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Moisture innovation improves ginning process

Despite being surrounded by a host of specialized machines and instruments that make up the framework of a cotton gin, Bruce Cook is not a man given to complication.

If simplicity breeds efficiency, then he has developed a genuine innovation in cotton ginning. And Cook is an absolute believer that his ingenuity will benefit all levels of the cotton industry — gins, growers, and mills.

Cook, manager of Hood Gin in Perthshire, Miss., has perfected a technique in cotton moisture restoration. Cook's method — Advanced Moisture Technologies (AMT) — concentrates on the benefits of seed cotton moisture when applied at the start of the ginning process.

Throughout his 35-year career in cotton ginning, Cook repeatedly encountered different approaches to cotton moisture, but always found them lacking in benefit. However, in 1999, he merged years of observation with a practical innovation. “I got really sincere about trying to get a moisture system automated. It took me from 1999 through 2004 to get the moisture aspect figured out — how to put it on, where to put it on, and exactly how much to put on.”

In 2004, Cook partnered with Mike Gvili, computer technician and owner of Advanced Sensing and Controls, Hudson, Mass. Under Gvili's expertise, AMT was fully automated, and by March 2006, AMT debuted at the Memphis gin show.

AMT uniquely adds moisture during the seed cotton phase, before it is ginned. Therefore, a significant amount of moisture has time to be absorbed. As Gvili states, “Most of the older systems add moisture at the very last moment of the process, just before it's being packed into the final bale. At that point, they only have about five seconds or less for the moisture to be absorbed. They're only getting additional weight, not the multiple benefits of our system.”

Gvili explains that by adding moisture early, the pitfalls of dry cotton are avoided. The staple is improved, minimizing breakage of fibers. The added moisture relaxes the fibers, and the breakage reduction ultimately helps growers from being penalized during classing.

Cook believes the AMT system offers mills exactly what they want — final bales at an optimum moisture level, and a better quality fiber that is easier to spin. “Our ultimate goal was to give the mills cotton bales at an exact moisture in the 7 percent range that was uniform. We wanted an approach that was completely different, fully automatic, and would give a uniform bale moisture the mills would like. And that's what they want — cotton in the 7 percent range. That's what we deliver.”

The success of AMT depends on the advantages it offers to ginners, and Gvili believes AMT will rapidly pay for itself through a bounty of benefits. “The benefits in the gin are primarily for gin operation. The ginners are going to have much lower pressure and stress on the press, which makes it easier to press the final bales. It also eliminates the static problems.”

For the growers, it adds a little more weight because it's moisturized in the final product, bringing in more money. In addition, fiber quality is improved. It's a motivation to the ginner to provide a better product to the grower, and by doing so he gets more business — the bottom line.”

The AMT system has surprisingly few physical parts — mainly consisting of mixing chambers, a central processing unit, and moisture sensors. The system can be purchased and installed for $30,000 to 40,000 (depending on gin size). “This is a very economical unit to operate and own. It's very basic, with very little maintenance, and very little service work required. It probably takes less than a few 100 watts of power to run the whole system,” says Cook.

“The unique thing about this system is that it's very simple. It's simple, simple, simple. The only complicated thing is the computer technology. The system has very few moving parts and hardly costs anything to operate.”

Necessity breeds innovation, and as Cook believes, innovation breeds change. Cook is confident that his technique is the change ginners need. “Being a ginner for 30 years, I know a ginner wants something he can turn on and not have to worry about. He won't have to fix it and he won't have to clean it. All he does is just gin cotton.”

This is a win-win situation. Everybody will walk away from this table happy.”

For more information, contact Advanced Moisture Technologies at (662) 207-2468 or (662) 747-2333.

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