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Vytran® Fiber Recoaters with UV Lamps and Proof Testers
Fiber Recoater with Rotary Proof Tester and Controller
Fiber Recoater with Linear Proof Tester and Controller
Mold Assembly for Manual Recoater (Sold Separately)
Top Fiber Block Insert (Sold Separately)
Bottom Fiber Block Insert (Sold Separately)
Building a Complete Fiber Processing System?
To build a complete system, you will need to purchase a base unit plus additional components that are dependent upon the size of the fiber being processed. We recommend that you contact us prior to ordering for assistance with choosing a system and all the necessary components. This also allows us to install and factory-align all system components within the base unit prior to shipping, ensuring optimal performance out-of-the-box.
To take advantage of this assistance, please e-mail us directly at email@example.com and a representative will contact you shortly.
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Photograph of PTR306 Fiber Recoater with Linear Proof Tester. Red arrows indicate the mold assembly, fiber block holders, and fiber block inserts.
Thorlabs' Vytran® Fiber Recoaters with UV Lamps and Proof Testers offer easy, integrated solutions to recoat and test fusion-spliced fibers. The fiber recoating process restores the buffer coating to a stripped fiber, offering more flexibility than a heat-shrink protection sleeve, enabling it to be handled and coiled without damaging the fusion-spliced section. The integrated linear or rotary proof tester allows users to immediately test a recoated fiber with a pre-determined load and determine the long-term reliability of the fiber. Due to their ability to restore a fusion-spliced fiber to near original condition, these systems are ideal for applications such as undersea optical fiber cables, submarine communication cabling, fiber lasers, or Distributed Bragg Reflector (DBR) lasers.
The process starts with the fusion-spliced section of fiber being placed in the middle of the mold assembly (see image to the right). Once set in position, inserts in the fiber blocks secure the spliced fiber in place. Recoat material is pumped into the cavity and then UV-cured. The recoated fiber can then be tested by pulling on it up to a pre-determined load.
We also offer fiber recoaters with proof testers here that use UV LEDs for curing the fiber.
Recoater and Mold Assembly Options
For our manual recoaters (Item #s PTR306, PTR306B, PTR307, and PTR307B), the mold assembly is sold separately so that customers can choose the right mold coating diameter for their application. Custom mold coating sizes are available up to Ø900 µm. Pre-installation of the mold assembly at the factory is also available. Contact Tech Support for more information on custom molds or factory assembly.
Thorlabs offers both high-index (Item # AB950200) and low-index (Item # PC373) recoat materials for use in these recoaters. Recoaters with manual injection pumps (Item #s PTR306B and PTR307B) are compatible with both types of recoat material; all other recoaters are compatible with the high-index material only. Our manual recoaters with an automatic injection system (Item #s PTR306 and PTR307) can be customized to work with both the low- and high-index recoat material; please contact Tech Support for more information.
Proof Tester Options
Inserts for Fiber Holding Blocks
Handset Controller GUI Interface
The VYT300C handset controller is included with the recoaters. It is also compatible with Vytran PTR series fiber recoaters and proof testers, as well as Vytran large-diameter fiber cleavers. One handset controller can be used to configure parameters on multiple fiber processing units in succession. Full instructions for using the handset controller can be found in the manual for each device. The screenshots below highlight key features of the graphical user interface.
The initial screen on the VYT300C Handset Controller gives the option to begin recoating and testing. Other menus can be accessed by swiping the touchscreen left or right, or by tapping the options at the top of the screen.
The Recoat and Test screen will display the status of the process that is running. The Stop button can be used to end the active Recoat or Test process. During a proof test and the injection process, the handset controller shows the parameters configured on the Edit tab.
During curing, the controller displays the parameters defined on the Edit tab and the progress of the cure. The Stop button can be used to end the active cure.
The table below outlines the entire PTR series to directly compare the capabilities across the whole line.
Must be Purchased Separately
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The PTR306B Manual Fiber Recoater shown with the included Handset Controller.
The PTR306 and PTR306B combine a fiber recoater and linear proof tester into a single unit. These recoaters use a hinged mold assembly (sold separately below) to form the mold cavity for recoating; recoat material is injected through a cross-channel in the mold’s top plate. The integrated linear proof tester can pull the recoated fiber up to a predetermined load (≤20 N) and uses the same fiber holding blocks as the recoater; therefore, both recoating and testing processes can be performed without moving the fiber.
The PTR306 and PTR306B include a controller that allows the user to program and control the unit. Adjustable settings include the inject rate, inject amount, cure time, lamp power, and proof test level; this enables the programming of custom recipes. An injection calculator provides an estimate of recoat parameters that can be refined by the user. The controller is shipped preloaded with files for common recoat and proof test parameters, but can store a virtually unlimited number of files; please see the Controller tab for details.
