You may have always wondered what path cotton took to make it from a cotton field to your wardrobe. Let’s chronicle cotton’s journey from a small seed to being extracted with cotton picker parts in order to become a mainstay in your closet:
- The plant: It may be hard to believe that your shirt was once a plant that went through the germination and photosynthesis processes, just like any other plant. Starting as a seed that is planted in moist and favorable soil, leaves begin to grow within a week. As the plant continues to grow, these initial leaves will fall off, exposing the cotton boll, which contains the seeds that will mature into the cotton fibers that are eventually used to create lint.
- Harvesting and picking: The removal of cotton from the field is typically done using a mechanical cotton picker, although cotton is still handpicked in some areas of the world. If a mechanical picker is used, the machine grabs the plant from the field and then begins the process of removing the cotton from the rest of the plant in the picker head. The cotton seeds and fibers are separated from the rest of the plant when the rotating spindles on the picking bar grab and pull them off with the aid of a rotating drum. The drum then carries the locks that contain the cotton fibers to the doffer, which takes the fibers off of the spindles. The fibers that are removed during the doffing process travel to the picker door, where they are blown into a basket, ready to be collected and transported to the cotton gin.
- Ginning: There are two different types of ginning done to separate the cotton fibers and seeds. For shorter cotton fibers, saw gins are typically used. In this process, circular saws pull the cotton seeds and fibers through narrow slots. Since the slots are so narrow, the cotton seeds cannot pass through, and only the fibers remain. The other type of ginning that is done to extract longer cotton fibers is executed with the roller gin. Once the long fibers are attached to a coarse roller, the roller is pulled under a rotating bar that doesn’t allow enough room for the seeds to pass through, and the long fibers are extracted.
- Production for public consumption: The raw fibers (or lint) are transported to textile mills where they are turned into the fabrics that we encounter in our daily lives. At these mills, the cotton is processed through several stages that condense the fibers into a web, which is purified, spun and turned into yarn. The yarn is woven and loomed, and cloth is formed. Depending on what the cloth will be used for, the fabric will go on to be treated and colored to create various consumer products.
Cotton harvesting and production takes place all over the world, so a distributer who can fill orders both locally and globally is valuable. Certi-Pik, USA is one of the premier distributers of cotton picker parts all over the world, so if you have been having trouble with any of your machine’s parts, be sure to give us a call so you can get your picker up and running right away.