Written by Jeff Dominique
you ever heard of a fiber optic, multi-channel break-away connector?
This is a device that simultaneously holds several fiber optic ferrules
in perfect alignment and then...when disturbed, pops apart like a
jack-in-the-box toy. And, just like the toy, you simply compress the
spring and push it back together again.
This connector style was originally developed in a joint effort between FNT and Applied Optical Systems (now owned by Optical Cable Corporation).
The break-away connector technology, known as IRIS (Intelligent Release
Interconnection System), was designed for use in Intelligent Traffic
Systems and was first deployed by FNT in a series of Department of Transportation Traffic Cabinets in the metro Phoenix area.
traffic cabinets with the first ever breakaway IRIS 12 count fiber
connector are located in the city of Surprise, Arizona. This little city
is a giant when it comes to deploying advanced Intelligent Traffic
System components. It is estimated that each IRIS traffic cabinet
installation will save the city’s DOT a minimum of $15k in the case of a
car struck cabinet. Expenses prevented by an IRIS install include
damage to the fiber backbone, electronics, patch cords and further
traffic accidents caused by an inoperable signal. The U.S. Highway
Administration publishes an annual report stating that the single
largest contributor to intersection traffic accidents is directly
proportional to how long an accident scene remains with inoperable
The IRIS connection is based on rugged military
connector technology that protects each optical ferrule from severe
impact, crush, dirt, dust and even allows temporary transmission while
fully submerged under water making it highly beneficial when dealing
with flood disaster environments. When a cabinet is struck, a cage
surrounding the connector is tripped firing the connector breakout
directly upward to be carried with the displaced cabinet. Once a cabinet
is placed back onto its pedestal, an IRIS connector can be reset within
minutes to restore communications to the cabinet and signals.
FNT has been approached by several organizations to develop a similar
solution for nautical industries. The IRIS connector becomes an
excellent breakaway solution for dock-side shipping applications. It
also has potential for undersea cables surrounding oil rigs which
connect to measurement equipment on the sea floor. This specialty option
is ideal for any situations where fiber is inadvertently frequently
broken and costly to repair due to environmental restrictions.
development of this technology now allows the placement of electrical
power circuit and copper data paths within the IRIS connector body. Soon
this technology could be used to replace all connections into ITS
traffic cabinets to provide the harsh environment quick release repair
solution that the DOT industry has been waiting for. Contact FNT Toll Free 1-866-818-8050 for more information or click here to request a demonstration.
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