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Mechanism for Continuous Stripping of Optical Fiber

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000103939D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-18
Document File: 2 page(s) / 82K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Hall, SA: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Stripping the acrylic buffer from optical fiber is commonly done in many ways, including chemically, mechanically, and thermally. Typically, these existing techniques are suitable for stripping at most a few inches of buffer at the fiber's end since this is all that is needed for attachment to standard connectors. However, for some applications it is necessary to strip long lengths of fiber in a continuous fashion. To solve this problem, the mechanism shown in the figure is disclosed herein.

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Mechanism for Continuous Stripping of Optical Fiber

      Stripping the acrylic buffer from optical fiber is commonly
done in many ways, including chemically, mechanically, and thermally.
Typically, these existing techniques are suitable for stripping at
most a few inches of buffer at the fiber's end since this is all that
is needed for attachment to standard connectors.  However, for some
applications it is necessary to strip long lengths of fiber in a
continuous fashion.  To solve this problem, the mechanism shown in
the figure is disclosed herein.

      Fiber is fed from a feed reel, as shown, into a cylindrical
stripping chamber through an input ferrule.  Stripped fiber emerges
from the stripping chamber through an output ferrule, and is wound
onto a take-up reel.  Both reels are motor driven, at the same
angular velocity, and the tension produced in the fiber by rotation
of the take-up reel causes the fiber to advance through the stripping
chamber.

      As shown in the figure, the stripping chamber is a thick-walled
aluminum (or preferably stainless steel) cylinder, roughly 5 inches
in diameter and 10 inches long, with welded end caps.  The top of the
cylinder is cutaway parallel to the axis to lend access to the
stripping chamber, wherein the acrylic buffer is removed by a
combination of chemical and mechanical means.  The chamber is filled,
to a level slightly higher than that traversed by the fiber, with a
bath of methylene chloride, a chemical which softens and shrivels
(but does not dissolve) the acrylic.  The exterior of the stripping
chamber is partially immersed in the water bath of a heated
ultrasonic cleaner, which communicates vibration and heat to the
methylene chloride.  The heat causes the methylene chloride to boil,
which greatly enhances it's ability to attack the acrylic, while the
ultrasonic vibration assists in mechanical removal of the acrylic's
shriveled remains.  Mechanical removal occurs three ways:  first and
foremost, by a pair of single-edged razor blades, situate...