- Cotton Baler Belts meet the ASTM D378-13.2 flame test standard and contribute to greater safety during operations
- Cotton Baler Belts permit the compression of 2,500 to 10,000 bales per harvest year
Hanover, September 5, 2019. The technology company Continental has come up with a Cotton Baler Belt program specially designed for cotton harvesters which, based on an optimum blend of materials, improves the machines' operating safety in terms of fire resistance, durability and service life, thus contributing to a safer cotton harvest.
Fire-resistant material blend ensures safety in the field
Continental Cotton Baler Belts meet the ASTM D378-13.2 flame test standard and can resist high temperatures, sparking and even flames. "For the belts we use compounds that were actually developed for our underground portfolio to ensure fire protection," says Kelley Burianek, Product Manager for Agricultural Applications at Continental.
Cotton fibers are highly flammable. A dry environment with high temperatures, of the kind often found in the southern regions of the US and other countries where cotton is grown, leads to a low but significant risk of fire breaking out. Sparks generated during the working process may in some cases be sufficient to cause fires and ignite the cotton.
However, the advantages of the new belts go way beyond their fire resistance alone. "Thanks to the improved material blend, our belts have significantly better tear resistance than conventional belts. The material is lower stretch, and this makes the belt run straighter," says Burianek. The fabric used for the belt contains extremely low elongation threads of a kind not previously used for conveyor belt applications. In particular, the carcass has been optimized.
The cotton harvesters in which the Cotton Baler Belts are used weigh up to 30 tons, as well as being up to twelve meters long and five meters high. These dimensions are no surprise: a single cotton bale, which the harvesters compress thousands of times and prepare for further processing in factories, weighs more than 2 tons. The Cotton Baler Belts manufactured by Continental play a key role in this, because they ensure that the very light cotton fibers gathered by the spindles are compressed into bales in the machine’s basket.
Economic importance of cotton should not be underestimated
Cotton is of great economic importance: For the 2018/19 harvest year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expecting a worldwide cotton harvest of around 120.4 million bales. Besides the USA, the main cotton growing territories are in China, India and Pakistan. As regards the American market, the USDA estimates US cotton production at a volume of some 18.4 million bales, with around 4.26 million hectares (= 10,526,689 acres) under cultivation for cotton.
“These are enormous amounts of material that need to be processed safely and efficiently. Our customers demand that our belts can easily compress at least 2,500 bales per harvest year,” says Burianek. “We are confident that they could even compress a total of some 10,000 bales, so that they can be deployed for four years or longer.”
Consequently, Continental's Cotton Baler Belts in many respects are key components for cotton production in the USA and beyond.
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