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Title:
ULTRASONIC CLEANING SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/046770
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An ultrasonic cleaning system, includes: a cleaning tank in which a cleaning liquid is received; a moving and holding device configured to move a carrier, on which a plurality of fiber optic ferrules are mounted, into the cleaning tank and hold the carrier in the cleaning tank; and an ultrasonic wave generator mounted in the cleaning tank and adapted to emit an ultrasonic wave into the cleaning liquid, so as to clean the fiber optic ferrules immersed in the cleaning liquid of the cleaning tank. The ultrasonic cleaning system may realizes the automatic clean processing of the fiber optic ferrules in batch, improving the cleaning efficiency of the fiber optic ferrules. Furthermore, it may effectively protect the fiber optic ferrules from being damaged during cleaning the fiber optic ferrules, ensuring the quality of the fiber optic ferrules.

Inventors:
XIN, Liming (Building 5 No.1528, Gumei Road, Shanghai, CN)
LIU, Yun (Building 5 No.1528, Gumei Road, Shanghai, CN)
HU, Lvhai (Building 5 No.1528, Gumei Road, Shanghai, CN)
ZHANG, Dandan (Building 5 No.1528, Gumei Road, Shanghai, CN)
LU, Roberto Francisco-YI (1050 Westlakes DriveBerwyn, Pennsylvania, 19312, US)
ZHOU, Lei (Building 5 No.1528, Gumei Road, Shanghai, CN)
WONG, Kok Wai (3/F, Building 2,No. 10, Futian Road, Xiangzhou District, Zhuhai, CN)
Application Number:
IB2016/055550
Publication Date:
March 23, 2017
Filing Date:
September 16, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TYCO ELECTRONICS (SHANGHAI) CO., LTD. (Sections F and G, Level 1 Building 15,No. 999 Yinglun Road,China Pilot Free Trade Zone, Shanghai, CN)
TYCO ELECTRONICS CORPORATION (1050 Westlakes Drive, Berwyn, Pennsylvania, 19312, US)
INNOGETIC TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD. (3/F Building 2, No. 10 Futian Road,Xiangzhou District, Zhuhai, CN)
TYCO ELECTRONICS UK LTD. (Faraday Road, Dorcan, Swindon Wiltshire SN3 5HH, SN3 5HH, GB)
International Classes:
G02B6/38; B08B3/12
Domestic Patent References:
WO2002017355A22002-02-28
Foreign References:
JP2004141778A2004-05-20
JP2003043298A2003-02-13
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KEANE, David (Murgitroyd & Company, Scotland House165-169 Scotland Street, Glasgow Strathclyde G5 8PL, G5 8PL, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is,

1. An ultrasonic cleaning system, comprising:

a cleaning tank (10) in which a cleaning liquid is received;

a moving and holding device configured to move a carrier (20), on which a plurality of fiber optic ferrules (21) are mounted, into the cleaning tank (10) and hold the carrier (20) in the cleaning tank (10); and

an ultrasonic wave generator mounted in the cleaning tank (10) and adapted to emit an ultrasonic wave into the cleaning liquid, so as to clean the fiber optic ferrules (21) immersed in the cleaning liquid of the cleaning tank (10).

2. The ultrasonic cleaning system according to claim 1, wherein the moving and holding device comprises:

a carrier holder (160) adapted to hold the carrier (20); and

a lift mechanism (120) configured to drive the carrier holder (160) to move up and down, so as to move the carrier holder (160) into or out of the cleaning tank (10).

3. The ultrasonic cleaning system according to claim 2,

wherein an opening, through which the carrier holder (160) and the carrier (20) held on it are introduced into or led out the cleaning tank (10), is formed in a top wall of the cleaning tank (10);

wherein the moving and holding device further comprises a cover plate (140) adapted to close or open the opening; and

wherein the carrier holder (160) is connected to the cover plate (140) and located below the co ver plate ( 140) .

