TekRex Case Study: Custom Mandrel Tooling
TekRex teams up with fiber optic manufacturer and sister company Megladon to design and produce a super-compact fiber routing application for autonomous vehicle simulation.
Welcome to another installment in TekRex’s case studies video series. Here at TekRex, our focus on our clients’ success has led to some remarkable solutions, some of which we’ll dive into here.
A high-density fiber cassette needed a way to coil fiber optic cable in a small form factor. A mandrel system was designed to coil the discrete lengths of fiber cable into the cassette, nesting them into one another. These separate coils could then be connected through switches to produce a variety of lengths.
The size of the unit, with 7 nesting coils, over 460 meters of glass and 22 splices, is about the size of the typical wallet. The mandrel tool that made this work, like the rest of this product, had to be designed from the ground up to meet such a unique use case.
Watch the video below to see our Design Engineering services in action.
The mandrels are built as a cone with a flange and 3D printed at varying diameters to achieve the desired nesting. The diameters are chosen with the specifications of the glass in mind so that the fiber is not coiled past its stated bend radius. Striations created during filament-based printing can cause fiber coils to get caught, so the design team opted to leverage the DLP-powered, resin-based Carbon M2 printer for a smooth finish that the fiber coils can easily be removed from.
Once coiled, the lengths of fiber can be connected in parallel to a maximum length of nearly 460m of glass, or used individually down to a length of 3.19m, with many other lengths possible through various combinations of fiber spools.
TekRex engineering expertise combined with Megladon’s fiber optic knowledge led to a new 3D printed product that was previously unimaginable. The 3D printing also provided for quick revision changes and support for rapid changes in product design without significant cost penalty.
For more information about our engineering services, reach out to the TekRex team today!