Submitted to: Journal of Cotton Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2011
Publication Date: 2/28/2012
Citation: Sui, R., Byler, R.K. 2012. Evaluation of a mass flow sensor at a gin. Journal of Cotton Science. 16:27-33. Interpretive Summary: Real-time measurement of cotton flow at various stages of ginning is one of the most critical components in a control system for cotton ginning process. An experimental mass-flow sensor was built and evaluated in USDA-ARS at Stoneville, Mississippi. In the evaluation tests, the mass-flow sensor was installed on a conveying duct between gin stand and the first lint cleaner. The tests were conducted using two varieties of cotton in comparing the lint-flow with the output of the sensor. Results showed a very strong correlation between lint-mass flow weight and the sensor output. Fiber quality of two cotton varieties used in the test was analyzed using Advance Fiber Information System and High Volume Instrument tests. The results indicated that their 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 sensor patented by Thomasson and Sui. 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.