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HOW TO CHOOSE AN OPTICAL FIBER FUSION SPLICER (WELDING MACHINE, OR SPLICING MACHINE)

 

HOW TO CHOOSE AN OPTICAL FIBER FUSION SPLICER (WELDING MACHINE, OR SPLICING MACHINE)

Introduction

Since optical fiber launched for business application in mid 1980s, it’s about 30 years now. People totally realize its benefits and it is widely used worldwide. However, it is a challenge for the engineer to choose an effective fusion splicer. Even through, most of engineers have been working in the fiber optic industry in many years and know what fusion splicer is and its applications. 

Nowadays, there are so many fiber optic fusion splicer manufacturer and OEM service in the market, and this still make us confuse to choose the best fusion splicer provider. Here we will discuss about how to find the best fusion splicer for your application in the following aspects:

1. Core Alignment Fusion Splicer
2. Cladding Alignment Fusion Splicer
3. FAQ for choosing fusion splicer
4. Tips for getting better fusion splicing result

 

What is Fusion Splicer?

 

The fusion splicer is a machine that’s used for joining two optical fibers end-to-end by fusion (sometimes we say, welding or heating). The goal is to fuse the two fibers together in such a way that light passing through the fibers without scatter or reflection back by the splice, and so that the splice and the region surrounding it are almost as strong as the virgin fiber itself. The source of heat is often an electric arc, but can also be a laser, or a gas flame, or a tungsten filament through which current is passed. A good automatic fusion splicing machine (welding machine), which can work automatically and with more permanent connection compared with mechanical splice, with low-loss, high-strength joint. It is an indispensable tools for fiber OSP and indoor cable network installation. Currently, there are two aligning system used for fusion splicer which is Core Alignment System and Cladding Alignment System.

 

1. Core Alignment Fusion Splicer

 

Some fusion splicer supplier (from Japan, Korea or China) also remark their fusion splicer with PAS (Profile Alignment System) for excellent fusion splicing performance. Actually, it is Core Alignment System. Active core alignment fusion splicing, is currently the most commonly used fusion splicing technology. It is more expensive, more powerful and flexible, and less sensitive to variations in the cable and environment because of its complex technology. Core alignment splicers use a combination of image and light detection systems that ‘view’ the optical fiber cores to measure and monitor core position during the alignment process. Fiber cores are placed in V-grooves and are adjusted horizontally (X-axis), vertically (Y-axis) and in/out (Z-axis) to allow core-to-core alignment. The ability to control core location on fiber results improves splice performance, as the splicer can compensate against influences such as fiber offset due to pollution or core-cladding concentricity mismatches.

core-alignment-fusion-splicer

The fusion splicer uses various methods to see the fiber cores. It uses the input to have precisely controlled motors (some with 4 motors, some splicer with 6 motors for more accurate adjustment) move the fibres along their X-axis (horizontal), Y-axis (vertical) and Z-axis (in and out) axes until they are adjusted The PAS System “sees” the core by detecting the refraction of light caused at the core-cladding interface. Images are showed in two orthogonal planes so that the core can be located precisely. The fusion splicer uses a V-groove to hold the optical fibers in place and moves the V-groove along the X, Y axis until the cores are aligned in both views.

 

2. Cladding Alignment Fusion Splicer

 

Cladding alignment also named as Passive Alignment or Fixed V-groove type. It is a passive alignment that relies on the accurate pre-alignment of fiber V-grooves that grip the outer surface or cladding of the fiber. Fiber cores are adjusted inwards and outwards. The advantage of this method is that the technology required is low cost and fast alignment and splicing, so it is still utilized on low-cost fusion splicers and ribbon splicers. Fiber position, core-cladding eccentricity and mode field diameter (MFD) influence the performance of cladding alignment and subsequent splicer. Fiber position can be influenced by contamination on the fiber or V-grooves. While the operator controls this parameter, core-cladding eccentricity and MFD are fiber manufacturer parameters, and typically come into consideration when splicing new to old fibers and also dissimilar fibers such as single mode G652.D to G657.A.

fusion-splicer-cladding-alignment

The fibers placed in a fixed V-groove that relies on the concentricity of the outside of the glass to align them in along the X and Y axis. Z alignment is done by the splicer or the user (in manual machines). Typically, this is referred to a fixed V-groove.

 

The only motion of the fibers is along the Z axis as the splicer brings the fibers together. This process relies heavily on precisely-shaped V-grooves and very clean fiber. Chipped V-grooves or dirty fibers can affect the X or Y alignment to the point that the splicer cannot perform a good splice on them. Passive alignment relies on the core being central within the fiber. If the core is offset, optical losses will be higher – this is particularly true with single mode where the cores are very small and a very small offset can lead to high losses.

 

3. FAQ for choosing fusion splicer

 

Q: List of Fiber optic fusion splicer brand in the market?
A: Japan: SUMITOMO, FUJIKURA, FITEL (FURUKAWA); Korea: INNO, Ilsintech; China: CETC 41, JILONG, DVP…

 

Q: Which brand enjoy world reputation?
A: SUMITOMO and FUJIKURA is the best over the world with high price.

 

Q: How about the price level for fusion splicer?
A: Japan Fusion Splicer: Over $7000; Korean Fusion Splicer: Over $5000; China Fusion Splicer: Over $3000

 

Q: How many types of optical fiber fusion splicer?
A: single core fiber fusion splicer, ribbon fiber fusion splicer, special fiber fusion splicer

 

Q: What is different type of fusion splicer?
A: The principle of fusion splicer is same, single core optical fiber welding machine can fuse a single core each time; ribbon fiber fusion splicer used for welding ribbon fiber, also able to splice 2/4/6/8/12 cores once.

 

Q: Which type fusion splicer welding speed is most fast?
A: New Sumitomo TYPE-81C welding speed is the most fast.

 

4. Tips for getting better fusion splicing performance

 

4.1. When working with optical fiber, keep in mind that particles not visible to the naked eye could cause critical problems when working with fiber optics. Cleaning of your optical fibers and tools will save you time and money down the road.

 

4.2. Properly maintain and operate your fiber cleaver. The fiber cleaver is your most valuable tool in optical fiber splicing. A good fiber cleaver could perform a good cleave to the fiber core, which will increase the alignment speed for the fusion splicer and have a good fusion quality, which is low loss for the fiber

 

4.3. Fusion parameters must be adjusted minimally and methodically (fusion splicing only). If you start changing the fusion parameters on the splicer as soon as there is a hint of a problem you might lose your desired setting. Cleaning equipment should be done first and continue with the parameters. Fusion time and fusion current are the two key factors for splicing. Different variables of these two factors can produce the same splice results. Low time and high current result in the same outcome as low current and high time. Make sure to change one variable at one time and keep checking until you have found the right fusion parameters for your fiber type.

 

Summary 

 

In this note, we offer some useful ideas for choosing an optical fiber fusion splicer. The best practice extends further than having the right piece of equipment. Maintain a clean and contamination-free work area by regularly cleaning camera lenses, mirror, stripping tools, cleaver blades and pads, V-grooves and splicer travel case. Note safety precautions such as disposing of fiber cut-off in sharps containers. Regular operator maintenance of equipment is also vital – this includes arc calibration, electrode stabilization and battery cycling, as well as monitoring cleaver performance and adjusting cleaver blade position when required. Using manufacturer’s original consumables such as electrodes and cleaver blades will enhance your equipment’s performance. Using endorsed services centers ensures access to manufacturer trained and certified technicians, and manufacturer original parts and firmware.

 


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