Clean Your Splicer to Maintain Splicing Integrity
In our last blog post, we discussed how cleaning your splicer can ensure optimal performance. Let’s continue that discussion with some additional cleaning tips to ensure your splicer is maintaining its integrity.
Daily Cleaning – Let’s review the causes and effects of bad splicer hygiene and how to combat them by cleaning your machine daily.
- Sleeve Heater Oven – Be sure the oven is completely cooled before attempting to clean. Open the heater door and brush it out well. If debris is stuck on the base of the heater, use the back of the brush or a tweezer to delicately remove it without scratching or damaging the surface.
- Cleaver – Good cleave angles are the gateway to successful splicing results, and a well-maintained, clean cleaver is tantamount to success. If you have a chip bin, you should empty it daily, making sure to safely discard the shards so they cannot harm anyone handling the trash. Currently, there are two types of cleavers, they can be built on board like our All-In-One or can be independent units.
- Fixed blade cleavers use the same spot on the blade to cut the fiber until the technician manually moves the blade. Typically, (barring damage) each of the 16 positions is good for 2-3,000 cleaves before it needs rotation.
- Rotating blade cleavers have up to 25 positions that move after each cleave and require no user intervention for 75,000 cleaves.
Most F/S display the cleave angle before splicing. The technician has to monitor a steady rise in cleave angles for fixed blade units and move the blade when they are consistently high. Rotating blade cleavers should be fine for many years unless there is damage to the blade which cannot be fixed. Cleaning a cleaver is achieved by first inspecting it and removing any fiber chards or jacket debris with tweezers and then emptying the chip bin (if one is present), followed by brushing the unit all over. DO NOT LET ANY DEBRIS FALL IN AND AROUND THE BLADE. OVER TIME THIS COULD AFFECT THE OPERATION OF THE CLEAVER MECHANISM! If the cleaver is not attached to the F/S, you can use compressed air to clean out any debris over a trash bin with eye protection.
Weekly/Bimonthly Cleaning – If you are keeping up with daily cleaning, every week or two, you should do a more in-depth cleaning that incorporates other areas of the splicer. This will require some fiber cleaning solution (99.99% alcohol only or an approved fiber optic cleaner).
- Perform A Very Thorough Daily Cleaning – Perform your daily clean but be very thorough and inspect all surfaces well. Make sure to get around the dust channel of the wind cover built into the splicer body and any other areas that you might not clean daily.
- Wipe Down – This step requires some restraint as “dryer is better and wetter is not good.” Wet a fiber wipe with enough fiber cleaner or 99.99% alcohol enough to make it damp. When you wipe a surface, it SHOULD NOT LEAVE any moisture on the surface. Make sure the heater and thermal stripper are off and cool. Wipe down all the surfaces that you typically brush when you daily clean. Pay extra attention to the rubber pads that hold the fiber in the thermal stripper and cleaver. Next, in the fusion chamber, take a fresh damp wipe and clean the V-Grooves. Having a jewelers loupe will assist you in seeing what debris is on the V-Grooves as they are often smaller than a grain of sand. Apply pressure as you clean the V-Grooves as debris will bake onto them if not removed regularly. Take another damp wipe and clean the remaining surfaces under the wind cover EXCEPT FOR THE ELECTRODES.
- Electrode Cleaning – Remove the electrodes. Usually, a screwdriver is needed but DO NOT TOUCH THE METAL ELECTRODE itself as it will transfer body oil which could affect their performance. Take them out and clean them well with a damp wipe, and set them aside, making sure to put them back into the exact location after cleaning the cameras (below).
- Camera Cleaning – You will need electronic lint-free swabs for this task. Once the electrodes are removed, you can look into the area underneath to locate the camera lenses. Use only lint-free dry swabs in a circular motion to clean the lens surface. Replace the electrodes once the lens is clean, making sure NOT TO TOUCH the metal surface of the electrodes.
- Arc Calibration – An arc calibration should be performed when there are changes in altitude, temperature or humidity. The F/S has sensors that regulate the arc sent to the electrodes based on environmental conditions. When you remove the electrodes, you should also perform an arc calibration to ensure that the F/S is working properly, as an arc calibration will test all the system components. ALWAYS USE SINGLE MODE fiber for an arc calibration.
- Clean Out Your Hardcase – If you keep gear or supplies beyond what originally came with your F/S, you should occasionally empty your hardcase and clean it with a multipurpose cleaner to remove dust or debris that can transfer to the F/S or cleaver.
Warranty Non/Warranty Maintenance – All America Ilsintech fusion splicers come with a 36-month warranty that includes two maintenance/software upgrade visits at no charge. These are valued at more than $300 each by some of our competitors. You can call America Ilsintech to get an RMA#, and we will, at no charge, deep clean your fusion splicer, upgrade the software and address any minor issues. If more involved problems are discovered, we will prepare an estimate for any repairs that are not covered by the warranty. Items not covered by the warranty are typically physical damage or repair damage due to user error.
Happy Cleaning and be on the lookout for a future article on stripping and cleaning fiber and connectors. If you would like more information about our family of Swift Fusion Splicers, please contact one of our technical representatives to schedule your demo today.