I recently watched my coworker disassembling a personal computer only using 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 situation is unquestionably 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 get rid of 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 need to start over?
Correctly splicing and terminating Fiber drawing machine requires special tools and techniques. Training is essential and there are lots of excellent sources of training available. Tend not to mix your electrical tools together with your fiber tools. Use the right tool for the task! Being experienced in fiber work will end up increasingly necessary as the importance of data transmission speeds, fiber for the home and fiber for the premise deployments carry on and increase.
Many factors set fiber installations aside from traditional electrical projects. Fiber optic glass is extremely fragile; it’s nominal outside diameter is 125um. The least scratch, mark as well as speck of dirt will affect the transmission of light, degrading the signal. Safety factors are important simply because you will work with glass that may sliver to your skin without being seen by the human eye.
Transmission grade lasers are very dangerous, and require that protective eyewear is essential. This industry has primarily been coping with voice and data grade circuits which could tolerate some interruption or decrease of signal. The person speaking would repeat themselves, or even the data would retransmit. Today our company is dealing with IPTV signals and customers that will not tolerate pixelization, or momentary locking in the picture. Each of the situations mentioned are reason for the consumer to look for another carrier. Each situation could have been avoided if proper attention was provided to the methods used in planning, installing, and looking after SZ stranding line.
With that in mind, 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 eliminate the acrylate (buffer) coating from your bare glass. A protective plastic coating is used for the bare fiber right after the drawing process, but just before spooling. The most frequent 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 extremely engineered, providing protection against physical damage due to environmental elements, such as temperature and humidity extremes, exposure to chemicals, reason for stress… etc. while also minimizing optical loss.
Without it, the maker would be unable to spool the fiber without breaking it. The 250um-coated fiber is definitely the building block for a lot of common fiber optic cable constructions. It is often used as it is, particularly when additional mechanical or environmental protection is not needed, such as on the inside of optical devices or splice closures. For further physical protection and ease of handling, a secondary coating of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or Hytrel (a thermoplastic elastomer that has desirable characteristics to be used as being a secondary buffer) is extruded over the 250um-coated fiber, enhancing the outside diameter approximately 900um. This type of construction is referred to as ‘tight buffered fiber’. Tight Buffered might be single or multi fiber and they are observed in Premise Networks and indoor applications. Multi-fiber, tight-buffered cables often are used for intra-building, risers, general building and plenum applications.
A ‘Rotary Tool’ or ‘Cable Slitter’ can 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, you can use a ‘Universal Fiber Access Tool’ which is made for single central buffer tube entry. Used on the same principle because the Mid Span Access Tool, (that enables access to the multicolored buffer coated tight buffered fibers) dual blades will slit the tube lengthwise, exposing the buffer coated fibers. Fiber handling tools such as a spatula or even a lqzgij can help the installer to gain access to the fiber looking for testing or repair.
Once the damaged fiber is exposed a hand- stripping tool will be used to eliminate the 250um coating so that you can work with the bare fiber. The next thing will be washing the optical fiber proof-testing machine and preparing so that it is cleaved. A good cleave is one of the most significant factors of producing a low loss on a splice or even a termination. A Fiber Optic Cleaver is a multipurpose tool that measures distance from your end in the buffer coating to the point where it will likely be joined and it also precisely cuts the glass. Always remember to utilize a fiber trash-can for the scraps of glass cleaved off the fiber cable.