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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #368750

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: Evaluating alternative seed-cotton reclaimers for high-speed ginning

Author
item Armijo, Carlos
item Whitelock, Derek
item FUNK, PAUL
item THOMAS, JOE - LUMMUS CORPORATION

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2020
Publication Date: 6/23/2020
Citation: Armijo, C.B., Whitelock, D.P., Funk, P.A., Thomas, J. 2020. Evaluating alternative seed-cotton reclaimers for high-speed ginning. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 36(3):245-256. https://doi.org/10.13031/aea.13704.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13031/aea.13704

Interpretive Summary: High speed roller-ginning technology, developed in 2005, was largely adopted by the U.S cotton industry for ginning both Pima and Upland cotton. Operation of high-speed roller-gin stands produces a much larger amount of carryover (a mixture of unginned seed cotton and ginned cottonseed that is expelled from the roller-gin stand during operation) than is normal for conventional roller-gin stands. Existing conventional seed-cotton reclaimers cannot adequately handle the increased carryover and either become a bottleneck for production or do not adequately separate the unginned seed cotton from the ginned seed, resulting in excessive lint and seed loss. An effective reclaimer will 1) reclaim unginned seed cotton from the carryover without also capturing seed that will likely be removed with cotton trash when returned to the gin-stand feeder (seed loss) and 2) allow seed to pass through while minimizing the amount of seed cotton that escapes with the seed (seed-cotton loss). Research was conducted to develop and test experimental high-capacity reclaimers for the growing high-speed roller-ginning industry. The experimental reclaimers minimized the amount of seed-cotton loss, but they had more seed loss than the conventional reclaimer. Estimates of the value of the lost seed and of the lint on of the lost seed cotton revealed that the conventional reclaimer had the lowest combined seed and lint loss of $3.56 per cotton bale when processing Pima cotton, about $1.25 per bale less than the best experimental reclaimer. When processing Upland cotton, an experimental reclaimer based on a current cotton gin machine had the lowest combined loss, nearly $10 per cotton bale less than the conventional reclaimer. That is a potential savings of $1M based on 100,000 bales of roller-ginned Upland cotton during the 2016 ginning season. Western cotton producers could realize significant economic benefits from the adoption of this technology.

Technical Abstract: In a roller ginnery, a reclaimer machine removes unginned seed cotton from the carryover (a mixture of unginned seed cotton and ginned cottonseed that is expelled from the roller gin stand during operation) and returns the seed cotton to the gin stand for re-ginning. Conventional seed cotton reclaimers are marginally adequate in their capacity to handle the increased carryover that high-speed roller ginning produces. Overloading a reclaimer often leads to choke-ups and downtime for the ginnery. The objective of this study was to develop and test high-capacity reclaimers. A modified 3-saw stick machine and a modified 2-saw gin-stand feeder were tested and compared to a conventional reclaimer. The saw-cylinders in modified machines were operated at standard full speed, 1/2 of full speed, and 3/4 of full speed. Both Pima and Upland cotton were included in this study because there is sizable amount of roller-ginned Upland cotton. Results showed that the experimental reclaimers reclaimed more unginned seed cotton from the carryover than the conventional reclaimer. An effective reclaimer will 1) reclaim unginned seed cotton from the carryover without also capturing seed that will likely be removed with cotton trash when returned to the gin stand feeder (seed loss) and 2) allow seed to pass through while minimizing the amount of seed cotton that escapes with the seed (seed cotton loss). The experimental reclaimers minimized the amount of seed cotton loss, but they had more seed loss than the conventional reclaimer. The opposite was true for the conventional reclaimer; it had less seed loss than the experimental reclaimers, but more seed cotton loss. Increasing the saw-cylinder speeds of the experimental reclaimers decreased the seed loss but increased the seed cotton loss. Estimates of the value of the lost seed and the lint on of the lost seed cotton revealed that the conventional reclaimer had the lowest combined loss of $3.56 per bale when processing Pima cotton and the experimental 2-saw feeder with saw-cylinders operating at full speed had the lowest combined loss of $6.89 per bale when processing Upland cotton. The results suggest that losses of lint and seed may be further reduced by using a combination in series of different types of reclaimers to take advantage of each of their respective best features.