Browse Prior Art Database

Floating Ferrule Technology for Cable Connectivity

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000111847D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-26
Document File: 2 page(s) / 89K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Dixon, EL: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Disclosed is a concept that eliminates the need for high precision, plastic alignment guides in fiber-optic connectors and couplers. With this technology, fiber-optic ferrules are allowed to "float", thus freeing the precision alignment components from dependency on precise molding of outer plastic housings.

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Floating Ferrule Technology for Cable Connectivity

      Disclosed is a concept that eliminates the need for high
precision, plastic alignment guides in fiber-optic connectors and
couplers.  With this technology, fiber-optic ferrules are allowed to
"float", thus freeing the precision alignment components from
dependency on precise molding of outer plastic housings.

      The difficulty of manufacturing a reliable, high density
fiber-optic connector/splice lies in aligning each and every fiber
interface accurately and consistently.  This difficulty arises from
the high tolerances required in ferrules, sleeves, glass coatings,
and alignment guides in fiber-optic components such as connectors,
splices, couplers, and adapters.  Of all of the parts in a
fiber-optic component, the most difficult part to manufacture with
precision tolerances is the plastic-molded alignment guides.

      Although there are many techniques other than plastic molding
that will accomplish a precise "exterior" alignment of a fiber-optic
connector and "interior" of an adapter/coupler, plastic molding is a
very cost-effective method.  Plastic molding is an inexpensive
manufacturing technique that allows the connector (or
adapter/coupler) housing and alignment guides to be molded in one
piece.  This is done by molding guides into the outer (inner for
adapters/couplers) profiles of the connector housing piece or pieces.
Since alignment guides are molded into these housings, the
inaccuracies of plastic molding are evident in the alignment guides.
These inaccuracies prevent the high tolerance mechanisms in fiber
connectivity devices (ceramic ferrules and sleeves) from functioning
properly in high density connectors.

      Floating ferrule technology eliminates the need for high
precision, plastic alignment guides.  Ferrules are allowed to move to
position themselves individually to optimally center for maximum
alignment with minimum stress.  The unique feature of this connection
technique is its float/non-...