The process will be used to manufacture high end medical light guides and industrial components. Current testing confirms the process to be effective for Lightguides requiring .150” – .250” active areas (3.8mm to 6.3mm). Testing is currently under way to prove the process effective for light guides up to .5” (13mm).
“The beauty of this process, at least for the smaller diameters, is total cycle time, which is very short. The resulting input is very uniform with extremely high percentage of usable transmission surface. The ferrule sheathe is not deformed, and the percentage of transmission gain may be as high as 13% (when compared to the input diameter of a non-fused fiber bundle), while continuous temperature resistance climbs to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit”, said Paul Dobson, the company’s R&D director.
The process overcomes some of the traditional limitations related to using fiber optics. The gain in efficiency comes from the elimination of interstitial spacing, which is replaced with fibers.
Previous to this announcement, the company used alternative process strategies which were effective to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, but transmission efficiency was reduced, lowering optimal throughput by about 20
percent. This new approach eliminates the throughput limitation entirely.
The company will continue to offer both terminating processes, as the fused process is more involved, so costs are higher.
FTI hopes to have a complete capability range, up to 19mm, by the end of the 2007.