4. The ultrasonic cleaning system according to claim 3,

wherein the cover plate (140) is connected to a top end of the lift mechanism (120) by a horizontal connection plate (130); and

wherein the carrier holder (160) is connected to a bottom of the cover plate (140) by a vertical connection rod.

5. The ultrasonic cleaning system according to claim 4,

wherein a carrier sensor (150) is provided on the cover plate (140) and adapted to detect whether the carrier (20) is held on the carrier holder (160) as well as a state of the carrier (20) held on the carrier holder (160).

6. The ultrasonic cleaning system according to claim 4, further comprising: a support frame (110),

wherein the lift mechanism (120) is mounted on the support frame (110) or the cleaning tank (10).

7. The ultrasonic cleaning system according to claim 4,

wherein the ultrasonic wave generator is configured to emit the ultrasonic wave into the cleaning liquid only after the opening of the cleaning tank (10) is closed by the cover plate (140), so as to prevent the cleaning liquid from sputtering out of the cleaning tank (10).

8. The ultrasonic cleaning system according to claim 1,

wherein a liquid level sensor (30) is mounted in the cleaning tank (10) and adapted to detect a liquid level of the cleaning liquid in the cleaning tank (10).

9. The ultrasonic cleaning system according to claim 8,

wherein a cleaning liquid inlet (11) is provided in the top wall of the cleaning tank (10), and a cleaning liquid outlet (21) is provided in the bottom wall of the cleaning tank (10).

10. The ultrasonic cleaning system according to claim 9,

wherein an inlet valve is provided on the cleaning liquid inlet (11), and

wherein when the liquid level detected by the liquid level sensor (30) is lower than a preset liquid level, the inlet valve is opened, so as to fill the cleaning liquid into the cleaning tank (10).

11. The ultrasonic cleaning system according to claim 1,

wherein the carrier holder (160) is adapted to hold a plurality of carriers (20) at the same time, so as to realize the synchronous cleaning of the plurality of carriers (20).

12. The ultrasonic cleaning system according to claim 1,

wherein the ultrasonic cleaning system comprises a plurality of moving and holding devices, so as to move and hold a plurality of carriers (20) at the same time, and realize the synchronous cleaning of the plurality of carriers (20).

Description:
ULTRASONIC CLEANING SYSTEM

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of Chinese Patent Application No.CN201510589839.8 filed on September 16, 2015 in the State Intellectual Property Office of China, the whole disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an ultrasonic cleaning system, more particularly, relates to an ultrasonic cleaning system adapted to clean a fiber optic ferrule after the fiber optic ferrule is polished.

Description of the Related Art

A fiber optic connector generally comprises a housing and a fiber optic ferrule mounted in the housing. The fiber optic ferrule is the most important part of the fiber optic connector. The fiber optic ferrule generally comprises a ferrule and an optical fiber inserted into a bore of the ferrule. A front end of the optical fiber protrudes from a front end face of the ferrule by a predetermined distance. The optical fiber is fixed in the bore of the ferrule by an adhesive filled in the bore of the ferrule.

After the optical fiber is fixed in the bore of the ferrule, it needs to process the front end face of the fiber optic ferrule. The processing of the front end face of the fiber optic ferrule generally comprises steps of: polishing the front end face of the fiber optic ferrule; cleaning the polished fiber optic ferrule to remove the polishing power dust from the fiber optic ferrule; drying the cleaned fiber optic ferrule; and wiping the front end face of the dried fiber optic ferrule, so as to wipe off the dust from the front end face of the fiber optic ferrule.

In the prior art, the cleaning of the fiber optic ferrule generally is performed by manual, which is not only low efficiency, but also difficult to control the processing quality of the fiber optic ferrule. Thereby, the manual cleaning in the prior art may decrease the quality of the fiber optic ferrule or even damage the fiber optic ferrule.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention has been made to overcome or alleviate at least one aspect of the above mentioned disadvantages. According to an object of the present invention, there is provided an ultrasonic cleaning system adapted to efficiently clean a fiber optic ferrule and reliably ensure the quality of the fiber optic ferrule without damaging the fiber optic ferrule.

