How cotton productivity was returned to plant with tramper solution

Waiting for an intermittent fault to shut down a vital piece of production equipment is not everyone’s idea of an exciting Saturday afternoon – but that was the scenario for two Motion specialist hydraulics technicians as they waited for a tramper to run to fault at the Australian Food and Fibre (AFF) cotton processing plant in Hay, New South Wales.

Cotton processing is a time critical operation. When downtime-free productivity is vital and a fault stops production, getting specialists to site and having the right people to quickly analyse the problem, devise a solution and get the plant back online is paramount.

During the six-month processing window, the Australian Food and Fibre cotton processing plant at Hay in southern NSW runs 24/7 to maximise productivity. Output is targeted at 900 bales of processed cotton per day. This is an achievable target but downtime is not an option.

The tramper is essentially the last stop on the production line. Used to compress the lint (cleaned) cotton into the baling chamber of a press box – to reduce the volume of the press box required – it is powered with a servo-controlled vertically oriented hydraulic cylinder.

In operation, lint cotton is pushed into the baling chamber by a second hydraulic cylinder in the tramper circuit. The tramper descends, compresses the lint cotton and returns to its rest position ready to compress the next bundle of lint cotton pushed into the chamber.  On average, around seven compression charges are required to generate a 227kg bale ready for despatch – the acknowledged industry standard in Australia.

But when the tamper is impacted by an intermittent fault and does not descend as planned, productivity stops.

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