There are a number of systems now in place to unwrap round modules at the gin. While several of these systems have the ability to read the radio frequency identification device (RFID) located in the John Deere wrap, there are some systems that do not. The ability to read the RFID allows these systems to automatically position the module to ensure the plastic wrap is cut at the proper location. The primary concern is if the module is not positioned correctly, the cut to remove the wrap could be in the zone where the inner tail overlaps the outer tail (seam) and does not have tacky adhesion to the next wrap layer (see the "inner tail" in the figure below). The result would be a thin strip of plastic that could get trapped in the seed cotton and ultimately contaminate the fiber that reaches the textile mill.
As shown in the figure below, a white bar code sticker with serial number is located near the outer seam. Do NOT cut the plastic in this area. The "no cut zone" between the inner tail and outer seam is shown in red.
The "safe cutting zone" is illustrated in the figure above as the area between the green solid lines. For full size round modules (average diameter of 90 to 96 inches [7.5 to 8 feet]), it will start approximately 24-inches below the outer seam away from the white label and extend to the side of the module opposite the outer seam.
For smaller modules, such as one that is ejected at the end of day or when finishing a field, it is more difficult to anticipate where the inner tail is and extra care should be taken when opening those modules.
The greatest risk for contamination is when the plastic is cut on the underside of the module while suspended above the module feeder. In that situation, it is very difficult to see any plastic that may become trapped in the cotton. Ginners are strongly encouraged to use handling equipment that allows them to rotate the module so that it can be cut at the proper location.
Regardless of the system used to remove plastic wrap from round modules, gin owners and managers should make employees aware of the potential plastic contamination problem and to make every effort to keep plastic wrap from entering the ginning system. Train employees on the proper methods on handling modules both in the gin yard and at the feeder floor entrance.
This page focuses on what can be done to prevent contamination with round modules, and growers and ginners are encouraged to minimize all sources of contamination. More resources on the topic of contamination prevention can be found at the National Cotton Council’s (NCC) web site.
Additional information on handling round modules is available from the NCC.