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Portable, Large-Diameter Fiber Cleaver for Ø200 µm to Ø800 µm
Portable Large-Diameter Fiber Cleaver
Top and Bottom Fiber Holder Inserts
Included Handheld Controller Provides Easy-to-Use Interface
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A close-up of the cleave assembly on the LDC450B. A clamping screw on the top of each holding block can be tightened to provide extra clamping force for gripping fibers with outer diameters ≥500 µm. Magnets in each holding block provide sufficient force for clamping smaller fiber diameters.
Build Your System
The LDC450B Portable Large-Diameter Fiber Cleaver precisely cleaves fibers with claddings from 200 µm to 800 µm in diameter, and is designed to produce flat cleaves perpendicular to the length of the fiber. For ease of use and versatility in both manufacturing and research environments, this fiber cleaver features a rechargeable battery and includes our VYT300C Handheld Controller.
The cleaver uses the "tension-and-scribe" cleaving process, where tension is applied along the length of the fiber followed by an automatic scribing process utilizing a diamond cleave blade. After the blade scribes the fiber, tension is maintained, causing the scribe to propagate across the fiber width and complete the cleave. The cleaver also has settings to carry out an automated "sub-critical" scribe process designed to improve the cleave quality in specialty fibers, such as photonic crystal fiber (PCF), microstructured fibers, capillary tubes, or highly stressed fibers (multimode or polarization maintaining). The cleaver is equipped with a flat-tipped micrometer backstop, which can help improve end-face quality when performing low-tension cleaves. See the Cleaving Guide tab for details.
The cleaver uses a diamond blade for scribing the fiber. When used with proper cleave parameters, a single location on the blade can provide up to 5,000 cleaves (dependent on the cladding properties of the fiber being cleaved). The cleaver is designed so that the cleave blade can be repositioned approximately nine times before replacement (assuming proper cleave parameters and usage that does not cause unexpected damage to the blade). We only recommend using these cleavers with fibers that have a glass cladding; other materials, such as plastic, will rapidly degrade or damage the blade. Replacement blades are available separately below.
To cleave Ø80 µm to Ø1.25 mm fibers, Thorlabs offers the LDC401 and LDC401A Large-Diameter Fiber Cleavers, which produce flat and angled cleaves, respectively. Both are equipped with a vacuum pump to aid in positioning smaller fibers with diameters <200 µm. In addition to the portable large-diameter fiber cleaver, we offer the FPS300 Stripping and Cleaning Station, the LFS4100 Fiber Splicer, GPX4000LZ CO2 Laser Glass Processor and the GPX3400 and GPX3600 Glass Fiber Processing Stations. Many of the fiber holder inserts that are compatible with the LDC450B cleaver are also compatible with these other fiber processing systems, making it easy to move the fiber between stations.
Programmable Cleave Parameters
This portable, large-diameter fiber cleaver is designed to provide easy operation when performing simple cleaves but still support customized processing for more complicated cleaves involving specialty fibers. A complete list of modifiable parameters is listed below. The majority of users will only need to enter the Fiber Diameter (cladding), Cleave Tension, and Pre-Cleave Advance while leaving the rest of the parameters set to their default values. To further simplify the process, the handset controller features an autoset function that will estimate an appropriate Cleave Tension and Pre-Cleave Advance based on the fiber diameter, although these values can be adjusted by the user if necessary.
Handset Controller Cleave Parameter Definitions
The definition of each of the parameters that can be entered into the handset controller are described below.
Fiber Diameter: The diameter of the fiber cladding. This is also the fiber cleave parameter file name.
Cleave Tension: The load applied axially to the fiber prior to initiating the scribe process. These cleavers are calibrated using standard weights that are hung off of a pulley, so the tension settings are programmed into the handset controller in grams. Possible settings correspond to a range of tensions from 9.8 mN (0.0022 lbs) to 63.7 N (14.3 lbs).
