Monday 20 November, 2017 |
HOW DO WE KEEP THE POLISHING FILM FROM MOVING？
As you probably know, the polishing process is an extremely important step in the manufacture of fiber optic cable assemblies. Your polishing process ensures your fiber optic connectors meet certain geometric parameters, industry specifications, and/or customer requirements.
When I visit fiber optic cable assembly houses, I help our customers set up their polishing process and, together, we determine the exact requirements for every step in the polishing process to support their unique application. While training customers, I often address common questions revolving around the polishing process: how to prevent film from moving, how much water to use, and how to establish good cleaning techniques to extend the life of the lapping (polishing) film.
I’ve addressed these common questions below, along with helpful tips. After reading this article, if you still have questions on your polishing process I encourage you to email your question to [email protected]
Q. “HOW DO WE KEEP THE POLISHING FILM FROM MOVING?”
A. When fiber optic cable assembly houses set up a new polishing machine and establish their polishing process, they often find that film slipping or coming off the pad is an issue. To provide uniform polishing, film should never move on the polishing pad. If the film moves with the revolutions of the polishing machine’s platen (the turntable), then you’re not accomplishing anything.
Everything may be spinning, but you’re not actually polishing the connectors. It’s extremely important to overcome this issue! In fact, this is the first thing I show people when I teach them how to polish connectors. The following tips offer pointers.
The rubber polishing pad has two surfaces that can be used: a highly polished side and a dull, unpolished side. Place the lapping film on the polished side of the rubber pad – without any liquids. This process relies on “stiction” (adhesion of the film to the pad). First, though, you need to ensure the shiny surface of the polishing pad is absolutely clean. Use a lint-free wipe and isopropyl alcohol (IPA) as a solvent to remove dirt and oils. As long as the pad’s surface area is clean – and the polishing film is clean – you will have successful stiction. After you lay the film on the rubber pad, remove air bubbles by using a circular motion with the lint-free wipe.
If you’re using a glass plate, that’s a different animal! If your process requires use of a glass plate with a non-PSA-backed film, you can apply a thin film of liquid – a combination of IPA and distilled water – to create stiction. Unfortunately, the IPA-distilled water combination doesn’t provide a lot of strength to adhere the film to the glass plate. Take time to remove air bubbles when laying the film on the plate. This will give you adequate stiction to polish on a mechanized polishing machine. Alternatively, you can use a spray-on adhesive, which can be quite messy.
You don’t want the film to slip AND you don’t want the rubber (or glass) pad to slip. During the cleaning process, liquid may seep between the pad and the platen of the polishing machine. When turned on, the spinning and downward pressure can make the pad slip, which can cause poor results. To prevent this, make sure the pad and platen are completely dry prior to the polishing step.
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