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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Cotton Production and Processing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #385273

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 module feeder inspection system for plastic contamination – updated system design

item Wanjura, John
item Pelletier, Mathew
item Holt, Gregory

Submitted to: Journal of Cotton Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/24/2021
Publication Date: 12/15/2021
Citation: Wanjura, J.D., Pelletier, M.G., Holt, G.A. 2021. A module feeder inspection system for plastic contamination – updated system design. Journal of Cotton Science. 25:213–221.

Interpretive Summary: Plastic contamination in lint bales has increased in recent years because more seed cotton is being stored in plastic wrapped round modules. As a consequence, cotton producers in the United States now receive substantial price discounts for bales that are called for plastic contamination. Handling and unwrapping practices that damage the plastic module wrap or inadvertently leave pieces of plastic in the seed cotton can lead to increased risk of contamination. To help reduce the risk of contamination from module wrap plastic, a camera based system was designed to allow gin workers to see when plastic builds up on the dispersing cylinders of a cotton gin module feeder. The design of this system was improved and tested in 2020 and the results indicate that gin workers are more responsive in removing plastic from module feeder dispersing cylinders when they view it on the system display than when they only remove it periodically between shifts or during other periods of downtime as was the practice before this system was implemented.

Technical Abstract: This report describes the updated design and operation of an inspection system that provides ginners an instantaneous view of the dispersing cylinders in a cotton gin module feeder. Images are provided by network cameras installed in the back wall of a module feeder using a new adjustable housing design that allows for easier installation into various module feeder designs. We observed that when these systems are installed and operated, accumulation of plastic and other contaminants on dispersing cylinders is detected and removed more quickly than when the cylinders are manually checked between work shifts or during other pauses in gin operation. Gin crews are more responsive to plastic accumulation on the dispersing cylinders because they can see when it occurs and quickly remove the contaminants, thereby reducing the risk of plastic contamination in lint bales.