Step 2. Ensure you have the proper equipment.
The precision of polishing equipment dimensions (both the fixturing as well as the machine itself) play a vital role in determining your process capabilities. Properly maintained polishing machines should last for decades, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations.
Polishing fixtures wear out more quickly depending, of course, on the amount of use. If you follow the recommendations below and still find it impossible to get acceptable results (particularly in Apex Offset), it’s very possible you may need to procure new fixtures.
Regardless of whether your customer or product design requires you to meet geometry specifications, it is HIGHLY recommended that you measure geometries during process development, using an interferometer. This is an expensive piece of equipment (typically $20,000 or more), but it is invaluable to developing a robust polishing process. If the cost is prohibitive, look into renting or borrowing an interferometer.
Be sure your equipment is capable of properly measuring what you need it to measure, particularly regarding visual inspection. For example, if you need to meet single-mode requirements of IEC 61300-3-35, does your microscope have a high-resolution system as defined within the spec? If you are inspecting APC ferrules, do you have an APC adapter for your scope, or just the PC adapter? (Unfortunately, it’s fairly common to find production lines inspecting APC ferrules with a PC adapter, which is improper. With the APC ferrule end-face at an angle to the microscope optics, the entire fiber end-face will never be in proper focus, making it very difficult to detect small defects.)
When developing a polishing process, be sure to use only brand-new rubber polishing pads. Rubber pads play a critical role in polish results and are often overlooked. Having a consistent hardness (durometer) across the surface of the rubber pad is CRITICAL in getting consistent polishing results. Rubber hardness will change over time, so rubber pads always need to be replaced periodically (once a year, at minimum).
FOR A LIST OF ALL STEPS ==> READ THE FULL BLOG ARTICLE HERE: How to Develop a Fiber Optic Polishing Process that Produces Consistent Results
Additional resources from the FOC team include:
- Glossary, Acronyms, Military Specifications for Connectors: http://bit.ly/2a2EFn8
- Q&A Resource: email technical questions to AskFOC@focenter.com
- Contact FOC with questions at: (800) 473-4237 / 508-992-6464 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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