Keep your cotton harvesting equipment running at peak performance with proper maintenance and a little TLC. You can reduce downtime, improve productivity, and maximize your yields and profits.
Routinely clean crop residue from engine compartments to prevent fires, grease metal parts with rust-preventive oil, and perform regular oil changes. These steps will help your cotton harvesting machine run at peak efficiency and increase its life span.
The engine in your cotton harvester is the powerhouse behind your machine. It uses your fuel to create a spark that ignites the air and fuel mixture, producing power. A good understanding of how an engine works is crucial for maintenance and ensuring peak performance.
First, let’s talk about what an engine is:
In the mechanical world, an “engine” is anything that displaces or converts energy into useful work. That could be a car, tractor engine, steam or water mill, or dynamo.
A typical engine has four cylinders and a camshaft or timing system. A camshaft ensures that the intake and exhaust valves are opening and closing at the right time to maximize the combustion process.
There are also several other components to an engine, but they all have the same purpose: to combine fuel and air to produce power. These include the cylinder head, piston, and fuel injectors.
These parts all need to be cleaned and lubricated regularly, just like any other part of your vehicle or machinery. Regular cleaning reduces the risk of fires and helps keep your engine operating efficiently.
Another important maintenance task is to clean the seed cotton, lint, and other debris from your harvester’s engine compartment and other heat sources. This helps to prevent fires and ensures your cotton harvester will operate safely for the season ahead.
Keeping your cotton harvesting equipment in good condition is crucial for peak performance. Several parts of your combine can be put under significant pressure during harvest, so it’s important to check them regularly to ensure they’re working as efficiently as possible.
One of the most common areas of concern for combines during harvest is the header, which can become filled with debris in no time. It’s best to clean it as soon as possible to ensure it continues working effectively.
The header is a vital part of the cotton harvesting process, as it provides critical traction and helps the combine move along the ground. It also helps prevent clogging, which can reduce the machine’s efficiency.
Another important feature of the header is its ability to direct the flow of water into the hopper. This can help prevent the crop from becoming overheated, which could lead to yield loss.
It’s also important to keep the header clean so that it can work efficiently, as debris can slow down the machine and cause it to lose power. A good way to do this is to use a spray cleaner like Valvoline’s Cotton Picker Grease and Spindle Cleaner.
A header is a critical component of the cotton harvesting process, as it can help ensure that the crop remains in good condition throughout the season. It’s also important to ensure it continues to work effectively, as debris can slow down the machine and lead to yield loss.
An efficient harvesting system is essential to ensure you’re producing the highest quality cotton. It’s also important to ensure your equipment is maintained properly, as a few minor repairs can quickly become major issues that can cost you a lot of money.
The row units in your cotton harvester play an important role in delivering your crops to the basket. To help ensure peak performance, it is vital to perform regular maintenance on your cotton harvesting equipment.
First, perform an inspection of the row-unit drive system. Check for wear in the bushings and bolts and also look at any parallel linkage or pivot point adjustment needed.
Another area to examine is the drive shaft lubrication system. Maintain a regular lubrication schedule to prevent premature breakdowns of the drive chain and gears in your row units.
Once you have completed these checks, clean all parts of the row units with a strong cleaner and dry them thoroughly. Then, coat all metal parts with rust preventative.
Then, store your harvester in a safe and secure location. It is recommended that you keep your machine in a well-ventilated and cool place to help extend the life of your harvester.
In addition to checking the lubrication system, it is also essential to check the pressure springs for tension and the fittings on airbags for leaks. These are all areas that are susceptible to wear and tear from being exposed to moisture, heat, and cold temperatures.
A unique feature of the flexible hydraulic system is that it allows the transversely adjustable row units to be moved easily to accommodate a wide variety of combinations of row spacings, making it possible to adjust the row units to fit a wide range of planting conditions. This flexibility of the hydraulic drive eliminates many rigid mechanical components that would otherwise limit space savings and unit placement capabilities in a traditional row unit system.
The cooling package on a cotton harvester is integral to maintaining optimal picking efficiency, crop cleanliness, and quality. The system is a combination of heat exchangers, air-cooled condensers, and a coolant tank. In short, the cooling system keeps the machine cool and reduces fuel consumption.
Mesabi has an extensive line of high-performance coolers that can be configured into an integrated cooling solution based on customer requirements. These systems are engineered to stand up to extreme heat and humidity conditions ranging from mild to severe. The cooling system’s most important component is the coolant tank. The best way to keep the cooler operating at peak performance is to regularly lubricate and clean the tank with a specialized cooling system cleaner.
For this process, a high-tech vacuum removes all the debris from the tank and replaces it with a fresh supply of coolant. Aside from keeping the unit functioning properly, a well-maintained cooling system will also reduce the risk of engine failure due to excessive heat.
Regularly lubricate the unit with a specially formulated coolant cleaner is the best way to keep your cotton harvesting equipment running at peak performance. The coolant cleaner will help prevent rust and corrosion while providing a more consistent supply of coolant for better fuel economy.
In addition to the coolant cleaner, consider replacing the old oil pump with a modern, high-efficiency one. This will increase the life of your engine and will also save you money in the long run by lowering maintenance costs.
The biggest question is: Which coolant cleaner will be the best fit for your equipment? There are many options to choose from, so consult a dealer or an engineer at the manufacturer to find the right product for your application.
The steering linkage is a vital component in controlling the direction of the tractor. It consists of a series of pivots and connecting parts that transfer the movement of the steering gear output shaft to the steering arms that turn the wheels.
The parallelogram steering linkage is popular for stripper-type cotton harvesters because it provides precise steering without wander or pull. However, regular maintenance and service are key to properly functioning the steering linkage, says Rowland George, senior manager of 24/7 Roadside Assistance at Penske Truck Leasing.
To maintain the steer system for peak performance, it is essential to regularly inspect and lubricate drag links, tie rod ends, and wheel bearings. These components can easily wear out and develop excessive play if not inspected and maintained on a regular basis.
In addition, it is important to check and verify the sector shaft end play. This will allow for a consistent toe setting.
If the sector shaft is not in perfect alignment, this will cause a lot of toe movement and can lead to poor handling of the vehicle. The toe setting affects the overall vehicle handling, tire wear, and fuel economy.
Ideally, the sector shaft should be in perfect alignment to prevent any tangential movement of the input shaft and pitman arm. To do this, you can jack up the passenger side of the tractor and grasp it at 9 and 3 o’clock positions on the steering gear.
When the operator turns the steering wheel to drive the harvester onto a row, hydraulic fluid flow is directed from a main valve 42 through lines 46 and 48 to the steering actuator 32. In tandem with this, an interrupter 64 blocks hydraulic fluid flow from the auxiliary line 52 to the secondary valve 54 when sensor-responsive self-steering is in operation. This prevents unauthorized override of the guidance control system and substantially eliminates the risk of accidentally steering off a plant row by the operator.