(19)
(11)EP 3 608 296 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
12.02.2020 Bulletin 2020/07

(21)Application number: 18774435.4

(22)Date of filing:  14.03.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
C03B 37/018  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2018/009968
(87)International publication number:
WO 2018/180495 (04.10.2018 Gazette  2018/40)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 30.03.2017 JP 2017068857

(71)Applicant: Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd.
Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8322 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • HIGASHIZAWA, Tatsuyuki
    Tokyo 100-8322 (JP)
  • SHINADA, Seiichi
    Tokyo 100-8322 (JP)
  • NAKAJIMA, Masaki
    Tokyo 100-8322 (JP)

(74)Representative: SSM Sandmair 
Patentanwälte Rechtsanwalt Partnerschaft mbB Joseph-Wild-Straße 20
81829 München
81829 München (DE)

  


(54)MANUFACTURING DEVICE AND MANUFACTURING METHOD FOR OPTICAL FIBER POROUS PREFORM


(57) Occurrence of cracks in a porous preform during vitrification is suppressed by sufficiently sintering the porous preform while suppressing flames of an auxiliary burner from being fanned. A manufacturing apparatus for an optical fiber porous preform includes at least one main burner in a reaction chamber, and a gas supply unit that supplies a raw material gas and a flammable gas to the main burner. In the reaction chamber, a porous preform is formed by moving the main burner relative to a starting material while supplying gas containing the flammable gas and the raw material gas to the starting material from the main burner, and by depositing particulates on an outer circumference of the starting material. The manufacturing apparatus for the optical fiber porous preform further includes at least one auxiliary burner that heats an end portion of the porous preform, and an airflow guiding unit provided near the auxiliary burner.




Description

Field



[0001] The present invention relates to a manufacturing apparatus and a manufacturing method for an optical fiber porous preform having an auxiliary burner.

Background



[0002] In general, a quartz glass-based optical fiber is manufactured by drawing an optical fiber preform made of quartz glass. The optical fiber preform is manufactured by, after forming a porous layer by depositing glass particulates on the outer circumference of a target (starting material), vitrifying the porous layer by dehydrating and sintering. Here, the porous layer is formed by an outside vapor deposition (OVD) apparatus or the like.

[0003] In the OVD apparatus, a flammable gas, a combustion supporting gas, and a glass material are introduced into a glass-particulate synthesizing burner provided in a reaction chamber, and glass particulates generated by flame hydrolysis reaction are deposited in the radial direction of a rotating target. As a result, a porous layer is formed on the outer circumference of the target, and an optical fiber porous preform (hereinafter also referred to as a porous preform) to be a base of an optical fiber preform is manufactured. When manufacturing this porous preform, it has been known to use, in addition to the glass-particulate synthesizing burner, auxiliary burners that perform heating for sintering both end portions of the porous preform (see Patent Literature 1). Sintering the end portions of the porous preform by using the auxiliary burners makes it possible to suppress cracking (crack) of the deposited porous layer and peeling from the target.

Citation List


Patent Literature



[0004] Patent Literature 1: Japanese Patent Application Laid-open No. 2003-165738

Summary


Technical Problem



[0005] However, in a vitrification process after manufacturing the porous preform, cracks may occur in the porous preform to be vitrified. The inventor has diligently studied the causes of cracks and found that one of the causes is that the flames of the auxiliary burner are fanned by supply air wind in the reaction chamber of the OVD apparatus when manufacturing the porous preform. The supply air wind is an airflow that is flowed in the reaction chamber so as to discharge surplus glass particulates that have not deposited on the target while being generated in the reaction chamber to the outside of the reaction chamber. When the flames of the auxiliary burner are fanned by this airflow, the end portion of the porous preform is unevenly heated, which may cause insufficient sintering. If the sintering of the porous preform is insufficient, in the subsequent vitrification process, the porous preform may be unable to withstand the stress generated when the porous preform shrinks, and cracks may occur.