Recoat Injector Configurations
Selecting a Mold Assembly or Fiber Holder Inserts
Older models of the legacy PTR206B sold before 2015 (and later replaced by the PTR306B) used two different types of UV lamps (high or low power) for curing the recoat material, depending on whether low- or high-index material was being used. All current models use the high-power UV lamp (Item # UVRB, available below), which can be programmed for high- or low-powered output. For help with replacing the older, low-power lamp or to order systems that still use this lamp, please contact Tech Support.
Must be Purchased Separately
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PTR307B Recoater with Manual Injector
The PTR307 and PTR307B combine a fiber recoater and rotary proof tester into a single unit. These recoaters use a hinged mold assembly (sold separately below) to form the mold cavity for recoating; recoat material is injected through a cross-channel in the mold’s top plate. The integrated rotary proof tester can perform both proof and tension tests (≤89 N). Tension testing takes the fiber up to its breaking point, and the peak tension is recorded in units of tension (pounds, kilograms, or Newtons) or in units of stress (kpsi or GPa).
The PTR307 and PTR307B include a handset controller that allows the user to program and control the unit. Adjustable settings include the inject rate, inject amount, cure time, lamp power, and proof test level; this enables the programming of custom recipes. An injection calculator provides an estimate of recoat parameters that can be refined by the user. The controller is shipped preloaded with files for common recoat and proof test parameters, but can store a virtually unlimited number of files; please see the Controller tab for details.
Recoat Injector Configurations
Selecting a Mold Assembly or Fiber Holder Inserts
The Mold Assemblies are composed of split quartz mold plates which, when closed, form the cylindrical mold cavity around the exposed section of the fiber being recoated. They are available for Ø280 µm, Ø430 µm, or Ø600 µm fiber coatings. Custom mold sizes up to Ø900 µm are available; please contact Tech Support for more information. These mold assemblies feature a lever to assist with opening and closing the mold.
Recoat material (sold below) is injected into the mold assembly by either an automatic or manual injection system. Then, UV light cures the recoat material. Cure times are dependent on the mold size and recoat material, but they range from approximately 12 - 15 seconds for the RM280A mold assembly with high-index AB950200 recoat material to 30 - 60 seconds with the low-index PC373 recoat material. The recoater mold assembly should be cleaned throughly with isopropyl alcohol or acetone between each recoating process; reliable and repeatable performance is highly dependent on the cleanliness of the mold.
When purchasing a manual fiber recoater for the first time, it is necessary to choose a mold assembly that is appropriate for the desired fiber coating diameter. Additional mold assemblies may also be purchased and swapped out by the user. The assembly simply screws to the top of the device, making the removal and install simple and easy. Because of this, our manual recoaters are adaptable and flexible in the field and can be modified to accept varying diameters of fiber quickly. A recoater mold can be factory installed prior to shipment upon request by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also necessary to order the proper inserts (sold below) that best match the fiber diameter being used, whether purchasing a fiber recoater for the first time or updating a current recoater for a different fiber diameter.
For all the recoaters sold above, the proper set of inserts need to be selected. A total of four inserts (two top and two bottom) are required for a full unit. The inserts are seated in and secured to the fiber holding blocks. They can easily be swapped out for different sizes, allowing our recoaters to adapt quickly should different fiber coating sizes be desired.
We offer two types of inserts. The VHJ Series inserts are designed for recoaters with linear proof testers (Item #s PTR306 and PTR306B). The VHH Series inserts are designed for recoaters with a rotary proof tester (Item #s PTR307 and PTR307B).
Custom sizes are available; please contact Tech Support for more information.
Thorlabs offers UV-curable acrylate recoat materials to be used in our PTR series fiber recoaters. We offer both high-index (Item # AB950200) and low-index (Item # PC373) material in 1 oz bottles. The high-index material can be used in all recoaters (except the PRL201), whereas the low-index material can only be used in recoaters with the manual injection pump option.
The UVRB is a replacement bulb for the Vytran fiber recoaters listed to the right. Recoaters with a 50 mm recoat length are shipped with the four bulbs required for operation and recoaters with a 100 mm recoat length are shipped with eight bulbs.
Based on a schedule of 2000 recoats per month with 15 seconds per recoat, we recommend replacing the bulbs monthly. Instructions for bulb replacement are provided in the manual for each recoater or workstation (available from our website by clicking the red Docs icon next to each base unit item #).
Please note that any fingerprints on the surface of the bulb will shorten the bulb's life; avoid handling the glass envelope of the bulb. If the envelope is touched, clean with a soft lens tissue wetted with acetone or alcohol.
