The transition from copper to fiber for short-haul data transmission is an inevitable trend, requiring a disruptive revolution in manufacturing methods.
As just one example, there are over 4bn USB devices on the planet (Source – In-Sat, 2014). As these transition to USB 4, which has optical fibers for the data transmission, there will be a need for a similar number of optical cables to be produced. This is in addition to the >2bn cables needed for datacentres (Source – Ethernet Alliance 2013, CIR 2014) giving a requirement of order 10bn cables.
Conventional fiber-processing techniques involve mechanical polishing and are slow, multi-step and have yield issues and cannot achieve the volumes or price points that these applications will need. These processes are also problematic to automate, leading to labour-intensive manufacturing in low cost-base locations. OpTek's patented laser processing of fibers is fast, single-step, high-yield and has been shown to be capable of meeting the quality requirements. It has the potential to meet the price points and volumes required and is well suited to automation. This makes fully automated fibre-cable manufacturing systems a possibility for the first time.