Wholesale/transport services

Ferrule Famine Hits Optical Industry

The furious pace of fiber roll-outs around the world is beginning to lead to shortages of optical components, including the fiber itself.

Right now, there's a growing shortage of ceramic ferrules, a critical component of fiber optic connectors. "We're now being quoted between 8 and 12 week delivery periods," says Chris Magay, fiber optic product manager for the premises network division of Molex Inc. http://www.molexpn.com, a structured cabling system manufacturer. "It's usually only 4 to 6 weeks," he adds.

The industry is just getting over a temporary problem with supplies of single mode fiber. The normal delivery period of eight weeks had doubled to 16 weeks at the end of January according to Jerry Petty, vice president of sales at Draka Holding Group http://www.drakaholding.com, a cable manufacturer. It's returning to normal now, says Magay.

Rumor has it that the shortage was caused by Corning Inc http://www.corning.com halting production in one of its plants because one its manufacturing licenses had expired. Corning itself declines to comment.

Corning has responded to growing demand for single mode fiber with plans to boost production by 50 percent. It announced an investment of three quarters of a billion dollars on Feb 3, citing predictions of a 20 percent annual increase in demand for fiber for the foreseeable future.

By Peter Heywood, international editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com
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