Why do you need to use fusion splice protective sleeves?
Before we begin to explore this problem, let us briefly understand what is the splice machine. If you are in the optical fiber world, you will know what is the splice machine and probably have used or will use one. A fusion splice is a machine that melds or welds two different glass fiber cables together through electric current, also called arc. Most of the splicing machines have an additional shrink furnace, and the protective sleeve is put into it to complete the process. Some welding machines do not have additional shrinkage furnace, and the application needs an external independent shrinkage furnace. As mentioned earlier, optical fiber cables are made of glass and glass, especially the finer fibers, which are crisp and easy to break. When this glass fusion is completed, this is our friend, where the protective sleeve is involved.
You may ask, what is a fusion protective sleeve? Well, that's a good question! The fusion protective sleeve is used to protect two separate optical cables from being welded into one splice joint. The protective sleeve is made up of three parts: the shrinkable tube made of heat shrinkable plastic, the inner pipe or fiber tube for placing the optical fiber, and the reinforced parts made of stainless steel or ceramics, which will be introduced later. When heated from the melting furnace or external furnace, the protective sleeve ensures that the optical fiber is protected in a consistent and reliable manner. Have you ever broken your arm or bone, or you know a fallen person? When this happens, the damaged area will be coerced. The casting can be understood as a protective sleeve, and the broken area is optical fiber cable.
The weld protection bushing can be basically divided into two types: single joint protective sleeve and ribbon joint protective sleeve. The most common length is 40 millimeters or 60 millimeters, usually made of transparent outer tubes, so you can check the optical fiber in the casing for regular inspection and / or maintenance of internal cables. The single joint protection bushing is like this, a casing that can hold a single fusion optical fiber. The ribbon joint bushing can provide multiple optical fiber connectors with 2-12 optical fibers in the casing content. As mentioned above, the protective sleeve will have stainless steel or ceramic reinforcement, and run through the entire length on the side of the protective sleeve, and there are two distinct types of reinforcement. Optical cables use light to transmit data, while light and glass do not conduct electricity. If the contractor uses fiber-optic cables in application, there is no need to worry about using protective sleeves containing stainless steel reinforcement. On the other hand, if the optical fiber application is near or near any copper / conductive material, the contractor may consider using a joint bushing containing ceramic reinforcement to allow copper cables or conductive materials and strength members.
Before splicing sleeves and cables, splice sleeves should be inspected before installation. This is done to ensure that the casing is not deformed, and that both the inside and outside of the bushing are clean. The inspection and cleaning process is very important in any optical fiber application, from the end of the cleaning connector to ensuring that your device does not have any contaminants. Unclean optical fiber accessories and equipment are the main reasons leading to the attenuation of optical cable. Attenuation is the measurable loss of the signal strength along the cable, in decibel. It is a good practice to check the inside of the bushing to ensure that it does not pollute and clean the optical fiber before installing the casing, because the lightest contaminants may and may cause attenuation. If you do not use your sleeves, you should store them in a clean plastic zipper bag for protection during storage.
In addition to the importance of cleanliness, other factors need to be considered before installing the joint bushing. As mentioned above, use protective sleeve when welding. There are many different settings for your splicing machine, which can be selected when welding, and may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Fiber tension is a setting that may need to be adjusted in this process. When the protective sleeve is put into the shrinkage furnace, improper fiber tension will lead to improper or uneven shrinkage. It is necessary to maintain proper tension on the cable and do not distort the optical fiber when putting in and taking out the oven.
Another factor to consider in this process is actually the type of cable you use for splicing. Some cables contain jelly like gelatin, which is contained in the inner sheath of optical fibers. It is necessary to use special degreasing dishcloth to remove this gel from the cable to ensure that the application of the connecting sleeve properly fits and completes. It is another good practice to remove the joint bushing from the heating furnace, because the heat setting may be too high to cause the casing itself to split, or the heat may be too low, resulting in improper casing shrinkage. If any of them is observed, you may need to adjust the heating settings of the oven itself.
Once all these installation practices are satisfied, the protective sleeve and the connected cables are usually placed in the joint tray. The weld plate is a tray or container to prevent damage or dislocation of the fused fiber after welding. If the cable and protective sleeve are placed in the joint tray, the reinforcement of the protective sleeve should be lowered. When the protective sleeve is located in the joint tray, you should not see the reinforcement.
As small as the fusion protective sleeve, it is of great importance in the field of optical fiber fusion. When all these practices are met, you will succeed when you decide to try to weld, and add additional protection of the weld protection bushing to your optical cable installation library.