WO2008118927A1 - Splice apparatus for optical fiber - Google Patents

Splice apparatus for optical fiber Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2008118927A1
WO2008118927A1 PCT/US2008/058181 US2008058181W WO2008118927A1 WO 2008118927 A1 WO2008118927 A1 WO 2008118927A1 US 2008058181 W US2008058181 W US 2008058181W WO 2008118927 A1 WO2008118927 A1 WO 2008118927A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
fiber
core
tail
securing
tail fiber
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2008/058181
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Zhiyong Xu
Guanpeng Hu
Pierre Bonvallat
Yifeng Cui
Bin Lu
Dehai Li
Junsheng Zhou
Original Assignee
3M Innovative Properties Company
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to CN200710089688.5 priority Critical
Priority to CN 200710089688 priority patent/CN101276024B/en
Application filed by 3M Innovative Properties Company filed Critical 3M Innovative Properties Company
Publication of WO2008118927A1 publication Critical patent/WO2008118927A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/44Mechanical structures for providing tensile strength and external protection for fibres, e.g. optical transmission cables
    • G02B6/4401Optical cables
    • G02B6/4439Auxiliary devices
    • G02B6/4471Auxiliary devices terminating, fan-out, clamping, strain-relieving or like devices
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/44Mechanical structures for providing tensile strength and external protection for fibres, e.g. optical transmission cables
    • G02B6/4401Optical cables
    • G02B6/4439Auxiliary devices
    • G02B6/4471Auxiliary devices terminating, fan-out, clamping, strain-relieving or like devices
    • G02B6/4477Strain-relieving to interior strengths element
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/24Coupling light guides
    • G02B6/255Splicing of light guides, e.g. by fusion or bonding
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/24Coupling light guides
    • G02B6/255Splicing of light guides, e.g. by fusion or bonding
    • G02B6/2558Reinforcement of splice joint
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/24Coupling light guides
    • G02B6/36Mechanical coupling means
    • G02B6/38Mechanical coupling means having fibre to fibre mating means
    • G02B6/3801Permanent connections, i.e. wherein fibres are kept aligned by mechanical means
    • G02B6/3806Semi-permanent connections, i.e. wherein the mechanical means keeping the fibres aligned allow for removal of the fibres

Abstract

A splice apparatus for optical fiber for splicing a general indoor optical fiber and a covered fiber cable is disclosed, comprising: a tray including a tail fiber securing device location section and a covered fiber cable securing device location section spaced apart by a predetermined distance; a core splice device, for splicing cores of the general indoor optical fiber and the covered fiber cable; a tail fiber securing device, secured on the tray adjacent the tail fiber securing device location section and connected to a tail fiber of the general indoor optical fiber, the core of the tail fiber passes through the tail fiber securing device by a predetermined length and being spliced to the core of the covered fiber cable by the core splice device; a covered fiber cable securing device, secured on the tray adjacent the covered fiber cable securing device location section and connected to the covered fiber cable.

Description

SPLICE APPARATUS FOR OPTICAL FIBER

Field of Invention

The present invention relates to optical fiber communication technique, particularly to a splice apparatus for optical fiber, and more particularly to a splice apparatus for splicing tail fiber of general indoor optical fiber and covered fiber cable.

Background

A telecommunications enclosure is provided in a business building as a switching mechanism between users in the building and communication network of a telecommunication company. After a business user applies for renting optical fiber for broadband access to a telecommunication company, the telecommunication company usually needs to physically connect the optical fiber connected with central office end in the telecommunications enclosure of the building to optical ports of personal or business client equipment. Typically, general indoor optical fiber is used for the connection from the telecommunications enclosure to the optical ports of business client equipment. Figure 1 is a diagram of structure of a general indoor optical fiber. General indoor optical fiber 100 is usually composed of three layers including outer wrap or cable jacket 102, core 106 in the central portion and reinforcement or strength members 104 of aramid fibers or the like located between wrap 102 and core 106. It should be noticed that according Figure 1, the core 106 may further packaged with optional coating layer 106a around the bare glass core 106, the thickness of the coating layer 106a could be, for example, 900μm or 250μm. A connector can be connected to at least one end of optical fiber 100. The connector is used for connecting to the optical ports of business client equipment. Alternatively, a splice connection may be used to at one end of the indoor optical fiber to join the fiber with the optical cable coming from the central office. The portion of the indoor optical fiber used in an optical splice will be referred to as tail fiber, herein.

In a procedure for laying optical fiber, arrangement of outer optical fiber between the telecommunications enclosure and clients is relatively complex because of undetermined positions of business clients in the building. The present procedure usually includes four steps: firstly, an operator performs field investigation and measurement, then makes projects design, the third step is to customize tail fiber with connectors at both ends thereof, and the last step is to connect ports of optical fiber in the telecommunications enclosure to optical ports of the client device via pipes in the building. However, the above process has some objections when being implemented in practice:

1) The flow of the whole process is long since much time is required for design, measurement and customization; 2) Position of each client is undetermined so that the whole process needs to be repeated and different optical fiber needs to be customized after each determinations, which can not facilitate repertory management, inventories and lead times for customer termination;

3) The optical fiber with connectors need to pass through pipes in the building, in which case the optical fiber is easy to be broken in construction and the connectors are easy to be damaged.

In order to pass through ducts and pipes in the building, a kind of covered fiber cable has been developed. Referring to Figure 2, the core 204 is protected by wrap 202 of the covered fiber cable with better strength and toughness. Generally, optical fiber for communication is dual so that the duplex covered fiber cable 200 shown in Figure 2 includes two cores 204 although use of single core and other multicore fibers may also be used.

