|Hardin Iv, Robert
|SEARCY, STEPHEN - Texas A&M University
Submitted to: Journal of Cotton Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/29/2010
Publication Date: 11/15/2010
Citation: Hardin IV, R.G., Searcy, S.W. 2010. Operator feedback system for the module builder. Journal of Cotton Science. 14:154-163.
Interpretive Summary: Properly constructed cotton modules will prevent reduced lint value and increased ginning costs after significant rainfall occurs. Modules should be constructed with a convex top surface so that water will not collect on the module cover. Many modules are constructed with undesirable shapes because operators are inexperienced, must quickly construct modules, and have difficulty estimating the mass of cotton at various locations in the module. The objectives of this research were to design a system that would provide the operator an image of the predicted module shape, evaluate the accuracy of the system in predicting module shape, and determine the usefulness of this system. Module final shape was predicted by determining the height of the compressed cotton along the length of the module and this shape was graphically displayed for the operator. The display assisted the operator in moving cotton to appropriate locations for production of desirably shaped modules. The heights of modules constructed with and without the feedback system were measured. The system correctly predicted the height with 67% accuracy. Use of the feedback system resulted in a 55% reduction in water collection area on the top surface of the modules. The module builder operators indicated that the system was useful. The module builder feedback system is a simple and inexpensive tool that has the potential to provide rapid payback for producers.
Technical Abstract: Seed cotton is compressed into modules after harvest for storage and transport. Inexperienced operators often construct modules with shapes that allow water to collect on the module cover. This water will penetrate the cover, especially if the cover is damaged by weathering or rough handling, and cause damage to cotton fiber and seed. The goal of this research was to develop a feedback system that provides module builder operators with information about module shape. This information will be used by the operator to distribute cotton in the module builder to form a properly shaped module. Sensors were installed on a module builder to monitor the operator’s actions and software was developed to predict the module shape from data recorded by the sensors. The predicted module shape was graphically displayed to the operator. The feedback system accurately predicted module shape. When first used by an operator, the feedback system produced an immediate improvement in module shape. Operators found the system simple to use and the graphic display was easily understood.