5 Most Common Parts of a Cotton Picker That Need to be Replaced

Feature Image

Harvest is no time for your cotton picker machine to have a mechanical failure. You’ve got deadlines to meet, and obligations to pay with the income. Luckily, you know the very company to call for help. They help with all brands of cotton picker machines. Not only do they stock almost every component in the picking units, but they have a great turnaround lead time on part orders. You might just make this harvest on time after all.

How Does A Cotton Picking Machine Work?

The cotton plant enters the front of the machine and is compressed between the pressure plate, and the grid bars in the picking zone. When the plant is compressed and the spindles pass through the grid bars, the multiple spindles turning at high speeds snatch the material from inside the bolls. The spindles have sharp barbs which cause the material to attach to the spindles.

The material clings to the spindles until they reach the doffers which are spinning in the same direction as the spindles but are turning at a higher speed. This higher speed allows the material to be stripped of the spindle. After the material is removed from the spindle, the spindle is cleaned of unwanted sap or debris when passing under the moistener pads allowing it to once again rotate back through the plant for more picking. The material then passes through the air system’s ductwork via suction until it is blown into a huge basket, or module builder. After the material is removed from the harvester, it is then brought to a gin, where it is cleaned and compacted into a standard bale.

Why Do Cotton Picker Parts Fail?

Machines break if their service and maintenance aren’t kept up. Cotton pickers are no different. We at Certi-Pik USA are vitally aware that picker components need to be produced with the utmost precision. With so many components needing to fit together we control our quality in house, and so can assure you of accurately made components. Any other inexperienced machinist cutting components badly is one of the reasons picker components fail. Additionally, using components not designed for your machine or forcing the part to fit something it wasn’t designed for will also make the machine fail.

Regular service and maintenance keeps machinery working at peak capacity. Although many a farmer may have good knowledge in up-keeping their equipment, it is good to contact a Licensed and professional service personnel if need should arise. Someone who regularly maintains this equipment will clean, service, and maintain your machine in order to keep it at peak performance without any question if it is done correctly. Between servicing, cleaning (namely removing debris from around the doffers, and moistener pads) and lubricating your picker should be done regularly and with the proper lubrication and oils.

Why Do Cotton Picker Parts Fail

Which Parts Of A Cotton Picker Need To Be Replaced The Most Often?

  1. Spindles and spindle bushings aren’t the only components that need to be replaced frequently, because they are supported by other components:
  2. Spindles come in close contact with doffers, and moistener pads. Frayed, or worn down moistener pads and doffers are a sign they need replacing.
  3. Cam rollers that follow the cam track need to be maintained to ensure your equipment runs without excess vibration or unwanted interference of parts rotating at close tolerances.
  4. Cam Track. Underlying the picking unit system is the cam track which keeps the drums, spindles, moistener pads, and doffers going strong. The cam track maintains spindle angle and speed, while also making sure the spindles are cleaned while moving beneath the moistener pads. The cam track is vital to the operation of a picker. Getting fouled and/or worn down results in inefficient picking and even fires.
  5. Finally a potentially overlooked important area of your picker is the picking unit cabinet itself. In a harsh abrasive or corrosive environment worn parts due to moisture, and rust, or the inevitable plants or weeds that contact your cabinet can cause the sheet metal to bend, or wear through. An unwanted result of wear in the air suction area can cause an excessive air leak, resulting in a lack of suction, clogs, plugs, and even in worst cases a fire.

Other components to maintain or check periodically should include the various belts that turn the water pump, the engine fan, the A/C compressor, the alternator, and the fan rotor to name a few. Also be sure to keep an eye on the many different roller and needle bearings that keep everything rotating smoothly.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Parts From Failing?

Frequently inspecting and cleaning picker components is the first step to avoiding breakdowns and fires in cotton picking machines. If your picker is leaving too much material in the field, and if adjustments don’t make much difference in picker efficiency, then components need to be replaced.

Poor or no maintenance causes picker components to require replacement as well. Keep in mind that all of this can cause a fire which is bad news for your machine personnel as well as the machine and fields.

The Timing Of Maintenance And Service

Cotton picking machines are used once per year in most areas of the world. It’s important to at least visually check your picker’s components every season, and the doffing area might need to be cleaned every few hours when in use. The earlier you catch potential problems, the more efficient your machine will be next season.

The off season is the ideal time to inspect your machine and replace any components that are weak or worn. Keeping the picker’s components sharp and well maintained is critical to the machine’s operation. You don’t want to have your machine in the shop for service right before the harvest, or you could fall behind schedule.

Whatever the season, be sure to use good quality components from a reputable dealer. Using up to date pieces also ensures your machine will pick material efficiently for many years. Some dealers can also fabricate specific parts you need for your machine or custom make any part you need.

Obviously you can only inspect the parts you can see, so in any season keep your spindles sharp and their bushings running with correct clearances. Keep an eye on the tilt and height of your machine. This prevents leaving material in the fields.

Call upon us for your picker replacement parts and maintenance needs, and we’ll help you keep your machines running at peak performance in season and out.