Category Archives: Bulk Fiber Cables

Fiber Optic Cable: Storage & Handling Tips

The prevalence of fiber optic cable has become a trend which is embraced globally, since optical fiber offers unsurpassed advantages. Fiber optic cables are sensitive to excessive pulling, bending, twisting, crushing and other impact forces, for any such damage may alter the fiber property and may pose threats to its performance. So, optical cable should be stored and handled in an appropriate way. This article offers recommendations for proper storage and handling of fiber optic cable.

Fiber Optic Cable Storage

Fiber optic cable can be basically categorized into indoor fiber optic cable and outdoor fiber optic cable. Indoor cables are used exclusively within buildings whereas outdoor cables are employed in outside plant applications. Here are some factors to consider for indoor and outdoor storage.

Indoor Fiber Optic Cable Storage Recommendations
  • Always keep the reel tag that comes with the cable. There is vital information on the tag which indicates the cable description, attenuation, bandwidth and cable length. All these are valid identification of the fiber optic cable for future traceability.
  • Store fiber optic cable reels standing on both flanges, or held through center. Never store a cable reel sitting on one flange surface, which will result in possible future cable damage when unwinding.

indoor optical fiber storage

  • Once rewind the fiber optic cable to another reel, the diameter of the new reel shall be compatible with the minimum bending radius of the cable. And the original cable label details should be copied to the new reel.
  • In no circumstances shall any indoor cable boxes or reels be stored outside or in a harsh environment. Instead, indoor cables should be stored in a dry and UV protected location, such as a room or container.
  • Choose a site for storage with no risk of excessive humidity, falling objects, chemical spills (oil, grease,etc.) open flames or excessive heat. Elements like moisture and other contamination should also be considered when picking storage location.
Outdoor Fiber Optic Cable Storage Recommendations

Requirements listed below are applicable to both outdoor and indoor/outdoor fiber optic cables. Ends of the cables shall be sealed during storage.

  • All fiber optic cable reels including part used should be stored upright. Always store the reel in areas with flat firm surfaces. And use appropriate devices to secure reels to prevent reel movement during storage.
  • Avoid storage areas that are susceptible to flooding, or that could damage the cable, such as sharp, uneven terrain.
  • When the cable reel is too heavy to lift manually, it must be moved upright by lifting the cable with a forklift or reel mover. Never drop a cable reel from any height during transportation or use.
  • When unloading from a vehicle, use either the tail-lift / elevator (if fitted) or a suitable mechanical aid such as a forklift truck. Never let reels drop from the vehicle to the ground.

outdoor fiber optic cable storage

  • Before de-reeling cable, the reel should be visually inspected for possible damage caused during storage.
Considerations for Handling Fiber Optic Cable

Fiber optic cable is prone to damages due to improper handling and such damages can degrade the cable performance. Therefore the following suggestions may be useful to handle fiber optic cable properly.

1. Store the cable drums in an upright position, resting it vertically on cable flange edge not in the horizontal position. The flanges of reels shall not be interleaved, and reels must not be lifted by their flanges.

proper handling fiber optic cable

2. The rolling of the drum in the direction of the arrow decreases the chance for the cable to loosen its wind on the drum. However, you should notice that when pulling the fiber optic cable off the drum to install the cable, the arrow will point in the opposite direction to the rotation of the drum. (see the picture below).

proper handling fiber optic cable

3. When moving or handling the drum by a forklift, one should operate it in a proper manner to avoid any damage to fiber optic cable. The fork should not have any direct contact with the cable jacket.

handling fiber optic cable with forklift

4. While removing fiber optic cable from the drum. It is essential to avoid any reverse bending or twisting that may ultimately deteriorate fiber performance.

proper handling optical fiber

5. Always grounding optical fiber in figure 8 configuration, which allows for pulling of cable in both directions from a central location. It is necessary to protect the figure 8 coil form passers by. The figure 8 coil should be at least 10M by 5M. So what if the longer cable is required to be unreeled? The overwhelming weight of the coil may damage the cable at the bottom. In this case, try to spread the cable out in several figure 8 coils.

fiber optic figure 8 configuration

Conclusion

Proper storage and handling of fiber optic cable help to decreas chances for accidental damages, yet increases longevity of fiber optic cable. This article simply offers a recommended guideline for optical fiber storage and handling, while it is always wise to consult a professional for your unique application.

