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3D printing enables Orbis’ cable assemblies with 48-96 fibers


When connectors are industrially added to the multi-fiber optical cable, a structure that separates the fibers from each other and also forms a strain relief is required. The component is called “Fan-out”. Orbis has started manufacturing 48 and 96 fiber optical fan-outs with a 3D printer.

250 um fiber optical cable, which is peeled and separated from the trunk cable, is protected by a pipe, which means that threaded thick jacket is added on it.  For example, 2 mm diameter tube protects the fiber from handling during on-site installation, while the 0,9mm tubing is used at the factory assembled cross-connection panels.

When there are more than 48 fibers and the piping diameter is 2mm, the fan-out becomes clumsy and heavy; and no suitable solution has been available on the market. Due to the new 3D printing capability Orbis can design the fan-out structure, depending on different needs and purposes. Fan-outs, printed from thermoplastic material, are recently tested and developed, so that serial producing of fan-outs is now available.

Heikki Saukko, who is responsible for Orbis’ R&D comments: "With 3D printing possibilities are endless in our industry, just only thing we need to figure out is where it could be used.” Saukko continues: "For example, in the local fair in early February the new Launch Box we represented has also elements made by 3D printing."

Panel with multi-fiber cable assembly is suitable for the indoor use, which means it is halogen-free and made from fire-resistant material.

3D printer can produce different color products, and maximum size is A4 paper format.

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