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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 #388872

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: An integrated plastic contamination monitoring system for cotton module feeders

item Wanjura, John
item Pelletier, Mathew
item Holt, Gregory
item BARNES, EDWARD - Cotton, Inc
item WIGDAHL, JEFFREY - John Deere & Company
item DORON, NACHEM - Tama Farm Grown Solutions

Submitted to: AgriEngineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/19/2021
Publication Date: 11/23/2021
Citation: Wanjura, J.D., Pelletier, M.G., Holt, G.A., Barnes, E.M., Wigdahl, J.S., Doron, N. 2021. An integrated plastic contamination monitoring system for cotton module feeders. AgriEngineering. 3(4):907-923.

Interpretive Summary: Cotton harvesters that form round modules wrapped in plastic while in the field have gained wide spread adoption in recent years. The plastic used to wrap the modules and protect the cotton during storage before ginning has become a significant source of contamination in lint bales. It is estimated that this contamination costs US growers between $600 and $750 million annually. The system discussed in this paper was developed and field tested at two Texas gins in 2020. Information useful to cotton gin managers and module wrap manufacturers was provided that documented the condition of module wraps before removal in addition to handling procedures that contributed to potential contamination events where plastic was caught on the dispersing cylinders of a module feeder. This information can be used to evaluate the durability of different module wrap products and to train gin employees on module handling procedures that minimize the potential for plastic contamination.

Technical Abstract: Plastic contamination in US lint bales has increased with the adoption of new cotton harvesters that form cylindrical or round modules on the machine. It is of significant interest to the US cotton industry to reduce this contamination to preserve grower profitability and the reputation of the US as a reliable source of clean cotton fiber. The objective of this work is to describe the design and operation of a system for use on cotton gin module feeders that provides monitoring of plastic accumulation on the dispersing cylinders and video data to help document the module wrap condition and unloading/unwrapping procedures that may have caused the potential contamination event on the dispersing cylinders. In 2020, the integrated plastic contamination moni-toring system was installed on module feeders at two commercial cotton gins in Texas. The system is comprised of sub-systems that provide images of plastic accumulation on the dispersing cylinders, a log of the processing sequence for round modules, and video data of the unloading/unwrapping process for each module and a software program that integrates the data from the two sub-systems. The system was developed to operate on one computer, store the data in a common location, and simplify the process of extracting module specific data for a given event when plastic accumulates on the module feeder dispersing cylinders. The data provided by the system can be useful to manufacturers in comparing performance among module wrap products as well as to gin managers in training gin employees on module handling procedures to mitigate plastic contamination and improve worker safety.