Pre-Cleave Advance: Before cleaving, the cleave blade must move closer to the fiber. The location of the blade just prior to cleaving is set using this parameter. One step corresponds to 0.00006" (1.5 µm).
Set FHB Offset: This stands for "Set Fiber Holding Block Offset". It is the distance that the left fiber holding block will be shifted to the left from the "home" position prior to loading the fiber. This allows the user to adjust the distance between the edge of the holding block and the cleave point.
Tension Velocity: The speed at which tension is applied to the fiber prior to cleaving. One step corresponds to 0.00003125" (0.8 µm).
Cleave Peck Cycles: To properly cleave the fiber, the cleave blade will ideally make one single, quick contact with the fiber. In order to achieve this, the blade will begin to oscillate forward and backwards after the pre-cleave advance distance has been traveled. This parameter sets the total number of oscillations that will occur during the cleave process.
Cleave Forward Steps: This parameter controls how far the blade moves towards the fiber during the "forward" portion of the cleave peck cycle. One step corresponds to 0.00006" (1.5 µm).
Cleave Reverse Steps: This parameter controls how far the blade moves away from the fiber during the "backward" portion of the cleave peck cycle. One step corresponds to 0.00006" (1.5 µm).
Scribe Delay: This is the delay in milliseconds between each cleave peck cycle. It provides time for the scribe to propagate across the fiber, completing the cleave, before the blade moves forward again. This helps prevent the blade from contacting the fiber more than once.
Set Blade Offset: Adjusts the position that the blade returns to after homing. This allows the starting point for the pre-cleave advance and subsequent cleave peck cycles to be globally adjusted. One step corresponds to 0.00006" (1.5 µm).
Special Sub-Critical Process Parameters
During the Sub-Critical Process, additional tension is applied to the fiber after the scribe occurs.
Post-Scribe Pause: The time, in seconds, between the last oscillation of the cleave blade and the first increase in tension applied to the fiber.
Re-Tension Pause: The time between subsequent increases in the tension applied to the fiber (all increases in tension after the first one, which occurs after the Post-Scribe Pause).
Re-Tension Level: The tension is increased incrementally after the scribe. This is the amount by which the tension is increased after the Post-Scribe Pause and each Re-Tension Pause. These cleavers are calibrated using standards weights that are hung off of a pulley, so the tension settings are programmed into the handset controller in grams. Possible settings correspond to a range of tensions from 9.8 mN (0.0022 lbs) to 0.98 N (0.22 lbs).
Re-Tension Limit: The maximum amount of additional tension that will be applied to the fiber as a percentage of the original tension.
Fiber Holder Insert Selection Guide
Fiber Holder Inserts, which are designed to hold various sized fibers within the cleaver, must be purchased separately. The bottom inserts have V-grooves to hold the fiber, while the top inserts each feature a recessed, flat surface that clamps the fiber against the V-groove in the bottom insert. Each top and bottom insert is sold individually, as the fiber diameter clamped by the left and right holding blocks may not be the same. Two top inserts and two bottom inserts are required to operate the cleaver.
The table below indicates the maximum and minimum diameters that can be accommodated by different combinations of top and bottom inserts. It also indicates how far offset the fiber will be for recommended combinations of top and bottom inserts. Note that the fiber outer diameter may be the fiber cladding, jacket, or buffer. If one side of the fiber is being discarded, it is preferable to clamp onto the cladding of this section except in special cases (such as non-circular fiber) where the coating or buffer may be preferable. Sections of fiber that are not being discarded should always be clamped on the coating or buffer in order to avoid damaging the glass. This may require different sets of fiber holder inserts to be used in the left and right holding blocks. In this case, it is important to minimize the difference in the offsets introduced by the left and right sets of inserts when attempting to produce perpendicular, flat cleaves.
Each V-groove can accommodate a range of fiber sizes.
