After mothballing its partially completed Concord, NC optical-fiber manufacturing facility in late 2002, Corning Inc. (www.corning.com) has reopened a portion of that plant and hopes to restart fiber manufacturing within six to nine months.
Corning’s new hermetic singlemode specialty fiber is designed to offer 5x fatigue resistance over standard singlemode.
“The optical-fiber market has witnessed volume growth of greater than 15% in each of the last two years,” explains Eric Musser, vice president and general manager of Corning Optical Fiber. “Over 80% of worldwide fiber demand now comes from the access and metro segments, and we expect to see continued market growth. The partial start-up of our Concord facility will ensure that we have adequate capacity to capture this expanding market opportunity.”
Corning has been an active participant in Verizon’s (www.verizon.com) fiber-to-the-premises build-out. In addition, the company has been experiencing growth in specialty glass materials for the semiconductor industry, manufactured at its Wilmington, NC plant. The re-opening of the Concord facility is seen as alleviating some of the Wilmington plant’s fiber-making capacity so that it can focus on the manufacture of high-purity fused silica for semiconductor lithography applications.
Meanwhile, Corning has introduced a hermetic singlemode specialty fiber that the company says offers improved fatigue resistance by 5x over standard singlemode. Targeting such applications as fiber-optic sensors and towed arrays, the cable features a hermetic layer that provides a protective barrier-via a thin layer of amorphous carbon bonded directly to the glass surface of the optical fiber-to help shield the glass from exposure to hydrogen, water, and corrosive chemicals. Resistance to hydrogen permeation is critical for such harsh environments as undersea deployments or down-hole oil wells.
The hermetic fiber is manufactured through Corning’s patented outside vapor deposition (OVD) technology, which is designed to yield significant consistency in optical performance.