June 8, 2001 3M (www.3M.com) has increased production of ceramic ferruled fiber-optic connectors to ensure availability during an industry-wide shortage. With a recent shortfall in availability of ceramic ferrules, a key component in the manufacture of fiber-optic connectors, lead times for the purchase of connectors has grown worldwide. Despite industry conditions 3M plans to maintain full availability of SC, ST, FC, and biconic connectors throughout 2001 with immediate availability in most cases.
"The shortfall exists because demand for networks, and their components, has increased so rapidly," said Al Covino, marketing operations manager for 3M Enterprise Solutions. Recent reports indicate that average lead times in the United States for most fiber-optic connectors are eight-to-nine weeks, and in some instances up to 12 weeks.
"Without the ceramic ferrules to make the connectors, connector manufacturers are scrambling for alternatives. In anticipation of the shortfall, 3M entered into agreements with ferrule suppliers to increase availability," Covino said. In most cases, 3M expects to have the capacity to fill existing orders, meet existing lead times, and significantly expand their business.