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FLEXIBLES FASEROPTISCHES KABEL MIT ZENTRIERTEN PRESSSITZHÜLSEN - Dokument EP1493046
 
PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1493046 26.07.2007
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001493046
Titel FLEXIBLES FASEROPTISCHES KABEL MIT ZENTRIERTEN PRESSSITZHÜLSEN
Anmelder SCHOTT AG, 55122 Mainz, DE
Erfinder HENZE, Inka, 55288 Udenheim, DE;
SOMMER, Brigitte, 55116 Mainz, DE;
WEISSER, Michael, Sturbridge, MA 01566, US;
BARBEDETTE, Loic, Dudley, MA 01571, US
DE-Aktenzeichen 60314386
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 10.03.2003
EP-Aktenzeichen 037260403
WO-Anmeldetag 10.03.2003
PCT-Aktenzeichen PCT/US03/07054
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 2003087892
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 23.10.2003
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 05.01.2005
EP date of grant 13.06.2007
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 26.07.2007
IPC-Hauptklasse G02B 6/04(2006.01)A, F, I, 20051017, B, H, EP
IPC-Nebenklasse G02B 6/40(2006.01)A, L, I, 20051017, B, H, EP   

Beschreibung[en]

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to imaging optic fibers, and in particular to fiber optic cables having a flexible center section and non-flexible end sections held in protective ferrules.

It is known in the art of imaging optic fibers and optic fibers for signal transmission to create a fiber optic bundle by heating and drawing glass fibers which are sp aced ap art by or encapsulated in leachable spacers in order to form a fused optic fiber bundle. The ends of the optic fiber bundle are masked or protected, and the bundle is then placed in a leaching agent which leaches the leachable spacers from center section of the bundle between the protected ends. This results in the center section being flexible. The bundle is preferably covered with a protective sheath to form a flexible optic fiber cable.

Generally, ferrules or casings are attached to the non-flexible end sections in order to protect the end sections from damage and to allow the end sections to be connected in connectors. This can be done prior to or after leaching While it is desired that the end sections of the optic fiber bundle be centered within the ferrules, typically, the optic fibers cannot be justified within the ferrule since the optic fibers will settle to the lower side of the ferrule as the adhesive which attaches the end section of the optic fiber bundle to the ferrule cures. While a ferrule having smaller inside dimensions can be utilized, this can lead to problems with the insertion of the end sections of the fiber optic bundle into the ferrule and the destruction of the outside optic fibers of the bundle.

Additionally, for optic fiber bundles made with fiberglass or synthetic fibers, the ferrules have typically been crimped onto the outside of the ends of the fiber optic bundle. Since the diameter of the optic fiber bundle may vary widely based upon the size of the fibers and variations in production conditions, the crimping of the ferrule onto the bundle often leads to a connection that is either too loose if the diameter of the bundle is small, or to damage or destruction of the outer fibers, if the diameter of the bundle is too large.

It would be desirable to provide a flexible fiber optic cable and a process for producing such a cable that has the advantage of not compressing the ferrule on the end section of the optic fiber bundle, and which allows for a centering of the end sections of the optic fiber bundle in the ferrules. It would also be desirable to provide an optic fiber cable assembly and a process for assembling such a cable which would result in less damage to the fibers of the end sections in the cable.

From US-A-5,013,128 a flexible optical fiber cable is known with a plurality of optical fibers group together as a fiber bundle and ferrules being provided at the non-flexible end section of the optical fiber.

From US-A-3,824,816 a flexible optic fiber conduit with a multiplicity of light conducting fibers have been made known. The conduit is provided with a fitting section of heat shrinkable semi-flexible plastic.

From JP-5917265-A an optical fiber bundle is known with a protective layer where the ferrule is fixed by an adhesive.

Optical fibers are furthermore shown in the documents DE-4104530-C , JP-A-60143307 and EP-0434212-A .

