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News

BOC introduces on-site chlorine purification for optical fiber manufacture

BOC Gases : 21 September, 2006  (Company News)
BOC has developed a patent-pending on-site chlorine purification technology that reduces optical fiber manufacturing costs by converting cheaper industrial grade chlorine into high-purity, lower moisture chlorine gas suitable for making optical fibers.
'Chlorine is a critical gas in optical fiber manufacturing because it is primarily used as a drying agent in the consolidation of optical fiber performs,' explains Art Shirley, Ph.D., director of commercialization and technology, fiber optics solutions, BOC.

'As the fiber industry migrates to the new G652c standard low water peak fibers, many manufacturers are beginning to use higher purity, lower moisture grades of chlorine. Fiber makers are moving from 99.95 percent purity to 99.999 percent or greater and from parts per million moisture levels down to parts per billion,' Shirley said.

'On-site purification delivers purity levels that cannot be achieved using chlorine from containers. This is especially true of critical contaminants like moisture and hydrogen. In fact, our system can reduce moisture to levels approaching 100 ppb and below,' Shirley said.

'By purifying industrial grade chlorine into high-purity chlorine, the system can also significantly reduce raw material and operating costs,' says Glenn Rush, vice president, fiber optic solutions, BOC.

'While industrial grade chlorine costs less than US$2 per kilogram (kg), the high-purity chlorine gas required for optical fiber manufacturing can range from US$20/kg to over US$100/kg. In a highly competitive, tight-margin operating environment, on-site chlorine purification can be a major contributor to a companyís success,' Rush said.

High purity chlorine is usually supplied in cylinders. BOCís on-site purification system eliminates both the costs and the risks inherent in handling multiple cylinders of chlorine, a hazardous material that requires special safety and handling procedures.

'By eliminating contamination from cylinder-filling and change-outs, on-site purification also improves chlorine consistency, increases fiber yields and reduces down-time. As an added reliability factor, the existing chlorine manifolds are retained in place and BOC can also provide cylinder back-up,' Rush said.

'BOCís onsite chlorine purification technology is another example of how we are developing solutions that help optical fiber manufacturers improve their competitive position and reduce their total cost of ownership,' Rush said.

The BOC fiber optic solution group is dedicated to solving the complex needs and challenges of optical fiber manufacturers. BOC has been supplying high purity gases, chemicals, equipment, services and technologies to the optical fiber manufacturing community since the late 1970ís. We view our role as not simply a gas supplier, but rather a provider of critical solutions to our customers.
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