The growing demand for fiber-optic cable, especially in the telecommunications industry, has led to an increase in high-volume production of optical fiber. New high-irradiance UV LED curing systems widely deployed in the last decade for the assembly of electronics, optics, and medical devices are now being utilized by fiber-optics manufacturers as a complement or an alternative to current technology to help meet the increasing demand.
Fiber-optic cables must comply with a wide range of regulatory standards including standards for marking the cable jacket. Cable jackets are typically made of medium density polyethylene and high density polyethylene as well as polyurethane (PU) and polyamide (PA), all of which present challenges for ink adherence.
Traditional marking or printing technologies for fiber optic and electrical cables include emboss printing, indent printing, hot foil printing, hot stamp printing and sinter printing. Some of these technologies introduce unwanted stress into the fiber optic cables.
UV-curable inks present an alternative approach for marking fiber optic cables. With this technology, ink is jetted onto the cable assembly using an appropriately sized and compatible inkjet engine, then it is cured with intense UV light. Many UV-curing systems have used high-intensity lamps as a UV source. But lamp-based systems have a number of disadvantages.
The disadvantages of lamp-based systems are mitigated by using UV-LED-based curing systems. UV LED systems have a longer service life and reduced operational cost, and they are more energy efficient. They also generate relatively little heat. The UV LEDs can also be engineered to operate in tight spectral bands at, for example,365nm, 385nm, 395nm, and 405nm that work with many UV curable inks already on the market as well as new inks that are optimized for UV LED curing.
Post time: Mar-03-2022