According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided an ultrasonic cleaning system, comprising: a cleaning tank in which a cleaning liquid is received; a moving and holding device configured to move a carrier, on which a plurality of fiber optic ferrules are mounted, into the cleaning tank and hold the carrier in the cleaning tank; and an ultrasonic wave generator mounted in the cleaning tank and adapted to emit an ultrasonic wave into the cleaning liquid, so as to clean the fiber optic ferrules immersed in the cleaning liquid of the cleaning tank.

According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the moving and holding device comprises: a carrier holder adapted to hold the carrier; and a lift mechanism configured to move the carrier holder up and down, so as to move the carrier holder into or out of the cleaning tank.

According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, an opening, through which the carrier holder and the carrier held on it are introduced into or led out into the cleaning tank, is formed in a top wall of the cleaning tank; the moving and holding device further comprises a cover plate adapted to close or open the opening; the carrier holder is connected to the cover plate and located below the cover plate.

According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the cover plate is connected to a top end of the lift mechanism by a horizontal connection plate; and the carrier holder is connected to a bottom of the cover plate by a vertical connection rod.

According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a carrier sensor is provided on the cover plate and adapted to detect whether the carrier is held on the carrier holder as well as a state of the carrier held on the carrier holder.

According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the ultrasonic cleaning system further comprises a support frame, and the lift mechanism is mounted on the support frame or the cleaning tank.

According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the ultrasonic wave generator is configured to emit the ultrasonic wave into the cleaning liquid only after the opening of the cleaning tank is closed by the cover plate, so as to prevent the cleaning liquid from sputtering out of the cleaning tank.

According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a liquid level sensor is mounted in the cleaning tank and adapted to detect a liquid level of the cleaning liquid in the cleaning tank.

According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a cleaning liquid inlet is provided in the top wall of the cleaning tank, and a cleaning liquid outlet is provided in the bottom wall of the cleaning tank. According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, an inlet valve is provided on the cleaning liquid inlet; and when the liquid level detected by the liquid level sensor is lower than a preset liquid level, the inlet valve is opened, so as to fill the cleaning liquid into the cleaning tank.

According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the carrier holder is adapted to hold a plurality of carriers at the same time, so as to realize the synchronous cleaning of the plurality of carriers.

According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the ultrasonic cleaning system comprises a plurality of moving and holding devices, so as to move and hold a plurality of carriers at the same time, and realize the synchronous cleaning of the plurality of carriers.

In the above various exemplary embodiments of the present invention, the ultrasonic cleaning system may realize the automatic clean processing of the fiber optic ferrules in batch, improving the cleaning efficiency of the fiber optic ferrules. Furthermore, it may effectively protect the fiber optic ferrules from being damaged during cleaning the fiber optic ferrules, ensuring the quality of the fiber optic ferrules.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other features of the present invention will become more apparent by describing in detail exemplary embodiments thereof with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig.1 is an illustrative perspective view of an ultrasonic cleaning system according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and

Fig.2 is a vertical cross section view of the ultrasonic cleaning system of Fig. l.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE IVENTION

Exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure will be described hereinafter in detail with reference to the attached drawings, wherein the like reference numerals refer to the like elements. The present disclosure may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as being limited to the embodiment set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that the present disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the concept of the disclosure to those skilled in the art.

In the following detailed description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the disclosed

embodiments. It will be apparent, however, that one or more embodiments may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known structures and devices are schematically shown in order to simplify the drawing.

According to a general concept of the present invention, there is provided an ultrasonic cleaning system, comprising: a cleaning tank in which a cleaning liquid is received; a moving and holding device configured to move a carrier, on which a plurality of fiber optic ferrules are mounted, into the cleaning tank and hold the carrier in the cleaning tank; and an ultrasonic wave generator mounted in the cleaning tank and adapted to emit an ultrasonic wave into the cleaning liquid, so as to clean the fiber optic ferrules immersed in the cleaning liquid of the cleaning tank.

