General principles of fibre optics
Fiber light, or fiber optics, is a way of lighting that becomes more and more popular due to the numerous applications related to this light. Nobody can really predict tomorrow’s applications of fiber light - new areas appear all along.
The big difference
Basically, the difference between fiber light and traditional light is the separation of the light source from the light, a difference that offers three important advantages:
• The light source can be placed where it is easily accessible for maintenance
• The light has no heat radiation (no IR-rays)
• The light does not carry current
The many ways of application
Fiber light has meant a revolution in many areas so far dominated by traditional lighting, places that are not lit at all, or maybe lit by expensive special solutions:
• showcases and vitrines
• inaccessible and elevated areas where maintenance is difficult, expensive, or even impossible
• special projects for which a unique effect is required; many light points, colour shift, sparkling,
or light directing
• installations where UV and IR radiation is undesirable, like in museums
• light installations under water as fiber light carries no current
• “light framing” of pictures, paintings and information tables
• where light has to be placed very close to an object without harming the object
• where light fittings have to be very small and discrete
• areas exposed to danger of explosion or vandalism
The Optical Fiber Light System
A fiber light system consists of 2 or 3 components:
• Light generator
• Fiber harness
• Fittings on the fiber ends (can be omitted)
The light generator is the “engine” of the system. The special light source placed inside the generator concentrates the highest possible amount of light into the fiber harness, which is connected to the light port. LED and metal halide lamps are the light sources applied.
The light generator can be placed indoors or outdoors and is available in several strengths. The stronger the generator, the higher the requirements to its placing and cooling. Most light generators require cooling, and this is done by means of a built-in fan cooling the vital parts.
The fiber harness is the unique part of the fiber light system. By means of the fiber harness, the light from the generator is led and spread. The joint ends of the fiber harness, called the polyconnector or the common end, are connected to the generator. Here the fibers are collected, smoothed and polished into a homogeneous surface that allows a maximum of light to pass through.
Roblon Lighting manufactures plastic fiber (PMMA) – as well as glass fiber cables. A fiber harness is either uniform or different fiber dimensions, either in uniform or different lengths, according to requirements. The light emits from the fiber end (endlight) or through the side of the fiber cable (sidelight, PMMA only).
The fiber can be without termination (“raw fiber end”), or it can be terminated with a glued-on, polished aluminium bushing, a fiber termination. The latter improves the light utilisation by approx. 30-50 %! The light leaves the fiber end at an angle of 60 degrees.
The fitting is the visible part of a fiber light system with endlight fiber cables. Fiber optical fittings are small and discreet compared to traditional light fittings. Roblon Lighting manufactures fittings with and without optics, as well as crystal fittings and custom design fittings.
Fittings are mounted on the fiber ends for the following primary reasons: for aesthetics, for concentration of the light, to control the light, and to protect the fiber end, for instance against UV-radiation or water.