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Vytran® Fiber Preparation Station: Stripping and Cleaning
Fiber Stripping and Cleaning Station
A Fiber Holding Block with a Fiber Holder Insert installed is positioned next to the ultrasonic cleaner. The TMS blade inserts can be seen inside of the open thermo-mechanical stripper module.
Build Your System
The Vytran FPS300 Fiber Preparation Station is designed to strip and clean fibers before transferring them to the LDC401 Series of Cleavers, LFS4100 Splicer, GPX4000LZ CO2 Laser Glass Processor, GPX3400 and GPX3600 Automated Glass Processors, or GPX3800 Series of Automated Glass Processors with Integrated Cleaver for further processing. The thermo-mechanical stripper (TMS) uses a resistive heater located in its lower section to heat the fiber, softening the coating or buffer for stripping, and has an LED light to indicate when the heating process is complete. An internal vacuum applies pressure through holes in the bottom V-groove of the TMS, helping to gently seat the fiber in the groove.
To clean the fiber, the entire holding block can be moved from the stripping to the cleaning station by moving the fiber holding block, eliminating direct handling of the fiber at each step. After installing the holding block next to the ultrasonic cleaner, simply tilt it to dip the stripped end of the fiber into the solvent-filled ultrasonic cleaner, which can be filled with user-supplied acetone or isopropyl alcohol. An LED indicator light turns off when the cleaning process is complete. The cleaning process time can be set from 1 to 120 seconds using the included handset controller.
The blade sets used in the stripping station must be purchased separately. Standard wedge blades are available in four sizes that accommodate fibers with claddings from Ø80 µm to Ø125 µm and buffers up to Ø400 µm, while half-moon blades are available in three sizes that accommodate fibers with claddings from Ø200 µm to Ø400 µm and buffers up to Ø600 µm. Each wedge blade set consists of a top and bottom insert, and each insert has a flat blade at both ends. Each half-moon blade set has two top inserts and one bottom insert, and features semi-circular blades. Stripping is unidirectional and cannot be done from the left and right sides of the TMS station at the same time. Using the half-moon blades, the buffer can be stripped all the way around its perimeter in addition to the top and bottom. When a blade set is purchased with the FPS300, it will be installed in the system prior to shipping.
Fiber Holder Insert Selection Guide
Fiber Holder Inserts, which are designed to hold various sized fibers within the FPS300 Fiber Preparation Station, must be purchased separately. The bottom inserts have V-grooves to hold the fiber, while the top inserts each feature a recessed, flat surface that clamps the fiber against the V-groove in the bottom insert. Each top and bottom insert is sold individually, as the fiber diameter clamped by the left and right holding blocks may not be the same. One top insert and one bottom insert is required to operate the FPS300.
The table below indicates the maximum and minimum diameters that can be accommodated by different bottom inserts. During the stripping and cleaning processes, the fiber should always be clamped on the coating or buffer in order to avoid damaging the glass.
Two styles of bottom inserts are offered. The VHD series of standard inserts are shorter in length and sufficient if using the FPS300 as a standalone. The VHF Transfer Inserts are longer, so that the end protrudes out of the side of the fiber holding block. This provides enough room for the VHT1 transfer clamp to be placed on the end of the insert, allowing the bottom insert, clamp, and fiber to be moved between other Vytran® workstations without directly handling the fiber.
All of the V-Groove Inserts compatible with the FPS300 have vacuum holes, designed to aid in aligning small fiber within the groove. The FPS300 has an internal vacuum pump that provides a small holding force via these holes, keeping small fibers in place as the clamps are lowered.
Fiber Holder Insert Selection Chart
Each V-groove can accommodate a range of fiber sizes.
This Vytran Fiber Stripping and Cleaning Station is designed to strip the coating and/or buffer off of fibers with cladding sizes from Ø80 µm to Ø400 µm. The thermo-mechanical stripper can remove single or dual acrylate coatings, and an ultrasonic cleaning bath is included to remove any particulates from the stripped fiber before transferring it to a cleaving or splicing station. The FPS300 is designed to be used with the LDC401 Series of Cleavers, LFS4100 Splicer, GPX3400 and GPX3600 Automated Glass Processors, GPX3800 Series of Automated Glass Processors with Integrated Cleaver, and GPX4000LZ CO2 Laser Glass Processor; all of these units use the same fiber holding blocks and transfer inserts, allowing the fiber to be moved from station to station with minimal direct handling of the fiber and while maintaining co-registration on each machine.
Fiber Holder Inserts and TMS Blade Inserts for a variety of fiber sizes are sold separately below. One top fiber holder insert, one bottom fiber holder insert, and one TMS blade insert set are required to operate the FPS300, dependent on the size(s) of fiber to be processed. More information can be found on the Fiber Holder Insert tab above.
A handset controller is included for setting the thermo-mechanical stripper heating time and ultrasonic cleaner run time. Each unit is shipped with a power supply and location-specific power cord.
