It has been a busy year at Maillefer's new R&D Center in Finland. Great news concerning the fiber optic cable solutions. We have reached the ultra-high speed of 1000 m/min with the new secondary coating line OEL 40///Explore.
The initial challenge was to double the line speeds in fiber optic cable production – especially in the secondary coating line. The first step in the development process was to create an accurate process model which would define how the process parameters; fiber tension, clinching caterpillar speed, cooling trough temperature and line speed affect the product properties like the excess fiber length and shrinkage. Once an accurate process model was created, it was quite straightforward to optimize the most critical parameters and components in the production line to reach the target line speeds.
The main development areas were the compression caterpillar, cooling trough and crosshead alignment bench. When the line speeds reach the range of 800-1000 m/min, the cable enters the clinching caterpillar at elevated temperatures. Therefore the caterpillar grip needs to be very firm, yet gentle, otherwise the product geometry will be adversely affected.
With the new line design it is possible to achieve high line speeds and still keep the tube diameter in very accurate tolerances. When production speeds are doubled, the speed difference of the fiber bundle and buffer tube increases dramatically. Therefore these two components should be kept apart as accurately as possible. It is possible with the new cross head alignment bench. High line speeds also need longer cooling lengths. It is guaranteed with the motorized multi pass design which ensures efficient cooling under low tension.
All our new innovations and product elements make it possible to open your productivity window – doubling your production speeds. Fiber enters all our homes at an accelerating pace and production efficiency will be a challenge in the near future. You can dare the limits and witness the line speeds of tomorrow with our new secondary coating line OEL 40///Explore.