The ginning operation is a compilation of mechanical systems working in harmony. At least, that is what we hope. In our gin schools, we spend a lot of time discussing press hydraulics. These topics include upgrading or updating existing systems, proper maintenance, trouble-shooting problems, oil cooling and filtration and contamination prevention.
In a 60-bale per hour gin, the press has to turn out a bale every minute or less and by reducing cycle times, you can increase output. The bale press is typically the limiting factor in how fast you can gin cotton. Gaining just a few seconds in the cycling time can add up to minutes and hours over the course of a day.
This requires larger pumps, higher pressures or changes to the tramper to gain speed. The more you push your hydraulic system, the more critical maintenance and cooling become.
One ginner took a 30-bale per hour press and by increasing pump volume, ram speeds, adding an automatic strapping system, and by modifying the control setting, averaged 45 to 47 bales per hour. Over the course of the ginning season, this provides significant savings in ginning costs but can put additional stress on the hydraulic system.
Using the newer technology, which includes modern pumps and valves as well as PCL control systems, ginners can extend the performance and life of the system, but good maintenance is critical. Make sure hose fittings are not worn or leaking. Most ginners have experienced a broken hose, hydraulic oil going everywhere, resulting in an extensive cleanup and loss of time and cotton. If hoses are worn, replace them during the off-season.
With the high capacity hydraulic system, keeping the oil cool is essential. Hydraulic oil should not get over 180 degrees, or it will lose viscosity and cause excessive wear on the pumps. Make sure your cooling system has enough capacity to cool the oil during the hottest conditions. Also, keep a close eye on the coolers for lint buildup. This will reduce airflow and cause over-heating problems.
Monitor your hydraulic oil closely. Most gins send samples of their oil to a lab for analysis. Oil inspection services can help to identify viscosity breakdown, contaminates and potential mechanical problems in your system, thus extending the life of the oil.
– Thomas D. Valco, PhD, USDA Cotton Technology Transfer, Stoneville, Miss. Contact him via email at Thomas.email@example.com or call (662) 686-5255. Each month Valco offers timely ginning updates in Cotton Farming magazine. His reports also can be found at www.cottonfarming.com. For additional ginning information, go to http://msa.ars.usda.gov/gintech.
June 3-6 – CGWA Annual Meeting, Coeur D’Alene, Ida.
June 7-9 – CI/Cotton Board Meeting, Dallas, Texas.
June 15 – Staplcotn Board Meeting, Greenwood, Miss.
June 15 – PCCA Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
June 16 – Calcot Board Meeting, Bakersfield, Calif.
June 22-25 – CWAA Annual Meeting, Miami Beach, Fla.
June 26-28 – S. Textile Meeting, Hilton Head, S.C.
July 10-13 – Southern/Southeastern, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
July 13 – PCG Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Aug. 2-4 – CI/Cotton Board Meeting, Durham, N.C.
Aug. 17 – PCCA Board Meeting, Lubbock, Texas.
Aug. 17-18 – ACP/CF Meeting, Corpus Christi, Texas.
Aug. 24-26 – NCC Board Meeting, Santa Fe, N.M.
Sept. 13-14 – Boll Weevil Action Meeting, Dallas, Texas.