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Last Updated: June 27, 2022

View details on polishing equipment available from Fiber Optic Center.

View a training demonstration of How to Machine Polish.

Transcript:

After denubbing the fiber, the connectors are ready for polishing. A production environment uses a machine, or an automated polishing machine, for polishing more than 12 or more connectors at a time.

A couple of things to consider when choosing a high-volume production polisher is to select a machine with a high level of workmanship, the platen should move in an orbital motion to help create or maintain a spherical end face to that connector. It should have precise pressure control of the polishing plate that will make contact with that platen, in case you want to fine tune and refine your processes based on a certain set of industry standards or geometries that you may need to meet.

The polishing fixture needs to be of high precision and maintain a high level of perpendicularity with respect to the grinding surface.

Here is a Domaille 5200 polishing platform, with an 18-position plate. Here we are finishing, snapping in the final connectors to the plate.

It’s important to verify that all the connectors are protruding out from the bottom of the plate at the same level. You can see this model has a couple of different loading mechanisms, the 45-degree angle is used to load the connectors into position, a cleaning position, and finally, the polishing position.

This machine has precision control and can develop various styles of recipes, different parameters and save them as different recipes in this PLC are the computerized version of this polishing machine.

To begin polishing select a pad that has been ground and has a certain level of perpendicularity precision to it, and something that has uniform hardness across the whole width.

Make sure that all surfaces are clean. Starting with the top of the polishing pad, clean it with a lab wipe or Kimwipe and high purity isopropyl alcohol. Clean both surfaces. This will help maintain perpendicularity throughout its placement on the platen, and as the film is placed on top.

Be sure the film is centered when placed on top of the pad. Start with the edge and walk the film forward. As you can see, this film is well centered, there is no halfmoon or color of the pad coming through.

One method to prevent air bubble trapped between the film and the pad is to use some alcohol or water and start with small circles and work your way out. That helps ensure there aren’t any trapped bubbles.

You can also use a four- or five-inch roller to roll out the bubbles.

This pad and film and are ready to be placed on the polishing platen. Make sure everything’s centered. The platen has a slot big enough to fit this five inch pad.

The connectors have already been loaded.

Next lubricate the film with DI water, DI water maintains a higher level of cleanliness. Don’t use tap water, or bottled water or something that has a lot of minerals or contaminants in it.

Create a fine mist on the film. This is the same application procedure and amount of water for each step in the process.

Most processes run anywhere from three to five steps for single fiber connectors. We are now demonstrating how to lubricate the film. Bring the connectors down to position and let the cycle run.

Most polishing cycles last 15 seconds to 60 seconds, depending on the film, the type, and which step it is in the process. Start out with a rough film and work your way down to a finer film.

It’s important to maintain a high level of visual quality throughout your process in reducing cross contamination. Be diligent cleaning connectors in between passes and use plenty of DI water. You can be fairly aggressive with the Kimwipes (or lab wipes). Use some alcohol to clean in between steps using circular motions. You can can go right across the fibers and the ferrules.

Remove any residue or cross contamination with clean air. Clean air is dry, oil free air

Single Fiber cleaning is straightforward - wet with DI water, rub with alcohol and and dry with clean air.

When polishing MT style connectors, it’s important to use more water and more air and then to use the air and the water together to clean out the guide pin holes that are that are used for alignment of the empty connectors.

Basically it’s the same procedure, just spend more time and use more air, and more water.

This plate is now ready for the next pass.

Now load the next film.

If this was the first or second pass of the process, you would take this film off or in a production environment, you would have another pad with the next film loaded onto it. And we would just place it on and start the next process.

 

Training: How to Machine Polish
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