The Furukawa Electric Company has launched a mass fusion splicer capable of fusing up to 24-fibres simultaneously.
The FITEL S199M24 mass fusion splicer, as the unit is called, weighs only 3.4kg and the splice time for single-mode fibre is only 40 seconds.
The main markets for cables equipped with multi-fibre ribbons are Japan, North America and China. The Japan market primarily uses 2-, 4- and 8-ribbon fibres, while 12-ribbon fibres are used in North America and China. In order to increase transmission capacity in long haul routes in the North American market, 24-ribbon optical fibre cables are now being deployed.
But while 24-fibre ribbons can maximise space efficiency in optical cables, the difficulty of splicing them has prevented widespread deployment in the field. Typically, during operation, the user is required to split the 24-fibre ribbon into two 12-fibre sub-sets because the existing splicing equipment could only accommodate a maximum of 12-fibres. Although the splitting process is relatively simple, it can result in damaged fibres along the edge of the sub-sets.
By using a 24-fiber mass fusion splicer, the need to split ribbons is eliminated, which greatly reduces the total time required to connect two cables.