How to choose the right optical cable machine for your needs | HONGKAI

Hussien He

Hussien He

A post-90s salesman who is willing to share and help solve various problems

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There is a much better way to choose an optic cable production line. This approach is practical with more details and it’s according to the different optic cables. 

If you are new to the optic cable production industry or you have not made a purchase for a long time, it can be difficult to know where to begin. 

It’s easy to find a cable production line that will meet your requirements for years to come. It just takes a little research and proper consultation.

How do you choose a production line considering the different optic cables?

Your choice of an optic cable production line is dependent on two major types of optic cables. They are indoor optic cable and outdoor optic cable. 

Understanding these two types of optic cable is important. It will help you know the right production line to choose from. 

In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of the process.

Let’s take a closer look at what the two types of optic cables entail, as they will help inform your decisions. 

The Indoor Optic Cable

An indoor optic cable is the type of cable used in wiring applications within buildings. It helps to provide a safe shroud after wiring especially between walls. 

The application of indoor optic cable is in plenum air handling ducts, barriers, and between floors. Constructors also use it when installing under data center floors. 

Most indoor optic cables are made to withstand tensile pressures due to their superior flex. While it has a unique aesthetic, it is built for long-term use. 

For this guide, we will look into four types of indoor optic cable. Which are; 

  1. Simplex/Duplex soft cable
single fiber cable
duplex soft cable

The simplex and duplex soft cable differ accordingly. The circuit in simplex soft cable operates in only one direction. 

The signals flow one way without reversing. One edge is usually the transmitter while the other edge is the receiver. It is also used in electronic media. The audio message usually flows from the transmitter to the various receivers.  

The duplex soft cable is of two defined parts. Despite being two parts, it delivers information in one direction.

  1. Simple/Duplex Armoured cable
simplex armoured cable
duplex armored cable

Unlike the simplex soft cable, the simple armored cable is stronger. Even though it retains the features of a standard cable, some have a built-in metal armor to strengthen the fiber optic. 

The duplex armored cable features two parts of plastic fiber or glass. It is often used for duplex communication to separate transmission. But, it has an enclosure, in the form of a steel or aluminum jacket. Which is then coated with a polyethylene jacket.  It provides extra rodent and mechanical safety. 

  1. FTTH cable

The FTTH cable is the life of present-day connectivity. It means “fiber to the home”. With FTTH cable, the home is usually the end-user. There is the FTTH flat drop cable and the self-support FTTH flat drop cable. 

The Internet speed we enjoy today is a result of the high data transmission of the FTTH cable. 

  1. Mini/Micro cable
Mini cable

The production of mini/micro cables is for the access market. They are usually lightweight with a portable diameter. The surface features low-friction properties.

  1. Distribution cable
distribution cable

The high-density cables used in Local Area Networks (LANs) are mainly distribution cables. Large space connections and data centers are where it is most needed. 

Main Components of an Indoor Optic Cable

The main components of an indoor optic cable are as follows: 

  1. Fiber core

The fiber core is the part that transmits light in the optic fiber cable. The fiber core guides the light as the cylinder of glass runs through its length. Some are made of plastic though.

It has a medium enclosure that features a lower index of refraction. 

  1. Tight buffer/TB
Tight buffer cable

Tight buffer as a component of an indoor optic cable has a thick coating. You’ll find it in most intra-building construction, plenum applications, and risers. 

The coatings are of plastic materials. They are applied to the surface of every single fiber. 

  1. Aramid 
Aramid yarn

Aramid is a fiber-like material that provides tensile strength in the cable. It is strong and helps to bundle loose tubes during and after installation.

If a contractor or technician pulls a cable into a duct, the aramid protects the fiber. This stops the fiber from feeling the tension as it goes to the aramid yarn. 

  1. Steel Wire
Steel wire

In fiber optics, central strengthening is the work of a steel wire. Most steel wires consist of non-alloy carbon steel. They are of high strength too and help to support tension forces. 

  1. Jacket(LSZH/PVC)
Jacket material

Some indoor optic cable comprises a jacket material that is LSZH. Which means Low Smoke Zero Halogen. While some are of PVC, which mostly comprises polyvinyl chloride. 

The PVC is soft but emits toxic gases like hydrochloric acid when it burns. The PVC is flexible too. While the LSZH jacket is flame resistant. Even though it’s more expensive, it does not emit toxic fumes when it burns. As it is free from halogenic materials.  

  1. Steel Armored Cable 
Steel Armored cable

The main electricity supply is where the steel armored cable is put into use. It is an auxiliary and power control steel used mostly for cable networks. It is an indoor fiber component for cable ducting. 