SUMMARY

Briefly stated, the present invention provides a flexible optic fiber cable having a plurality of optic fibers grouped together as a fiber bundle with a flexible center section, in which the optic fibers are moveable relative to adjacent fibers in the fiber bundle, and two non-flexible end sections, in which the plurality of optic fib ers are joined together in a predetermined arrangement. Each of the two non-flexible end sections includes a generally uniform thickness protective layer extending over an outer surface thereof starting at a position spaced inwardly from a free end of the end section. A ferrule is located around and in an interference fit with the protective layer so that the end section is centered in the ferrule. An adhesive is located between the ferrule and the non-flexible end section from the position sp aced inwardly from the free end of the end section to the free end thereof to connect the ferrule to the non-flexible end section. The protective layer is a machinable wax that can withstand leaching.

In another aspect, the invention provides a method of manufacturing an optic fiber cable having a flexible center section and two non-flexible end sections. The method includes the steps of:

coating each of the end sections with a generally uniform protective layer;

removing a portion of the protective layer from each of the end sections from a position spaced inwardly from a free end of each of the end sections to the respective free ends thereof;

inserting each end section into a ferrule that has an interference fit with the protective layer, centering the end section in the respective ferrule; and

adhering each of the ferrules to the respective end sections with an adhesive located between each of the ferrules and the respective end sections from the position sp aced inwardly from the free end of each of the respective end sections to the respective free ends thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there are shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements shown.

Figure 1 is a view of a flexible optic fiber cable in accordance with the present invention.

Figure 2 is an end view showing the ferrule on the end section of the flexible optic fiber cable shown in Figure 1.

Figure 3 is a cross-sectional view through an end section of the fiber optic cable of Figure 1.

Figure 4 is a transverse cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment of an end section for the flexible optic fiber cable in accordance with the invention.

Figure 5 is a transverse cross-sectional view of a second alternate embodiment of an end section of a flexible optic fiber cable in accordance with present invention.

Figure 6 is a graph showing the relationship between the coating viscosity and the coating thickness.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Certain terminology is used in the following description for convenience only and is not considered limiting. The terms "a" and "one" are defined as including one or more of the referenced item unless specifically noted. The term "array" as used herein is intended to include any type of ordered, two-dimensional arrangement offiber ends, such as for a flexible image bundle.

Referring now to Figure 1, a flexible optic fiber cable 10 is shown. The cable 10 includes a plurality of optic fibers 12 grouped together to form a fiber bundle 14 having a flexible center section 15 in which the optic fibers 12 are moveable relative to adjacent fibers 12 in the fiber bundle 14 and two non-flexible end sections 16, 18 in which the plurality of optic fibers 12 are joined together in a predetermined arrangement, for example as shown in Figure 2.

As shown in Figure 3, each of the two non-flexible end sections 16, 18 includes a generally uniform thickness protective layer 20 extending over an outer surface of the fiber bundle starting at a position 22 spaced inwardly from a free end 24 of the end section 16, 18. The protective layer 20 is preferably a machinable wax, and in a preferred embodiment is ISOLOX-TG, produced by Loeffler GMBH, Offenbach, Germany. This type of wax is typically used as a protective wax against corrosion, but has been found to be extremely useful in the present application. This wax liquefies at between 80°c and 90°c, which is a higher temperature than that typically used in the fiber bundle etching process. While this type of machineable wax is preferred, other types of protective coatings or waxes could be used in accordance with the present invention.

The wax is preferably applied by dipping of the end section 16, 18 of the fiber bundle 14. The thickness of the wax coating is influenced by the dipping process. The hotter the wax, the lower its viscosity and the thinner the wax coating. This relationship between the coating thickness and the viscosity for the preferred wax is shown in Figure 6. Accordingly, the thickness of the wax can be controlled to a great extent with coatings of approximately 0.15mm being possible. Preferably, the thickness of the wax coating on the fiber bundle 14 is approximately 0.25 mm to about 5 mm. More preferably, the thickness is in the range of 1 mm - 3 mm, and most preferably is approximately 1.0 mm. After the protective layer 20 has been applied, the end portion of the protective layer is removed or machined off between the point 22 and the free end 24 of the end section 16, 18.

