ASK FOC

ASK FOC

Have a technical question for Fiber Optic Center?

Please email your question to AskFOC@focenter.com and we will respond ASAP. 

In addition to replying, we will post your question and our answer here on the AskFOC page.  Everyone remains anonymous when we post so feel comfortable asking your questions.  You can also search to see if your question has already been answered in the FAQs section below.

Removal of coatings from short fiber in certain sections

QUESTION: We need to make short fiber with the coating removed in certain sections.  Some coatings are hard to remove.   Are there automated solutions for that? ANSWER: We work with 3SAE Technologies who has designed and manufactured a wide range of high performance...

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The two wavelengths used for Insertion Loss testing

QUESTION:  What are the two wavelengths used for Insertion Loss testing?     ANSWER:   In standard Singlemode cable assembly, the two wavelengths used for Insertion Loss testing are 1310nm and 1550nm.  All Singlemode fibers work very similarly in either...

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Proper curing temperature profile

QUESTION:  What is the proper curing temperature profile?   ANSWER:   In most cases, cable assembly manufacturers are curing by placing their room-temperature product into pre-heated curing ovens---quite a thermal shock.  Based on our observations, it seems that...

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End-faces capped until final installation

Question:  When a manufacturer inspects an end-face, is it immediately capped with a plastic dust cap that is not removed again until it is plugged into its final installation location by the installer?  Answer:    Yes and in theory, this ensures connectors will be...

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Deciding which epoxy is the best for the application

QUESTION:  Which epoxy is the best for my application?   ANSWER:   Fiber Optic Center offers several epoxies for single mode and multimode products. Refer to the “Chart of Epoxies for Single Fiber, Single Mode and Multimode Terminations” to review epoxy...

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Selecting the right epoxy for a new application

QUESTION: How can I select the right epoxy for a new application?   ANSWER: I’m happy to help you determine the epoxy that will work best for your application. Just send an email to me at KBarker@focenter.com and include answers to these questions: Can you tell...

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Why isn’t there one standard polishing process?

QUESTION: Why isn’t there one standard polishing process?   ANSWER: Here’s a key reason why we don’t have one standard polishing process: Singlefiber and multifiber ferrules are composed of different materials and have different shapes, diameters, hardness, and...

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Epoxy information in the form of a matrix

QUESTION:  Do you have epoxy information in the form of a matrix?   ANSWER:   FOC does have a Single Fiber, Single Mode and Multimode terminations matrix that can be found in the BLOG ARTICLE:  Does epoxy cause core cracking? Tips to identify and prevent this...

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Amount of water that should be used when polishing

QUESTION: How much water should we use when polishing?   ANSWER:  When fiber optic cable assembly houses set up a new polishing machine and establish their polishing process, they often find that film slipping or coming off the pad is an issue. To provide...

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More detail about the bend test needed

QUESTION:  In your blog, Good stripping techniques for your fiber optic cable assembly process, there is a tips for stripping tools called “First, Do No Harm” where you refer to a common 45-degree bend test method.  Can you give more detail about the bend...

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Considering the Tg when selecting an epoxy

QUESTION:  Why do we need to consider the Tg when selecting an epoxy?    ANSWER:   One reason to consider the Tg is in selecting an epoxy that is appropriate for an application.  For an application requiring a flexible epoxy, a low Tg, something below 0°C is...

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The advantage of using coated flock pile pads

QUESTION:   What is the advantage of using coated flock pile pads?   ANSWER:  CMP flock pile pads have gone from being a good idea – but problematic – to becoming an advanced process that offers repeatable, predictable results. In the early days of...

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Epoxy past expiration

QUESTION: Our epoxy is past expiration – can it still be used?   ANSWER: Fiber Optic Center recommends that you test the material before using it in your production process. Cure it to see if it sets as expected. However, it’s difficult to determine if it has,...

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How precise epoxy packaging weights are

QUESTION:  How precise are the epoxy packaging weights?   ANSWER: The fiber optic world is driven by precision. If you purchase a 4-gram package, you can rely on getting 4 grams of epoxy. This is a data point to consider as you determine which package size best...

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Common layers and what to consider when stripping

QUESTION: Does FOC have information on common layers and what to consider when stripping?   ANSWER: Without question, good stripping techniques in your fiber optic cable assembly process are imperative. What happens if you damage the fiber during this production...

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On polymer plastics being isotropic

QUESTION: Are polymer plastics isotropic? ANSWER: Most polymer plastics are inherently isotropic (that is, that is they have no directionality in their optical properties).   However, when formed in the injection molding process the polymer is melted, injected and...

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Tricks to keep the polishing film from moving

QUESTION:  Is there a trick to keep the polishing film from moving?   ANSWER:   When fiber optic cable assembly houses set up a new polishing machine and establish their polishing process, they often find that film slipping or coming off the pad is...

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Keeping scratches to a minimum after using final film

QUESTION: How can we keep scratches to a minimum after using final film?     ANSWER:  We usually request a visual image of one or more scratches as well as geometry measurements of the connectors in order to answer this question.   With this information, we...