Generally, it is required to mount the connector to a general indoor optical fiber being spliced to the covered fiber cable and then skips the connection by the connector. In prior art, a core splice device such as the splice device specified in US 2006/0067637 is provided, for splicing the cores of two optical fibers. By utilizing the splice device specified in US 2006/0067637, the core of covered fiber cable and the core of the general indoor optical fiber can be spliced, together with connectors connected to the general indoor optical fiber, so as to achieve laying communication lines of optical fiber. However, there still exist some problems using such a connection mode.

Connectors and fibers such as tail fibers and cover fibers may be secured by a structure as provided in US 4,863,235. Referring to Figure 3A, the securing structure comprises a bushing 310 having a flange 312 and a hub 314. A passageway 316 is formed through the hub 314 and the flange 312 and is tapered through the hub and in the flange region with the small diameter portion oriented toward the bend limiter. The fiber 300 extends to a location just within the flange thereafter the wrap 306 of the fiber is removed to expose the reinforcement 304 and the core 302. The fiber 300 extends through a bore 322 of a wedge 320 which is disposed within the passageway 316 of the bushing 310. The wedge 320 is further secured with the tapered bushing 310 by a thrust nut 330. As can be seen in figure 3A, the thrust nut 330 has an internally threaded wall 332 which defines a bore for receiving the hub 314 of the bushing 310 which is threaded externally. The thrust nut 330 also includes a centrally disposed opening 334 in an end portion thereof. Referring to Figure 3B, when the thrust nut 330, the wedge 320 and the bushing 310 are assembled, the threaded outer wall of the hub 314 matches the threaded inner wall of the thrust nut 330, forming a force pushing the wedge 320 towards the narrower portion of the tapered space within hub 314. Then the reinforcement 304 will be clamped by the hub 314 and the wedge 320. However, the reinforcement 304 in such structure may move along the longitudinal direction so as it can not protect the core 306 well, and the core 306 may be subjected to damage in such movements. Since the core splice device (as disclosed in US 2006/0067637) does not have effect of protecting the core, the core may be broken if the assembly is not done effectively, and thus the optical fiber, even the entire optical fiber communication lines would be damaged. Thus, there is a need for improved optical fiber splicing.

Summary of Invention

The object of the present invention is to provide a splice apparatus for optical fiber, particularly a splice apparatus for at least splicing tail fiber of general indoor optical fiber and covered fiber cable. According to the present invention, a splice apparatus for optical fiber for splicing a general indoor optical tail fiber and a covered fiber cable comprises a tray including a tail fiber securing device location section and a covered fiber cable securing device location section spaced apart by a predetermined distance. In addition, a core splice device, mounted on the tray, is included for splicing cores of the general indoor optical fiber and the covered fiber cable. A tail fiber securing device is included and secured on the tray adjacent the tail fiber securing device location section and connected to a tail fiber of the general indoor optical fiber, the core of the tail fiber passing through the tail fiber securing device by a first predetermined length and being spliced to the core of the covered fiber cable by the core splice device. A covered fiber cable securing device is included and secured on the tray adjacent the covered fiber cable securing device location section and connected to the covered fiber cable, the core of the covered fiber cable passing through the covered fiber cable securing device by a second predetermined length and being spliced to the core of the tail fiber by the core splice device. In the apparatus, the predetermined distance between the locators, the first predetermined length of the tail fiber core, and the second predetermined length of the covered fiber core, are all selected so as to engage the tail fiber core against the covered fiber core with a desired engagement force in the core splice device.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the tail fiber securing device comprises: a tail fiber reinforcement securing element, the tail fiber with wrap passing through a first end of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element and secured by the tail fiber reinforcement securing element securing the wrap of the tail fiber. The wrap of the tail fiber is removed then and the tail fiber with wrap removed is secured by utilizing the reinforcement of the tail fiber by the tail fiber reinforcement securing element. The core of the tail fiber passes out of the other end of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element. A tail fiber securing base element is provided, matched with the tail fiber reinforcement securing element, for wrapping and securing the tail fiber. According to an embodiment of the present invention, the tail fiber reinforcement securing element comprises a first section, with "U" shape for clamping the wrap of the tail fiber to secure the tail fiber, and a second section, comprising splints for securing the core and reinforcement location plates for securing the reinforcements, wherein an interval is formed between a splint and a reinforcement location plate for the reinforcement to pass through and clamped by the splint and the reinforcement location plate so as to secure the reinforcements. A connection section is included for connecting the first and second sections. Preferably, the inner wall of the fist section with "U" shape of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element is in a zigzag form and the first section is made of flexible material so that when the "U" shaped structure is pressed from sides, it will close towards the inner side. Preferably, a set of splints are provided in the middle of the second section, being close to each other; a core groove aligned with "U" shape used to clamp the wrap and avoid any fiber stress formed at the lower middle portion of the splints for the core of the tail fiber to pass through. Fixing surfaces are provided at the upper middle portion of the splints, where the splints are made of flexible materials so that when to be pressed from sides, it will close towards the inner side. The fixing surfaces are used to control the clamping of the splints, when the fixing surfaces of the two splints are touched, the splints will not close any more. A reinforcement location plate is provided at either side of the set of splints, forming an interval between one of the reinforcement location plate and one of the splint at each side. The reinforcement of the tail fiber goes through the interval from the forward end to the backward end, the reinforcement location plate is made of flexible material so that when to be pressed from sides, it will close towards the inner side and further clamps the reinforcement in the interval. According to an embodiment of the present invention, there are a number of slots on the tail fiber securing base element corresponding to the first section, the second section and the connection section of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element respectively. The tail fiber reinforcement securing element is inserted into the tail fiber securing base element so that the first section, the second section and the connection section of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element engage with the slots of the tail fiber securing base element respectively to wrap and secure the tail fiber. The slots have reverse sharp "V" shaped cross sections, when the first section and the second section are inserted into the slots, a force towards the inner side will be provided by the reverse "V" shaped cross sections, making the "U" shaped structure, the splints and the reinforcement location plates close towards the inner direction to clamp the wrap, reinforcement and core of the tail fiber respectively.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the tray has thereon a location section for securing the tail fiber securing device, the location section and the tail fiber securing device have location structures matching each other to secure the tail fiber securing device. Preferably, the location section comprises a plurality of walls and a location clip made of flexible materials for defining a square space, when the tail fiber securing device is inserted into the space from an aperture opposite to the wall, the location clip flicks up to form a horizontal location component for matching a side wall of the tail fiber securing device to secure the tail fiber securing device in the horizontal direction. Projecting portions are also provided on the side walls for matching the vertical location grooves on the tail fiber securing device to locate the tail fiber securing device in the horizontal direction.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the tray has thereon two location sections for securing one or more than one tail fiber securing devices, thereby securing the tail fibers of one or more than one general indoor optical fibers.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the covered fiber cable securing device has a groove for the covered fiber cable to pass through. The groove substantially can be divided into two sections. In a first section, the wrap of the covered fiber has not been removed and in a second section, the wrap of the cover fiber has been removed and the core is disposed. In the first section of the groove, a barb shaped fixing structure is provided, having a plurality of stings pointing to the direction along with the inserting aspect of the covered fiber. When the covered fiber is inserted, the stings secures the wrap of the covered fiber.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the tray has thereon a location section for securing the covered fiber cable securing device. The location section and the covered fiber cable securing device have location structures matching each other to secure the covered fiber cable securing device. Preferably, the location section comprises a plurality of walls and a location clip made of flexible materials for defining a square space. When the covered fiber cable securing device is inserted into the space from an aperture opposite to the wall, the location clip flicks up to form a horizontal location component for matching a side wall of the covered fiber cable securing device to secure the covered fiber cable securing device in the horizontal direction. Projecting portions are also provided on the side walls for matching the vertical location grooves on the covered fiber cable securing device to locate the covered fiber cable securing device in the horizontal direction.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the covered fiber cable has therein two cores, and the tray further has thereon a covered fiber cable separating device for separating two cores of the covered fiber cable.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the covered fiber cable separating device comprises a cone-shaped separating element and core guide grooves at both sides of the cone-shaped separating element, the cone-shaped separating element separating two adjacent cores of the covered fiber cable and guiding them to the core splice devices through the core guide grooves.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the splice apparatus further comprises an optical fiber cutting accessory, used with an optical fiber cutting tool, for cutting optical fibers. For example, the optical fiber cutting accessory comprises a base, having an opening for using with the covered fiber cable securing device or the tail fiber securing device, and a core fix piece for the core to pass through and being pulled adequately. When using the optical fiber cutting accessory, the covered fiber cable securing device or the tail fiber securing device is put into the opening of the base and the base is put on a working plate of an optical fiber cutting tool to make the distance from the covered fiber cable securing device or the tail fiber securing device to the cutting end of the optical fiber cutting tool be a predetermined value that satisfies the splicing requirements of the core splice device of the tray.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the tray has thereon a location section for securing the core splice device. The location section and the core splice device have location structures matching each other to secure the core splice device.

Preferably, the location section comprises left/right walls and a block. The left/right walls and the block together with the structure of the tray itself, define a square space having a size matching the housing of the core splice device; and a height locating device, composed of a set of " p" and "η " shaped boards to locate the core splice device in the vertical direction.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the tray has thereon one or more than one location sections for securing one or more than one core splice device each for splicing the core in one tail fiber and the core in one covered fiber cable. According to an embodiment of the present invention, further comprising a lid for covering the tray to enclose the core splice device, the core securing device and the covered fiber cable securing device.

With the apparatus of the present invention, the covered fiber cable and the tail fiber of general indoor optical fiber can be effectively spliced. Also, the tail fiber is directly secured by the reinforcement therein, and the covered fiber cable and the tail fiber of general indoor optical fiber can be firmly and stably spliced by engaging the tray as well as the core splice device, the core securing device and the covered fiber cable securing device, thereby effectively protecting the core therein.

Brief Description of Drawings The above described and other features, aspects and advantageous of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the embodiments when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein the same elements are represented by the same reference signs throughout the description. In the drawings: Figure 1 illustrates structure of a general indoor fiber in prior art;

Figure 2 illustrates structure of a covered fiber cable in prior art; Figures 3A and 3B shows a securing structure for fixing fibers in prior art; Figure 4 is an exploded view of the structure of an optical fiber splice apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 5 A illustrates the structure of a tail fiber securing device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; Figure 5B illustrates the structure of tail fiber reinforcement securing element of the tail fiber securing device as shown in Figure 5A;

Figure 5C illustrates the structure of tail fiber securing base element of the tail fiber securing device as shown in Figure 5A;

Figure 5D illustrates the structure of tail fiber reinforcement securing element of the tail fiber securing device as shown in Figure 5B;

Figure 6A, 6B and 6C illustrate the structure of a covered fiber cable securing device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 7 A illustrates the structure of the tray in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, and Figure 7B illustrates the tray from another perspective; Figure 8 illustrates the structure of an optical fiber cutting element in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiments

The technical solutions of the present invention are further described in conjunction with figures and embodiments below.

Splice apparatus for optical fibers

The present invention provides a splice apparatus for optical fibers, for splicing general indoor optical fiber and covered fiber cable. Referring to Figure 4, which illustrates the structure of a splice apparatus 400 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The apparatus comprises: a tray 402, at least one fiber tail securing device 404, at least one splice device 406, at least one covered fiber cable securing device 408 and a lid 412.

The tray 402 has thereon a number of location sections including a core splice device securing section, a tail fiber securing section and a cover fiber cable securing section. The fiber tail securing device 404, the core splice device 406 and the cable fiber securing device 408 are each inserted into tray 402 in their corresponding section.

A general indoor optical fiber has a connector mounted on one terminal end for connecting the optical fiber to the client's equipment (not shown in Figure 4) and the other end of the general indoor optical fiber or the tail fiber extends into the tail fiber securing device 404. The tail fiber securing device 404 secures or anchors the tail fiber when it is inserted into tray 402. The core of the tail fiber passes through the tail fiber securing device 404 by a predetermined length (so called the first predetermined length) from the front face 405 of the securing device 404 and extends to the core splice device 406.

The covered fiber cable is connected to the cover fiber cable securing device 408. The cover fiber cable securing device 408 secures or anchors the covered fiber cable when it is inserted into tray 402, and core of the covered fiber passes through the cover fiber cable securing device 408 and extends by a predetermined length (so called the second predetermined length) from the front face 409 of the securing device 408 to at least one core splice device 406. The core splice device 406 splices cores 106 of tail fibers and the covered fiber cable cores 204.

Still referring to Figure 4, the core splice device 406 mounted on tray 402 splices cores of the general indoor optical fiber 100 and the covered fiber cable 200. Any kind of core splice device in the prior art may be used as the core splice device 406, such as the mechanical core splice device specified in US 2006/0067637. Alternatively, the use of single fiber fusion splices, other conventional single fiber mechanical splice devices or multi-splice fusion and multi-fiber mechanical splice devices are contemplated.

Alternatively it shall be useful to consider that present invention could also to be applicable for splicing of either indoor or covered fibers on both extremities of tray 402.

In an embodiment of the present invention, structures for securing that are engaged with location structures on the tray 402 are included on housing of these core splice devices 406, which will be described in detail hereinafter.

The tail fiber securing device 404 secured on the tray 402 is connected to tail fiber of the general indoor optical fiber 100 and the other end of the general indoor optical fiber is connected to a connector. As shown in more detail in Figures 5A-5D, to attach the tail fiber securing device to the tail fiber, the wrap 102 of the tail fibers is removed. The tail fiber with wrap removed is secured to the tail fiber securing device 404 by utilizing the reinforcement 104 of the tail fiber. The core 106 of the tail fiber passes through the tail fiber securing device 404 and is spliced with the cores of the covered fiber cables by the core splice device 406. According to the present invention, the tail fiber securing device 404 directly secures the tail fiber by utilizing a reinforcement securing element to secure the reinforcement of the tail fiber instead of securing the tail fiber by a clamping ring in the prior art. Such a mode can effectively secure position of the tail fiber and ensure that the core therein would not be subject to damage, such a mode can also be easily operated in the field. The structure of the tail fiber securing device will be described in detail below. Referring to Figure 4, the covered fiber cable securing device 408 is secured on the tray 402 and connected to the covered fiber cable 200. The core of covered fiber cable passes through the covered fiber cable securing device 408, extends to the core splice device 406 and is spliced therein.

Lid 412 is used for covering the tray 402 to enclose the core splice device 406, the core securing device 404 and the covered fiber cable securing device 408. The lid 412 and the tray 402 form a whole splice apparatus for joining optical fibers. According to the embodiment shown in Figure 4, symbols 412a, 402a used for designating the fibers in the apparatus are added to the lid 412 and tray 402 respectively since two fibers are spliced by the splice apparatus 406. As shown in Figure 4, the symbols 412a, 402a are represented as "A" and "B", of course, other forms of symbols could be used as symbols 412a and 402a. Additionally, a scale 412b is also indicated on lid 412 for measuring the length of the fiber with wrap removed and the length of cutting part.

Tail fiber securing device

As above mentioned, the tail fiber securing device 404 of the present invention directly secures the tail fiber using a reinforcement securing element to secure both the wrap and the reinforcement or strength member 104 of the tail fiber. Figure 5 A illustrates the structure of a tail fiber securing device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Figure 5B illustrates the structure of tail fiber reinforcement securing element of the tail fiber securing device as shown in Figure 5 A. Figure 5 C illustrates the structure of tail fiber securing base element of the tail fiber securing device as shown in Figure 5 A. Figure 5D illustrates the structure of tail fiber reinforcement securing element of the tail fiber securing device as shown in Figure 5 A showing how the reinforcements or strength members 104 are secured in the device.

As shown in Figure 5 A, the tail fiber securing device 500 includes a tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502 and a tail fiber securing base element 504.

The tail fiber 501 with jacket 501c passing through a first end of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502, the tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502 securing core 501a of the tail fiber 501. Then the jacket 501c of the tail fiber 501 is removed and the tail fiber 501 with jacket 501c removed is secured to the tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502 by utilizing the reinforcement or strength members 501b of the tail fiber (Figure 5B). The core 501a of the tail fiber 501 passes through and extends out of the other end of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502 for being spliced by the core splice device.

Referring to figure 5D, the structure of tail fiber reinforcement securing element of the tail fiber securing device includes a first section 520 with "U" shape for clamping the jacket 501c of the tail fiber to secure the tail fiber 501. According to the embodiment illustrated in Figure 5 A, 5B and 5D, the inner wall of the first section 520 with "U" shape includes oriented teeth (in a zigzag form) to further secure the tail fiber 501. Further, the first section 520 may be made of flexible material so that when the "U" shaped structure is pressed from sides, it will close towards the inner side such that the teeth bite into the jacket 501c of tail fiber 501, thus further clamping the jacket 501c of the tail fiber. This is sized and arranged in such as way that the clamping force does not damage the optical fiber core 501a.

The tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502 of the tail fiber securing device 500 also has a second section 522 having a set of splints 521 provided in the middle of the second section 522, being close to each other. A core groove 522a is formed at the lower middle portion of the splints 521 for the core 501a of the tail fiber 501 to pass through in being concentrically and coaxially aligned with indoor optical fiber wrap diameter 102, and fixing surfaces 522b are provided at the upper middle portion of the splints 521. The splints 521 are made of flexible materials so that when to be pressed from sides, it will close towards the inner side and further clamps the core 501a of the tail fiber. The fixing surfaces 522b are used to control the clamping of the splints 521, when the fixing surfaces 522b of the two splints 521 are touched, the splints 521 will not close any more so as to prevent the core 501a in the core groove 522a being damaged by the splints 521. A reinforcement location plate 523 is provided at each side of the set of splints 521, forming an interval 523a between one of the reinforcement location plate 523 and one of the splint 521 at each side, the reinforcement 501b of the tail fiber 501 goes through the interval 523a from the forward end to the backward end as shown by the arrow in Figure 5D. Then the reinforcement 501b will be kept in the interval 523a formed by the reinforcement location plate 523 and the splint 521. The reinforcement location plate 523 is also made of flexible material so that when to be pressed from sides, it will close towards the inner side and further clamps the reinforcement 501b in the interval 523a. Thus, the tail 501 is effectively secured by the reinforcement 501b and possible effects of axial pulling forces can be substantially applied to the reinforcement 501b instead of the core 501a, thereby avoiding risk of breaking the core. Further, such a mode can easily be operated in the field.

According to the embodiment illustrated in Figure 5A, 5B and 5D, the tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502 further comprises a connection section 524 lying between and connecting the first and second sections 520 and 522. As above mentioned, the tail fiber securing base element 504, used with the tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502, is used for securing the tail fiber. Referring to Figure 5C, the tail fiber securing base element of the tail fiber securing device is shown in Figure 5 A. There are a number of slots 504a, 504b and 504c on the tail fiber securing base element 504 that are used with the tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502, corresponding to the first section 520, the second section 522 and the connection section 524 of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502, respectively. The tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502 is inserted into the tail fiber securing base element 504 so that the first section 520, the second section 522 and the connection section 524 of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502 engage with the slots of the tail fiber securing base element to wrap and secure the tail fiber 501. The slots 504a and 504c have reverse "V" shaped cross sections. When the first section 520 and the second section 522 are inserted into the slots, the slots force the walls of the U-shaped first section and the splints and reinforcement location plates towards the inner side will be provided by the reverse "V" shaped cross sections or towards the center of the device, making the "U" shaped structure, the splints 521 and the reinforcement location plates 523 close towards the inner direction to clamp the jacket 501c, core 501a and the reinforcement 501b of the tail fiber 501, respectively. Referring to Figure 5C, a groove 540 is provided in the tail fiber securing base element for core 501a of the tail fiber 501 to pass through. In the same way on the opposite side of tail fiber securing element 504 there is a slot to match with indoor fiber cable wrap 102.

In the illustrated embodiment, the tail fiber reinforcement securing element 502 of the present invention secures the tail fiber using a reinforcement securing element to secure the reinforcement thereof, such a mode can effectively secure the fiber and can easily be operated in the field. It is apparent for those skilled in the art that there are a number of means for implementing such a mode of securing, for example, the reinforcement location plates and the splints could secure the reinforcement of the tail fibers from the upper side and lower side instead of from the left side and right side as shown in the figures, or the splints can be designed on the securing base element and can clamp the reinforcement location plates when the reinforcement securing element is inserted in to the securing base element. According to another embodiment, the tail fiber reinforcement securing element comprises three parts for securing the wrap, reinforcement and core of the tail fiber respectively, and the three parts are connected by two connection sections such as the connection section 524. The part for securing the wrap of the tail fiber may have the similar structure as the first part 520 shown in figure 5D. The part for securing the reinforcement may have 2, 3 or other numbers of reinforcement location plates such as reinforcement location plate 523, further, a zig-zag structure or grooves can be provided in the work plan of the reinforcement location plates, the reinforcement location plates can be divided into two groups for forming an interval to clamp the reinforcement. And, reinforcements of the fiber can through the intervals from the backwards to the forwards, which is inverse to the direction as shown in the figures. The part for securing the core may have the similar structure as the splints 521. Therefore, no matter which means is used, all the means shall be deemed as falling in the scope of the present invention as long as the reinforcement itself is used for securing.

In combination with Figure 4 and Figure 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D, the tail fiber securing device is secured on the tray by the following way: the tray has thereon a location section for securing the tail fiber securing device, the location section and the tail fiber securing device have location structures matching each other to secure the tail fiber securing device.

Since each telecommunications user usually uses two communication fiber cables as a communication line, in one embodiment of the current invention, the tray is provided thereon with two location sections for securing two tail fiber securing devices, thereby securing the tail fibers of two general indoor optical fibers as a communication line. The structure of the tray will be further described hereinafter. Covered fiber cable securing device

The present invention also provides the covered fiber cable securing device for securing the covered fiber cable so that the core is drawn out of the covered fiber cable for splicing with the core in the tail fiber of the general indoor optical fiber. Figure 6A, 6B and 6C illustrate the structure of a covered fiber cable securing device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Referring to Figure 6A, 6B and 6C, the covered fiber cable securing device 600 has a groove 601 for the covered fiber cable 602 to pass through. The groove 601 substantially can be divided into two sections, in a first section 601a, the wrap 602b of the covered fiber 602 has not been removed and in a second section 601b, the wrap 602b of the covered fiber 602 has been removed and the core 602a is disposed. In the first section 601a of the groove 601, a barb shaped fixing structure 603 is provided, having a plurality of stings 603 a pointing to the direction along with the inserting aspect of the covered fiber 602. After the covered fiber is inserted, the stings 603 a secures the wrap 602b of the covered fiber 602. According to the experiment results, the stings 603a can provide sufficient force to prevent the covered fiber from sliding after being inserted.

As such, according to the present invention, the tray has thereon a location section for securing the covered fiber cable securing device, the location section and the covered fiber cable securing device have location structures matching each other to secure the covered fiber cable securing device.

In one embodiment, the covered fiber cable has therein two cores, so one communication line can be implemented as long as one covered fiber cable securing device is connected to one covered fiber cable according to the present invention. However, the two cores in the covered fiber cable being close to each other. In order to direct them into the core splice devices, the tray of the present invention further has thereon a covered fiber cable separating device for separating two cores of the covered fiber cable. Referring to Figure 7, the covered fiber cable separating device 610 comprises a cone-shaped separating element 612 and core guide grooves 614 at both sides of the cone-shaped separating element 612, the cone-shaped separating element 612 separating two adjacent cores of the covered fiber cable and guiding them to the core splice device through the core guide grooves 614. In operation, two adjacent cores are arranged above the cone-shaped separating element 612 and separated, the two cores move alone the surfaces of the cone-shaped separating element 612 when pressed downward and pass into the core guide grooves 614 at both sides. The two cores are guided into the core splice device through the core guide grooves 614 to respectively splice with the cores of the two general indoor optical fibers.

Tray Figure 7 A illustrates the structure of the tray in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. According to the present invention, the tray 700 has thereon a location section 702 for securing the core splice device, comprising left/right walls 703a, 703b and a block 703 c, together with the structure 703 d of the tray itself, defining a confined space having a size matching the housing of the core splice device. The location section 702 further comprises a height locating device 703e, composed of a set of " p" and "η " shaped boards to locate the core splice device in the vertical direction.

The tray 700 also has thereon a location section 704 for securing the tail fiber securing device, the location section 704, comprising walls 705a, 705b and 705c and a location clip 705d made of flexible materials for defining a confined space, when the tail fiber securing device is inserted into the space from an aperture opposite to the wall 705c, the location clip 705 d flicks up to form a horizontal location component for matching a side wall of the tail fiber securing device to secure the tail fiber securing device in the horizontal direction. Projecting portions 705 e and 705 f are also provided on the walls 705 a and 705b for matching the vertical location grooves on the tail fiber securing device to locating the tail fiber securing device in the horizontal direction (the direction parallel to the surface of the tray).

The tray 700 also has thereon a location section 706 for securing the covered fiber cable securing device, comprising walls 707a, 707b and 707c and a location clip 707d made of flexible materials for defining a confined space, when the covered fiber cable securing device is inserted into the space from an aperture opposite to the wall 707c, the location clip 707d flicks up to form a horizontal location component for matching a side wall of the covered fiber cable securing device to secure the covered fiber cable securing device in the horizontal direction. Projecting portions 707e and 707f are also provided on the walls 707a and 707b for matching the vertical location grooves on the covered fiber cable securing device to locating the covered fiber cable securing device in the horizontal direction (the direction parallel to the surface of the tray), the projecting portion 707f is not well shown in figure 7A, thus an additional figure, figure 7B is provide to show the structure of the tray from another perspective, which can show the projecting portion 707b clearly.

In accordance with the embodiment illustrated in Figure 7, the tray 700 has thereon two location sections 702 for securing two core splice device each for splicing the core in one tail fiber and the core in one covered fiber cable. The tray 700 also has thereon two location sections 704 for securing two tail fiber securing devices. The sections 704 each include a respective tail fiber securing device locator 708. The front face 405 of the tail fiber securing device 404 (see Figure 4) engages with the locator 708. The tray 700 also has thereon one location section 706. Since the covered fiber cable has two cores, only one covered fiber cable securing device is required. Section 706 includes a covered fiber securing device locator 709. The front face 409 of the covered fiber securing device 408 (see Figure 4) engages with the locator 709. The locators 708 and 709 are located a predetermined distance from one another, on the other hand, it may be interpreted as the location sections 704 and 706 are located a predetermined distance from one another. This results in the front face 405 of the tail fiber securing device 404 being a predetermined distance from the front face 409 of the covered fiber securing device 408. This predetermined distance is important to achieving an effective splice of the optical fiber cores within the core splice device. The tail fiber core 501a extends a predetermined length from the front face 405 of the tail fiber securing device 404. And the covered fiber core 602a extends a predetermined length from the front face 409 of the covered fiber securing device 408. The predetermined distance between the locators 708 and 709, along with the predetermined lengths of the optical fiber cores 501a and 602a, provides a predetermined engagement force between the fiber cores within the core splice device. This consistent, predetermined engagement force is important to having an effective and durable splice. The tray 700 as shown in Figure 7 is provided with the covered fiber cable separating device 612, which can be manufactured as a part of the tray 700 in this embodiment.

