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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #390622

Research Project: Improving the Production and Processing of Western and Long-Staple Cotton and Companion Crops to Enhance Quality, Value, and Sustainability

Location: Cotton Ginning Research

Title: Improving the performance of a cotton gin plastic contamination cleaner

item Whitelock, Derek
item Funk, Paul
item Armijo, Carlos
item KOTHARI, NEHA - Cotton, Inc
item MARTIN, VIKKI - Cotton, Inc

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/2022
Publication Date: 4/18/2022
Citation: Whitelock, D.P., Funk, P.A., Armijo, C.B., Kothari, N., Martin, V. 2022. Improving the performance of a cotton gin plastic contamination cleaner. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference, January 4-6, 2022, San Antonio, TX. p. 686-687.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The GoldenLion is a seed cotton contamination and leaf cleaner currently utilized in cotton gins in China. Previous tests showed that the cleaner was more effective than a stick machine and an inclined cleaner at removing 1-layer and 3-layer round module wrap (RMW) and shopping bag plastic pieces from seed cotton. Increasing airflow to the cleaner increased overall plastic capture from about 13% to 50%, but the seed cotton captured with the plastic also increased from 3 to 75 lb. per bale. Smaller pieces were more effectively removed. Lighter and more flexible 1-layer RMW and shopping bags were removed within the range of the manufacturer's claims, but heavier and stiffer 3-layer RMW was not effectively removed. Video captured during testing revealed that pieces of plastic adhered to the cleaner’s screen drum for separation but, as the screen drum rotated and the plastic pieces reached the vertical position, the air circulating inside the machine stripped the plastic pieces from the screen drum. Two modifications were made to the cleaner to prevent these air currents from stripping the plastic pieces from the screen drum and improve the plastic removal performance. The first was a deflector mounted about 45° from the bottom of the screen drum (fig. 1a). The second was a shroud that covered the front of the screen drum down to about the same place where the deflector was mounted (fig. 1b). The effectiveness of the cleaner with the deflector at removing plastic ranged from similar to slightly less than the unmodified cleaner (fig. 2; 40% with the deflector versus 50% unmodified for the highest airflow setting). With the deflector installed, there was a slight improvement in the amount of seed cotton captured with the plastic (69 lb. per bale with the deflector versus 75 lb. per bale for the unmodified cleaner). With the shroud, plastic removal was similar to that of the unmodified cleaner (fig. 3; 49% versus 50%, respectively, at the highest airflow setting). However, the amount of seed cotton captured with the plastic by the cleaner with the shroud was more than double that of the unmodified cleaner. These modifications did not achieve the objective of the investigation, which was to reduce the amount of seed cotton captured with the plastic while maintaining or improving the plastic removal performance of the cleaner. Future work will build on lessons learned from testing the cleaner. It will focus on laboratory scale for ease of modification and testing and explore techniques that exploit differences in properties of cotton and plastics.