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Creating triple protection for fiber optic cables

Our aim is to meet the highest demands.

Roxtec has become world leader by providing innovative cable and pipe seals that cover multiple demands. Always responsive to customer needs, we are now striving to develop a new solution that will meet the demand for protection of electronic equipment against fire, water and electromagnetic threats also when connected via fiber optics.

Mikael Grudd, EMC Technical Product Manager and Magnus Gustavsson, GPM Round Contact person M&O

The use of fiber optic cables is rapidly increasing, mainly within military, data center and communication applications. When it comes to sealing penetrations for fiber optics from fire and water ingress, you can work as with systems for plastic pipes, and just use rubber and intumescent material. However, if you need to shield the electrical equipment served by the fiber optics from electromagnetic interference, you must meet the challenge in a completely different way. 

The main difference between fiber and ordinary cables and metal pipes is that optic fibers are built-up by glass and plastics instead of metal. Even if the fiber is not electrically conductive, it does not stop electromagnetic waves from propagating inside the material. Routing optic fibers through an electromagnetic shielded barrier will create a gap allowing electromagnetic waves to propagate through the barrier.

Repeated testing

Roxtec’s specialists on electromagnetic shielding, technical product manager Mikael Grudd and GPM round contact person M&O Magnus Gustavsson, have tested many ideas to solve this issue, and they have already succeeded by using waveguide techniques with metallic pipes or tape. They have also come up with a functional, but rather heavy, back-to-back solution built on two layers of seals with steel wool in between. They are, however, not yet fully satisfied so they keep on working to find a better transit for triple protection.   

Reaching the goal 

Mikael Grudd and Magnus Gustavsson have a clear objective:    

“We want to create a multi-protection seal that is as easy to use as the purely electromagnetic protection solutions that can be found on the market today, and add full sealing performance against fire and water.” 

They also know how to reach the goal: by adding waveguide technique to environmental protection seals. 

“We know how electromagnetic waves penetrate a shielded barrier and how to protect sensitive electric equipment,” says Mikael Grudd. “With fiber optics, new techniques have to be used to form an efficient barrier. With our knowledge and the laboratory equipment at Roxtec, we can now design solutions with shielding performance beyond today’s requirements.”

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