Still with reference to Figures 2 and 3, a ferrule 30 is located around and in an interference fit with the protective layer 20 so that the end section 16, 18 is centered in the ferrule 30. The outside cross-sectional area of the protective layer 20 is preferably slightly greater than the internal cross-sectional area of the ferrule 30 so that there is an interference fit and an exertion force is necessary in order to press the ends 16, 18 of the fiber bundle 14 into the respective ferrules 30. Excess wax (or other coating material) is then abraded off during this insertion. Preferably, the ferrule 30 is made of metal. However, it can be made of synthetic material and may be made with various internal and external cross-sections in order to match the geometric form of the fiber optic cable ends 16, 18.

It is also possible to utilize a ferrule having an internal cross-sectional area that is different than the external cross-sectional area of the fiber bundle end, as shown in Figure 4. In Figure 4, a round ferrule 40 is utilized in connection with a fiber bundle 14 having a square cross-sectional area. Only the corners of the wax coated fiber optic bundle 14 contact the inner surface of the ferrule 40 because of the geometry of the cross-section. However, this is sufficient for centering the end section 16, 18 of the fiber bundle 14 within the ferrule 40. In an example produced in this manner, a fiber optic bundle 14 with a square cross-section was produced with the edge lengths of approximately 3mm. This was centrally fixed in a ferrule 40 having a round cross-section with an inner diameter of 4mm, and outer diameter of 6mm and a length of 2.5 cm.

Referring again to Figure 3, an adhesive 32 is located between the ferrule 30 and the non-flexible end sections 16, 18 from the position 22 spaced inwardly from the free end 24 of the end section 16, 18 to the free end 24 thereof. Preferably the adhesive is a two-component epoxy resin which features minimal shrinkage upon curing in order to prevent separation from the inner surface of the ferrule 30. Other adhesives such as acrylic or silicon resins may also be utilized.

Preferably, the length of the ferrule 30 is greater than a transverse cross-sectional dimension of the end section 16, 18. For example, for fiber bundles having a round cross-sectional area, the inner diameter of the ferrule 30 should be greater than the diameter of the fiber bundle. For fiber bundles having a square or other cross-sectional shape, the inside dimension of the ferrule is preferably longer than the largest transverse dimension across the cross-sectional area. This helps to ensure that the fiber bundle end 16, 18 is centered in the ferrule 30.

Referring now to Figure 5, an alternate embodiment of the fiber optic cable 10' is shown in which the fiber bundle end sections 16', 18' have a round cross-section. The ferrule 40 also has a round cross-section. The wax layer 20' has a sufficient thickness such that an interference fit is produced between the wax layer 20' and the inner surface of the ferrule 40 upon installation of the ferrule 40 on the fiber bundle end section 16', 18'.

In order to produce an optic fiber cable 10 with the flexible center section 14 and the non-flexible end section 16, 18, the end sections 16, 18 of the fiber bundle are coated with a generally uniform layer of wax 20. A portion of the layer of wax 20 is then removed from each of the end sections 16, 18 from a position 22 spaced inwardly from the free ends 24 of each of the end sections 16, 18 to the respective free end 24 thereof. Each end section 16, 18 is then inserted into the ferrule 30, 40. The ferrule has an interference fit with the layer of wax 20 resulting in a centering of the end section 16, 18 in the respective ferrule as it is installed. The ferrule 30, 40 is adhered to the respective end section 16, 18, with an adhesive 32 located between the ferrule and the respective end section from the position 22 spaced inwardly from the free end of the end section 16, 18 to the free end 24 thereof.