Fiber Holder Insert Selection Chart
Tension-and-Scribe Cleave Process
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An illustration of the tension-and-scribe method as used by the LDC450B cleaver to produce a flat cleave. Tension is applied along the optical axis of the fiber prior to cleaving. A diamond blade then scribes the fiber, and the tension causes the scribe to propagate across the fiber in a plane that is orthogonal to the direction of the tension.
Tension-and-Scribe Cleave Process
The LDC450B cleaver use the "tension-and-scribe" cleaving process, where tension is applied along the length of the fiber followed by an automatic scribing process utilizing a diamond blade. After the blade scribes the fiber, tension is maintained, causing the scribe to propagate across the fiber width and complete the cleave.
Sub-Critical Process for Cleaving Specialty Fibers
Certain specialty fibers, such as photonic crystal fiber (PCF), microstructured fibers, capillary tubes, or highly stressed fibers (multimode or polarization maintaining) may require special parameters in order to create clean cleaves at the desired angle. These Vytran® fiber cleavers can be programmed with a "sub-critical" cleave process in order to produce high-quality cleaves for these fiber types.
For these cleaves, the initial tension applied to the fiber is lower than what would be required for the standard "tension-and-scribe" process. The included micrometer backstop prevents the fiber from bending when it is scribed at this lower tension. After the scribe, the tension is slowly, incrementally increased, which serves to propagate the scribe across the fiber and complete the cleave. Parameters for this process can be adjusted using the handset controller, including the starting and ending tension and how fast the tension is increased after the initial scribe.
The following information is intended to provide a starting point when selecting the best process to use for cleaving different types of fiber. To achieve the best possible cleave results, further experimentation is typically required to fine-tune the cleave parameters for each specific fiber type.
Standard Process: The tension-and-scribe method where a constant tension is applied to the fiber, the fiber is scribed, and the tension causes the scribe to propagate across the fiber to produce the cleave.
Sub-Critical Process: This process starts with a lower tension applied to the fiber than required by the standard cleaving process. After the fiber is scribed, the tension is slowly increased until the scribe propagates across the fiber and the cleave is complete. This can improve the cleave quality in highly stressed or specialty fibers.
Micrometer Backstop: The tip of the micrometer is positioned so that it just touches the fiber, providing a surface that prevents the fiber from deforming when contacted by the cleave blade during scribing. It is particularly useful when cleaving large-diameter fibers or when using the lower-tension sub-critical process.
Handset Controller GUI Interface
The VYT300C handset controller is included with the LDC450B portable, large-diameter fiber cleaver. This controller is also compatible with the LDC401 and LDC401A Vytran large-diameter fiber cleavers, as well as Vytran PTR fiber recoaters and proof testers. 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. The screenshots below highlight key features of the graphical user interface.
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The initial screen on VYT300C handset controller prompts the user to load the fiber, as well as providing the options to start a cleave with the displayed parameters and to home the fiber holding blocks. Other menus can be accessed by swiping the touchscreen left or right, or by tapping the options at the top of the screen.
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During a cleave, the handset controller monitors the cleave tension and the number of cleave peck cycles. It also displays parameters defined in the edit tab.
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The Tools Screen provides several utilities that are used for maintenance or troubleshooting.
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The Edit menu shows parameters that can be configured by the user. These parameters are the same as those that can be edited using the tablet controller.
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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.
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Fiber files can be saved onto the internal storage of the handset controller.
Must be Purchased Separately
Optional Accessories (Sold Separately)
The Vytran LDC450B Portable Large-Diameter Fiber Cleaver produces high-quality, flat cleaves in fibers with claddings from Ø200 µm to Ø800 µm in order to support precision splicing applications. This cleaver features a diamond cleave blade, a micrometer backstop that enables low-tension cleaves in specialty fibers, and a ruler block and translating fiber holding block to align the point to be cleaved. For ease of use and versatility in both manufacturing and research environments, this fiber cleaver features a rechargeable battery and includes our VYT300C Handheld Controller.
