Recently i watched my coworker disassembling a 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 is definitely more than one tool out there that would have made the task easier! This case is unquestionably one that many fiber optic installers know all too well. As a gentle reminder, how many of you have used your Splicer’s Tool Kit (cable knife/scissors) to eliminate jacketing or even slit a buffer tube and then use the scissors to hack away at the Kevlar? Did you nick the glass? Did you accidentally cut through the glass and need to start over?
Correctly splicing and terminating FTTH cable production line requires special tools and techniques. Training is essential and there are many excellent causes of training available. Do not mix your electrical tools together with your fiber tools. Make use of the right tool for the task! Being experienced in fiber work will become increasingly necessary as the significance of data transmission speeds, fiber to the home and fiber to the premise deployments still increase.
Many factors set fiber installations apart from traditional electrical projects. Fiber optic glass is extremely fragile; it’s nominal outside diameter is 125um. The least scratch, mark or even speck of dirt will change the transmission of light, degrading the signal. Safety is important simply because you work with glass that will sliver into your skin without having to be seen from the eye.
Transmission grade lasers are incredibly dangerous, and require that protective eyewear is a must. This industry has primarily been working with voice and data grade circuits which could tolerate some interruption or decelerate of signal. The person speaking would repeat themselves, or perhaps the data would retransmit. Today we are dealing with IPTV signals and customers who will not tolerate pixelization, or momentary locking from the picture. Each of the situations mentioned are cause of the client to search for another carrier. Each situation might have been avoided if proper attention was presented to the techniques used when preparing, installing, and maintaining optical fiber proof-testing machine.
Having said that, why don’t we review basic fiber preparation? Jacket Strippers are utilized 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 beneath the jacket and Buffer Strippers will remove the acrylate (buffer) coating through the bare glass. A protective plastic coating is used towards the bare fiber following the drawing process, but prior to spooling. The most common coating is a UV-cured acrylate, that is applied in 2 layers, resulting in a nominal outside diameter of 250um for that coated fiber. The coating is very engineered, providing protection against physical damage due to environmental elements, including temperature and humidity extremes, being exposed to chemicals, point of stress… etc. as well as minimizing optical loss.
Without one, the manufacturer would struggle to spool the fiber without breaking it. The 250um-coated fiber will be the foundation for most common fiber optic cable constructions. It is usually used as is, particularly when additional mechanical or environmental protection is not needed, like within optical devices or splice closures. For additional physical protection and easy handling, a secondary coating of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or Hytrel (a thermoplastic elastomer that has desirable characteristics to use as a secondary buffer) is extruded on the 250um-coated fiber, improving the outside diameter up to 900um. This sort of construction is referred to as ‘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 as intra-building, risers, general building and plenum applications.
A ‘Rotary Tool’ or ‘Cable Slitter’ may be used to slit a ring around and through the outer jacketing of ‘loose tube fiber’. As soon as you expose the durable inner buffer tube, you can use a ‘Universal Fiber Access Tool’ which is designed for single central buffer tube entry. Used on the same principle as the Mid Span Access Tool, (which 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 even a lqzgij can help the installer to gain access to the fiber needing testing or repair.
After the damaged fiber is exposed a hand- stripping tool will be utilized to take away the 250um coating in order to work together with the bare fiber. The next step is going to be cleaning the Fiber drawing machine and preparing that it is cleaved. A good cleave is one of the most significant factors of producing a low loss on a splice or perhaps a termination. A Fiber Optic Cleaver is actually a multipurpose tool that measures distance from your end of the buffer coating to the point where it will likely be joined and it precisely cuts the glass. Remember to employ a fiber trash-can for the scraps of glass cleaved from the fiber cable.