[0006] The present invention has been made in view of the foregoing, and an objective of the present invention is to provide a manufacturing apparatus and a manufacturing method for an optical fiber porous preform that are capable of sufficiently sintering an end portion of the optical fiber porous preform while suppressing the flames of an auxiliary burner from being fanned and are capable of suppressing the occurrence of cracks in the optical fiber porous preform in a subsequent vitrification process. Solution to Problem

[0007] In order to solve the above disadvantage and to achieve the objective, a manufacturing apparatus for an optical fiber porous preform according to the present invention includes a reaction chamber; at least one main burner provided in the reaction chamber; and a gas supply unit that supplies a raw material gas and a flammable gas to the main burner, wherein in the reaction chamber, a porous preform is formed by moving the main burner relative to a starting material while supplying gas containing the flammable gas and the raw material gas to the starting material from the main burner, and by depositing particulates generated by reaction of the gases on an outer circumference of the starting material, and the manufacturing apparatus for the optical fiber porous preform further includes: at least one auxiliary burner that heats an end portion of the porous preform; and an airflow guiding unit provided in a vicinity of the auxiliary burner.

[0008] In the manufacturing apparatus for an optical fiber porous preform according to the present invention, the airflow guiding unit has a shape for which an emission side of flames that the auxiliary burner emits is open and a shape covering, with respect to the auxiliary burner, a side opposite to the emission side, and lateral sides as viewed from the emission side.

[0009] In the manufacturing apparatus for an optical fiber porous preform according to the present invention, an open portion of the airflow guiding unit is located on a downstream side of an airflow generated in the reaction chamber.

[0010] In the manufacturing apparatus for an optical fiber porous preform according to the present invention, a position of the auxiliary burner with respect to the starting material is immovable.

[0011] A manufacturing method for an optical fiber porous preform according to the present invention, in which, in a reaction chamber, a porous preform is formed by moving a main burner relative to a starting material while supplying gas containing a flammable gas and a raw material gas to the starting material from the main burner, and by depositing particulates generated by reaction of the gases on an outer circumference of the starting material, the manufacturing method includes heating an end portion of the porous preform by an auxiliary burner while avoiding, by an airflow guiding unit that is provided in a vicinity of the auxiliary burner emitting flames and for which an emission side of the flames is open, an airflow from going toward the flames from a side opposite to the emission side of the flames of the auxiliary burner, and lateral sides as viewed from the emission side.

Advantageous Effects of Invention



[0012] With the manufacturing apparatus and the manufacturing method for an optical fiber porous preform of the present invention, the airflow guiding unit provided in the circumference of the auxiliary burner can suppress the flames of the auxiliary burner from being greatly fanned, so that it is possible to sufficiently sinter the end portion of the optical fiber porous preform and to suppress the occurrence of cracks in the optical fiber porous preform in the vitrification process that is a post-process.

Brief Description of Drawings



[0013] 

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram illustrating a principal portion of an OVD apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view enlarging an enclosed portion A in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side view of a wind guard in the embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the wind guard in the embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a side view illustrating a wind guard according to a first modification of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a side view illustrating a wind guard according to a second modification of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a side view illustrating a wind guard according to a third modification of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a top view illustrating a wind guard according to a fourth modification of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a top view illustrating a wind guard according to a fifth modification of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a top view illustrating a wind guard according to a sixth modification of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a top view illustrating a wind guard according to a seventh modification of the present invention.


Description of Embodiment



[0014] The following describes an exemplary embodiment of the present invention with reference to the accompanying drawings. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited by the following embodiment. In each of the drawings, identical or corresponding constituent elements are denoted by identical reference signs as appropriate, and redundant explanations are omitted as appropriate. Furthermore, it needs to note that the drawings are schematic and that the relation of dimensions of respective elements and the like may be different from reality. Between the drawings also, portions that the relation of dimensions and the ratios are different from one another may be included.

[0015] First, a manufacturing apparatus and a manufacturing method for an optical fiber porous preform according to one embodiment of the present invention will be described. FIG. 1 illustrates an outside vapor deposition (OVD) apparatus, which is a manufacturing apparatus for an optical fiber porous preform according to this embodiment. FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of an enclosed portion A in FIG. 1.

[0016] As illustrated in FIG. 1, an OVD apparatus 1 includes a reaction chamber 11, a glass-particulate synthesizing burner 12, an auxiliary burner 13 on which a wind guard 20 is arranged, an auxiliary burner 14 on which a wind guard 21 is arranged, and a gas supply unit 15.

[0017] The reaction chamber 11 is configured to be able to carry in and accommodate a target 16 and dummy rods 17. In the reaction chamber 11, provided are an air inlet 11a for introducing clean air from the outside or a predetermined air supply unit (not depicted), and an exhaust duct 11b for discharging gas in the reaction chamber 11. As the clean air is introduced into the reaction chamber 11 via the air inlet 11a and discharged from the exhaust duct 11b, airflow 3 going toward the exhaust duct 11b from the air inlet 11a is generated in the reaction chamber 11. By the airflow 3, the surplus glass particulates floating in the reaction chamber 11 during the manufacturing of a porous preform 2 can be discharged from the exhaust duct 11b.

