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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Research Project #428300

Research Project: Cotton Ginning Research to Improve Processing Efficiency and Product Quality in the Saw-Ginning of Picker-Harvested Cotton

Location: Cotton Ginning Research

Project Number: 6066-41440-008-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jun 1, 2015
End Date: May 31, 2020

Objective:
1. Enable, from a technological standpoint, new commercial methods and processes to reduce energy use, labor costs, and environmental impact, while preserving cotton fiber and seed quality, during the saw-ginning of picker-harvested cotton. 1.A. Develop a fan speed control system for conveying fans used at gins to reduce energy inputs. 1.B. Develop improved systems for drying seed cotton to optimum moisture levels with reduced energy inputs. 1.C. Determine effect of higher than recommended processing rates on fiber quality and losses. 1.D. Improve understanding of the fundamentals of pneumatic conveying of seed cotton and lint. 1.E. Determine the cause of fiber breakage prior to ginning, which results in fiber and seed losses during processing. 2. Enable new commercial methods and machinery to improve product quality in the saw-ginning of picker-harvested cotton. 2.A. Develop machinery and processes to remove plastic contamination at the gin. 2.B. Determine causes of increased bark content of picker-harvested saw- ginned cotton. 2.C. Improve foreign matter removal by seed cotton cleaners, thus reducing the need for lint cleaning and associated fiber damage. 2.D. Apply high-speed roller ginning equipment for use with picked cotton in the humid region of the United States. 2.E. Improve foreign matter removal by lint cleaners, thus reducing the need to use an additional stage of lint cleaning. 3. Identify material properties that have a significant impact on fiber and seed quality during saw-ginning, and enable new or improved, commercial methods for measuring product moisture content and process mass flow rates during ginning. 3.A. Develop a mass flow rate sensor for seed cotton. 3.B. Improve seed cotton moisture content measurement during the ginning process. 3.C. Identify cotton properties or measurable process parameters indicative of fiber damage occurring in the gin stand. 3.D. Develop a system to measure the fiber removed by gin cleaning machinery.

Approach:
The work includes a variety of specific activities. A fan speed control system will be developed to reduce energy inputs. With this system fan electricity use will be reduced by using a control system with no negative effects on gin operation. An improved system for drying seed cotton will optimize moisture levels with reduced energy inputs using computational fluid dynamics models. Acceptable leaf grades and extraneous matter levels will be achieved with higher processing rates through seed cotton and lint cleaners using the recommended sequence of ginning machinery. A new ginning system is under construction at the CGRU that will allow testing of processing rates comparable to commercial gins through the extractor-feeder and lint cleaner. Machinery and processes will be developed to remove plastic contamination at the gin. Work will concentrate on developing a retrofit or change in operation of existing seed cotton cleaning equipment. ARS engineers will examine causes of increased bark content of picker-harvested saw-ginned cotton. ARS engineers will improve foreign matter removal by seed cotton cleaners, thus reducing the need for lint cleaning and associated fiber damage. ARS engineers will use high-speed roller ginning equipment with certain cultivars grown in the humid region of the U.S. which will result in longer fiber with less short fiber and fewer neps. Seed cotton mass flow rate will be accurately predicted using a system based on air velocity, conveying system static pressure, and temperature measurements. The weight of seed cotton used for each test run will be recorded and linear regression will be used to identify model parameters in the improved model, which will include the static pressure measurement. More accurate prediction of seed cotton moisture will be made using the temperature drop that occurs during the drying process. Power measurements of individual gin stand components and fiber properties determined from HVI or AFI will be used to predict short fiber and nep content occurring due to different processing conditions, such as moisture and ginning rate. Samples will be ginned and electricity use will be monitored. Predictive models for fiber quality parameters, particularly short fiber and nep content, will be developed for each genotype based on energy data and moisture content. Measurement of fiber loss during cleaning is an important part of understanding the ginning process and control of that fiber loss may be related to other factors being studied. The proposed measurement system for the quantity of fiber lost from cleaning machinery includes a measurement of the proportion of material with cotton fiber color and a measurement of the total cleaner waste mass flow rate.