Optical Connections Magazine Spring 2023


cleaning fluid to increase the humidity on the end face and dissipate the surface static. During the wet-to-dry cleaning process, a technician uses a section of an optic-grade cleaning wipe, dampened with a static dissipative cleaning fluid. The technician wipes the connector end face starting at the damp area and moving in one direction towards the dry area of the cleaning wipe. This removes the contamination and minimises the static charge in one swipe. In the case of port cleaning sticks or click-to-clean devices, the cleaning stick or device is dampened with the cleaning fluid first and then used to clean the end face.

delicate coatings. And since it is non- flammable, it out-performs the more customary IPA and acetone options for fire safety. THE NEW STICKLERS ™ PRO 360™ SOLUTION MicroCare™ offers a complete line of Sticklers™ brand of cleaning fluids and tools that are engineered specifically for fibre cleaning during initial network deployments or any subsequent network upgrades, repairs or maintenance. This includes long-established dry wipes, non- flammable cleaning fluids, click-to-clean

features a team of chemists and technical engineers to help companies use these fluids and tools properly, safely and most economically. MicroCare™ has an ISO 9001:2015 registered quality system and is continually improving and expanding its range of products with full R&D labs located in Connecticut and Colorado. MicroCare™ has manufacturing facilities and global logistics centres in Connecticut and Colorado in addition to facilities in the U.K. and Singapore. MicroCare™ products include the MicroCare™ cleaning fluids, Sticklers™ fibre optic cleaners, and MicroCare Medical™ cleaning, disinfecting and lubricating fluids. CONCENTRATING ON CLEANING Although MicroCare™ and Sticklers™ provide products for a variety of industries, the focus remains unchanged. For the past forty years, critical cleaning is all that MicroCare™ and Stickers™ does. Whether it’s a fibre optic connection for a home security network, a printed circuit board in a defense satellite, a commercial jet engine nozzle, a silicone tube to deliver live-saving medication or a robot-assisted clamp applied during a complex surgery, all must be critically clean to work without fail. MicroCare™ and Sticklers™ are committed to cleaning. They have not expanded into other areas such as manufacturing their own line of fibre optic cables or fibre splicing tools. MicroCare™ stays true to their critical cleaning core so fibre optic professionals can rely on MicroCare™ and Sticklers™ for ‘when you need perfectly clean splices and connectors™’.


Water and IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) are common choices for wet-to-dry cleaning, but are hard to buy in high purity packaging and difficult to keep clean and uncontaminated during day-to-day use. IPA also absorbs water and minerals from the atmosphere which redeposit onto the fibre end faces, which could potentially interfere with the optical signal. The water molecules in IPA are also slow-to-dry, so it takes technicians longer to clean. A better option is a specially-engineered optical grade cleaning fluid for fibre optic connectors. The optical grade fluids are fast-drying, static dissipative and are sold in hermetically sealed packaging to prevent spills and maintain the high purity of the contents. The fast-drying time is especially important for fibre cleaning since it speeds cleaning time while repelling moisture and other contaminants. Some installers may use aerosol duster products to speed the cleaning and drying of the fibre. However, this increases the static charge on the end face (attracting more contamination) and pushes the debris around the area being cleaned. In addition, engineered optical grade cleaning fluids are non-flammable and non-hazardous, making them safer to store, and easier to transport either by air or inside service vehicles. This is an important benefit, especially if a technician drives or flies to remote installation or service sites and needs to bring their cleaning tools and fluids with them. PHOTONICS, ADVANCED RESEARCH LASERS & OPTOELECTRONICS A good, engineered fibre cleaning fluid is also ideal for cleaning lenses, prisms, diffraction gratings, optical filters, mirrors and other photonic devices. The dense cleaning fluid dissolves oils and lifts away buffing compounds and instantly removes water from surfaces without damaging

tools and swabs. Most notable however, is the brand- new Sticklers™ Pro360™ Touchless Cleaning tool. A hand-held dispensing wand, outfitted with a variety of adapters (including 1.25mm and 2.5mm), delivers a micro-dose of atomised cleaning fluid within a narrow column of pressurised air onto an end face. It thoroughly cleans the entire end face, all the way to the ferrule edge, without making any physical contact. The contamination evaporates away with the cleaning fluid. The simple push button operation makes end face cleaning easier, especially for newer fibre technicians coming into the industry, addressing the current fibre skills gap. Technicians can concentrate on the more difficult jobs like splicing fibre connections or operating more complicated testing equipment. The new tool makes cleaning easy, quick and efficient for nearly everyone, no matter their skill or training level. MORE THAN FIBRE OPTICS MicroCare™ and its Sticklers™ division provide cleaning tools and fluids to a variety of industries outside the fibre optic arena including electronics, metal finishing, transportation, medical device manufacturing, and medical/dental infection prevention. MicroCare™ also The Sticklers™ Pro360 ™quickly and completely clean oils and dust across the entire end face of both male and female connector ends, with just the press of a button.

Rick Hoffman is Commercial Sales Manager for the Sticklers™ Fibre Group, a division of MicroCare™. He has more than twenty years of fibre optic network training and sales experience. For more information, visit www.microcare.com.



ISSUE 32 | Q1 2023

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