Fig.1 is an illustrative perspective view of an ultrasonic cleaning system according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and Fig.2 is a vertical cross section view of the ultrasonic cleaning system of Fig. l .

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, the ultrasonic cleaning system is adapted to clean a fiber optic ferrule after the fiber optic ferrule is polished, so as to clean off the polishing power dust from the fiber optic ferrule.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, the ultrasonic cleaning system mainly comprises a cleaning tank 10, a moving and holding device, and an ultrasonic wave generator.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, a cleaning liquid is received in the cleaning tank 10. The moving and holding device is configured to move a carrier 20, on which a plurality of fiber optic ferrules 21 are mounted, into the cleaning tank 10 and hold the carrier 20 in the cleaning tank 10. The ultrasonic wave generator is mounted in the cleaning tank 10 and adapted to emit an ultrasonic wave into the cleaning liquid, so as to clean the fiber optic ferrules 21 immersed in the cleaning liquid of the cleaning tank 10.

In an embodiment, when the ultrasonic wave generator emits the ultrasonic wave into the cleaning liquid, the cleaning liquid vibrates, and tiny bubbles are produced in the cleaning liquid, so as to clean the fiber optic ferrules 21 immerged in the cleaning liquid. As the principle of ultrasonic cleaning is the existing technology, therefore, more interpretation about it is omitted herein.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, the moving and holding device mainly comprises: a carrier holder 160 adapted to hold the carrier 20; and a lift mechanism 120 configured to move the carrier holder 160 up and down, so as to move the carrier holder 160 into or out of the cleaning tank 10.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, an opening, through which the carrier holder 160 and the carrier 20 held on it are introduced into or led out the cleaning tank 10, is formed in a top wall of the cleaning tank 10. The moving and holding device further comprises a cover plate 140 adapted to close or open the opening. The carrier holder 160 is connected to the cover plate 140 and located below the cover plate 140.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, the cover plate 140 is connected to a top end of the lift mechanism 120 by a horizontal connection plate 130. The carrier holder 160 is connected to a bottom of the cover plate 140 by a vertical connection rod.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, a carrier sensor 150 is provided on the cover plate 140 and adapted to detect whether the carrier 20 is held on the carrier holder 160 as well as a state of the carrier 20 held on the carrier holder 160. In an embodiment, the state of the carrier 20 comprises the position and the posture of the carrier 20 on the carrier holder 160.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, the ultrasonic cleaning system further comprises a support frame 110. The lift mechanism 120 is mounted on the support frame 110. But the present invention is not limited to this, the lift mechanism 120 may be mounted on the cleaning tank 10 or any fixation base.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, the ultrasonic wave generator is configured to emit the ultrasonic wave into the cleaning liquid only after the opening of the cleaning tank 10 is closed by the cover plate 140, so as to prevent the cleaning liquid from sputtering out of the cleaning tank 10.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, the lift mechanism 120 is constructed to move up and down in the vertical direction. In an embodiment, the lift mechanism 120 may comprise a gas cylinder, a hydraulic cylinder or a linear actuator.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, a cleaning liquid inlet 11 is provided in the top wall of the cleaning tank 10, and a cleaning liquid outlet 12 is provided in the bottom wall of the cleaning tank 10.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, a liquid level sensor 30 is mounted in the cleaning tank 10 and adapted to detect a liquid level of the cleaning liquid in the cleaning tank 10.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, an inlet valve (not shown) is provided on the cleaning liquid inlet 11. When the liquid level detected by the liquid level sensor 30 is lower than a preset liquid level, the inlet valve is opened, so as to fill the cleaning liquid into the cleaning tank 10 until the liquid level in the cleaning tank 10 reaches the preset liquid level.

