases the weight of a single bale of cotton after ginning by about 10 pounds.

The device reduces the amount of cotton fiber normally wasted by a gin's saw lint cleaners. After lint is separated from the seed, lint cleaners remove foreign matter, moisture and other contaminants that reduce the value of the crop. The lint-cleaning stage usually results in losses of about 20 pounds per 500-pound cotton bale, according to Anthony, who is the research leader at ARS' Cotton Ginning Research Unit in Stoneville, Miss.

Anthony developed a new lint cleaner that contains an additional saw cylinder to reprocess fiber that is normally ejected with the waste. The invention prevents most good fiber from being ejected from the lint cleaner along with the leaf particles, sticks, stems, seed coat fragments, grass and bark that must be removed. The cleaning efficiency of the device is equal to that of a standard lint cleaner. Only one doffing brush cylinder is used to remove fiber from both saw cylinders. The device performed well in field tests in a commercial gin during the entire 2002 gin season, according to Anthony.

The enhanced method could help growers increase the value of their crops. Cotton is the most important textile fiber in the world. It accounts for more than 40 percent of total world fiber production, according to USDA's Economic Research Service. The U.S. cotton industry accounts for more than $25 billion in products and services annually.

The device could also be used to separate fibers from alternative crops, such as kenaf and flax, which are used in the production of paper and linen.

ARS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency, has filed a patent on the invention. The device is available for licensing by the ARS Office of Technology Transfer.