[0018] The glass-particulate synthesizing burner 12, which is a main burner, is made up of at least a single concentric multi-tube burner for depositing glass particulates on the target 16 as a starting material, or for performing sintering. In the glass-particulate synthesizing burner 12, simultaneously introduced from the gas supply unit 15 are a main raw material gas such as silicon tetrachloride (SiCl4), hydrogen (H2) gas, which is a flammable gas, oxygen (O2) gas, which is a combustion supporting gas, argon (Ar) gas as a blanketing gas, or the like, for example. The dummy rods 17 are portions that are connected to both ends of the target 16 and are grasped by grasping units (not depicted) for driving to rotate and driving to elevate the target 16. In the deposition of the glass particulates, a gas composed of vaporized SiCl4 gas, H2 gas, and O2 gas is supplied while being ignited and burned in the glass-particulate synthesizing burner 12. The SiCl4 that is subjected to hydrolysis reaction in the flames is turned into silica particulates and deposited around the target 16. Along with this, while the target 16 is being rotated, the glass-particulate synthesizing burner 12 is made to repeatedly reciprocate along the longitudinal direction of the target 16 (arrows B in FIG. 1). As a result, the glass particulates are uniformly deposited on the outer circumference of the target 16, and a porous layer 18 in the porous preform 2 is formed. The target 16 is made up of a portion to be a core when made into an optical fiber, and a portion to be a cladding formed therearound. The porous layer 18 turns into a cladding portion that is integrated with a portion to be the cladding of the target 16 when made into an optical fiber later.

[0019] As illustrated in FIG. 2, each of the auxiliary burners 13 and 14 is provided in the vicinity of the end portion along the longitudinal direction of the target 16. The positions of the auxiliary burners 13 and 14 are immovable with respect to the end portions of the target 16. This configuration enables the auxiliary burners 13 and 14 to be able to heat both end portions of the porous preform 2 to be manufactured. In the auxiliary burners 13 and 14, from a predetermined combustion gas supply unit (not depicted), a flammable gas such as H2 gas and a combustion supporting gas such as O2 gas are introduced, for example. The flammable gas and the combustion supporting gas are ignited and burned in the auxiliary burners 13 and 14, and the end portions of the target 16 are heated.

[0020] FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 are respectively a side view and a top view of the wind guards 20 and 21 in this embodiment. As illustrated in FIG. 2, FIG. 3, and FIG. 4, the wind guards 20 and 21 serving as an airflow guiding unit in this embodiment are respectively provided in the vicinity of the auxiliary burners 13 and 14. In the wind guards 20 and 21, at least an emission side of the flames is open that the auxiliary burners 13 and 14 emit. Furthermore, each of the wind guards 20 and 21 has a shape covering, with respect to the auxiliary burners 13 and 14, the side opposite to the emission side of the flames, and lateral sides as viewed from the emission side. Specifically, in this embodiment, the shape of the wind guards 20 and 21 in a lateral view (see FIG. 3) seen from the plane in FIG. 2 (hereinafter referred to as a lateral surface shape) is in a trapezoidal shape having a tapered portion corresponding to the shape of the end portion of the porous preform 2. Furthermore, the shape of the wind guards 20 and 21 in FIG. 2 in top view (see FIG. 4) seen from the upper portion (hereinafter referred to as an upper surface shape) is in a U-shape that covers and guards the lateral sides of the auxiliary burners 13 and 14. The wind guards 20 and 21 are made of titanium (Ti) or a Ti alloy, for example. Ti and Ti alloys are preferable, from the viewpoint of being excellent in corrosion resistance and durability, as the material of the wind guards 20 and 21 that are arranged in the vicinity of the auxiliary burners 13 and 14. For the material of the wind guards 20 and 21, it is also possible to employ materials such as quartz glass, which is excellent in corrosion resistance and heat resistance and is easy to process.

