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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #330572

Research Project: Enhancing the Quality, Utility, Sustainability and Environmental Impact of Western and Long-Staple Cotton through Improvements in Harvesting, Processing, and Utilization

Location: Cotton Ginning Research

Title: Development of a prototype sensor to detect plastic contamination in seed cotton at the gin

item Whitelock, Derek
item Armijo, Carlos
item Delwiche, Stephen - Steve
item Kim, Moon
item Hughs, Sidney
item Byler, Richard

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2016
Publication Date: 7/20/2016
Citation: Whitelock, D.P., Armijo, C.B., Delwiche, S.R., Kim, M.S., Hughs, S.E., Byler, R.K. 2016. Development of a prototype sensor to detect plastic contamination in seed cotton at the gin. ASABE Annual International Meeting, July 17-20, 2016, Orlando, FL. Presentation only. Paper No. 162461827.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: US cotton is considered to have some of the lowest levels of contamination in the world. That reputation is expected by foreign and domestic mills. Despite this reputation, U.S. spinners have recently experienced some serious contamination issues with US cotton. Of particular concern are plastic contaminants – plastic trash that collects in cotton fields, black plastic film used as mulch in fields, plastic twine typically used for baling, and yellow plastic film used for round module wrap. These contaminants are typically introduced prior to ginning, but mechanical processes at the gin can tear and shred the plastics so that they become more difficult to detect and remove. Thus, the first line of defense against these contaminants should be set before or early in the gin process. For the US cotton to maintain its status as “contamination-free”, the industry must strive to prevent contaminants from entering the cotton stream and to eliminate them when they slip in undetected. Work was conducted at the SW Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory to test and evaluate a prototype plastic contamination detection device, based on four mid-range infrared wavelengths utilizing low-cost LEDs. This presentation summarizes the current research and results.