Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/26/2011
Publication Date: 6/1/2011
Citation: Sui, R., Byler, R.K. 2011. Evaluation of an experimental mass-flow sensor of cotton-lint at the gin. Proceedings of Beltwide Cotton Prod. Res. Conf., Jan 5-7, 2011, Atlanta, GA. pp 585-593. Interpretive Summary: An automatic control system for cotton ginning process control has great potential in reducing labor costs, preserving fiber quality, and increasing operation efficiency at cotton gins. Real-time measurement of cotton flow at various stages of ginning is one of the most critical components in the control system. Objectives of this study were to 1) evaluate the functionality and accuracy of a custom made mass-flow sensor in real-time measuring lint-flow at gins, and 2) test the effect of cotton variety on performance of the mass-flow sensor. An experimental mass-flow sensor was built and evaluated with two different varieties of cotton in determining lint flow at a gin. The mass-flow sensor was installed on a conveying duct between gin stand and the first lint cleaner. Tests were conducted in comparing the lint-flow with the output of the sensor. Lint-mass flow weight showed a very strong correlation with the sensor output (r2 = 0.98). Fiber quality of two cotton varieties (Fibermax 960 and PhytoGen 485) used in the test was analyzed using Advance Fiber Information System (AFIS) and High Volume Instrument (HVI) tests. The results indicated that the short fiber content, trash content, and moisture content differed significantly. Statistic analysis of sensor output with the fiber quality data was conducted to determine the effect of cotton variety on sensor performance. Sensor output did not differ as a function of the varieties. The sensor was easy to install and maintain. It has the potential to be used for the control of cotton ginning process.
Technical Abstract: As part of a system to optimize the cotton ginning process, a custom built mass-flow sensor was evaluated at USDA-ARS Cotton Ginning Research Unit at Stoneville, Mississippi. The mass-flow sensor was fabricated based on the principle of the senor patented by Thomasson and Sui (2004). The optical and electronic components of the sensor were housed in a single aluminum unit with mounting-magnet which made it easy to install and maintain. To evaluate measurement of cotton lint mass-flow and the effect of cotton variety on the sensor, a test of the sensor with two cotton varieties was conducted using a micro-gin to compare lint mass-flow with sensor output. Results showed that the sensor output was very strongly correlated with the lint-mass which passed through the sensor (r2 = 0.98), and the effect of cotton variety on the output of sensor was not significant (F (1, 75) = 0.00, p = 0.9868). This demonstrated that the mass-flow sensor can accurately measure the lint-flow in the gin and provide valuable information to the ginner.