High Volume Instrument Classing: The Key to Cotton Quality and Competitiveness

H.L. Lewis


Selection of cotton fiber by the textile manufacturing industry has changed dramatically during the past few years with the advent of intense competition from foreign countries for the U.S. domestic market. Stated simply, competing in the world textile market requires highly efficient manufacturing, which requires a dependable supply of the right kinds of cotton. Traditionally, this requires the identification of the optimum cottons for a given mill or end product and then selecting uniform cotton mixes for the mill to process.

The U.S. leads the world in the development of High Volume Instrument (HVI) testing technology which makes it economically feasible to measure the fiber parameters of each bale of cotton. It is now possible to test in excess of 100 bales of cotton per hour using automated testing lines developed by Motion Control of Dallas, Texas, and Spinlab of Knoxville, Tennessee. At present, these instruments measure length, length uniformity, strength, micronaire, elongation, color and visible trash.

HVI technology has already been accepted to a significant extent in the U.S. In 1988, more than 30 mills were tested by HVI, in excess of 4.0 million bales of their cotton were tested. Further, USDA has HVI classed more than 40% of the 1988/89 cotton crop in official classing offices.

It is important to note that during HVI testing, not only are fiber properties measured by instrument, but the data acquired is placed into a computer data bank where it can be transmitted electronically by modern telecommunication technology to almost any place in the world. This provides for economically efficient handling of large volumes of fiber data and constitutes a tremendous advantage for U.S. cotton.

Cotton Incorporated has developed a cotton fiber management system known as Engineered Fiber Selection (EFS) which combines rapid tested (HVI), computer acquisition os data,. and a series of programs which enable management to select cotton otherwise be done. The Cotton Incorporated EFS system was first introduced to the industry in 1980. EFS is currently being used by mills which collectively manage in excess of 2.0 million bales of HVI tested cotton per year. The largest mill using this system uses 400,000 bales per year while the smallest uses 7,000 bales per year. It is used by both vertical mills and sales yarn mills with equal success. Since the EFS software has been in operation for almost eight years, the program can be considered to be thoroughly debugged and millproven.

Reprinted from Proceedings: 1989 Beltwide Cotton Production Conference pp. 95 - 97
©National Cotton Council, Memphis TN

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Document last modified Sunday, Dec 6 1998