Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Cotton on profitability in the United States has declined substantially. Cleaning of cotton at the cotton gin is routinely accomplished with a standardized sequence of machinery. New computerized gin process control technology has highlighted the fact that even when machinery use is minimized, the saw-type lint cleaner is still too aggressive. A method to reduce the fiber loss and damage caused by lint cleaners was developed by the USDA at Stoneville, MS, and patented. This study describes that method which essentially automatically controls the number of cleaning points within the lint cleaner. The method reduced fiber loss from lint cleaners about 50% and reduced fiber damage. When applied across the United States, the number of bales produced annually could be increased by 140,000 at a value of about $50 million. The value to the textile mill will also be increased. Cotton utility and profitability should increase substantially.
Technical Abstract: Tests were conducted to establish the impact of the number of grid bars on the lint lost by saw-type lint cleaners. Data indicated that the first grid bar removed primarily foreign matter and subsequent grid bars removed more lint than foreign matter. Saw-type lint cleaners have 5 to 8 grid bars, and reducing the number of grid bars (cleaning points) significantly decreased the fiber waste. For 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 grid bars, material removed was 11.7, 20.3, 21.4, 27.1, and 27.6 pounds per 500 pounds of lint. About 20 million bales of cotton are produced in the U.S. annually and 4 million require less than one complete stage of lint cleaning, yet they receive a full stage. For those 4 million bales, the first cleaning point is nearly always required, and usually no more than two are needed. Lint loss can typically be reduced by 50% or more, or 10 pounds per bale of cotton. For 4 million bales with cotton at $0.75 per pound, this equates to $30,000,000 annually--for a typical gin processing 25,000 bales per year, this is about $200,000. About 10 million bales require less than two complete lint cleaners for a potential savings of about 7 pounds per bale or $50 million annually.