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The manual injector is mounted to the recoater via two 4-40 mounting screws.
The PTRRRM Manual Injector and RRMTA Injection Tube are available as replacement parts for Thorlabs' Vytran 50 mm Recoat Length Fiber Recoaters with Manual Injectors; compatible systems are listed to the right. We also offer a replacement syringe barrel (Item # RRMS).
Each injector can be mounted to compatible fiber recoaters via two 4-40, 3/32" hex screws on the recoater housing (see photo to the right). To connect the injector to the recoater mold, tighten the connector at the end of the green plastic tubing, then loosen by a 1/4 turn to allow for rotation.
The injector is equipped with a distribution valve and two-position selection lever for directing the flow of recoat material. A knurled dispensing screw with an internal plunger acts as a syringe for the recoat material. To fill the syringe, point the lever downward (i.e., toward the recoat bottle), then rotate the knurled dispensing screw counterclockwise until it spins freely to fill the syringe (shown in the photo to the right). Then, to inject the recoat material into the mold, point the lever horizontally (i.e., facing the knurled screw) and rotate the screw clockwise until near the end of the travel range is reached. Avoid bottoming out the dispenser as this may damage the internal plunger; also take care when re-engaging the threads to avoid cross threading the dispensing screw. Several fill/inject steps may be needed until air is displaced within the system. Use lens tissue and an acetone or alcohol cleaning solution to collect any excess recoat material that flows from the mold.
The RRMTA injection tube and the RRMS syringe barrel are available as replacement parts for the PTRRRM manual injector. The injection tube should be changed out if the knurl fitting breaks off the end, it leaks recoat material, or a clog forms that cannot be cleared with acetone. If the syringe no longer injects or an excessive number of air bubbles are visible in the recoat material (even after flushing the system), the syringe barrel should be replaced. A 5/16" thin spanner wrench is required for securing the syringe onto the recoat injector. Detailed installation instructions are provided in the support documentation, which can be found by clicking on the red documents icon () next to each item number.
This replacement injection tube is compatible with Thorlabs' Vytran Fiber Recoaters that use Manual Mold Assemblies and Automatic Injection Systems (Item #s listed to the right). Though each system comes with an injection tube installed, it may need to be replaced if the knurled fitting breaks off the end, it leaks recoat material, or a clog forms that cannot be cleared with acetone.
Detailed installation instructions for the RRATA injection tube are provided in the support documentation, which can be found by clicking on the red documents icon () next to the item number.
The PG200 Proof Test Grips are designed as replacements for the Vytran rotary proof testers listed to the right. Each system is sold with a set of these grips installed.
Proof test grips may need to be replaced when the fiber slips at high tension levels. After the proof test grips are replaced the system will need to be calibrated; please contact Tech Support for details. Instructions for replacing the proof test grips are provided in each system's manual.
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VHJR Rubber Strip shown partially inserted into the metal channel of a VHJT Fiber Holding Block Insert.
This 12 Pack of Replacement Rubber Strips is directly compatible with our VHJT, VHJ250, and VHJ500 fiber holding block inserts. Although one rubber strip comes preinstalled in each insert, these can wear out over time and should be replaced when the holding block insert no longer withstands the applied proof test tension.
The rubber strip features a raised profile, and care must be taken during installation to ensure this profile sits above the metal channel of the insert. Detailed installation instructions are provided in the VHJR support documentation, which can be found by clicking on the red documents icon () next to the item number.
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Screenshot of VYT300C Controller When Used with PTR403 Recoater
This handset controller is available as an alternative to the tablet controller previously included with our Vytran Large Diameter Fiber Cleavers, PTR Series Fiber Recoaters, and PTR Series Fiber Proof Testers. One handset controller is included with each new PTR series recoater system. A single handset controller can be used with multiple systems; after configuring parameters for one fiber processing unit, the controller can be disconnected and then connected to a different unit, of the same or a different type, to configure its parameters.
The handset controller must be connected via the included cable in order to use it. The controller automatically turns on when the connected system is turned on. Upon startup, the handset controller will always read parameters from the connected system; i.e., the parameters that appear on the screen will always be the parameters that have been uploaded to the connected unit. If the parameters read from the unit match the parameters of the most recently opened file on the handset controller, the screen will display the file name.
The suite of tools available through the handset controller includes a record of the total cure time of the machine (under Process Counters) that is not shown on the tablet controller. This value may be reset each time the bulbs are replaced.
The handset controller can open, save, delete, export, and import files containing parameters for compatible systems. Exporting or importing a file will require a memory device to be connected to the Program Port of the handset controller.
Instructions for using this controller can be found in the manuals for the compatible Vytran systems.