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Premixed, frozen epoxy: best for the process

QUESTION:  Would premixed, frozen epoxy work better for my process?   ANSWER: Our customers who use premixed, frozen epoxy report two major benefits: (1) No need to worry about improper mixing due to operator error. Epoxy that is overmixed, undermixed, or has...

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ÅngströmLap polishing film and other brands

QUESTION: Does FOC have many customers using ÅngströmLap polishing film or are other brands more prevalent?   ANSWER: Hundreds of fiber optic cable assembly facilities around the world use Fiber Optic Center’s ÅngströmLap polishing film, including multiple...

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Advice for best-practice crimping techniques

QUESTION:       What are the best practices for crimping techniques? ANSWER: The crimping process involves the connector body, a metal crimping sleeve (or ring), and the material to be clamped – normally this is the aramid yarns (also...

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How to tell if the epoxy has “gone bad”

QUESTION:   We have issues with crystallized epoxy: has the epoxy had “gone bad”?   ANSWER: This question has come up so often, I have written article to educate our customers about crystallization in epoxies including information on: How this happens. Why the...

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Process to follow if the step ferrules are not pre-angled

QUESTION:  What is the process to follow if the step ferrules are not pre-angled?   ANSWER: Polishing step ferrules: Angle cutting If the step ferrules are not pre-angled, you must, of course, create the angle as part of the polishing process. A good general...

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Crystals in epoxy and what it means

QUESTION: I found crystals in our epoxy. Does this mean it has gone bad?     ANSWER: Crystallization in epoxies can look like salt granules in the otherwise clear liquid. Or the epoxy may look foggy, milky, or grainy. Or it may have solidified. Rest assured,...

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Safely disposing of epoxy

QUESTION:  How do you safely dispose of epoxy?   ANSWER: Once it cures and hardens, epoxy can be thrown away in regular waste. Think of it this way: You must allow a gallon of house paint to dry and harden before throwing it out. Liquid epoxy can be hazardous,...

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To achieve target fiber height of +/-20 nanometers

QUESTION: How do you achieve the target fiber height of +/-20 nanometers?   ANSWER: Today, fiber height is the easiest geometry parameter to control. How do you achieve the target fiber height of +/-20 nanometers? The tightened tolerance of +/-20 is surprisingly...

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How can some patch cords show ‘gain’ ?

QUESTION:    When measured on my properly calibrated IL/RL meter, some of my patch cords show ‘gain.’ How can this be possible? Since a patch cord cannot have gain, is there something wrong with the instrument?   ANSWER:  If your IL/RL meter is properly...

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Why bond line thickness is important

QUESTION: Why is bond line thickness important?   ANSWER: Proper bond line thickness ensures you’ll achieve the adhesive properties AND performance specified in the epoxy’s datasheet. If there is inadequate bond line thickness, the risks include low strength...

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Why connectivity has become so important

QUESTION:   Why has connectivity become so important?   ANSWER:   When looking at the bigger picture of our industry, it has become clear that cabling and connectivity go hand-in-hand as a SYSTEM. Connectivity is integral to helping our industry do more – and do...

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Cleanliness: improving epoxy work surfaces

QUESTION:  Since cleanliness counts, how can I improve my epoxy work surface?     ANSWER: The pot life on epoxy starts the moment the two parts are mixed. This means you need to plan your work, and have everything you need at your fingertips. Here’s a...

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Package sizes of epoxy right for my process

QUESTION:  Which package size of epoxy is right for my process?   ANSWER:        I often encourage my customers to consider purchasing 4-gram packages of epoxy – if this size supports their process. Briefly, here’s why I recommend the 4-gram package: Higher...

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Why crystallization happens

QUESTION: Why does crystallization happen?   ANSWER: Simply put, the liquid resin is fighting to return to its natural state, which is a solid form. Crystallization in epoxies is so common that major manufacturers have written datasheets on the subject. According...

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Specific routines for fiber optic network installation

QUESTION: Is there a specific routine for fiber optic network installation? ANSWER: When a fiber optic network is installed, a specific installation routine must be followed in order to have a quick and error-free operational network. It’s helping to keep this phrase...

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Recommended minimum bond line thickness

QUESTION: What is the recommended minimum bond line thickness?   ANSWER: A general guideline for minimum bond line thickness is between 25 to 150 microns (1 to 6 mils) – as a starting point. I recommend you choose a certain level to start, then make a few thicker...

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Allergic issues on some specific epoxy products

QUESTION:   How do we get information about allergic issues on some of the specific epoxy products you sell?   ANSWER: By reading the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) prior to handling, which is available for each hazardous product supplied, you can review general health...

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What if you continually have problems with epoxy mixing?

QUESTION: What if you continually have problems with epoxy mixing?   ANSWER: In my time at Fiber Optic Center, I’ve noticed a trend. Sometimes when an epoxy-related issue emerges, there’s an assumption that the epoxy has an inaccurate mix ratio or is defective....

