Fibre optic technicians regularly use fusion splicers to melt and fuse the end-face of an optical fibre with another. The objective of fusion splicing is to join two glass fibres permanently to facilitate continual optical communication without any signal loss. Fusion splicers are indispensable when it comes to installing aerial cables, underwater cables, underground cables and direct-buried fibre optic cables.
The availability of a sheer variety of fusion splicers can make the task of picking the suitable device quite challenging and difficult. In this post, we share tips on choosing the appropriate fusion splicer based on your needs.
Fusion Splicer: How does it Work?
Before splicing the optical fibres, you’ll have to take them out from their sheathing and remove the resinous coating. Thereafter the fibres have to be cleaned and sliced carefully so that they have perfect flat end-faces. Next, every fibre will have to be positioned inside a receptacle in the splicer.
Now the fusion splicer is all set to carry out its basic functions.
Initially, the splicer makes small adjustments to properly arrange the fibres. Correct alignment is essential before the final splicing. This ensures seamless optical communication. Even the slightest speck of dirt could hamper the splice’s effectiveness to transmit signals.
Although the fibre optic technicians thoroughly clean the fibres before placing them in the splicer’s holder, the device cleans them again. Once the fibres have been thoroughly cleaned and correctly aligned, the splicer gives off a spark that causes the end faces of fibres to melt.
However, the splicing is done very meticulously in order to prevent the fusing of the fibres’ glass core and cladding.
Preventing the merging of the fibres’ cladding with the glass core is essential for minimising (optical) signal loss. The thawed fibre ends are thereafter fused together, creating the ultimate fusion splice.
Choosing a Fusion Splicer Based on Alignment System
It is extremely crucial for fibre optic specialists to choose the appropriate fusion splicer. The fusion splicing welding machines are integrated with a battery of microprocessors, motors, and internal processors. These built-in components coordinate with each other for accurate alignment of optical fibres.
Improper alignment would inevitably lead to data transmission loss from the fusion splice points or joints. So as to enable the smooth and uninterrupted data flow via the bundle of optical fibres, it is essential for the technicians to choose the right welding machine. Basically, there are two types of fusion splicers – core alignment fusion splicers and cladding alignment fusion splicers.
The distinct manner in which both fusion splicer types align fibres is what distinguishes one kind from the other.
Cladding Alignment Fusion Splicer
A cladding alignment fusion splicer, also referred to as a fixed-groove splicer, uses cladding (a covering or coating of material) to arrange the fibres for splicing. The fibres are lined up physically depending upon the fibres’ cladding external diameter. The core of the fibres are arranged in an inwardly and outwardly fashion.
Ribbon and field fusion splicers continue to exploit this splicing technology as it is very cost-effective and the arrangement and splicing is done quickly.
Core Alignment Fusion Splicer
Core alignment splicers are most extensively used by fibre optic technicians. These fusion splicers are heavily used in the optical components production industry, in CATV installations, and infrastructural networks. A core alignment fusion splicer takes advantage of light and image detection mechanisms which enables the device to inspect the core of fibres.
The light and image detection systems help in accurate alignment of fibres, causing splice loss of just 0.02dB.