It is always less expensive to replace cotton picker parts than the entire harvester. That is why it is important to pay attention and know when parts are starting to show shortcomings. Start by being aware of these five signs that it may be time to order new parts and increase the efficiency of your harvest:
- Noticeable wear: Worn spindles, moistener pads, bearings and cam tracks are normally pretty noticeable. That is why it is advised that you inspect pre- and post-harvest. If you see fraying or obvious damage, this is the first sign that it’s time to buy new parts. Running your picker on excessively worn parts shortens its useful life, so it is best to act as soon as you notice damage.
- No improvement after adjustment: Some parts, like spindles, moistener pads and doffers reduce their functioning when they need adjustment. Most of the time, making these minor repairs improves functioning and harvest quality. However, if you notice there are still shortcomings even after you complete the adjustments, it is likely the parts are no longer serviceable. You may also discover during adjustment that wear and tear makes it impossible to achieve the needed alignments, like the one between spindle and moistener pad. This is also a sign that your issue goes beyond adjustment and enters the realm of needing new cotton picker parts.
- Frequent fires: If all the cleaning and adjustments you perform still lead to smoldering within your harvester, it is likely that spindles and other parts are no longer working at peak efficiency. When parts start to fail, oils and seeds will build up and provide fuel for fires—especially if the debris winds up near fuel lines or engines. Sometimes the only way to prevent this in the future is to replace the malfunctioning part. Otherwise you risk a full-field fire and worse losses.
- Poor tracking: When there is still cotton left in the field, that often shows a row tracking problem with the picker. Like many other issues, this often requires a minor adjustment and harvest efficiency improves. However, if poor doffing, hard locks and crop losses continue, it is time to see which part is failing and find its replacement before you miss out on the full potential of your harvest.
- Previous poor maintenance: If you acquired a cotton harvester on the used market and find shortcomings in its maintenance as you use it, it is likely that part failure is soon to follow. In these cases, it is usually prudent to replace parts as you can afford them, since harvesters are very dependent on frequent maintenance. If a previous owner was unwilling to clean and lubricate the harvester, it is likely that there were no part replacements either. Acting before they fail is your best course of action, as it will help preserve your harvester in the long run.
If your harvester requires new parts or a rebuild, contact Certi-Pik, USA for a catalog. We fabricate parts for many models of picking units and would be glad to help you achieve a more productive harvest.