[0021] As illustrated in FIG. 2, with respect to the auxiliary burner 13, the wind guard 20 is located on the upstream side of the airflow 3 generated in the reaction chamber 11 and, on the downstream side of the airflow, the open portion of the wind guard 20 is located. As a result, it is configured such that the airflow 3 does not directly blow against the auxiliary burner 13. Furthermore, as illustrated in FIG. 4, as the airflow 3 is guided by lateral surfaces 20a of the wind guard 20 on the lateral sides of the auxiliary burner 13, the airflow 3 can be restrained from going around toward the open portion of the wind guard 20. This configuration prevents the airflow 3 from going toward the flames of the auxiliary burner 13. Accordingly, the flames of the auxiliary burner 13 can be restrained from being fanned greatly by the airflow 3, and the flames can be stabilized. Thus, it is possible to perform heating of the end portions of the porous preform 2 stably and to perform sintering sufficiently. In addition, because the gas flow rate of the glass-particulate synthesizing burner 12 is larger as compared with the auxiliary burners 13 and 14, the possibility of being fanned greatly by the airflow 3 is low.

[0022] Next, first to seventh modifications of the wind guard in the embodiment of the present invention will be described.

(First Modification)



[0023] FIG. 5 is a side view illustrating a wind guard 22 according to a first modification of the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 5, the lateral surface shape of the wind guard 22 in the first modification is in a rectangular shape, for example.

(Second Modification)



[0024] FIG. 6 is a side view illustrating a wind guard 23 according to a second modification of the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the lateral surface shape of the wind guard 23 in the second modification is a tetragon for which the upper portion has a tapered shape corresponding to the shape of the end portion of the porous preform 2 and the side on the porous preform 2 side of the wind guard 23 has a tapered shape expanding toward the lower portion.

(Third Modification)



[0025] FIG. 7 is a side view illustrating a wind guard 24 according to a third modification of the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the lateral surface shape of the wind guard 24 in the third modification has a shape for which the corner of the upper portion in the lateral surface shape of the wind guard 20 in the above-described embodiment is rounded.

(Fourth Modification)



[0026] FIG. 8 is a top view illustrating a wind guard 25 according to a fourth modification of the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the upper surface shape of the wind guard 25 in the fourth modification has a C-shape for which the emission side of the flames from the auxiliary burner 13 or 14 is open and has a shape covering, with respect to the auxiliary burner 13 or 14, the side opposite to the emission side, and the lateral sides as viewed from the emission side.

(Fifth Modification)



[0027] FIG. 9 is a top view of a wind guard 26 according to a fifth modification of the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 9, the upper surface shape of the wind guard 26 in the fifth modification has an L-shape for which the emission side of the flames from the auxiliary burner 13 or 14 is open and has a shape covering, with respect to the auxiliary burner 13 or 14, the side opposite to the emission side, and the lateral sides as viewed from the emission side.

(Sixth Modification)



[0028] FIG. 10 is a top view of a wind guard 27 according to a sixth modification of the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the upper surface shape of the wind guard 27 in the sixth modification is in a shape for which, in a shape of an even-numbered polygon, for example, in a hexagonal shape, one side on the emission side of the flames of the auxiliary burner 13 or 14 is open. As a result, the wind guard 27 has a shape covering, with respect to the auxiliary burner 13 or 14, the side opposite to the emission side, and the lateral sides as viewed from the emission side.

(Seventh Modification)



[0029] FIG. 11 is a top view of a wind guard 28 according to a seventh modification of the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 11, the upper surface shape of the wind guard 28 in the seventh modification is in a shape for which, in a shape of an odd-numbered polygon, for example, in a pentagonal shape, one side on the emission side of the flames of the auxiliary burner 13 or 14 is open. As a result, the wind guard 28 has a shape covering, with respect to the auxiliary burner 13 or 14, the side opposite to the emission side, and the lateral sides as viewed from the emission side.

[0030] The lateral surface shape (FIG. 3) and the upper surface shape (FIG. 4) in the embodiment, the lateral surface shapes by the first to the third modifications (FIG. 5 to FIG. 7), and the upper surface shapes by the fourth to the seventh modifications (FIG. 8 to FIG. 11) in the foregoing can be selected and combined as appropriate. Specifically, the wind guard can be in various shapes, such as a wind guard having the lateral surface shape by the embodiment (see FIG. 3) and having the upper surface shape by the fourth modification (see FIG. 8), a wind guard having the lateral surface shape by the second modification (see FIG. 6) and having the upper surface shape by the seventh modification (see FIG. 11), and the like, for example.

