Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Cotton Production and Processing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #384433

Research Project: Enhancing the Profitability and Sustainability of Upland Cotton, Cottonseed, and Agricultural Byproducts through Improvements in Pre-Ginning, Ginning, and Post-Ginning Processes

Location: Cotton Production and Processing Research

Title: A smart cotton module tracking and monitoring system for handling logistics and cover damage

item WANG, TIANYI - Texas A&M University
item HARDIN, ROBERT - Texas A&M University
item WARD, JASON - North Carolina State University
item Wanjura, John
item BARNES, EDWARD - Cotton, Inc

Submitted to: Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2021
Publication Date: 12/29/2021
Citation: Wang, T., Hardin, R.G., Ward, J.K., Wanjura, J.D., Barnes, E.M. 2021. A smart cotton module tracking and monitoring system for handling logistics and cover damage. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 193.

Interpretive Summary: Cotton harvesters that form cylindrical or "round" modules are becoming the predominate machines used to harvest the US crop each year. Round modules have advantages over the conventional rectangular module system in regard to protection of seed cotton from wind and rain. They also offer transportation alternatives over conventional chain-bed type module trucks that can increase transportation efficiency and lower costs for growers. This work was conducted to document the efficiency of handling round modules on the gin yard through a time in motion study. Also, pictures of each module were taken automatically to identify any damage to the wrap that may lead to contamination issues at the gin. The results indicate that the loader used to unload and move modules at the gin was idle over 46% of the working time and that 4.4% of the modules studied had damaged wrap. These results will be used to improve module handling techniques and storage yard design for gins that handle round modules to reduce the overall cost of ginning.

Technical Abstract: Round modules are becoming a more common method of seed cotton storage and transport. Increasing use of round modules has led to the development of new methods of field staging, transport, and handling at the gin. A low-cost smart cotton module tracking and monitoring system (SCMTM) was developed for recording module tag numbers, equipment location, and images of the modules automatically. The SCMTM system was mounted on a cotton module loader and module truck in a gin yard of Texas. Data was recorded automatically using the SCMTM system and used for analysis of cotton module handling logistics and wrap damage. Route and throughput rates of the loader were calculated, and the time required per module was estimated. The study found that the loader was idle more than 46% of the total working period. Analysis of module images indicated a module wrap damage rate of 4.4% in the studied cases.