Monthly Archives: October 2011

INNO Fusion Splicer

The newest core-alignment fusion splicer to hit the US market is the INNO IFS-10 fusion splicer kit. Called The Fiber Master the IFS-10 is manufactured by INNO Instruments in Korea. This is the second Koran model we’ve tested this year that can be considered to be a true competitor to Fujikura’s dominance in the fusion splicer market, at least for single fiber splicers. The INNO is well-designed and manufactured. But not only is the INNO IFS-10 everything Fujikura is known for, including accuracy and reliability, but finally a truly quality core-alignment fusion splicer can now be purchased in the United States  for under $10k, and without resorting to the gray-market*. For the last month we have done extensive testing of the IFS-10 splicer and found it to be as good and better than the much higher priced** Fujikura FSM-60s. Without a doubt this is the best value fusion splicer you will find. For the last couple decades products coming out of Korea have gotten better overall. The other Koren fusion manufacturer, Ilsintech, makes a good product but unfortunately they have chosen somewhat to follow the Japanese-model with regard to pricing. For instance, the Fujikura FSM-60s is at this point in time, the best-selling fusion splicer in the US. However, few people understand that although AFL, which is wholly owned by Fujikura Ltd in Japan, currently sets the retail price of the 60s at $16,250, yet you can buy the exact same model in much of the world for only $8300. So this $8300 product is systematically sold for double the price in the US. Why is this? Well, it turns out the AFL is wholly owned by Fujikura Ltd the manufacturer and together they conspire to charge US customers double the price   . .. good or better than any other single-fiber, core-alignment splicer but with one huge difference, a retail price of only $9990. Never has this price been available in the US market for a splicer truly ready for the demanding US customers. The current leaders in the US are Fujikura, Fitel and Sumitomo. Each is manufactured in Japan and each unfortunately is grossly overpriced.   *The gray market for fusion splicers only exists for Fujikura brand and the other Japanese models due to these companies charging up to twice the price in to US customers than they charge for the exact same model in other countries. As long as a customer can spend $6000 or more on these splicers it’s hard to blame anyone for purchasing them. It’s important to note that for some reason we are not aware of there is only one model splicer from each of the Japanese manufacturers Fujikura, Fitel and Sumitomo which are generally sold on the gray market. The prices of ribbon, clad alignment and other splicers is a little lower outside the US but only up to 20%, and usually less. Why these companies have chosen to gauge US customers can logically be attributed to greed. Hopefully with strong competitors like the Korean manufacturers this may change someday. US business can no longer afford to pay twice as much as often their competitors overseas are paying and still stay competitive. Myself, once I find a company has a history of taking advantage of its customers I try to avoid that manufacturers as much as possible.

Fusion Splicer Electrode Replacement

When should you replace the electrodes on your splicer?  Manufactures provide guidelines in their manuals when the electrodes should be replaced.  Some  splicers also give a warning message when the splicer is turned on. Sometimes the arc counts get reset by accident and the user may not remember the arc count value.  Looking into the memory for the splice data may not be of any values since the memory may not store all of the splices due to memory storage limitations.

Electrodes of Major Brands

After having serviced numerous splicers I have found that the best way is to see how the previous splices have been performing.  If consecutive splices have resulted in higher estimated splice loss, when the fibers have been properly prepared for splicing, listening to the arc during the splice operation may give some indication of an arc problem.  There should be no sputtering sounds heard from under the wind protector cover. Some splicers have an electrode conditioning process built into the maintenance program that can clean and condition the electrodes.  Electrodes can be coated with fused deposits from the splicing process that cannot be removed by the electrode cleaning procedures. They can still be reconditioned by careful cleaning.  As long as the tip is still at a point and not bent, the electrode may still be able to provide many good splices.  If the electrode is bent at the tip, or the tip is rounded, they will need to be replaced.  The electrode length is very important for good low loss splicing.  Decreasing electrode length will cause the arc voltage to go higher causing strain on the power supply and creating an unstable arc.  This can cause  errors such as bubble or thin to appear after the splice.  If you need to replace the electrodes,  we have a good supply of electrodes and very good pricing.  Contact sales@efibertools.com.

Before and After Cleaning ... (click to enlarge)

  The figures to the right are pictures taken through a microscope of an electrode from a FSM-60S splicer.  The top picture is a view of the electrode before cleaning. See the buildup of deposits on the tip of the electrode.  The tip is still pointed and not bent.  Take a piece of emery paper and fold it into a “V” pocket in one hand. With the other hand, insert the electrode into it and begin rotating the electrode several times.   See the bottom figure for an after view of the cleaned electrode. After cleaning the electrode and before re-installing, perform an arc stabilization/calibration then begin splicing the fibers again.

Fujikura FSM-60s User Manual

User manual for Fujikura 60s fusion splicer.   [pdf issuu_pdf_id=”111103023610-c4bdba027ee64a2d9e6f98fb689e5124″]