FiberQA Blog

3 Reasons Why Fiber Optic Cleaning is Critical

Posted by Rachael Cates on May 31, 2017 10:08:37 AM

3 Reasons Why Fiber-Optic Cleanliness is Critical


When talking about dirt and contamination, micrometers may seem insignificant. However, it matters when it comes to fiber-optic connectors that rely on the passage of light to function properly. Performance, labor, and savings will all suffer as a result of contamination and defects. The following are three reasons why every company should have a strict cleaning procedure in place in order to reduce their losses:


  1. Performance

In a digital world that relies on faster, more reliable connections, performance is king. While a little bit of dust here, or a bit of skin oil from a finger there may not seem like the end of the world, it can greatly reduce the performance of a cable. According to Cisco (Inspection and Cleaning Procedures for Fiber-Optic Connections: Inspection and Cleaning are Critical):


A 1-micrometer dust particle on a single-mode core can block up to 1% of the light (a 0.05dB loss). A 9-micrometer speck is still too small to see without a microscope, but it can completely block the fiber core. These contaminants can be more difficult to remove than dust particles. By comparison, a typical human hair is 50 to 75 micrometers in diameter, as much as eight times larger. So, even though dust might not be visible, it is still present in the air and can deposit onto the connector.


  1. Time

Something as simple as a dirty connector can cause a great deal of turmoil within systems that rely on the cleanliness of the connector to transmit data. The labor it takes to repair replace damaged parts or dirty connectors that went unchecked can add up very quickly. Within cable assembly houses, contaminated fiber-optic connectors can lead to returned product that requires re-testing and processing, also raising labor time unnecessarily.


  1. Money

If there is one thing in this world that is concrete, it is that time always equals money. The additional labor time incurred from replacing contaminated parts or processing returned parts can be significantly reduced by having a cleaning procedure in place.


It is necessary to test for potential contamination and defects that meet the IEC 61300-3-35 standard pass/fail requirements (or company-defined criteria) using a visual inspection tool, such as a FastMT or AVIT fiber scopes.


All AVIT models have an automated cleaner integrated within the system that will fit in seamlessly with your cleaning procedures. Unlike other manual cleaners, AVIT systems provide a 95% first-pass clean (other cleaners may require up to 5 or 6 passes).


Streamlining and automating the inspection and cleaning cycle will significantly reduce labor time and costs, eliminate supply chain friction, reduce or eliminate returned product, and ultimately ensure optimal cable performance.


Let your cables do what they were meant to do by keeping them clean!