For the case when the optic fiber cable 10 is formed from a fused bundle 14 of glass optic fibers 12 spaced apart by leachable spacers, the center section 14 of the cable 10 is leached in order to dissolve the leachable spacers such that the optic fibers 12 in the center section 15 are free to move relative to one another. To the extent that the fiber optic cable 10 is formed from fiberglass or synthetic fibers, the end sections 16, 18 are held together through an adhesive process and leaching of the center section is not required. However, installation of the ferrule 30, 40 on the end section 16, 18 is also advantageous in these cases since it eliminates the damage caused by the prior known crimped-on metal casings utilized with synthetic fibers.

The fiber optic cable 10, 10' in accordance with the present invention and process for forming it has the advantage that no compression of the ferrule 30, 40 around the end sections 16, 18 of the fiber optic bundle 14 is necessary. Furthermore, the coating process evens out small irregularities in the geometry of the cross-section of the fiber optic cable 10 and creates a smooth surface area for installation of the ferrule. By monitoring the wax application and the outside diameter of the wax layer 20, difficulties due to variations in the cross-sectional area of the optic fiber bundle can be eliminated and a justified placement of the end section 16, 18 of the optic fiber bundle 14 within the ferrule 30, 40 is possible with an extremely high accuracy, which in production provides an alignment within about 1%.

While the present invention has been described in terms of generally square and round cross-sections for the optic fiber bundle and ferrules, those skilled in art will recognize that a multitude of configurations for the cross-sections of the ends of the optic fiber bundles is possible and a suitable ferrule shape may also be utilized.

While the preferred embodiments of the invention have been described in detail, the invention is not limited to the specific embodiments described above, which should be considered as merely exemplary. Further modifications and extensions of the present invention may be developed, and all such modifications are deemed to be within the scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.