Thorlabs offers seven sets of blades for stripping fiber. The maximum buffer diameter is limited by the size of the channel in the insert. When ordered with the FPS300, Thorlabs will install the TMS blade set in the thermo-mechanical stripper prior to shipping. Each wedge blade set consists of a top and bottom insert, and each insert has a flat blade at both ends. Each half-moon blade set has two top inserts and one bottom insert, and features semi-circular blades.
Except for the CSTM080125*, the blade sets are designed to strip the same size cladding on both the left and right ends, and can be interchanged by the user if necessary. For easy identification, the maximum buffer diameter is engraved on the blade inserts. We offer seven inserts from stock to accommodate standard and larger fiber sizes. TMS blade insert sets are available for cladding diameters up to Ø400 µm as a special by contacting Tech Support.
* The CSTM080125 blade set is designed to strip Ø80 µm cladding fiber on one end and Ø125 µm cladding fiber on the other. When ordered with the FPS300, it will be installed by default with the blades for Ø80 µm claddings (End 1) on the left and the blades for Ø125 µm claddings (End 2) on the right. If installing a CSTM080125, be sure to keep the Ø80 µm end of the bottom and top inserts aligned on the same side of the TMS stripper. If the Ø80 µm cladding blade is aligned with the Ø125 µm cladding blade when installed in the stripper, the system will not properly strip and the fiber may be damaged.
The FPS300 fiber preparation station requires a pair of Top and Bottom Fiber Holder Inserts to be placed in each fiber holding block in order to clamp the fiber during processing. This top insert consists of a bar that has a recessed area on one side, designed to clamp the fiber against the V-groove in a bottom insert. The other side of the insert is flat and can be used to provide additional clamping force for fibers with very small diameters. The insert sits in the top section of the fiber holding block and can be paired with one of the bottom inserts (available below) to accommodate fibers with coating diameters in the 80 to 400 µm range supported by the FPS300.
Top inserts are sold individually and one top insert is required to use the FPS300. Two fiber holding blocks are included with the FPS300, but fibers can only be processed on one side of each station at a time; therefore the system can be operated with a single holding block and fiber holder insert pair if desired. If planning to use both holding blocks, purchase two top inserts.
The FPS300 fiber preparation station requires Fiber Holder Inserts to be placed in the fiber holding blocks in order to clamp the fiber during the cleaning process. These extended inserts sit in the bottom section of the fiber holding blocks and come with a variety of groove sizes. They are compatible with the VHT1 transfer insert, which clamps over the fiber on the length of the insert that protrudes from the fiber holding block, allowing the fiber to be transferred between stations while maintaining coarse alignment. The extended inserts also accept graphite tips (available below) that provide additional support for fibers with coating diameters up to 400 µm when the FPS300 is used in conjunction with the LFS4100 Splicer, GPX4000LZ CO2 Laser Glass Processor, GPX3400 and GPX3600 Automated Glass Processors, or GPX3800 Series of Automated Glass Processors with Integrated Cleaver. See the Fiber Holder Insert tab above for a comparison of the available insert types and sizes.
Inserts are sold individually and one transfer bottom insert and VHT1 transfer clamp (available below) are needed if using the FPS300 to support a compatible Vytran station. Be sure to order a sufficient quantity of inserts to support your fiber processing needs (e.g., two transfer inserts and two transfer clamps are required for splicing applications). More information can be found in the web presentations for compatible stations (see links above). Please note that when using the FPS300 to support the LDC401A fiber cleaver, the extended inserts are only compatible with the cleaver's left fiber holding block.
Two fiber holding blocks are included with the FPS300, but fibers can only be processed on one side of each station at a time; therefore the system can be operated with a single holding block and fiber holder insert pair if desired. If planning to use both holding blocks, purchase two bottom inserts.
These Transfer Clamps and V-Grooves are used with the VHF Transfer Bottom Inserts sold directly above to move a single fiber between various Vytran systems with minimal loss of alignment. For example, a fiber can be placed in a transfer insert and cleaved using the LDC401. Then, the entire transfer insert and fiber can be moved to a glass processor for splicing.
The VHT1 clamp secures transfer inserts with a magnetic lid that prevents axial movement of the fiber and can be used to hold the insert during transport without touching the fiber itself. For fibers with diameters ≤400 µm, a graphite V-groove is available to support the fiber when splicing (please see the size table to the right for more information). The graphite V-grooves are secured by tightening the two setscrews on the transfer insert.
The FPS300 fiber preparation station requires one pair of Top and Bottom Fiber Holder Inserts to be placed in one of the fiber holding blocks in order to clamp the fiber during processing. Each insert is a bar with a V-Groove on one side and includes holes for vacuum suction to aid in positioning the fiber when used with the FPS300.
These inserts sit in the bottom section of the fiber holding blocks and come with a variety of groove sizes, outlined in the table to the right. See the Fiber Holder Insert tab above for a comparison of the available insert types and sizes.
Bottom inserts are sold individually, and one is required to use the FPS300. Two fiber holding blocks are included with the FPS300, but fibers can only be processed on one side of each station at a time; therefore the system can be operated with a single holding block and fiber holder insert pair if desired. If planning to use both holding blocks, purchase two bottom inserts.