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POFTO Organizes Session at SAE 2008 on "Recent Developments in Plastic Optical Fibers for Automotive OEMs and the After Market", Pressentations Now Available to Members
Posted April 16, 2008

The SAE 2008 World Congress was held at COBO Hall April 14-17, 2008. For the second year in a row, POFTO has organized a session aimed at US OEMs and their suppliers. The POFTO session was on Monday morning. Topics and speakers included the following:

  • "State of POF Technology and Applications," Paul Polishuk, POFTO and Information Gatekeepers Inc.

  • "MOST up to Date," Henry Muyshondt, MOST Cooperation Technical Liaison and SMSC

  • "POF MOST Connectors and Associated Equipment," Paul Mulligan POFTO and FiberFin

  • "Challenge for High Temperature Resistant POF Cable for Future MOST Systems," Ken Eben, POFTO and
    Mitsubishi International, and Kazuki Nakamura, Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd.

Paul Polishuk reviewed recent developments in POF technology, including fibers, sources, connectors, modulation schemes, and new products, with special emphasis on automotive applications.

Recent research results over the past year were covered, including 40Gbps over 100 meters at 1550nm by researchers at Georgia Tech, modulation of LEDs up to 1Gbps, transmission of 1Gbps over step index PMMA fiber by Olaf Ziemann of POFAC and S. Randel of Siemens, 10Gbps over 300 meters of PF GI POF, and 100Mbps over 275 meters of SI POF by the POF-ALL group in Europe.

Recent applications were described for IPTV in Europe, where POF do-it-yourself kits are provided to consumers by Deutsche Telekom and Swisscom to guarantee quality of service from the broadband termination on the side of the house or apartment and the set-top box.

The most exciting recent application was in racing cars by Menard Engines, where data loggers were connected to a controller using connectorless POF links. A weight savings of 10-12 pounds was realized and substantial reduction in the cost of the wiring harness. In addition to the weight and cost savings, the ability to terminate in the field and flexibility of installation were also important benefits pointed out by the design engineer.

Henry Muyshondt, the MOST Cooperation Technical Liaison and SMSC, described the present status of MOST in automobiles. Here are a few of the highlights of his presentation:

  • There are now 58 models of cars with MOST that use POF. This equates to 55 million optical nodes, which are increasing at a rate of 12-13 million a year.

  • Three new Korean auto manufacturers introduced MOST using POF in 2008: Hyundai, KIA, and San Yong.

  • Toyota introduced MOST using copper in 2008.

  • The next generation of MOST will be 150Mbps starting in the 2012 model year, and the speed will be adequate for the next 5-10 years. The 150Mbps systems will use the same optical infrastructure as used at 25Mbps. To make this point, Muyshondt referred to a MOST demo at CES 2008 in which 18 standard TVs, three HDTVs, and Ethernet were transmitted over a 150Mbps system.

Connectors and manufacturing processes for cable assemblies used by MOST were discussed by Paul Mulligan of POFTO and FiberFin. Paul attributes one of the major successes of the MOST program to the development of automated processes for cable assemblies, allowing connections to be made in large quantities for pennies per termination. There are three main suppliers of automated termination equipment: Tyco/Komax, Schaefer Technologies, and Schleuniger. Paul stated that Schaefer's machine had the capacity of producing 10,500-12,500 assemblies per day, with 100 percent inspection and one-man operation, resulting in the cost of the cable assembly of less than a dollar.

The final speaker was Ken Eben, who presented a joint presentation with Kazuki Nakamura of Mistsubishi Rayon Corp (MRC). The presentation focused on MRC's development of a 105-degree centigrade POF. This seems to be the upper limit of PMMA, which has a glass transition temperature of 110 degrees centigrade. According to MRC, PMMA core materials are good to 105 degrees, but new cladding materials for 105 degrees need to be developed. Data were presented showing no long-term aging at 105 degrees for 6,000 hours. The final part of the presentation reviewed the potential bandwidth of SI PMMA at a lower NA of 0.3 v. 0.5. . A 10-meter length at an NA of 0.3 would have a bandwidth of 700Mbps, and 220Mbps at 50 meters.

The presentations are available for download free of charge in the Members Section.

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