Location: Cotton Ginning Research
Project Number: 6066-41440-007-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated
Start Date: Oct 26, 2010
End Date: May 31, 2015
Our goal is to increase the profitability of the U.S. cotton production system through new and improved cotton ginning equipment and processes resulting in enhanced market value and utility of ginned cotton lint in the global market. We will focus on the following objectives: 1) Refine the design, operation, and management of existing cotton ginning machinery to increase productivity and reduce short fiber content, neps, and seed coat fragments; 2) Improve cotton gin processing by comprehensively investigating the impact of cotton cultivar on fiber quality and non-lint content and develop improved relationships between measurable cotton traits and the value of the final products; 3) Improve automated measurement of relevant properties and control of gin processes for more efficient management, especially related to moisture, fiber quality, and energy use; and 4) Optimize the entire ginning system from module to bale, particularly related to air quality issues, energy use, and control of cotton moisture content.
The objectives are interrelated and success in one contributes to success in another. Improved measurement and control will allow better response to changing gin conditions, including those caused by variation in cultivar. Better machinery design and management can be used to respond to these variations in seed cotton. Improved ginning machinery and better measurements of the cotton being processed will contribute to optimization of the entire ginning system. 1) Refine the design, operation, and management of existing cotton ginning machinery. We will test modifications to existing machinery and new machine designs for the three main functions of ginning machines–seed cotton cleaning, fiber-seed separation, and lint cleaning. We plan to develop machinery with adjustable operating parameters for use in control systems to optimize product value and quality. New management strategies will also be tested. 2) Improve cotton gin processing by improving measurement and use of measurements. Three issues will be addressed under this objective: 1) some important properties are unidentified; 2) no technique exists for measuring certain important properties, particularly in real-time at the gin; and 3) analysis using the current variables results in interactions, which may result from not measuring the correct variables or an incomplete understanding of the processes. First, we will simplify the control problem using cotton from a limited number of known cultivars and growth conditions. Second, we will find measurable traits which will allow adjustments to the ginning process for optimal processing of different cultivars, without knowledge of the cultivar. Finally, a control system using these properties will be developed to maximize fiber value and quality, accounting for variation due to cultivar and growth conditions. 3) Improve automated measurement of relevant properties and control of gin processes for more efficient management, especially related to moisture, fiber quality, and energy use. Currently, many important properties to gin management cannot be measured accurately, or in real-time at the gin. Sensors will be developed to measure these parameters. Advanced statistical techniques will be used to integrate information from many sensors and develop predictive models. The final step will be to develop a control system using these sensors and logic which will result in improved gin management, as demonstrated by improved fiber quality or more efficient use of resources. 4) Optimize the entire ginning system from the seed cotton module to lint, seed, and byproduct use. Dust emissions from cotton gins will be measured, so that regulatory agencies have accurate data. Energy use will be monitored throughout cotton gins. Systems will be designed that can alert ginners to conditions reducing energy efficiency or automatically conserve energy without negatively impacting gin processing. Improved systems will be designed for controlling drying and moisture addition to improve gin efficiency, product storage, and fiber quality.