Routing laser using laser fiber
When routing laser energy though laser fiber, make sure the delivery fiber does not exceed its minimum bend radius (usually around 6 inches, or 150mm) because bending a fiber beyond this limit may overstress the fiber, leading to potential power losses or in the worst case, a broken fiber.
It is rare for a fiber to fail, but it is nonetheless serious when such a situation occur. The potential can be prevented by equipping the system with fiber breakage detection, which can sense when the fiber has been damaged. The more advanced detection systems test the fiber prior to firing of the laser. Best working practice is to route the fiber above ground, not touching the floor between the laser and workstation to avoid the possibility of crushing the fiber, then coil and hang excess fiber length at the workstation. If the focus head will be moving in the case of a robotic arm, give sufficient slack, and again make sure the fiber’s connection to the focus head avoids exceeding the minimum bend radius.
Most system integrators will usually provide the correct space within the workstation, but it is important to note that cable management from the workstation to the laser is the responsibility of the end user. It is also worth noting that increasing the length of the fiber does not result in a significant decrease in delivered power as the delivery of the laser through the fiber is very efficient. The main power losses occur at the fiber’s entry and exit from the laser. It is important to keep the entry and exit point clean, free from debries, dust, oil and solvants.
Please read our post on maintenance of optics for some tips on how to increase lifespan of your optics by regular maintenance.
|Allowable bending radius|
Since the core of fiber optic cable is silica (glass), proper Laser Fiber Handling procedures need to be observed at all times. We have put together a list of the most important Laser fiber handling procedures. The intent of these procedures is to maintain optimum performance of the laser fiber, minimum loss and most of all, a safe working environment.
- Protect the exposed Laser fiber end from coming in contact with all surfaces. Always use the protective cap.
- The use of high-pressured compressed air should NOT be used at all times.
- Clean the connector with alcohol each time it is inserted into an adapter . Make sure that the adaptor is clean before inserting the Laser Fiber
- The minimum bend radius of the fiber must be maintained. Please refer to our article on minimum bend radius for more information.
- If a fiber is fastened using tie wraps, do not over tighten.
- Unused connectors should always be covered or capped. Always keep the end of the fiber pointed down to prevent any falling debris from landing on the end of the fiber. Never touch the end of the fiber or blow on it with your mouth. Saliva particles or dust might stick onto the fiber ends resulting is more damage.
- When holding the connector, hold only the collar and main body of the connector. Never touch the brass part or the tip of the fiber optic cable.
- Use fiber-cleaning materials only once. Only Lint free lens/optic paper and Powder Free latex gloves should be used.
- For safety, never inspect a fiber optic cable while looking directly into the fiber end while connected to a laser source. Always disconnect the laser fiber from the laser source and keep the un used side capped before conducting any inspection. Eye damage may occur if you stare directly at an active fiber end.
If you have any questions about Laser Fiber Handling, please call us before operating or cleaning any laser parts. Laser fiber should always be handled by a trained personal and laser protection googles are to be worn at all times when laser source is in operation.