The left fiber holding block is connected to the same motorized stage as is used in our linear proof testers and includes a load cell that allows the system to internally monitor the tension applied to the fiber during the cleave process. The position of this holding block can be adjusted prior to cleaving by entering the desired position, with micron-level precision, into the handset controller (display units are in millimeters).
The VYT300C handset controller included with each cleaver allows the parameters of the cleave process to be precisely controlled. Adjustable settings include the fiber tension, velocity at which the tension is applied to the fiber, how quickly the scribe approaches the fiber, and fiber diameter. The handset controller is shipped preloaded with five files for common cleave parameters. See the Controllers tab for details.
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Status Indicator LEDs on the LDC450B Cleaver
Once the desired cleave parameters are set and loaded into the cleaver, the handset controller can be removed and the cleaving process initiated by pressing the blue button on the top of the unit. For manufacturing environments with multiple cleaving stations, this feature streamlines the production process by allowing the same cleave parameters to be easily loaded into multiple LDC450B cleavers.
Ideal for manufacturing environments, the LDC450B features a rechargeable battery that has a lifetime of 5.5 hours with the handset controller plugged in and 10 hours with the handset controller unplugged. Several indicator LEDs are included on the housing to display the status of the cleaver; see the image to the right. Three green lights in a battery icon indicate the battery level of the unit, an orange LED next to a lightning icon indicates that the battery is charging, and a halo around the power button means the unit is on. The status LED changes based on the state of the unit; please see the manual for details.
These cleavers use fiber holding blocks that are compatible with the FPS300 Stripping and Cleaning Station, LFS4100 Fiber Splicer, GPX3000 Glass Fiber Processing Stations, and GPX4000LZ CO2 Laser Glass Processor, allowing fiber to be moved easily between systems. Fiber Holder Inserts are available below in a variety of sizes and must be purchased separately. Nylon-tipped setscrews are used to secure the inserts in the fiber holding blocks; replacement 2-56, 1/8" long SS2SN013 setscrews are available in packs of 10. A selection guide is provided on the Fiber Holder Inserts tab to aid in determining which inserts are appropriate for the fiber to be cleaved.
Each unit is shipped with a power supply and location-specific power cord.
The LDC450B cleaver does not include an internal vacuum pump, making it suitable only for fibers with diameters ≥200 µm. To cleave fibers with smaller diameters, our LDC401 and LDC401A cleavers with vacuum-assisted loading should be used.
The portable large-diameter fiber cleaver requires a pair of Top and Bottom Fiber Holder Inserts to be placed in each of the fiber holding blocks in order to clamp the fiber during the cleaving process. Each top insert consists of a bar that has a recessed area on one or both sides, designed to clamp the fiber against the V-groove in a bottom insert. The inserts sit in the top section of the fiber holding blocks and are available in a variety of groove sizes. Top inserts are sold individually, and two are required to use these cleavers.
The top and bottom inserts (available below) can be paired in different combinations, outlined on the Fiber Holder Inserts tab above, to accommodate fiber with outer diameters from 112 µm to 3.198 mm.
While the portable large-diameter fiber cleavers can only cleave fibers with cladding diameters from 200 µm up to 800 µm, we offer inserts that can accommodate larger outer diameters as there are cases where the fiber should be clamped on the coating instead of the cladding. During a typical cleave, it is often desirable to clamp the cladding on the side to be discarded and the coating on the side of the fiber that will be retained. Alternatively, the fiber may be center stripped and the coating clamped on both sides (preferable in some cases, such as creating a firm clamp on non-circular fiber). Therefore, multiple combinations of top and bottom inserts may be required to accommodate all of the diameters that need to be clamped. The Fiber Holder Insert tab above includes information and a table to aid in selecting the correct combinations of top and bottom inserts to accommodate different fiber diameters.
