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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Cotton Production and Processing Research » Research » Research Project #439540

Research Project: Survey of Cotton Contamination at the Gin Stand Feeder Apron in Multiple Commercial Cotton Gins

Location: Cotton Production and Processing Research

Project Number: 3096-21410-009-006-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 1, 2021
End Date: Dec 31, 2021

Even though there is wide spread recognition that plastic contamination is a major problem for the cotton industry, many cotton gins don't believe they have a problem with it as they are not seeing many plastic contamination calls from their local AMS classing office. Unfortunately, our belief is that the classing process is grossly under-sampling for plastic contamination, so a gin may have a problem with plastic and not be aware of it. Cotton Inc. reports from overseas textile mills supports this conclusion. To address this the specific objectives of the proposed research are to survey the extent of plastic contamination in a sampling of cotton gins by deploying low cost plastic contamination detectors, mounted at the gin-stand feeder apron. The gin stand feeder apron has been selected as it provides the only place in the gin where the cotton is presented in a thin stream of open-locked cotton and is at a position where contamination is easily detected.

The research will assess the level of plastic contaminates for several gins, and then compare these results against the number of classing office detected plastic contaminated bales. In order to sample as many gins as possible, a stripped down low cost version of the author's plastic contamination detection and ejection will be developed and deployed to several gins and monitored throughout the 2021 ginning season for contamination. The detection method to be explored is use of low-cost high-speed machine vision using off the shelf cell-phone based color-imagers for detection of plastic contaminants.