Device for Managing Optical Fibers
Publication Date: 2003-Oct-07
The IP.com Prior Art Database
The increased use of optical fibers in the infrastructure of telecommunication switching stations has resulted in the use of fiber optic devices in areas that were previously dominated by electrical devices. Optical fibers, unlike electrical conductors, require control of the fiber's bend radius. Disclosed herein is a device for use in managing a plurality of optical fibers. The device has a plurality of components that interlock to form a fiber management assembly. In particular, the device contains an assortment of stock parts that can be snapped together to form the fiber management assembly that insures the proper bend radius control of the optical fibers being routed. The illustrations depicted below show a multitude of basic building block shapes arranged and joined to form a fiber optic routing device. Referring now to Figure 1, device 1 contains straight duct section 2, corner section 4 (generally a 90-degree corner), fiber accumulation component 6 and corresponding cover devices 3, 5, and 7. The cover devices contain retention tab 10 at each distal end. During assembly, the retention tabs are trapped under cover devices to provide the required cover retention. The sidewalls of the duct section are provided with scored features at the base to allow individual wall segments 15 to be easily removed during the assembly of device 1. The removal of the individual wall segments can be accomplished by using a tool to grab the segments and to break the segments off at score line 14 or the segments can be removed by nipping it at its base with a cutting tool. Additionally, breakout support 9 is shown breaking out of the side of the duct section. The breakout support is depicted as a 90-degree elbow with a snap attachment feature 12 formed at one distal end. The snap engagement feature is formed to engage the vertical wall segment generally at location 11. In this embodiment, all of the attachments of the components use a common snap attachment technique. Other methods of attachment can be used. Examples of these other methods include but are not limited to tapes, adhesives, solvent bonding, sonic welding, thermo-bonding, and mechanical fasteners. Figure 2 is a detailed view of Figure 1 where individual wall segments 15 are further shown with cover attachment grooves 13 and score lines 14. Also illustrated in Figure 2 is cover 3, which has been provided with cutouts that run transverse to the long axis of the cover. The cutouts provide flexibility in the .z-plane, i.e., the plane that is associated with the height of the components. Figure 3 is a detailed view of Figure 1 showing the snap attachment features in greater detail. In some applications, it may be beneficial to take advantage of the flexibility in the .z-plane such as, e.g., when optical fibers re required to be routed from one level to another. In this case, the covered duct can be flexed at will and held in position by an external support member that may or may not be attached to the duct. Figure 1 depicts the most basic device. Numerous variations of the can be made. Straight duct section 2 can be formed using various profiles to accommodate additional features. In many instances it may not be necessary to provide straight duct section or its respective cover with transverse cutouts for flexibility. Corner section 4 can of any desired angle as long as the bend radius of the corner section is maintained above a the minimum bend radius of the optical fiber to be routed. Breakout section 9 can be provided with long tails incorporating fiber or connector retention features. The breakout section can be a die or laser cut element that can be customized to a specific application. Items and features not illustrated in Figures 1, 2, and 3 include mounting holes formed in the bottom surface of the of the individual components or clips that attach to the components to provide an attachment means.