Thomas & Betts Corp. (Tinley Park, IL) recently announced that it will soon produce a new design in fiber-optics bending technology that will permit dramatic reduction in the size of telecommunications equipment.
"With the development of smaller bend diameters, the race to redesign the next generation of miniature fiber components has begun," says David Stowe, vice president of technology for Thomas & Betts. He invented the patented fiber-optic bend, which will be sold under the brand name MiniBend 180. "Using this new technology, we may see some telecommunications equipment reduced to one-fifth the size of present equipment within the next five years.
"The MiniBend 180 fiber-optic bend is an inexpensive way to bend light in very small diameters," he continues. "No other technology can achieve such small bend radii with the light remaining in the optical fiber," he says, adding that because light does not leave the fiber, the MiniBend technology provides "excellent thermal stability with minimal optical loss."
According to Thomas & Betts, before the MiniBend technology was invented, there was no means of bending fibers in small diameters without experiencing severe optical loss. However, with the MiniBend 180 product, losses are generally 0.2 decibel or less across the entire telecommunications spectrum. The technology is also used to fabricate the single-sided splitter--a space-saving innovation with all fibers emerging from one end.
"By using a single-sided splitter," Stowe says, "you eliminate the need for large, 50-millimeter fiber loops now common in fiber-management systems. Thus, you can place the single-sided splitter in the corner of a circuit board or management tray and provide easy front-panel access. That, in turn, enables greater component density."
He also notes that an additional advantage of the MiniBend 180 product is the added flexibility it gives design engineers in laying out fiber components, circuit boards, and fiber-management equipment.
The MiniBend 180 component will be manufactured at the company`s North Attleboro, MA, facility and should be available in mass quantities by early summer.
For more information, browse Thomas & Betts`s Web site at www.tnb.com.