Wire and Cable Technology International

Inkjet Printing and Marking Technology

Fiber optic cables are essential components of modern telecommunications infrastructure.

These cables consist of multiple fiber optic cores, fiber optic bundles, bundling material, rip cord and even electrical conductors.

Fiber Optical Cables WCTI Article

Fiber optic cables must comply with a number of regulatory standards for marking the cable jacket. Cable jackets are typically made of medium-density polyethylene and high-density polyethylene as well as polyurethane (PU) and polyamide (PA), all of which present challenges for ink adherence.

Traditional marking or printing technologies for fiber optic and electrical cables include emboss printing, indent printing, hot foil printing, hot stamp printing and sinter printing. Some of these technologies introduce unwanted stress into the fiber cables, while others are not entirely compatible, or in the case of an indent printer, can introduce safety concerns in the workplace.

UV-curable inks present an attractive alternative approach for marking fiber optic cables. With this technology, ink is jetted onto the cable assembly using an appropriately sized and compatible inkjet engine, then it is cured with intense UV light. To enhance inkjet adherence to the jacket material, corona or plasma treatment is applied to the cable jacket immediately upstream of the inkjet head. Also, when using UV-curable inks, there are lower concentrations of solvents and no need to discard ribbon backing material as with indent or hot press printing.

Read the July/August issue of Wire and Cable Technology International to hear from our OmniCure experts about a process for inkjet printing and marking technology for fiber optic and electrical cables using UV-curable inks and UV-LED curing systems. This technology is safe, easily implemented, does not introduce stress into the cables and results in extremely durable and legible markings.

Download a pdf copy below or view it online at Wire and Cable Technology International: https://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?m=6619&i=665406&p=88.

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