In the world of optical fibers, there is a process to scribe and break the endface of the fiber. Better known as fiber optic cleaving, the process is highly complicated and requires trained technicians with the necessary skills to gain appropriate results. Using a tool or equipment as fiber optic cleaver that produces an almost perfect fiber end face cut, the process is accomplished. The cleaver’s cutting wheel (blade) makes a small cut on the fiber initially and the latter is then pressed against the little cut so that it beaks at 90 degree angle and produces a mirror like end face.
The market has an array of fiber optic cleaver series to choose from but requirements vary. Any optical fiber is cleaved after high tensile strength is applied to a large surface crack that drastically expands across the cross section at great velocity. With varying needs, the type of cleavers also vary. While few cleavers provide a tensile stress to the fiber at the time of scratching its surface with a hard scribbing tool, there are other designs that scratch the surface first and then provide tensile stress. In a similar way, few provide tensile stress uniform across the cross section and others bend the fiber through a tight radius resulting in high tensile stresses.
It must be noted that modern fiber optic cleaver or its types suit precision cleaving of all common silica glass fibers. Even special cleaver designs that find applications in measurements technology, research and production of optical parts can also be availed.
While finding a proper cleaver, it is essential to identify few vital features:
- High precision cleavers are known to produce a cleave angle deviation typically <0.5 degree that has high reliability and low scattering.
- Diamond blade forms the highest cleave quality that lasts no less than 10000 cleaves.
- Nowadays one-step cleaving operations including fiber clamping, bending, cleaving can all be done using cleavers.
Design of any fiber optic cleaver keeps varying among manufacturers like Corning, AFL or York. The following is a work flow of these types of cleavers:
Step 1: The fiber must be stripped to its cladding size and nay standard fiber cladding is around 125um, which depends largely on their application.
Step 2: The fiber should be cleaned with lint-free wipes made moist with isopropyl alcohol
Step 3: The stripped and cleaned bare fiber must be placed into the fiber cleaver
Step 4: The bare fiber can be scribed with a cutting wheel or a blade.
Step 5: The fiber can be broken with built-in mechanism on the cleaver
Step 6: Now the fiber scrap can be removed and put in a fiber disposal unit.