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Glass fibre cables can be assembled on site
Published:  25 February, 2009

Siemens has developed a system for assembling glass-based fibre optic cables (FOCs) rapidly on site, to provide transmission distances of up to 3km. The system is suitable for fibres carrying signals such as Industrial Ethernet and Profibus.

Previously, glass fibre optic cables have only been able to be assembled in the field using awkward gluing or splicing techniques. Unlike plastic FOCs – which are relatively easy to assemble, but only suitable for transmission distances of up to 100m – there has been no adequate method for the on-site assembly of glass FOCs that could carry signals for several kilometres.

Siemens says that its FastConnect FOC system overcomes this limitation. It consists of a “termination kit”, couplings that can be assembled in the field, connectors, and special fibre optic cables incorporating a central 62.5µm light-transmitting core. Surrounding layers stabilise the core so that even untrained workers can assemble glass FOCs in the field.

The glass FOCs can be adapted to the application’s requirements. Ordering cables of the wrong length, and producing badly assembled FOC connectors are now things of the past, according to Siemens. The termination kit also contains stripping tools and a microscope, so that the user can check the quality of the joints, for example to detect any chips in the fibre cross-section.

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