Cookies Use on AFL Website We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy. Agree
Home / AFL Blog / February 2019 / Splicing 200µm Ribbon – Getting Started on the Right Foot
Blog posts

Splicing 200µm Ribbon – Getting Started on the Right Foot

By: Lucas Mays, Applications Engineer

Mass fusion splicing 12 fiber ribbons has long been an accepted and relatively unchanged process with little variation in application. You worked with either twelve 250µm coated fibers in an encapsulated ribbon, or twelve 250µm loose fibers bonded together with an adhesive to form a ribbon, also known as ribbonizing. A few years ago, the industry encountered a paradigm shift in fiber cable when the new collapsible ribbon technology hit the market. These ribbons are not held together by a surrounding encapsulation, but rather, staggered, intermittent bond points between fibers which provide long sections void of bonding material. This design allows the ribbon to fold on itself like loose fiber, while naturally resting in a horizontal side-by-side orientation like a conventional ribbon. 
The combination of loose fiber and traditional ribbon attributes that these ribbons possess provide numerous customer advantages, such as increased packing density, smaller physical footprint, less material and lighter overall weight. The traditional ribbon characteristics mean this technology is inherently mass fusion splicing compatible, reducing install time and labor costs. Collapsible ribbons presented a few challenges from a splicing perspective, but these were only seen by the field technicians working with the products. Fortunately, for standard 250µm fibers, these issues were overcome by various splicing manufacturers via enhanced fiber holders. However, this technology is no longer the most recent development in fiber cable.
Splicing Challenges with 200µm Fibers
Today, we’re experiencing another paradigm shift in cable and splicing technology with the introduction of 200µm coated fibers in the market. These smaller fibers are readily found in loose fiber cables, and compared to a standard 250µm loose fiber cables, the positives are unmet by any significant negatives from the customer’s viewpoint. The only real disadvantage is that currently most 200µm fiber applications can only be spliced one fiber at a time. The reason for single fiber splicing is that when looking at the fiber the difference is minute. The untouched fiber has shrunk by 50µm, and when the coating is stripped away, it is still 125µm glass. 
However, if a technician wants to ribbonize these 200µm loose fibers for mass fusion splicing, the simplicity is lost. This type of splicing is not possible with standard equipment. Here’s why:

As you can see, the 200µm fibers will not naturally fall into all 12 V-grooves like traditional 250µm fibers. The reason being is that this 50µm reduction in diameter also reduces the fiber pitch. Pitch is the spacing between two successive corresponding points, for example, the spacing from tooth to tooth in a comb. In our case, pitch refers to the spacing between adjacent fiber cores. As a result of this diameter and pitch change, the 12 fiber ribbon width has shrunken significantly enough to prevent fibers from aligning with their respective V-groove. In order to mass fusion splice these fibers, separate solutions are needed.
Special 200µm V-groove splicers have been developed to accommodate this change in pitch, but this only allows you to splice to other 200µm fibers at a 200 µm pitch. Ergo, if you only need to splice 200µm loose fibers to 200µm loose fibers, this special splicer along with a 200µm ribbonizing tool will solve your issues. However, some telecom customers currently have need for splicing 200um loose fibers to 250µm ribbons. In the data center world, collapsible and encapsulated ribbons are being deployed with 200µm fibers, and in some cases, will need to be spliced to existing 250µm ribbons. So, if you want to broaden your portfolio to meet these needs, new tools are required to efficiently handle these varying splicing applications.
Squeezing 250µm fibers into the same width as 200µm fibers is impossible, so your only option is to expand the 200µm ribbon pitch to match the pitch of a 250µm ribbon. This matching of fiber pitch is the ultimate goal to achieve versatile splicing in every application. Although, achieving this goal is not the same for every 200µm ribbon because each different ribbon type requires a different solution. To further complicate matters, each manufacturer's collapsible ribbons has a slightly different bond structure, meaning that achieving the increased 250µm pitch currently requires OEM dependent solutions for this ribbon type specifically. Since multiple solutions are needed to achieve the same goal, there exist applications which currently have no solution.
Know Your Options Today
As time goes on, splicer and cable manufacturers will adapt, compromise and work towards solutions. Ideally, the solutions will cross manufacturing boundaries, reducing the amount of equipment required to splice the various cables. Regardless, with these technologies still in their infancy, the processes, tools and methods for dealing with them are continually changing. The end results are still some time away, so knowing what you will be working with and asking about the current solutions ahead of time is key.
The important takeaway here is a ribbon is no longer just another ribbon. Before splicing any 200µm ribbon, ask these three questions:
1. Who is the manufacturer of the ribbons I’m dealing with?
2. What types of ribbon am I splicing?
3. What splicing equipment do I have available to me?
These questions will point you in the right direction in providing you the tools needed to splice in your application. The next step is to contact your local AFL representative who will put you in touch with our splicing experts to get you the rest of the way. So if you’re ever in this situation, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call.
Posted: 2/22/2019 by Nicole Collins | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: AFL, collapsible, fusion, ribbon, splicing
Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
Leave comment

 Security code

Recent Posts

Lighting Up 5G: The Economic Drivers

2/19/2020 2:25:49 PM | with 0 comments
Josh Simer, AFL's Service Provider Market Manager, continues the 5G discussion with the economic drivers of 5G.