The Outdoor Optic Cable

Just like the name implies, it is mainly for outdoor applications. It features a rugged structure that can withstand extreme weather conditions.

From environmental issues to mechanical forces, the outdoor optic cable can handle it. It is stronger than the indoor type. As it can withstand temperature fluctuations. It is anti-UV, and a good one must meet all the requirements for outdoor application. 

While some outdoor environmental issues may complicate its application, it must meet certain criteria. For optical fibers to operate safely in any environment, it needs protection. The outdoor optic cable components must be able to strengthen it. 

Types of Outdoor fiber Optic cables are: 

  1. GYXY cable
GYXY cable

The GYXY cable is an outdoor cable that features a special tube-filling compound. Most of them have a water-blocking material that makes the fiber waterproof. 

It also has two parallel steel wires by the side to aid tensile strength. The coating is made of polyethylene to aid extreme temperature performance. 

The coating protects against high power loss to prevent current leaks. The tensile strength prevents early cable tears. 

  1. GYXTW Cable
GYXTW cable

GYXTW is a simpler optical fiber cable with fewer technicalities. It is suitable for duct and long-distance connections. The GYXTW ranges from 2 fiber cores to 24 with different modes. 

During construction, there are areas where the need for high-density fibers is more suitable. That is where the powerful strain performance of GYXTW is needed. 

Also, technicians who work on metropolitan networks and other access network areas use this cable. It is configured with waterproofing layers. And, very useful in the telecommunication industry. 

  1. GYXTC8S

Fiber optic drop cable helps to boost speed for streaming services and data. It is constructed to connect an optical fiber configuration to a subscriber’s location. It is also a multiple-dwelling unit.

  1. ADSS Cable:

ADSS is the short form for all-dielectric self-supporting cables. With ADSS, you do not need conductive metal elements. It is very strong and prevents condensation from spoiling the fibers. 

It is also economical when compared to others. With ADSS, Technicians achieve a perfect installation in a single pass. 

Main Components of an Outdoor Optic Cable

  1. Fiber Core 

The fiber core in an outdoor optic cable also aids speedy light transmission. It has a stronger jacket structure for environmental protection. The properties are anti-UV and crush resistance. 

Even though it’s stronger than the indoor optic cable. The weight is of average standard. Making it easy for technicians to handle. 

  1. Jelly

The prevention of water ingress is very important for outdoor cable installation. It is the main reason why most outdoor optic cables have icky-pick gel. 

The jelly is usually non-hygroscopic. It is inside the jacket of the cable. The types used during telecommunication installation. They make cables durable, and excellent for hard-wearing purposes. 

  1. PBT

It is also a coating material used for loose tubes. While the primary coating in the optical fiber is strong enough. The PBT is the extrusion material for the final coating. 

PBT is the short form for Polybutylene terephthalate. It is used for auxiliary coating in outdoor fiber optic cables. 

  1. Central Strength Member

Outdoor data cables comprise central strength members. It’s high ratio of strength/weight makes the cable suitable for frequent rain areas. 

It is an additional component to an already coated cable. It helps to curb detachment in the paired ferrules.  

Normally, we can choose FRP or steel wire as it is. 

  1. Water Blocking Tape 
water blocking tape

This tape helps to shield fiber optic cables from the corrosive impacts of water. Most outdoor optic cables are for longitudinal use. And, water can penetrate from anywhere under the ground. 

A water-blocking tape has semi-conductive properties to prevent longitudinal liquid penetration. Its composition is mainly polyester non-woven fabric. 

  1. Aramid Yarn 
Aramid yarn

 Aramid yarn is an important determinant of a fiber optic cable’s strength. Even though the central strength member helps its power. The aramid yarn helps to fulfill the tensile force requirements. 

It also adds peripheral strength to the fiber. This is needed to meet the yanking force during installation. 

  1. Stranded Steel Wire
stranded steel wire

The spinning of individual steel wires to close over a central core is what makes up the stranded steel wire. 

It provides resistance to abrasion, due to the large conductor the spun wire forms. Stranded steel wire is formed to provide high resistance to metal exhaustion. 

  1. Steel Wire Armored
steel wire armored

Just as it’s useful for indoor optic cables, it is useful in outdoor cables too. The steel wire armor serves the same purpose of protection. 

It has a hard-wearing design to aid durability. It works well for industrial plants. Especially those that are not subject to mechanical damage. 

  1. Jacket(HDPE/PVC)
PE material

HDPE is short for high-density polyethylene. It is also a thick coating system. The HDPE is formulated for outdoor cable installation. It is a combination of polyurethane foam insulation and a watertight coating. 

PVC coatings are durable and cost-efficient for outdoor fiber optic cable installation. They are used in a wide variety of telecommunication wiring. 

How to Choose the Right Production Line

We’ve learned about the production line types. It’s time for the main guide: how to choose the right production line. 

Note: You must check an optic cable production line manufacturer well. Opt for the ones that have a productive experience. 

In Hongkai, we’ve been providing quality services since 2005. We know the nitty-gritty of the fiber optic cable production line. 

In this section: we will discuss different production lines. Especially the ones that are used in manufacturing different fiber optic cables. 

We will begin with an easy comprehensive production line. Then move to the more detailed ones to aid proper guidance.

Tight buffer line

The Tight Buffered Production Line:

We have a video on the tight-buffered production line here. Feel free to go through it. 

The tight-buffered production line is an important process of indoor cable production. The right one features easy stripping and increases high productivity. 

The following parts make up the tight-buffered production line:

1. pay off: It helps to increase cable quality during fiber attenuation. 

2.Extruder: To get your desired shape, an extruder helps to complete the plastic extrusion process. 

3.Electric cabinet: It is an electrical enclosure part of the production line. The electrical cabinet helps to provide protection. And, aids the easy operation of the production line. 

4.Water trough and tank: After extrusion, the water trough and tank help to cool the jackets. 

5.OG gauge: This is the outside diameter gauge that measures the cross-sectional area. 

6.Capstan: To stabilize the speed of your production line, the capstan is needed. It works with caterpillars.

7.Dancer of take up: These are for cable speed control during production. 

8.Take-up: It offers reel ranges to increase consistent production. 

You’ll find it in most short-distance indoor wiring. Tight buffering entails squeezing sufficient plastic tight pack covers. It is done outside the jacket surface of the optical fiber. This is to help shield the cable from external effects. 

The extruder is part of a tight-buffered production line used for the fiber coating. 

The bulge in PVC, LSZH, and other related nylon elements is the work of the tight buffer fiber extruding line. This production line has a fast production speed. It can manufacture single-core tightly enclosed optical fibers. 

The settings for this production line use control technology. It combines a programmable logic controller with an industrial computer. 

To achieve asynchronous operation of the entire production line and independent functioning of the single machine, simply use the IPC + PLC mode. It also includes the display of parameters and other settings. 

The Outdoor Optic Cable Sheathing Production Line

The outdoor optic cable sheathing production line is for larger external production. It is optimized to produce big underground cables. Including submarines, OSP induction, and other related installations.

This production line builds cables that protect the fibers. During installation, fibers can encounter a non-conducive environment. 

The production of A-grade cables that can withstand this setting is done through an outdoor cable machine. 

You can watch a video that covers the outdoor production line here.

Outdoor optic cable line

This production line consists of the following parts:

1. Payoff:  It helps to integrate wire. And does the stranding, bunching, and spooling during production.  

2. Dancer of pay off: The flexible part that helps maintain regular cable tension. 

3.Aramid yarn device: The aramid yarn device is used during fiber coating for protection.

4. Jelly machine: It is used during underground cable production. It fills jelly in the inter-spaces between the conductors. 

5. Armored equipment: To produce a flexible conduit, you need this part of the line. It adds high tensile strength to cables. 

6. Extruder: To create a consistent cross-section during production, an extruder does this at a high speed. 

7. Electric cabinet: It helps to control and access the production line. Asides from the safety it provides, the visuals it provides are helpful. It makes the complex production line, each to operate. 

8. OD gauge: The outside diameter gauge helps to determine electric ampacity. This curbs the risk of cable damage. 

9. Capstan: For the outdoor cable line, the capstan does the enormous pulling. The large-diameter wires need a slow production speed. That is what the caterpillar capstan is meant for. 

10. Spark machine: This helps in the data processing. And, it detects defective wires.

11. Printer machine: It integrates into the production line for cable extrusions. 

12. Dancer of take-up: used for unwinding applications. The outdoor production type features maximum rigidity. Which is reliable for large reels. 

13. Take-up: The outdoor production line take-up differs from pay-offs. Especially how it guides the cycle speed of spools. 

Things to Consider Before Choosing an Optic Cable Production Line

The fiber optic cable industry uses a tremendous number of components. No matter the cable type the manufacturer chooses to make. It includes: a spark machine, pay-off, aluminum, plastic steel, glass, steel, and a host of others. 

These production line parts are used to build the cable. From those small things, we don’t think about, such as yarns and wiring. To the big stuff, such as the Extruder, electric cabinet, etc. 

These components have advanced greatly over the years. They are safer, aesthetic, sophisticated, and better built. 

They have changed as new optic cable production lines have emerged over the years. And, they are used in increasingly resourceful ways.

From the production lines, we discussed above. The fundamental configuration of any type of production line is made up of: 

1. