Table of Contents
- What does a fiber cleaver do?
- How to cleave fiber optic cable?
- Common cleave defects
- Fiber Cleave Types and Their Applications
- Pen-shaped fiber scribes
- Handheld pocket cleavers (stapler-style)
- Precision desktop cleavers
- Specialized application cleavers
- Fiber Cleaver Automatic Features
- Automatic fiber scrap collection
- Automated fiber scoring mechanism
- Automatic blade rotation cleavers
- Things to ask before buying a fiber cleaver
- Select a cleaver that meets your needs
- Purchase your cleaver from a reputable manufacturer
- Should you buy a cleaver built-into a splicer?
- Buy cleavers with latest automation features
- Best Fiber Cleaver Brands in the Industry
- Fiber Cleaver Maintenance
What does a fiber cleaver do?
When we need to join two optical fibers together, we usually use mechanical splice or fusion splice.
- Mechanical splice
- Fusion splice
Both optical fiber slicing techniques require that the fiber tips are a smooth end face that is perpendicular (90°) to the fiber axis as shown below.
And an optical fiber cleaver is the tool to cut (called cleave in the fiber optic industry) the fiber in such a good way.
How to cleave fiber optic cable?
In the cleaving process, the brittle glass fiber is fractured in a controlled manner as shown below.
- The fiber is held with a tensile stress
- The fiber's surface is scratched with a very hard scribing tool, usually a diamond edge
- A sufficiently large surface crack (induced flaw) is made on the fiber surface
- This crack rapidly expands across the fiber cross section at the sound speed
- Two cleaved fiber tips are created
The crack propagation process is shown in the picture below.
A typical high precision fiber optic cleaver in action is pictured below.
This cleaving process is shown in the video below.
Since fracture is such a violent and difficult to control process, even the best commercial cleaver will sometime produce defective cleaves.
Some common types of cleave defects are shown below.
A lip is a projecting spike of glass at the periphery of the fiber tip.
Lip in a fiber cleave
A chip is an absent section of glass on the periphery of the cleaved fiber tip.
Chip in a fiber cleave
Any torsion of the fiber during the cleave will result in an angle as shown below.
Angle in a fiber cleave
Fiber Cleaver Types and Their Applications
Pen-shaped fiber scribes
Pen-shaped scribes are used for scoring the fiber before polishing.
We have it in stock here:
1. Gently draw the beveled edge of the blade across the fiber as shown below.
2. After lightly scoring the fiber, pull the fiber straight away from the connector to finish the scribe process. The fiber should shear cleanly at the scribe point.
Handheld pocket cleavers (stapler-style)
- Put the fiber in place on the leaf spring
- Press down on the base to score the fiber
- Use the lever to grip the fiber
- Bend the fiber and flexible leaf spring to break the fiber
This video shows how to use the Corning FBC-002 field cleaver.
Precision desktop cleavers
Precision cleavers are the most commonly used cleavers in the industry. They use a diamond or tungsten wheel/blade to provide the nick in the fiber. Tension is then applied to the fiber to create the cleaved end face.
we have the AFL Fujikura CT-30 fiber cleaver in stock here: https://www.fiberoptics4sale.com/products/s014076
Specialized application cleavers
- Angled optical fiber cleaver
- 80µm cladding fiber cleaver CT-38 from Fujikura
Fujikura's CT-38 cleaver is designed for cleaving silica fibers with 80μm cladding. It uses the same one step design of Fujikura's popular CT-30 cleaver.
- Ultrasonic blade cleavers from Newport
Newport offers electronically tuned ultrasonic blade cleavers - the FK11 flat cleaver and FK12 angled cleaver. They are suited for both singlemode and multimode fibers.
The ultrasonically vibrating blade moves slowly toward the tensioned fiber on stictionless damped bearings. Cleaving then takes place without damage from compressive stresses and blade intrusion into the fiber that is typical of conventional cleavers.
These products target at applications where a consistent, defect-free, but angled cleave is required, such as for semiconductor laser diode manufacturing.
Fiber Cleaver Automatic Features:
Automatic Fiber Scrap Collection
Automated Fiber Scoring Mechanism
Automatic Blade Rotation Cleavers
Standard cleavers cleave the fiber using the same blade position until that position becomes dull, resulting in poor cleaves. When this occurs, the technician must rotate and adjust the blade height, which can be a very time-consuming process.
In the past, the difficult process of blade rotation adjustments has necessitated increased service and maintenance of the fiber cleavers due to the frequent improper cleaver blade rotation and height adjustments.
Cleavers with automatic rotating blade systems utilize the complete blade surface (unlike standard cleavers) and automatically increment the cleaver blade with each cleave.
Things to ask before buying a fiber cleaver
Select a cleaver that meets your application requirements.
Cleavers that are designed for fusion splicing require a low average angle that is one degree or less, while cleavers appropriate for mechanical connectors require angles below three degrees. Determine whether you require a single- or multi-fiber cleaver that can precisely cleave one to 12 fibers at a time.
Purchase your cleaver from a reputable manufacturer or distributor.
Think twice before purchasing a cleaver built into a splicer.
The downside to these built-in cleavers is that if either the cleaver or splicer requires maintenance, the technician loses two valuable tools, which can hold up the job at hand.
Purchase a cleaver with the latest automation features that save time.
Cleavers, like fusion splicers, continue to evolve with new and improved features, such as automated fiber scrap collection, automated scoring mechanisms, and the latest automatic blade rotation technology.
Best fiber cleaver brands in the industry
AFL Telecommunications, a subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan since 2005, is widely recognized by the telecommunications industry as one of the foremost fiber optic solution providers.
Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. was founded in 1884 and since that time has played a dominant role in the growth of the global marketplace.
Since manufacturing the world's first optical fiber cable in 1974, Furukawa has led the development of optical fibers by establishing a total production system for products ranging from high-performance silica-based optical fibers to a variety of optical fiber cables manufactured under the brand name "FITEL".
Sumitomo is most well known for their consistently high-quality fusion splicers which are now considered standard equipment by many technicians and engineers in the fiber optic field.
Sumitomo also manufactures a wide variety of other fiber optic tools including fiber cleavers, fiber jacket strippers, fiber holders and fiber arrangement tools. In addition they also manufacture a full line of optical cabling, cable assemblies and fiber management systems.
Fiber Cleaver Maintenance
Cleaver Blade replacement
Blade height adjustment