Accessorial devices

In a process of optical fiber splice, it has a significant effect on enhancement of splice quality how to cut optical fibers so as to consistently have the desired predetermined length. This predetermined length is important to achieving effective, durable splices as explained above. According to the present invention, an optional optical fiber cutting accessory is provided and used with an optical fiber cutting tool, for cutting optical fibers. Referring to Figure 8, it illustrates the structure of an optical fiber cutting element in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The optical fiber cutting accessory 800 comprises: a base 802, having an opening for using with the covered fiber cable securing device or the tail fiber securing device, and a core fix piece 804 for the core to pass through and being pulled adequately. The covered fiber cable securing device or the tail fiber securing device is put into the opening of the base 802 and the base 802 is put on a working plate of a optical fiber cutting tool. The core splice device requires a fixed length for splicing, thus the distance from the covered fiber cable securing device or the tail fiber securing device to the cutting end of the cutting tool is also fixed. Therefore, the base 802 is designed to make the distance from the covered fiber cable securing device or the tail fiber securing device to the cutting end of the optical fiber cutting tool be equal to the predetermined distance that meets the splicing requirement of the core splice device. By using the cutting accessory, an accurate length could be obtained by the cutting tool each time. This can be arranged such that the predetermined length for the tail fiber core is the same as or different from the predetermined length of the covered fiber core, as desired.

Modifications of the preferred embodiment The invention is described above with the preferred embodiment for splicing two tail fibers and a covered fiber with two cores, however, it should be noted that, by adequate modifications, as would be apparent to one skilled in the art given the teachings of the present invention, the present invention can also be used for splicing other types and numbers of fibers, such as: 1) changing the number of the tail fiber securing devices, the covered fiber cable securing devices and core splice devices in the preferred embodiment, and make corresponding modification to the tray, the present invention can be used to splice any number of tail fibers and covered fibers.

2) replacing the covered fiber cable securing devices of the preferred embodiment with tail fiber securing devices, and make adequate modifications to the tray, the present invention can be used to splice two groups of tail fibers. And, as mentioned in 1), the present invention would be able to splice any number of groups of tail fibers. 3) replacing the tail fiber securing devices of the preferred embodiment with covered fiber cable securing devices, and make adequate modifications to the tray, the present invention can be used to splice two groups of covered fibers. And, as mentioned in 1), the present invention would be able to splice any number of groups of covered fibers.

In any of the embodiments and modifications indicated above, the end faces of the fibers can be further processed before being spliced so as to meet the requirements of special applications. For example, the end faces of the fibers can be cut with a predetermined angle, for example 8 degrees, so as to implement an angled splicing and form an angled fiber link. The angled splicing can adapt the applications where high return loss is required. Similarly, the tail fiber securing device can also be used in other applications to splice other types of fibers, for example, in the process of fiber fusion, the fiber securing device can provide reliable fix on the fibers.

