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 sufficiently clean for installation.  However, there are a number of ways in which the end-face can (and do) become contaminated along the way: 

  • When installing the dust-cap, the manufacturer accidentally touches the end-face with the dust-cap itself, leaving plastic mold-release grease or other contamination.   Since the dust cap is never removed again by the manufacturer, it’s impossible to detect this.
  • In some poorly-designed dust-caps, the interior surface dimensions are such it permits contact with the end-face it is trying to protect, usually leaving a super-contaminated end-face.   
  • During installation, dust caps are removed prematurely, while cables are still being organized / routed, and end-face is exposed, and prone, to contamination.

Answered by AskFOC Technical Team July 17, 2019

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