Reflections from the 2019 BICSI Fall Conference

11/1/2019 1:25:31 PM | with 0 comments
AFL application engineer, Lucas Mays, reflections on his experience at the Fall 2019 BICSO conference while also winning an innovation award.

The Best Medicine for Network Outage Headaches

10/30/2019 7:00:00 AM | with 0 comments
AFl's Test and Inspection division explains the importance of cleaning and inspecting data center networks and how the new FOCIS Lightning can help.

Proper Orientation for Stockbridge Dampers

10/21/2019 2:49:19 PM | with 0 comments
AFL's Steven Kranz, PE, provides stockbridge damper orientation instructions.

Let There be Light

10/16/2019 10:30:00 AM | with 0 comments
Seán Adam, AFL's vice president of market strategy & innovation, kicks off a new blog series, Light Up 5G, that will focus on the emerging 5G ecosystem and infrastructure elements which are needed to make the transformation real.

Blog Tags

& 100G 12R 12S 2014 2015 2016 21s 22S 31S 41S 5G 62S 70R 70S 802.11ax Access Networks accessories ADSS Aerial Aeros AFL AFL. Air Blown Fiber AlumaCore Aluminum and APM-101 APM-102 APTA ASCEND ASIS Associates awards bandwidth Best Practices BICSI Blog bluetooth Broadband bus Cable cable deployment Cables Cable-Tec Cabling Careers Case Case Studies Catalogs Cell Tower Demarcation center Certification CGM Plus Rack Panel CI&M Innovators Award Cleaning Cleaning Supplies Cleaver cloud CO2 Lasers collaboration collapsible Community Community Outreach compression Compression Accessories Conductor Connect Connections Connectivity Connectors Co-ops Core-alignment Corporate CT-30 CT50 CTIA customer experience CWDM dampers DAS data Data Center Data Centers Dead Ends demarcation Demonstration density Distribution Enclosure DT Duel Dura-Line DWDM eABF electric Enclosure end-to-end solutions Energy Enterprise Equipment ESB estimation Expo Exterior Distribution Cabinet Facebook Fall Fall 2013 FAST SC FASTConnect FC Features Fiber Fiber Cleaver Fiber Connector Inspection Fiber Distribution fiber inspection Fiber Laser fiber management Fiber Optic Fiber Optic Cable Fiber Optic Intrusion Detection System Fiber Optic Training Fiber OpticTraining Fiber Prep Fiber Security Fiber Shaping Fiber Splicing fibre optic cable field installable Field Splicer flexscan Flex-Span Flickr FOCIS FOCIS Duel FOCIS Flex FOCIS Lightning FOCIS WiFi2 French FSM-100 FTTh FTTx Fujikura FuseConnect Fusion Fusion Splicer Fusion Splicers Fusion Splicing Gas Glass Processing global Google Governor Nikki Haley Grand Canyon Greenville Grounding Hardware high High-Wire Walk HiTemp Hyperscale IDEAA IEEE infrastructure innovation Inspection Instagram Install Installation Installing Instructions Integrated Solution International Sales Meeting Internet Interns IoT Kit Laser Last Mile LAZERMaster LC Light Brigade LightLink LightWave LinkedIn live line LL-550 LL-550 & LL-580 enclosures LL580 LL-580 LMHD Loss LZM-100 M210 M310 Maintenance Metro Ethernet Metro-E MFIS MicroCore Mining Month of Service mount MPO MSOs Multi-Fiber Identification System Network Networks new New Year NFPA Nik Wallenda Noyes OCS OEM of Oil One-Click OPGW Optic Optical Optical Connectivity Optical Sensing Optical Splicing optics OSP OSP MicroCore: LM200 & LMHD Series OTDR Outside Plant panel panels Paper PCS-100 Stripper Perimeter Security System PES Photonics Photonics West PhotonicsWest platform PM Splicing polarity Poli-Mod power Procedures product Product Registration Products providers rack Rail Railway Recoater Recruiting resource center Resources ribbon Rogue Rural Utilities Rusty Williams SB01 SC SCADA SCTE SCTE Cable-Tec SDN Selection Sensing service Services Sidewinder Rapid Cable Deployment System Silver Level Award single circuit outage Single Lambda SkyWrap Small-Cell Smart City Smart-Grid Smartphone Snapshot Social Software Defined Networking Solutions Spanish Specialty Splicer Spider Web Ribbon SPIE Splice Enclosure Splicer Splicers Splicing ST Stockbridge Dampers Stranded Stainless Steel Cable Stream Streetcar Structured Cabling Study substation SuperMobility Support SWAGE Swaging SWAT SWFT System systems T&D T&I: technology Terminal termination Termination Instructions Test Test &Inspection Test and Inspection Testing Things Titan Tools trade show Trade Shows Training Transit transition transmission Transportation trends Tutorials Twitter Ultra HD Upstate Alliance utilities Utility VFI V-Groove vibration Video Videos Vodafone WDM WDM900 We Connect Webinar Website White White Paper White Papers White-Paper Wi-Fi Winter Wireless workflow Wrapping Tube Cable WTC/SWR

Sign Up for eConnect!