The large-diameter fiber cleaver requires a pair of Top and Bottom Fiber Holder Inserts to be placed in each of the fiber holding blocks in order to clamp the fiber during the cleaving process. Each bottom insert has a V-Groove on one or both sides that can accommodate a range of diameters (as indicated in the table to the right).
Three types of bottom inserts are available for the portable large-diameter fiber cleaver. Standard bottom inserts for fiber with an outer diameter <Ø1.047 mm have vacuum holes; note that the LDC450B cleaver is not equipped with a vacuum pump, and this feature is for other compatible Vytran systems. For certain fiber diameters, we also offer transfer inserts (Item #s beginning with VHF) designed to work with the VHT1 transfer clamps (available below) that aid in moving the fiber between compatible Vytran stations while maintaining coarse alignment. The VHE series of fiber holder bottom inserts have a V-Groove on one (VHE25 and VHE30) or both sides (VHE10, VHE15, and VHE20) but do not include vacuum holes. The VHF transfer inserts and VHE bottom inserts can both be installed in other, compatible Vytran stations, although the VHE bottom inserts cannot be used with the VHT1 transfer clamp.
Bottom inserts are sold individually, and two are required to use the large-diameter cleaver. If using the fiber cleaver as a stand-alone device, the VHD series or VHE series inserts will be sufficient. If using the cleavers with other compatible Vytran systems, the bottom insert in the left fiber holding block can be replaced with a transfer insert and VHT1 transfer clamp (available below) for certain fiber sizes, as indicated in the table to the right. Typically, these transfer inserts would only be used in the left fiber holder block, as the right fiber holding block usually clamps the side of the fiber that will be discarded. The right fiber holding block of the LDC450B can accept transfer inserts, if desired.
The top (available above) and bottom fiber holder inserts can be paired in different combinations, outlined on the Fiber Holder Inserts tab above, to accommodate fiber with outer diameters from 112 µm to 3.198 mm. Though the LDC450B cleaver accepts fiber diameters from 200 to 800 µm, inserts that accommodate outer diameters >800 µm can also be used, as there are cases where the fiber should be clamped on the coating instead of the cladding. During a typical cleave, it is often desirable to clamp the cladding on the side to be discarded and the coating on the side of the fiber that will be retained. Alternatively, the fiber may be center stripped and the coating clamped on both sides (preferable in some cases, such as creating a firm clamp on non-circular fiber). Therefore, multiple combinations of top and bottom inserts may be required. The Fiber Holder Inserts tab above includes information and a table to aid in selecting the correct combinations of top and bottom inserts to accommodate different fiber diameters.
These Transfer Clamps and V-Grooves are used with the VHF Transfer Bottom Inserts sold directly above to move a single fiber between various Vytran systems with minimal loss of alignment. For example, a fiber can be placed in a transfer insert and cleaved using the LDC450B cleaver. Then, the entire transfer insert and fiber can be moved to a splicer or glass processor for splicing.
The VHT1 clamp secures transfer inserts with a magnetic lid that prevents axial movement of the fiber and can be used to hold the insert during transport without touching the fiber itself. For fibers with diameters ≤550 µm, a graphite V-groove is available to support the fiber when splicing (please see the size table to the right for more information). The graphite V-grooves are secured by tightening two setscrews on the transfer insert.
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The blade is shipped in a protective covering.
The ACL83 Diamond Cleave Blade is a replacement blade for the Vytran fiber processing systems listed to the right. Each system is shipped with a blade included.
When used with proper cleave parameters, a single location on the blade can provide up to 5,000 cleaves (dependent on the cladding properties of the fiber being cleaved). The blade can be positioned approximately 10 times before replacement (assuming proper cleave parameters and usage that does not cause unexpected damage to the blade). Blade replacement instructions for each system are provided in the user manuals.
Note: Severe damage to the blade can occur if conditions cause high stress perpendicular to the edge of the blade or if incorrect parameters are used to cleave the fiber.