To keep pace with higher production throughput and tighter precision assembly requirements, manufacturers of fiber optic devices are turning to a new generation of production-oriented automated assembly platforms as an alternative to earlier lab-oriented assembly methods.

Adept Technology Inc. (San Jose, CA) now offers the NanoLine series of high-speed positioning tools for fiber optic assembly applications. Nanoline will serve manufacturers of fiber optic components for fiber optic communications networks. The series includes both motorized and piezo stages running under a single controller. This allows quicker testing, alignment and assembly of fiber optic components. The tools target such fiber optic assembly tasks as pigtailing, fiber-to-fiber alignment, fiber array bonding and passive fiber device assembly.

With the transition to volume production, manufacturers demand speed, precision, optimization and a large work envelope. The Nanoline's work envelope is 0.25 millimeter in the X-Y range of motion and 18 millimeter in the Z range. This work envelope accommodates situations where two or more fiber optic parts are mounted into precision chucks, which prealign the parts along the optical axis. Coarse X-Y-Z stages are not needed, and the total alignment can be completed using the lightweight, long-travel piezo stage. Complete alignment, including first light, typically takes less than 10 seconds. Software includes motion control and closed-loop search algorithms to locate first light and complete final assignment. The generic software offers high-speed control with built-in search algorithms and direct control of the stage.

"Until now, the fiber optic industry has had to build fiber optic alignment and assembly tools from generic, limited throughput, limited duty-cycle components," says Joe Campbell, vice president of marketing. "Our NanoLine stages meet the automation demands of the fiber optics community for size, speed, travel, resolution and robustness."

The combination of motorized and piezo stages under a single controller allows for quick speeds and can be customized with specific application options, such as heated component chucks for epoxy bonding, vacuum and magnetic fittings for parts loading, and compatibility with robotic handlers.

The NanoLine family includes the stages, interface package and the software. Systems integrators provide tooling and bonding process controls.

For more information, call Adept at 800-292-3378, visit www.adept. com.