SOURIAU has been developing fibre optic connectors for four decades, and as soon as fibre optics began to be used in telecommunications and manufacturing, connector solutions adapted to this technology had to be invented which were radically different from those designed for electrical connections.
Fibre optics offers key advantages
In comparison to using an electrical link to transfer large volumes of data, fibre optics offers numerous advantages: lighter weight, less use of space, natural immunity to electromagnetic emissions, and higher bandwidth and throughput compared to an equivalent electrical link.
Technology which has become popular
Since the early 2000s, the use of fibre optics has seen explosive growth in all sectors of activity. The aeronautics industry in particular, employs this technology for data transmission, both to passengers for in-flight entertainment and to the cockpit for cameras, overhead displays, etc. The environmental conditions in the aircraft environment in terms of the vibrations and mechanical constraints called for the development of specific solutions. This led to the development by SOURIAU of the ELIO range, and its adoption by Airbus to be able to offer a robust solution for severe environmental conditions. SOURIAU's technology offering The ELIO solution is a physical type contact, called butt joint, which ensures the transmission of light between the contacts. SOURIAU also offers ELIOBEAM, an expanded beam type contact solution using lenses, which does not require physical contact and is thus more resistant to multiple connections/disconnections as well as to pollution in the external environment.
SOURIAU and harsh environments
SOURIAU, a specialist in connectors for severe environments, has chosen to target its range of fibre optic connectors at applications which are subject to harsh conditions. In the field of aeronautics, ELIO® is present in the Airbus A330, A350, A380 and A400M. Fibre has taken hold in passenger entertainment and information systems, which require high transfer speeds to transmit data to the individual screens. This allows passengers to have a large choice of films and video games at their disposal.
A broad product range
The design of the ELIO allows it to be embedded in different types of connector shells depending on the requirements: the circular MIL DT 38999 type or the rectangular ARINC type for aeronautic applications. It has also been adopted by the rail sector, in circular connectors with bayonet locking. In telecommunications, SOURIAU connectors for fibre optics are present in GSM and Internet transmission antennae for FTTA (Fibre To The Antenna) links and FTTH (Fibre To The Home) for exterior connections on buildings. SOURIAU will also add the ARINC 801 standard to its range of solutions which will complement the current standard range. This solution offers high contact density in a reduced space and is a very popular standard, particularly in the American market.
Constantly evolving market
Now that fibre optics has proven its reliability in classical applications, its use is spreading to more critical systems in the aeronautic, military and aerospace domains, with the growing use of sensors or even OptoPyro applications; it is replacing traditional electrical solutions. In response to all these evolutions in the market, SOURIAU is constantly developing new products in collaboration with its customers and SOURIAU fibre optic connectors are finding new opportunities.