Fiber Optic Cable Fusion Splicing: What’s and How’s Answered?

Published on Updated on May 23, 2024

There are two ways of fiber optic cable termination, namely, connectors and splicing. Out of which, splicing is chosen for connecting two bare optical strands without any external connectors. There are two further categories of splicing- mechanical splicing and fusion splicing. Mechanical splicing is utilized for multimode fibers, however, fusion splicing is the process that can be used for all types of fiber optic cables. Despite being a popular method of fiber optic cable termination, Fiber Optic Splicing still remains a mystery for a large section of people. This process demands professional, meticulous operation by using a special-purpose industrial apparatus. This post introduces fiber optic cable fusion splicing and a thorough procedure to perform it.

Fusion Slicing

What is Fiber Optic Cable Fusion Splicing?

Fusion splicing is a process of aligning the fibers from the fiber optic cables and then connecting them together. This is a welding process for fiber optic strands. In this process, the fiber strands are aligned using a fusion splicer that pulls the fiber cores in alignment with the central axis. As the fiber strands from both the cables are pulled and aligned centric to the same axis, the core of both the fiber cables match, which enables signal transmission in a straight line. This process is performed in order to allow the optical signal transmission without splitting the connecting end and to reduce attenuation or insertion losses. The fusion splicing method is known for offering fiber optic transmission at insertion loss less than 0.1dB. Being a highly effective method of fiber optic cable termination, it demands professional and experienced operators and a fusion splicer apparatus. Now, let us discuss how to perform splicing.

How to Perform Fiber Optic Cable Fusion Splicing?

As said earlier, fiber optic cable fusion splicing procedure is performed using an apparatus called fusion splicer. By using the fusion splicer, the following fusion splicing steps are performed to fusion splice the fiber optic cable.

  • Fiber Preparation: Fiber preparation is the primary activity of fusion splicing that further involves the following steps.
    • The operator has to strip off the fiber jacket up to a considerable length. You can use the cable ripcord to remove and then peel off the jacket material. This has to be done in order to expose the loose tube or buffer tube of the fiber cable.
    • Further, rip off the buffer tube material up to a distance shorter than the fiber jacket rip off.
    • Clean the bare fiber and remove the cable gel or adhesive if there is any.
    • Expose the clean bare fiber and cleave it at both ends.
    • Fix both the cleaved ends of the fibers in the claws of the splicing apparatus.
  • Splicer Alignment Programming: The fusion splicing apparatus is automated equipment, it performs the splicing procedure automatically. It is the operator’s job to set a specific splicing program that could give desired splicing results. The following are the steps performed by the splicing apparatus after the program setting.
    • The operator has to strip off the fiber jacket up to a considerable length. You can use the cable ripcord to remove and then peel off the jacket material. This has to be done in order to expose the loose tube or buffer tube of the fiber cable.
    • The fusion splicing apparatus first examines the fiber ends that are to be fused. The identification of fiber ends is automatically performed. The badly cleaved fiber ends are rejected by the apparatus program itself.
    • Further, on the indication of an operator, the pre-fusion cycle is initiated, which involves re-cleaning the fiber ends. If there is any dust or dirt is present, it may impact the quality of the splice, therefore the splicer program cleans it.
    • During the same pre-fusion cycle, the fiber ends are slightly heated post-cleaning.
    • Further, the splicing cycle activates, in which the apparatus uses a core alignment method to align the fibers. Once the fiber cores are aligned an automated electric arc cycle is triggered that generates heat and welds the two ends of fibers.
  • Splice Inspection: The fusion splicing process terminates as the splicing apparatus fuses the fiber ends. However, the apparatus is programmed for an inspection program that evaluates the fusion joint. A testing optical ray is transmitted via fused fibers to test the losses. If these losses are below limits, the fibers are taken out. If the losses are higher, the operator is indicated for re-splicing. Once spliced well, the operator takes out the fibers and visually examines the fusion spot.
  • Fiber Protection: The fusion spot is then protected by adding a heat shrinkage tube to avoid pull forces and heat sagging.

Now that fusion splicing is introduced and the procedure is explained, you can easily perform it, however, the perfection comes with practice. For more information on fiber optic cable fusion splicing, you can check this video on YouTube: Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing and Mechanical Splicing: Which is Better

Rich Tull

Rich Tull
R.W. Tull is the President of Versitron, a leading technology company specializing in data communication and networking solutions. With expertise in Guiding network switches and media converters, R.W. Tull has played a pivotal role in driving Versitron's success. His deep understanding of these technologies has enabled the company to provide innovative and reliable solutions to clients. As a visionary leader, He ensures that Versitron remains at the forefront of the industry, delivering cutting-edge networking solutions that enhance data communication efficiency.
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