The tiny part pictured is a fibre glass connector or ferrule. Made of high performance ceramic. This part plays a critical role in the transmission of data via fibre glass cables. The ferrules are used to join the individual cable ends together and, if this connection is not absolutely correct, major losses can occur in fast data transfer. This obviously means high requirements of the ferrule and consequently tight tolerances.
The ferrules are made from zirconia, with an external diameter of 2.7mm and internal diameter of 167 microns in the green state. After sintering, the size of the finished part is reduced to just 2.5mm and 122 microns respectively. The specified requirements are met in full with a perforation tolerance of 1 micron after sintering and radial tolerance between internal and external diameter of just 10 microns.
The feedstock used is zirconium oxide with a granulometric diameter of 250nm, made by InMaTec. There is no need for this material to be produced in-house, as there are granulate suppliers for this standard material on the market.
Ferrules are made using the Allrounder 320 C injection moulding machine from Arburg GmbH. It has a position-controlled worm conveyor enabling rapid acceleration and deceleration of the injection process. This ensures high precision and reproducibility. The multiple ferrule mould is made entirely of hard alloy with fluid tempering to cater for the high temperature requirements.