[0031] The embodiment of the present invention in the foregoing enables the wind guards 20 and 21 serving as an airflow guiding unit to prevent the airflow 3 in the reaction chamber 11 from directly blowing against the flames of the auxiliary burner 13, and thus the flames are not greatly fanned by the airflow 3 are stabilized, the sintering of the end portions of the porous preform 2 can be performed sufficiently. Thus, in the vitrification process performed after manufacturing the porous preform 2, the occurrence of cracks in the porous preform 2 can be suppressed.

[0032] In the foregoing, the embodiment of the present invention has been explained concretely. However, the present invention is not limited to the above-described embodiment, and various modifications based on the technical idea of the present invention can be made. For example, the numerical values presented in the above-described embodiment are mere examples, and different numerical values may be used as needed.

[0033] While, in the above-described embodiment, the example using SiCl4 as the glass material has been illustrated, for the glass material, SiHCl3, SiHCl2, and the like may be used, for example, and for Ge raw material as a dopant, GeCl4 may further be used. Moreover, a glass material such as siloxane may be used. Furthermore, as the flammable gas, in addition to H2, a short-chain hydrocarbon such as CH4, C2H6, C3H8, C4H10, and the like may be used, for example.

[0034] In the above-described embodiment, the glass-particulate synthesizing burner 12 has been made to reciprocate along the longitudinal direction of the target 16. However, the glass-particulate synthesizing burner 12 and the porous preform 2 only need to reciprocate relatively, and the porous preform 2 can be made to reciprocate with the glass-particulate synthesizing burner 12 standing still.

[0035] Furthermore, in the above-described third modification, an example of a shape for which the upper corner is rounded in the lateral surface shape of the wind guard 20 by the embodiment has been illustrated. However, it may be a shape for which the upper corner is rounded in the lateral surface shape of the wind guard 22 by the first modification or in the lateral surface shape of the wind guard 23 by the second modification.

Industrial Applicability



[0036] As in the foregoing, the manufacturing apparatus and the manufacturing method for an optical fiber porous preform according to the present invention are suitable for application to the manufacture of an optical fiber porous preform.

Reference Signs List



[0037] 
1
OVD APPARATUS
2
POROUS PREFORM
3
AIRFLOW
11
REACTION CHAMBER
11a
AIR INLET
11b
EXHAUST DUCT
12
GLASS-PARTICULATE SYNTHESIZING BURNER
13,
14 AUXILIARY BURNER
15
GAS SUPPLY UNIT
16
TARGET
17
DUMMY ROD
18
POROUS LAYER
20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
WIND GUARD



Claims

1. A manufacturing apparatus for an optical fiber porous preform comprising:

a reaction chamber;

at least one main burner provided in the reaction chamber; and

a gas supply unit that supplies a raw material gas and a flammable gas to the main burner, wherein

in the reaction chamber, a porous preform is formed by moving the main burner relative to a starting material while supplying gas containing the flammable gas and the raw material gas to the starting material from the main burner, and by depositing particulates generated by reaction of the gases on an outer circumference of the starting material, and

the manufacturing apparatus for the optical fiber porous preform further comprises:

at least one auxiliary burner that heats an end portion of the porous preform; and

an airflow guiding unit provided in a vicinity of the auxiliary burner.


 
2. The manufacturing apparatus for an optical fiber porous preform according to claim 1, wherein the airflow guiding unit has a shape for which an emission side of flames that the auxiliary burner emits is open and a shape covering, with respect to the auxiliary burner, a side opposite to the emission side, and lateral sides as viewed from the emission side.
 
3. The manufacturing apparatus for an optical fiber porous preform according to claim 1 or 2, wherein an open portion of the airflow guiding unit is located on a downstream side of an airflow generated in the reaction chamber.
 
4. The manufacturing apparatus for an optical fiber porous preform according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein a position of the auxiliary burner with respect to the starting material is immovable.
 
5. A manufacturing method for an optical fiber porous preform, in which, in a reaction chamber, a porous preform is formed by moving a main burner relative to a starting material while supplying gas containing a flammable gas and a raw material gas to the starting material from the main burner, and by depositing particulates generated by reaction of the gases on an outer circumference of the starting material, the manufacturing method comprising:
heating an end portion of the porous preform by an auxiliary burner while avoiding, by an airflow guiding unit that is provided in a vicinity of the auxiliary burner emitting flames and for which an emission side of the flames is open, an airflow from going toward the flames from a side opposite to the emission side of the flames of the auxiliary burner, and lateral sides as viewed from the emission side.
 




Drawing




























REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description