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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #286848

Title: Spindle speed optimization for cotton pickers

Author
item Baker, Kevin
item Hughs, Sidney
item FOULK, JOHN - Consultant

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/16/2014
Publication Date: 3/1/2015
Publication URL: https://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/61681
Citation: Baker, K.D., Hughs, S.E., Foulk, J.A. 2015. Spindle speed optimization for cotton pickers. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 31(2):217-255.

Interpretive Summary: Spindle picking has become the preferred method of harvesting most cotton in the U.S. Improvements to the cotton harvester have primarily focused on increased speed in order to reduce the cost of harvesting and reducing head weight. As the spindle speed has increased, cotton fibers can wrap more tightly around the spindle. As spindle diameter decreases, cotton fibers will wrap around the spindle more and will also become tighter on the spindle. As spindle length decreases, cotton plants must be further compressed as they pass through the picking zone. These changes have resulted in a general decrease in cotton fiber quality, particularly regarding spindle twists, preparation, and neps. Previous research showed that spindle speeds of 3000 and 4000 rpm had more detrimental effects on cotton fiber quality than a spindle speed of 2000 rpm. This study showed that no significant differences in stalk losses in the field were found among the 2000 to 2800 rpm range for spindle speed. Significantly more trash was present in seed cotton that was picked with spindle speeds of 2200, 2500 and 2800 rpm than that in seed cotton that was picked with a spindle speed of 2000 rpm. Differences in trash content were eliminated by seed cotton cleaning (set the same for all treatments). HVI classing data showed no significant differences among spindle speed treatments. Differences due to spindle speed for AFIS nep count, short fiber count, trash count, dust count and seed coat nep count were non-significant at each of the four locations tested in the yarn preparation process. Results from open-end spinning tests, including opening and cleaning waste, total card waste, ends down, yarn strength, yarn elongation, neps, thick places, and thin places showed no significant differences due to spindle speed. Based on these results, the 2000 rpm spindle speed is optimal, although only minimal differences are present at spindle speeds up to 2800 rpm.

Technical Abstract: Changes to cotton pickers over the years regarding the operating speed and size of the spindles have resulted in a general decrease in cotton fiber quality, particularly regarding spindle twists, preparation, and neps. Previous research showed that spindle speeds of 3000 and 4000 rpm had more detrimental effects on cotton fiber quality than spindle speed of 2000 rpm. This study was conducted to check fiber quality effects between 2000 and 3000 rpm. Field tests were conducted for the 2008 and 2009 crop years by the USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory in Mesilla Park, New Mexico. Three cotton varieties were grown under furrow-irrigated conditions in southern New Mexico and harvested with a modified 1-row cotton picker each year using a ground speed of 0.85 m/s (1.9 mi/h) and spindle speeds of 2000, 2200, 2500 and 2800 rpm. The tests were replicated 4 times. No significant differences in stalk losses in the field were found. Significantly more trash was present in seed cotton that was picked with spindle speeds of 2200, 2500 and 2800 rpm than that in seed cotton that was picked with a spindle speed of 2000 rpm. Differences in trash content were eliminated by seed cotton cleaning (set the same for all treatments). HVI classing data showed no significant differences among spindle speed treatments. Differences due to spindle speed for AFIS nep count, short fiber count, trash count, dust count and seed coat nep count were non-significant at each of the four locations tested in the yarn preparation process. Results from open-end spinning tests, including opening and cleaning waste, total card waste, ends down, yarn strength, yarn elongation, neps, thick places, and thin places showed no significant differences due to spindle speed. Based on these results, the 2000 rpm spindle speed is optimal, although only minimal differences are present at spindle speeds up to 2800 rpm.