Cable Jacket: Should I Choose LSZH or PVC?

When talking about communication cables, we commonly use terms like LSZH and PVC to describe them. These two terms describe the chemical compounds used in production of the cables. As we might be rather familiar with these widely used terms, do you exactly know what they really mean? Or more importantly, which one is better for your project? In this article, we are going to explain these frequently asked questions, by analyzing and comparing LSZH and PVC cables.

Communications-Cable

What LSZH and PVC Stand for?

LSZH—Short for low smoke zero halogen, LSZH is a kind of cable built with a jacket material free from halogenic materials (such as chlorine and fluorine), since the toxic nature of these chemicals when burned. The term “low-smoke, zero-halogen” describes two distinct properties of a cable compound. The term “low- smoke” describes the amount of smoke which a compound emits when burned, while “zero-halogen” describes the amount of halogens used to make the compound. Terms like LSOH, LSHF and LSNH are all proper references for cables possessing low-smoke and zero-halogen properties.

PVC—Polyvinyl chloride (vinyl), a general-purpose plastic jacket material used for cables. Features low in cost and flexible, PVC cable is widely used in applications such as computers, communications and low voltage wiring. In the world of cabling, “PVC” is often used to denote a cable that is not suitable for use in a plenum airspace. PVC can potentially be dangerous in a fire situation, releasing heavy smoke and hydrogen chloride gas, which poses a great threat to human health electronic devices. PVC cables often have a CM, CMG, or CMR rating as defined by the National Electrical Code (NEC).

Differences Between LSZH and PVC Cable

Judging from the physical appearance, the difference between LSZH and PVC cable is very distinct. A PVC cable feels soft and it is smooth, whereas an LSZH cable feels rough since they contain the flame retardant compound and it is stiffer. LSZH cables are more aesthetically appealing than PVC cables. In addition to this, LSZH cable differs from PVC one in at least three aspects:

Cost: LSZH cables are slightly higher in cost than some PVC cables, but they are much safer when it comes to human health and sensitive and expensive electronic equipment. And this should be considered when comparing the cost.

Flexibility: Comparing with PVC compounds, there is a limited range of compound flexibility available for LSZH compounds, so LSZH cable is not recommended for robotic or continuous flex applications.

Heat: When a PVC cable is set on fire, it emits chemical fumes, acids and other toxic gases, which are both corrosive and harmful to human beings and environments. As for LSZH cable that has a flame-resistant jacket, it doesn’t emit these chemical substances even if it burns or exposed to high sources of heat. And it can reduce the amount and density of the smoke.

LSZH-PVC-differences

When Do I Use LSZH or PVC?

It is feasible that LSZH and PVC have equally effective performance in modern buildings. So the decision on which one to choose actually depends on the situation, that is to say, where you are going to run the cable.

PVC cable has been used in built environment for power and control applications for decades. It is commonly used for horizontal runs from the wiring center, or for vertical runs between the floors—but only if the building features a contained ventilation system running through the duct work.

LSZH cable would be more appropriate for places where fire presents a hazard to occupants. We known that the primary danger in the event of a fire is not the fire itself but the smoke and gas produced. Therefore, it is vital that the materials and products that are installed contribute as little smoke and gas as possible when burnt. LSZH cable can be employed in the following situations:

  • Confined spaces with large amounts of cables in close proximity to humans or sensitive electronic equipment, such as submarines and ships.
  • Mass transit, central office facilities and telecommunication applications.

LSZH-cable-application

Conclusion

Even though PVC cable still reigns supreme in wire and cable industry, the use of which has decreased over the past years. On the other hand, LSZH cable technology has advanced significantly, it is well suited to some applications mentioned in this article. Your cabling choice always relays on your specific condition, while to consult with wire and cable experts can also be beneficial.