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Finding a step by step for crimping techniques

QUESTION: Are crimping techniques an actual step by step that needs to be followed and does it make a difference if we are slightly inconsistent with part of the process? ANSWER: During the fiber termination process, proper crimping techniques are critical to ensure...

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Easiest way to load a syringe with a mixed package of epoxy

QUESTION:   What’s the easiest way to load a syringe with a mixed package of epoxy?   ANSWER: It’s important to have BOTH HANDS available to do the job. This means your syringes should be clean, ready to use, and positioned for loading. I recommend using a test...

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Overmixing epoxy advice

QUESTION: Our technicians might be overmixing epoxy. What advice can you give us?   ANSWER: If you mix too vigorously, you can trap air in the material and introduce bubbles. In the production process, it’s important to dispense a drop of epoxy – not a bubble. So...

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Minimizing epoxy material waste and reducing costs

QUESTION:  How can we minimize epoxy material waste and reduce costs?   ANSWER: Recommendations to adjust your epoxy process, which can minimize material waste and reduce costs Here are two ideas to alter your epoxy-related production process. These process...

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Common connector issues to be on alert for

QUESTION:   What are common connector issues that we should be on alert for?   ANSWER: 5 common connector issues include: Connectors with high Return Loss Connectors with no light transmission Connectors with intermittent and non-repeatable readings Connectors...

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Overmixing epoxy concerns

QUESTION: What happens if you overmix epoxy?   ANSWER: The possibility of overmixing is more likely. The goal is to thoroughly blend Part A and Part B with minimal bubbles. (In the production process, you don’t want to dispense a bubble instead of drop of epoxy.)...

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Static mixers recommended for fiber optic epoxies?

QUESTION: Is a static mixer the recommendation for fiber optic epoxies?   ANSWER: Almost all epoxies used in fiber optics are two part and have dissimilar mix ratios.  This, coupled with the relatively small amount of material being applied, means a static mixer...

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Reducing the risk of dermatitis when working with epoxies

QUESTION:   How can we reduce the risk of dermatitis when working with epoxies?     ANSWER: To reduce the risk of either of these types of dermatitis, let’s begin with a common phrase: SAFETY FIRST.  It is important to prepare and protect yourself from...

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The advantages of SMA connectors over others

QUESTION: What are the advantages of SMA connectors over others?     ANSWER: There are advantages that SMAs have, which are not shared by their more modern and recent connector style cousins: Doctors are familiar, and comfortable, working with SMAs on lasers...

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Causes of the Apex of a radius to be imperfect, off-center

QUESTION: What causes the Apex of a radius to be imperfect, to be off-center?      ANSWER: Angles do.  Angles create Apex Offset.  Apex Offset is the result of polishing at an angle.  The ferrule being at an angle to the polishing surface during polishing...

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How to decide which passive component tester to purchase

QUESTION: How do we decide which passive component tester to purchase?   ANSWER: The passive component tester (PCT) – must be correctly configured by the seller to support your product requirements.  Start by answering these 7 foundational questions. This will...

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For epoxy bi-packs, what are the typical package sizes?

QUESTION: We are a fiber optic cable assembly manufacturer.  For epoxy bi-packs, what are the typical package sizes?   ANSWER: For fiber optic cable assembly manufacturers, bi-packs of 2.5-gram and 4-gram are typical package sizes for epoxy. While these packages...

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Options for troubleshooting why a connector failed

QUESTION: How many options are there for troubleshooting why a connector failed?   ANSWER: There are 4 diagnostic methods that can help to troubleshoot why a connector failed.  They are: In-house optical diagnostic process and tools X-ray inspection services...

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To ensure proper bond line thickness

QUESTION: How do you ensure proper bond line thickness?   ANSWER: Plan to test your bond line thickness – and other epoxy processes – to ensure they are optimal for your application. Remember this rule of thumb: “The application dictates.” When developing a new...

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What is the recommended needle size to dispense epoxy?

QUESTION: What is the recommended needle size to dispense epoxy?   ANSWER: With so many unique applications as well as connector sizes, the answer to this question truly does depend on your application. Needles range in gauge size and length; some have a tapered...

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Decreasing and increasing Radius values

QUESTION: How can you decrease and increase Radius values?   ANSWER: Generally speaking, the smaller your average Radius value, the smaller the deviation in results will be. It is usually a good idea to aim for the lower end of the Radius specification rather...

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Guidance for developing a fiber optic polishing process

QUESTION: Do you have guidance for developing a fiber optic polishing process?   ANSWER: While there are many details to consider when developing a fiber optic polishing process, it comes down to 5 basic steps: Step 1. Define your objectives, especially...

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What industries need a fiber optic SMA today?

QUESTION: What industries need a fiber optic SMA today?     ANSWER: If you remove the communications applications and markets for fiber optic connectors, what is left?: something less than .1% of the market. What are the applications?   Medical: laser...

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How many categories there are for buffered fibers

QUESTION: How many categories are there for buffered fibers?   ANSWER: As one looks at individually buffered fibers there are two general categories. First a loose tube which is typically a large rigid tube whose ID is many times the diameter of the coated...

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