Cotton module builder
The cotton module builder is a machine used in the harvest
Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper...
and processing of cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....
. The module builder has helped to solve a logistical bottleneck by allowing cotton to be harvested quickly and compressed into large modules which are then tarped and temporarily stored at the edge of the field. The modules are later loaded onto trucks and transported to a cotton gin
A cotton gin is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, a job formerly performed painstakingly by hand...
HistoryIn 1971 the first experimental cotton module builder was designed and build by a team led by Professor Lambert H. Wilkes at the Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University is a coeducational public research university located in College Station, Texas . It is the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. The sixth-largest university in the United States, A&M's enrollment for Fall 2011 was over 50,000 for the first time in school...
in cooperation with Cotton Incorporated
Cotton Incorporated aims "To increase the demand for and profitability of cotton through research and promotion." and "To ensure that cotton remains the first choice among consumers in apparel and home products." The organization is funded by cotton growers in the United States through per-bale...
. Cotton module builders are in use since 1972 in the US today more than 90 % of the cotton harvested is compacted with module builders. But module builders are also widely used in other countries where cotton is harvested mechanically.
In 2002 ASABE (American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers) dedicated the cotton module builder a historic landmark of agricultural engineering, naming it "one of the top three inventions in mechanized cotton production."
Module BuildingThe module builder is a large trailer that is moved by a tractor and is used stationary. When the module builder is used in the field the wheels are hydraulically retracted. A module builder is about 9 meters (30 ft.) long, 4 meters (12 ft.) high and 3 meters (10 ft.) wide. It works similarly to a garbage truck. When the loading the cotton from the cotton picker
The mechanical cotton picker is a machine that automates cotton harvesting in a way that reduces harvest time and maximizes efficiency.-History:...
into the module builder it should be distributed as evenly as possible. After loading the cotton into the module builder, a hydraulic compactor moves up and down along the length of the machine. This process is repeated every time that a cotton picker is unloaded into the module builder until a module is built up and discharged through the tailgate of the machine. The module is stored on the field and the module builder is moved into a new position to build up another module. The weight of one module is about 10 metric tons.