Anspruch[de]
Flexibles optisches Faserkabel, umfassend eine Vielzahl optischer Fasern (12), die in einer Gruppe als Faserbündel (14) zusammengefasst sind, mit einem flexiblen Mittelabschnitt (15), in dem die optischen Fasern (12) in Bezug auf benachbarte Fasern in dem Faserbündel (14) beweglich sind, und zwei unflexiblen Endabschnitten, in denen die Vielzahl optischer Fasern (12) in einer vorbestimmten Anordnung verbunden ist, wobei jeder unflexible Endabschnitt (16, 18) umfasst: - eine Schutzschicht (20) von allgemein gleichmäßiger Dicke, die sich über dessen Außenfläche erstreckt, beginnend bei einer Position (22), die von einem freien Ende (24) des Endabschnitts (16, 18) nach innen beabstandet ist; und - eine Ferrule (30, 40), die um die Schutzschicht und in Presspassung mit dieser angeordnet ist, so dass der Endabschnitt in der Ferrule (30) zentriert ist; dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass ab der Position, die von dem freien Ende jedes Endabschnitts nach innen beabstandet ist, bis zum freien Ende desselben ein Kleber zwischen der Ferrule (30, 40) und dem unflexiblen Endabschnitt (16, 18) angeordnet ist, um die Ferrule mit dem unflexiblen Endabschnitt zu verbinden; und die Schutzschicht (20) ein auslaugbeständiges, maschinell bearbeitbares Wachs ist. Flexibles optisches Faserkabel nach Anspruch 1, wobei das maschinell bearbeitbare Wachs bei einer höheren Temperatur als der eines Faserbündel-Ätzprozesses flüssig wird. Flexibles optisches Faserkabel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 2, wobei der Kleber ein Kleber ist, der nach Aushärtung eine minimale Schrumpfung aufweist. Faseroptisches Kabel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 2, wobei der Kleber einer aus der Gruppe der folgenden Kleber ist: - ein Zweikomponenten-Epoxidharz - ein Acrylharz - ein Silikonharz. Flexibles optisches Faserkabel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei das Bündel optischer Fasern zusammen mit einer Vielzahl auslaugbarer Zwischenfasern gezogen wird und der flexible Mittelabschnitt einer Auslaugung unterzogen wird, so dass sich die Fasern in Bezug aufeinander bewegen können. Flexibles optisches Faserkabel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, wobei die Ferrule (30, 40) einen allgemein quadratischen Querschnitt aufweist. Flexibles optisches Faserkabel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, wobei die Ferrule (30, 40) einen allgemein runden Querschnitt aufweist. Flexibles optisches Faserkabel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, wobei die Ferrule (30, 40) aus einem polymeren Werkstoff hergestellt ist. Flexibles optisches Faserkabel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, wobei die Ferrule aus einem metallischen Werkstoff hergestellt ist. Flexibles optisches Faserkabel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, wobei die Schutzschicht (20) eine Wachsschicht ist, die eine Dicke von etwa 0,25 mm bis etwa 5 mm aufweist. Flexibles optisches Faserkabel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei die Ferrule (30, 40) eine andere geometrische Form aufweist als der Endabschnitt und die Schutzschicht (20) eine Innenfläche der Ferrule (30, 40) an Kontaktbereichen berührt, die voneinander beabstandet sind. Flexibles optisches Faserkabel nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 11, wobei die Ferrule (30, 40) einen Innendurchmesser ausweist, der größer ist als eine Querschnittsabmessung des Endabschnitts. Verfahren zur Herstellung eines optischen Faserkabels mit einem flexiblen Mittelabschnitt und zwei unflexiblen Endabschnitten, umfassend: - das Beschichten der Endabschnitte (16, 18) mit einer allgemein gleichmäßigen Schutzschicht (20), wobei diese Schutzschicht (20) ein auslaugbeständiges, maschinell bearbeitbares Wachs ist; - das Entfernen eines Teils der Schutzschicht von jedem der Endabschnitte (16, 18) ab einer Position, die von einem freien Ende jedes der Endabschnitte nach innen beabstandet ist, bis zu deren freien Enden; - das Einführen jedes Endabschnitts in eine Ferrule (30, 40), die eine Presspassung mit der Schutzschicht (20) aufweist, - das Zentrieren des Endabschnitts in der jeweiligen Ferrule (30, 40); und - das Kleben der Ferrule (30, 40) an den jeweiligen Endabschnitt (16, 18) mit einem Kleber, der zwischen der Ferrule und dem jeweiligen Endabschnitt ab der Position, die von dem freien Ende des Abschnitts nach innen beabstandet ist, bis zum freien Ende desselben angeordnet wird. Verfahren nach Anspruch 13, wobei das faseroptische Kabel aus einem verschmolzenen Bündel optischer Fasern (12) und auslaugbarer Zwischenstücke gebildet ist, wobei das Verfahren außerdem das Auslaugen der Mittelabschnitte nach dem Beschichten der Endabschnitte umfasst. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 13 bis 14, wobei der Kleber ein Zweikomponenten-Epoxid ist. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 13 bis 15, wobei der Schritt der Entfernung eines Teils der Schicht aus maschinell bearbeitbarem Wachs das Abspanen des maschinell bearbeitbaren Wachses an den freien Enden (16, 18) des Endabschnitts umfasst. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 13 bis 16, wobei die Beschichtung der Endabschnitte das Tauchen der Endabschnitte in heißes Wachs umfasst.
Anspruch[en]
A flexible optic fiber cable, comprising a plurality of optic fibers (12) grouped together as a fiber bundle (14) having a flexible center section (15) in which the optic fibers (12) are movable relative to adjacent fibers in the fiber bundle (14) and two non-flexible end sections in which the plurality of optic fibers (12) are joined together in a predetermined arrangement, each of two non- flexible end sections (16,18) including: a generally uniform thickness protective layer (20) extending over an outer surface thereof starting at a position (22) spaced inwardly from a free end (24) of the end section (16,18); and a ferrule (30,40) located around and in an interference fit with the protective layer so that the end section is centered in the ferrule (30); characterized in that an adhesive is located between the ferrule (30,40) and the non-flexible end section (16,18) from the position spaced inwardly from the free end of each of the end section to the free end thereof connect the ferrule to the non-flexible end section; and the protective layer (20) is a machinable wax that can withstand leaching. The flexible optic fiber cable according to claim 1, wherein the machinable wax liquefies at a higher temperature than a fiber bundle etching process. The flexible optic fiber cable according to of the claims 1 to 2, wherein the adhesive is an adhesive, which has a minimal shrinkage upon curing. The fiber optical cable according to one of the claims 1 to 2, wherein the adhesive is one of the group of the following adhesives: - a two-component epoxy resin - an acrylic resin - a silicon resin, The flexible optic fiber cable according to one of the claims 1 to 4, wherein the bundle of optic fibers is drawn together with a plurality of leach able spacer fibers, and the flexible center section is leached so that the fibers can move relative to one another. The flexible optic fiber cable according to one of the claims 1 to 5, wherein the ferrule (30, 40) is generally square in cross-section. The flexible optic fiber cable according to one of the claims 1 to 5, wherein the ferrule (30, 40) is generally round in cross-section. The flexible optic fiber cable according to one of the claims 1 to 7, wherein the ferrule (30, 40) is made of a polymeric material. The flexible optic fiber cable according to one of the claims 1 to 7, wherein the ferrule is made of a metallic material. The flexible optic fiber cable according to one of the claims 1 to 8, wherein the protective layer (20) is a wax layer having a thickness of about 0.25 mm to about 5 mm. The flexible optic fiber cable according to one of the claims 1 to 10, wherein the ferrule (30, 40) has a different geometric form than the end section, and the protective layer (20) contacts an inner surface of the ferrule (30, 40) at spaced apart contact areas. The flexible optic fiber cable according to one of the claims 1 to 11, wherein the ferrule (30, 40) has an inner diameter that is greater than a transverse cross-sectional dimension of the end section. Method of manufacturing an optic fiber cable having a flexible center section and two non-flexible end sections, comprising: - coating the end sections (16, 18) with a generally uniform protective layer (20),

