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Solving a Sticky Situation with Wet-to-Dry Fiber End Face Cleaning
December 12, 2022

Fiber experts agree that many fiber network connectivity problems are caused by dust contamination. Although a speck of dust is typically just microns in size, and only visible with a magnification inspection scope, it still interferes with the network’s light path as it passes between two mated end faces. The light signal weakens, slows down the network speed or results in unacceptable data transmission losses. This often requires expensive and disruptive emergency rollbacks to troubleshoot and remove the contamination. 

Static often makes dust contamination worse by locking it the onto the connector end face. Static charged particles, created by test equipment, cooling fans on network gear or internal HVAC system can turn the contact area of the end face into a magnet, pulling dust right into the center of the end face where it will do the most damage. So, removing static charges from end faces is vitally important; and wet-to-dry-cleaning is an effective way to get that done.

The Wet in Wet-to-Dry Cleaning

Most fiber technicians choose to wet-to-dry clean using specialized fiber end face cleaning tools. These include wipes, cleaning sticks or click-to clean tools. However, the magic ingredient in wet-to-dry cleaning is the cleaning fluid.  When applied to a wipe, stick or clicker tool, a fiber optic cleaning fluid adds humidity to the end faces, breaks the static bond on the contaminant and allows your fiber cleaning tools to do a better job. 

When choosing a cleaning fluid, avoid using flammable, slow-drying and easy-to-contaminate IPA. Instead, opt for a fluid specifically engineered for fiber cleaning. It is nonflammable, static dissipative and comes in a hermetically sealed can. It won’t spill, stays clean and evaporates fast without leaving a residue behind.

Using the Coanda Effect to Wet-to-Dry Clean

A new option to the traditional wipes, sticks and click-to-clean tools is the new Sticklers™ Pro360™ Touchless Cleaner.  This revolutionary new tool quickly and completely cleans dust, oils and other contaminants across the entire end face of both male and female connector ends using a hand-held dispensing wand. It delivers a micro-dose of atomized, high-purity cleaning fluid within a narrow column of pressurized air. Known as the Coandă effect, the atomized fluid clings to every surface inside the endface recesses to break the static bond, lift the contamination and whisk it away as the cleaning fluid evaporates. The end face is left thoroughly clean, dry and static-free after just one 5 second cycle to exceed the IEC 61300-3-35 standard for end face cleaning.

Learn more about Wet- to Dry Cleaning and the new Sticklers™ Pro360™ Touchless Cleaner with these resources.

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