As shown in Figs.1-2, in an embodiment, the ultrasonic cleaning system comprises a plurality of moving and holding devices, so as to move and hold a plurality of carriers 20 at the same time, and realize the synchronous cleaning of the plurality of carriers 20. In this way, it may further improve the efficiency of cleaning the fiber optic ferrules 21.

But the present invention is not limited to the illustrated embodiments, the ultrasonic cleaning system may comprise only a single moving and holding device. In this case, the carrier holder 160 may be adapted to hold a plurality of carriers 20 at the same time, so as to realize the synchronous cleaning of the plurality of carriers 20.

Hereafter, it will describe in detail a cleaning process of the ultrasonic cleaning system according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention with reference to Figs.1-2. Firstly, the carrier 20, on which a plurality of fiber optic ferrules 21 to be cleaned are mounted, is held on the carrier holder 160;

Then, the carrier holder 160 is driven to move down by the lift mechanism 120, so as to transfer the carrier holder 160, the carrier 20 and the fiber optic ferrules 21 into the cleaning tank 10 through the opening in the cleaning tank 10;

Then, the opening of the cleaning tank 10 is closed by the cover plate 140, and the lift mechanism 120 is stopped moving, at this time, the carrier 20 and the fiber optic ferrules 21 on it are immerged in the cleaning liquid of the cleaning tank 10;

Then, the ultrasonic wave generator is turned on to emit the ultrasonic wave into the cleaning liquid, so as to clean the carrier 20 and the fiber optic ferrules 21 immerged in the cleaning liquid of the cleaning tank 10;

Then, the ultrasonic wave generator is turned off after the fiber optic ferrules 21 have been cleaned;

Then, the carrier holder 160 is moved up by the lift mechanism 120, so as to move the cleaned carrier 20 and the cleaned fiber optic ferrules 21 out of the cleaning tank 10;

Finally, the cleaned carrier 20 and the cleaned fiber optic ferrules 21 is taken away from the carrier holder 160.

In the above cleaning process, some cleaning liquid, which is attached on the carrier 20 and the fiber optic ferrules 21, may be taken out of the cleaning tank 10, which will cause the liquid level in the cleaning tank 10 is lower than the preset liquid level of the cleaning tank 10. Once the liquid level sensor 30 detects that the liquid level in the cleaning tank 10 is lower than the preset liquid level, the inlet valve is opened to inject the cleaning fluid into the cleaning tank 10 until the liquid level in the cleaning tank 10 reaches the preset liquid level. In this way, it may prevent that the liquid level of the cleaning liquid in the cleaning tank 10 becomes too low and cannot effectively clean the fiber optic ferrules 21.

In the above cleaning process, if the cleaning liquid in the cleaning tank 10 is used for a long time and becomes very dirty, it must replace it with unused cleaning liquid. At this case, an operator may discharge the used cleaning liquid out of the cleaning tank 10 by opening the cleaning liquid outlet 12, and then fill the unused cleaning liquid into the cleaning tank 10 by opening the cleaning liquid inlet 11.

It should be appreciated for those skilled in this art that the above embodiments are intended to be illustrated, and not restrictive. For example, many modifications may be made to the above embodiments by those skilled in this art, and various features described in different embodiments may be freely combined with each other without conflicting in configuration or principle.

Although several exemplary embodiments have been shown and described, it would be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various changes or modifications may be made in these embodiments without departing from the principles and spirit of the disclosure, the scope of which is defined in the claims and their equivalents.

As used herein, an element recited in the singular and proceeded with the word "a" or "an" should be understood as not excluding plural of said elements or steps, unless such exclusion is explicitly stated. Furthermore, references to "one embodiment" of the present invention are not intended to be interpreted as excluding the existence of additional embodiments that also incorporate the recited features. Moreover, unless explicitly stated to the contrary, embodiments "comprising" or "having" an element or a plurality of elements having a particular property may include additional such elements not having that property.