Summing up, with the splice apparatus of the present invention, the covered fiber cable and the tail fiber of general indoor optical fiber can be effectively spliced. Also, the tail fiber is directly secured by the reinforcement therein, and the covered fiber cable and the tail fiber of general indoor optical fiber can be firmly and stably spliced by engaging the tray as well as the core splice device, the core securing device and the covered fiber cable securing device, thereby effectively protecting the core therein. The previous description of the disclosed embodiments is provided to enable any person skilled in the art to make or use the present invention. Various modifications to these embodiments will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the generic principles defined herein may be applied to other embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Thus, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the embodiments shown herein but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and novel features disclosed herein.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. A splice apparatus for optical fiber for splicing a general indoor optical tail fiber and a covered fiber cable, comprising: a tray including a tail fiber securing device location section and a covered fiber cable securing device location section spaced apart by a predetermined distance; a core splice device, mounted on the tray, for splicing cores of the general indoor optical fiber and the covered fiber cable; a tail fiber securing device, secured on the tray adjacent the tail fiber securing device location section and connected to a tail fiber of the general indoor optical fiber, the core of the tail fiber passes through the tail fiber securing device by a first predetermined length and being spliced to the core of the covered fiber cable by the core splice device; a covered fiber cable securing device, secured on the tray adjacent the covered fiber cable securing device location section and connected to the covered fiber cable, the core of the covered fiber cable passes through the covered fiber cable securing device by a second predetermined length and being spliced to the core of the tail fiber by the core splice device; wherein the predetermined distance between the locators, the first predetermined length of the tail fiber core, and the second predetermined length of the covered fiber core are all selected so as to engage the tail fiber core against the covered fiber core with a desired engagement force in the core splice device.
2. The splice apparatus of claim 1, wherein one end of the tail fiber connected to a connector and the other end of the tail fiber passes through the tail fiber securing device with wrap removed, and the tail fiber is secured to the tail fiber securing device by utilizing the reinforcement of the tail fiber.
3. The splice apparatus of claim 2, wherein the tail fiber securing device comprises: a tail fiber reinforcement securing element, the tail fiber with wrap passing through a first end of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element and is secured by the tail fiber reinforcement securing element securing the wrap of the tail fiber, the wrap of the tail fiber is removed then and the tail fiber with wrap removed is secured by utilizing the reinforcement or strength member of the tail fiber by the tail fiber reinforcement securing element, the core of the tail fiber passes out of the other end of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element; a tail fiber securing base element, matched with the tail fiber reinforcement securing element, for wrapping and securing the tail fiber.
4. The splice apparatus of claim 3, wherein the tail fiber reinforcement securing element comprises: a first section, with "U" shape for clamping the wrap of the tail fiber to secure the tail fiber; a second section, comprising splints for aligning and securing the core and reinforcement location plates for securing the reinforcements, wherein a interval is formed between a splint and a reinforcement location plate for the reinforcement to pass through and being clamped by the splint and the reinforcement location plate so as to secure the reinforcements; a connection section for connecting the first and second sections.
5. The splice apparatus of claim 4, wherein the inner wall of the fist section with "U" shape of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element is in a zigzag form; and the first section is made of flexible material so that when the "U" shaped structure is pressed from sides, it will close towards the inner side.
6. The splice apparatus of claim 5, wherein a set of splints are provided in the middle of the second section, being close to each other; a core groove is formed at the lower middle portion of the splints for the core of the tail fiber to pass through in being aligned with tail fiber diameter, and fixing surfaces are provided at the upper middle portion of the splints, the splints are made of flexible materials so that when to be pressed from sides, it will close towards the inner side; the fixing surfaces are used to control the clamping of the splints, when the fixing surfaces of the two splints are touched, the splints will not close any more; a reinforcement location plate is provided at either side of the set of splints, forming an interval between one of the reinforcement location plate and one of the splint at each side, the reinforcement of the tail fiber goes through the interval from the forward end to the backward end, the reinforcement location plate is made of flexible material so that when to be pressed from sides, it will close towards the inner side and further clamps the reinforcement in the interval.
7. The splice apparatus of claim 6, wherein there are a number of slots on the tail fiber securing base element corresponding to the first section, the second section and the connection section of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element respectively, the tail fiber reinforcement securing element is inserted into the tail fiber securing base element so that the first section, the second section and the connection section of the tail fiber reinforcement securing element engage with the slots of the tail fiber securing base element respectively to wrap and secure the tail fiber, the slots have reverse "V" shaped cross sections, when the first section and the second section inserted into the slots, a force towards the inner side will be provided by the reverse "V" shaped cross sections, making the "U" shaped structure, the splints and the reinforcement location plates close towards the inner direction to clamp the wrap, reinforcement and core of the tail fiber respectively.
8. The splice apparatus of claim 1, wherein the tail fiber securing device location section and the tail fiber securing device have location structures matching each other to secure the tail fiber securing device.
9. The splice apparatus of claim 8, wherein the location section comprises a plurality of walls and a location clip made of flexible materials for defining a square space, when the tail fiber securing device is inserted into the space from an aperture opposite to the wall, the location clip flicks up to form a horizontal location component for matching a side wall of the tail fiber securing device to secure the tail fiber securing device in the horizontal direction , projecting portions are also provided on the side walls for matching the vertical location grooves on the tail fiber securing device to locating the tail fiber securing device in the horizontal direction.
10. The splice apparatus of claim 9, wherein the tray has thereon two location sections for securing one or more than one tail fiber securing devices, thereby securing the tail fibers of one or more than one general indoor optical fibers.
11. The splice apparatus of claim 1 , wherein the covered fiber cable securing device has a groove for the covered fiber cable to pass through, the groove substantially can be divided into two sections, in a first section, the wrap of the covered fiber has not been removed and in a second section, the wrap of the cover fiber has been removed and the core is disposed, in the first section of the groove, a barb shaped fixing structure is provided, having a plurality of stings pointing to the direction along with the inserting aspect of the covered fiber, when the covered fiber is inserted, the stings secures the wrap of the covered fiber.
12. The splice apparatus of claim 1, wherein the covered fiber cable securing device location section and the covered fiber cable securing device have location structures matching each other to secure the covered fiber cable securing device.
13. The splice apparatus of claim 12, wherein the location section comprises a plurality of walls and a location clip made of flexible materials for defining a confined space, when the covered fiber cable securing device is inserted into the space from an aperture opposite to the wall, the location clip flicks up to form a horizontal location component for matching a side wall of the covered fiber cable securing device to secure the covered fiber cable securing device in the horizontal direction, projecting portions are also provided on the side walls for matching the vertical location grooves on the covered fiber cable securing device to locating the covered fiber cable securing device in the horizontal direction.
14. The splice apparatus of claim 1, wherein the covered fiber cable has therein two cores, and the tray further has thereon a covered fiber cable separating device for separating two cores of the covered fiber cable.
15. The splice apparatus of claim 14, wherein the covered fiber cable separating device comprises a cone-shaped separating element and core guide grooves at both sides of the cone-shaped separating element, the cone-shaped separating element separating two adjacent cores of the covered fiber cable and guiding them to the core splice devices through the core guide grooves.
16. An assembly comprising the splice apparatus of claim 15 and an optical fiber cutting accessory, used with an optical fiber cutting tool, for cutting optical fibers to the first and second predetermined lengths.
17. The splice apparatus of claim 16, wherein the optical fiber cutting accessory comprises: a base, having an opening for using with the covered fiber cable securing device or the tail fiber securing device; a core fix piece for the core to pass through and being pulled adequately; when using the optical fiber cutting accessory, the covered fiber cable securing device or the tail fiber securing device is put into the opening of the base and the base is put on a working plate of a optical fiber cutting tool to make the distance from the covered fiber cable securing device or the tail fiber securing device to the cutting end of the optical fiber cutting tool be a predetermined value that satisfies the splicing requirements of the core splice device.
18. The splice apparatus of claim 1, wherein the tray has thereon a core splice device location section, the location section and the core splice device have location structures matching each other to secure the core splice device.
19. The splice apparatus of claim 18, wherein the location section comprises left/right walls and a block, the left/right walls and the block together with the structure of the tray itself, defining a confined space having a size matching the housing of the core splice device; and a height locating device, composed of a set of " p" and "η " shaped boards to locate the core splice device in the vertical direction.
20. The splice apparatus of claim 19, wherein the tray has thereon two location sections for securing two core splice device each for splicing the core in one tail fiber and the core in one covered fiber cable.
21. The splice apparatus of any one of claims 1-20, further comprising a lid for covering the tray to enclose the core splice device, the core securing device and the covered fiber cable securing device.
PCT/US2008/058181 2007-03-27 2008-03-26 Splice apparatus for optical fiber WO2008118927A1 (en)

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CN 200710089688 CN101276024B (en) 2007-03-27 2007-03-27 Optical fiber connection protecting box

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