wherein said protective layer (20) is a machine able wax that can withstand leaching
- removing a portion of the protective layer from each of the end section (16, 18) from a position spaced inwardly from a free end of each of the end sections to the free ends thereof; - inserting each end section into a ferrule(30, 40) having an interference fit with the protective layer (20), - centering the end section in the respective ferrule (30, 40); and - adhering the ferrule (30, 40) to the respective end section (16, 18) with an adhesive located between the ferrule and the respective end section from the position spaced inwardly from the free end of the section to the free end thereof.
Method according to claim 13, wherein the fiber optic cable is formed from a fused bundle of optic fibers (12) and leach able spacers, further comprising leaching the center sections after the end sections have been coated. Method according to one of the claims 13 to 14, wherein the adhesive is a two-component epoxy. Method according to one of the claims 13 to 15, wherein the step of removing a portion of the layer of machine able wax comprises machining the machinable wax at the free end (16, 18) of the end section. Method according to one of the claims 13 to 16, wherein the coating of the end sections comprises dipping the end sections in hot wax.
Anspruch[fr]
Câble flexible de fibres optiques, comportant une pluralité de fibres optiques (12) regroupées en un faisceau de fibres (14) ayant un tronçon central (15) flexible dans lequel les fibres optiques (12) sont mobiles par rapport à des fibres adjacentes dans le faisceau de fibres (14) et deux tronçons d'extrémité dans lesquels la pluralité de fibres optiques (12) sont réunies en un agencement prédéterminé, chacun des deux tronçons d'extrémité (16, 18) non flexibles comprenant : une couche de protection (20) d'épaisseur généralement uniforme qui s'étend sur une surface externe de ceux-ci à partir d'une position (22) située vers l'intérieur à distance d'une extrémité libre (24) du tronçon d'extrémité (16, 18) et une ferrule (30, 40) ajustée et serrée autour de la couche protectrice de manière à ce que le tronçon d'extrémité soit centré dans la ferrule (30); caractérisé en ce qu'un adhésif est interposé entre la ferrule (30, 40) et le tronçon d'extrémité (16, 18) non flexible s'étendant depuis la position située vers l'intérieur à distance de l'extrémité libre de chacune des tronçons d'extrémité jusqu'à l'extrémité libre et relie la ferrule au tronçon d'extrémité non flexible ; et la couche de protection (20) est une cire apte à être usinée et capable de résister à la lixiviation. Câble flexible de fibres optiques selon la revendication 1, où la liquéfaction de la cire apte à être usinée a lieu à une température plus élevée qu'un procédé de gravure du faisceau de fibres. Câble flexible de fibres optiques selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 2, où l'adhésif est un adhésif présentant un retrait minimal après durcissement. Câble flexible de fibres optiques selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 2, où l'adhésif est choisi parmi les adhésifs suivants : - une résine époxy à deux composants - une résine acrylique - une résine silicone. Câble flexible de fibres optiques selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, où le faisceau de fibres est rassemblé avec une pluralité de fibres d'écartement aptes à la lixiviation et où le tronçon central flexible est lixivié de manière à permettre le déplacement des fibres les unes par rapport aux autres. Câble flexible de fibres optiques selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, où la ferrule (30, 40) est généralement de section carrée. Câble flexible de fibres optiques selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, où la ferrule (30, 40) est généralement de section ronde. Câble flexible de fibres optiques selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, où la ferrule (30, 40) est réalisée en un matériau polymère. Câble flexible de fibres optiques selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, où la ferrule est réalisée en un matériau métallique. Câble flexible de fibres optiques selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, où la couche de protection (20) est une couche de cire d'une épaisseur comprise entre environ 0,25 mm et environ 5 mm. Câble flexible de fibres optiques selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, où la ferrule (30, 40) a une forme géométrique différente de celle du tronçon d'extrémité et où la couche de protection (20) est en contact avec une surface interne de la ferrule (30, 40) dans des aires de contact espacées. Câble flexible de fibres optiques selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 11, où la ferrule (30, 40) a un diamètre interne qui est supérieur à la dimension de la section transversale du tronçon d'extrémité. Procédé de réalisation d'un câble de fibres optiques ayant un tronçon central flexible et deux tronçons d'extrémité non flexibles, comprenant les étapes suivantes : - on revêt les tronçons d'extrémité (16, 18) d'une couche de protection (20) généralement uniforme,

