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PPC blog

Withstanding the force of a baby elephant!

Posted by Dave Stockton

As part of our ongoing product development we’ve been conducting advanced crush resistance and impact force testing of our Miniflex protective technology. This has been replicated by independent labs who have verified our results and builds on our latest UL product certification for low smoke and low fire standards. We’ve found two vital advantages of Miniflex when it comes to protecting fibre cables.

Firstly, crush resistance. In combination our Miniflex cable and duct can withstand a force of 4000 Newtons over 100 mm without any damage to the fibre itself. Putting this in context that’s the equivalent of a baby elephant weighing 385kg (850 lb)standing on one foot on the Miniflex protective tube – and the fragile cable continuing to operate normally. In more everyday surroundings it shows that Miniflex can be stood on, hit with hammers during installation and survive being bumped by vacuum cleaners, ensuring reliability and guaranteeing a long and trouble free life

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Linking industry to information through optical fiber

Posted by Larry Malone

When many people think of factories, they think of low technology, manual processes and hundreds of staff working on production lines. Nowadays nothing could be further from the truth – with the growth in automation and the use of smart machines factories are now full of the latest technology, with human involvement kept to a minimum.

First generation factory automation saw individual machines programmed and controlled locally, but as technology has matured machines are increasingly linked together to create a seamless process. A new part can be designed and its dimensions automatically delivered to the machine that will create it, without the need for human involvement. Monitoring can be carried out through remote sensors with the results automatically flagged to supervisors.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Innovation in optical fiber

Posted by Dave Stockton


In the telecoms market innovation is constant as new standards and technologies are developed and rolled out around the world. The pace of change in the world of fibre optic cables is equally fast – making it a very exciting and rewarding sector to operate in.

At PPC we’ve been granted over 80 patents to date around the world for our pushable protective fibre cable technology – with a dozen more pending. On average we’re making three new applications every year, covering both our products and the equipment and processes we use to manufacture them.

By controlling the development and production of our Miniflex cables, ducts and protection products we ensure that they match the needs of installers and operators around the world, deskilling implementations and saving money and time when deploying FTTx networks.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Keeping the oil flowing

Posted by Martin Gossling

The equipment used in oil and gas extraction has to be able to cope with the harshest of environments. From the sub zero temperatures of Alaska to the heat of the Middle East and the storms of the North Sea, both onshore and offshore platforms have to survive in the toughest conditions.

And climate is just part of the issue. Space is limited meaning everything is located close together and has to withstand the vibration, friction and heat caused by the constant operation of drills, pumps and other mechanical equipment. Salt water, sparks, ultra violet rays and corrosive chemicals used in the extraction process can all take their toll, causing vital devices to fail, with a major impact on production.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Vive La France

Posted by Martin Gossling


Like many countries France is moving rapidly to a fibre optic future. Latest figures from telecoms regulator ARCEP found that there were 50,000 more fibre to the home (FTTH) subscribers in Q1 2013, a nearly 70% growth since the same period in 2012.

Putting this in context France had over 24.2 million broadband subscribers at the end of March 2013, and while DSL made up 98% of connections, this is changing. 19% of homes in France have now been passed by fibre and over 1 million customers have a 100 Mbps connection, a growth of 46% since 2012.

This growth is being driven by both government and operator investment. Back in February the French Government announced that €20 billion will be spent on fiber infrastructure to increase economic growth. These funds will come a combination of the state, operators, and local government to ensure that fibre networks reach as far as possible. Reports state that 50% of the country may well have access to fibre by 2017.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Market trends, Fiber innovations

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Twisting the light away

Posted by David Stockton

It is sometimes difficult to comprehend the explosive growth in data transmission rates over the last thirty years. We’ve moved from 56k dial up modems in the 1990s to a US government target to deliver speeds of 1 Gb/s to every home in the near future. This increase in capacity is necessary due to the explosion in the range and size of content being delivered across broadband networks – from video on demand and IPTV to real time collaboration and education tools. And of course millions of cute kitten videos.

Optical fibre is the only known transmission mechanism able to provide the capacity needed. However as demands increase the amount of traffic the backbone network will have to handle will consequently rise dramatically, onto a petabit and exabit scale. If all 20 million homes in the UK had a 1 Gb/s Fibre to the home (FTTH) connection you will require a core backbone network that has petabit level capacity. US and pan-European networks will need to work at exabit speeds one day.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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Driving to the future

Posted by Martin Gossling

Cars have evolved rapidly over the last decade, moving from the analogue to the digital world. Technology such as video and audio entertainment systems, mobile communication, satellite navigation, voice operated controls and safety systems such as parking sensors and cameras rely on the high speed sharing of data around the vehicle.

Essentially cars are now mobile computers, with drivers and passengers expecting access to the internet and advanced services as they travel. Standards such as MOST (Media Oriented Systems Transport) are defining the communications architectures for today’s and tomorrow’s cars.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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PPC heads to the Red Planet

Posted by Martin Gossling

PPC’s products are designed to protect optical fibre in the toughest surroundings. And while conditions on Earth can be difficult, venture into space and things get a whole lot tougher – once you’ve launched, you can’t repair anything that goes wrong. So we’re delighted that our Miniflex protective tube is going to be part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars mission, investigating if life ever existed on the Red Planet.

The 2018 ExoMars mission will land a European rover and a Russian surface platform on Mars, with the rover then travelling autonomously across the planet, for an estimated six months, drilling to collect samples which it will then analyse using its advanced, on-board instruments. It will be first mission to combine the capability to move across the surface with the ability to study Mars at depth.

The 200kg rover will establish the physical and chemical properties of Martian samples, mainly from the subsurface. These underground samples, drilled from a depth of up to 2 metres, are more likely to include biomarkers that show potential life, since the Martian atmosphere offers little protection from radiation on the surface.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber innovations

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PPC – cabling the world

Posted by Martin Gossling

More and more industries rely on the power of optical fibre to transmit ever increasing amounts of information. Whether it is delivering superfast broadband to the premises, linking electronic systems within aircraft, routing data in real time around datacentres or connecting safety and infotainment systems inside cars, protecting this fibre is vital. However it can’t be at the expense of flexibility, weight or ease of installation.

At PPC we’re dedicated to protecting optical fibre. As the inventors and producers of the world-leading range of patented Miniflex™ fibre cables we make hard plastic flexible through our grooved design process, ensuring the highest level of protection.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the major milestones we’ve already reached:

  • Manufactured more than 20 million metres (67 million feet) of duct and Miniflex cable, which has been installed around the world. That’s enough to stretch from London to New Zealand (with a little spare). Given our rate of growth we expect to double this amount within the next two years.

Topics: Market trends, Fiber innovations

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AT&T and Geo-Path deliver Chicago DAS fiber network with PPC

Posted by Tom Carpenter


Smartphones are driving a massive increase in mobile wireless data usage across the globe, which is only accelerating as technologies such as LTE and 4G are deployed. Ensuring consistent high performance is therefore vital to wireless operators want to win and retain customers.

Operators are investing heavily in increased capacity, But this has to be easily available to users, wherever they are, which can be a challenge in urban areas where space for traditional mobile towers is limited – but demand is often at its highest.

Topics: Fiber innovations

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