I recently watched my coworker disassembling a personal computer using only one tool. Was it the right tool for the job? Yes and no. It was the tool he had… it worked, however, there exists definitely more than one tool out there that could have made the task easier! This case is certainly one that many fiber optic installers know all too well. As a gentle reminder, what percentage of you have used your Splicer’s Tool Kit (cable knife/scissors) to remove jacketing or even slit a buffer tube and then make use of the scissors to hack away at the Kevlar? Did you nick the glass? Did you accidentally cut through the glass and have to start over?
Correctly splicing and terminating FTTH cable production line requires special tools and methods. Training is essential and there are lots of excellent sources of training available. Do not mix your electrical tools together with your fiber tools. Make use of the right tool for the job! Being experienced in fiber work can become increasingly necessary as the value of data transmission speeds, fiber to the home and fiber for the premise deployments continue to increase.
Many factors set fiber installations besides traditional electrical projects. Fiber optic glass is very fragile; it’s nominal outside diameter is 125um. The least scratch, mark or perhaps speck of dirt will change the transmission of light, degrading the signal. Safety factors important since you work with glass that may sliver into your skin without being seen through the human eye.
Transmission grade lasers are very dangerous, and require that protective eyewear is a must. This industry has primarily been coping with voice and data grade circuits that may tolerate some interruption or slow down of signal. The individual speaking would repeat themselves, or the data would retransmit. Today we are working with IPTV signals and customers who can not tolerate pixelization, or momentary locking in the picture. Each of the situations mentioned are reason for the client to find another carrier. Each situation might have been avoided if proper attention was given to the techniques used while preparing, installing, and maintaining FTTH cable production line.
Having said that, why don’t we review basic fiber preparation? Jacket Strippers are used to remove the 1.6 – 3.0mm PVC outer jacket on simplex and duplex fiber cables. Serrated Kevlar Cutters will cut and trim the kevlar strength member directly under the jacket and Buffer Strippers will take away the acrylate (buffer) coating from the bare glass. A protective plastic coating is used for the bare fiber after the drawing process, but before spooling. The most common coating is really a UV-cured acrylate, that is applied in two layers, resulting in a nominal outside diameter of 250um for the coated fiber. The coating is extremely engineered, providing protection against physical damage brought on by environmental elements, such as temperature and humidity extremes, being exposed to chemicals, point of stress… etc. while minimizing optical loss.
Without this, the manufacturer would not be able to spool the fiber without breaking it. The 250um-coated fiber will be the foundation for a lot of common fiber optic cable constructions. It is often used as is, particularly when additional mechanical or environmental protection is not required, such as on the inside of optical devices or splice closures. For further physical protection and easy handling, a secondary coating of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or Hytrel (a thermoplastic elastomer which includes desirable characteristics to be used being a secondary buffer) is extruded over the 250um-coated fiber, increasing the outside diameter approximately 900um. This kind of construction is called ‘tight buffered fiber’. Tight Buffered could be single or multi fiber and they are seen in Premise Networks and indoor applications. Multi-fiber, tight-buffered cables often can be used for intra-building, risers, general building and plenum applications.
A ‘Rotary Tool’ or ‘Cable Slitter’ could be used to slit a ring around and thru the outer jacketing of ‘loose tube fiber’. As soon as you expose the durable inner buffer tube, use a ‘Universal Fiber Access Tool’ which is perfect for single central buffer tube entry. Used on the same principle since the Mid Span Access Tool, (that allows accessibility multicolored buffer coated tight buffered fibers) dual blades will slit the tube lengthwise, exposing the buffer coated fibers. Fiber handling tools for instance a spatula or a lqzgij will help the installer to get into the fiber in need of testing or repair.
After the damaged fiber is exposed a hand- stripping tool will be employed to take away the 250um coating to be able to assist the bare fiber. The next step is going to be washing the Secondary coating line and preparing so that it is cleaved. A great cleave is among the most significant factors of producing a low loss on a splice or a termination. A Fiber Optic Cleaver is actually a multipurpose tool that measures distance from the end in the buffer coating to the stage where it will be joined plus it precisely cuts the glass. Always remember to employ a fiber trash-can for the scraps of glass cleaved off the fiber cable.