Ginning season is usually a four month mad blur of cotton strippers, module trucks, and weigh scales. Gins often run 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the time the first bale goes through the place usually sometime in October, until every field is stripped, sometimes lasting all the way through January. But what keeps things running smoothly according to Steve Moffett of Lubbock Electric is when all of the electric components inside the gin are working full throttle.
"Lubbock Electric was founded in 1944 by Mr. Paul Bush and in those days about the only industry out here that had electric motors was the cotton gin business, so we put our whole product mix together based around what cotton gins need," Moffett said.
And cotton gins certainly do have a need for electronics, with innovations in technology saving the gins time and labor.
"Every cotton gin is completely packed full of electric motors, big switch gear, electrical controls of all sorts, so that's kind of how we got our start," Moffett said. "There's been so many new developments in electronics and in the control systems, and everything now is touch screens and programmable controls, computer data acquisition, and we've tried to be what I say on the bleeding edge of technology for all of those products, trying to bring innovation to the cotton gins that we see in other industries."
Moffett said that Lubbock Electric has been featuring their electronic systems at the Texas Cotton Ginners Show since its beginning. One of their feature software packages this year keeps numbers and data entry straighter than ever.
"When the Texas Cotton Ginners started having their annual meeting, Lubbock Electric became one of the very first exhibitors to display in it, and we've been in it continuously since that time," Moffett said. "Not only does it save labor, but the data is accurate and it's never lost and always backed up."
Another feature item is the touch screen scale operator which accumulates accurate weights each time the seed is separated from the fiber.
"This is a Batchwing automatic seed scale," Moffett said. "We've been building these since 1959, however we didn't have the electronics till the late nineties really. And so this actually works in conjunction with some other products that we have, but you can see that what this is doing. It's a little replica of our scale, each time it dumps, it adds the weight in here. We've got legal for trade electronics on it that would accurately weigh. People don't realize that there's probably two and a half times as much seed in a bale of cotton as there is lent."
Moffett said that the off season is a great opportunity for gins to make changes and improvements to their operation before the fall rush begins again. But if you don't quite know where to start, he would be happy to tell you all about some options while you enjoy a salty treat.
"We have been making popcorn and giving it away freely which we also set it up during gin season every year, and that's kind of one of our trademarks," Moffett said. "I started at Lubbock Electric in 1973 when I was in the fourth grade, and we were making popcorn back then and still are."
A special thank you again to Lubbock Electric for all of the great cotton gin information, and of course that delicious bag of popcorn.