Corning re-opens manufacturing facility, unveils speciality singlemode fiber

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...

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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.

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Corning’s new hermetic singlemode specialty fiber is designed to offer 5x fatigue resistance over standard singlemode.
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“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.

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