cette couche de protection (20) étant une cire apte à être usinée et capable de résister à la lixiviation
- on élimine une partie de la couche de protection de chacun des tronçons d'extrémité (16, 18) à partir d'une position située vers l'intérieur à distance d'une extrémité libre de chacun des tronçons d'extrémité jusqu'aux extrémités libres de ceux-ci ; - on insère chaque tronçon d'extrémité dans une ferrule (30, 40) ajustée et serrée sur la couche de protection (20), - on centre le tronçon d'extrémité dans la ferrule (30, 40) respective ; et - on colle la ferrule (30, 40) sur le tronçon d'extrémité (16, 18) respectif moyennant un adhésif interposé entre la ferrule et le tronçon d'extrémité respectif s'étendant à partir de la position située vers l'intérieur à distance de l'extrémité libre du tronçon jusqu'à l'extrémité libre de celui-ci.
Procédé selon la revendication 13, où le câble de fibres optiques est formé à partir d'un faisceau de fibres optiques (12) fondu et de fibres d'écartement aptes à la lixiviation, comprenant par ailleurs l'étape consistant à lixivier les tronçons centraux après que les tronçons d'extrémité ont été revêtus. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 13 à 14, où l'adhésif est une résine époxy à deux composants. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 13 à 15, où l'étape consistant à éliminer une partie de la couche de cire apte à être usinée comprend l'usinage de la cire apte à être usinée à l'extrémité libre (16, 18) du tronçon d'extrémité. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 13 à 16, où on revêt les tronçons d'extrémité en les plongeant dans de la cire chaude.






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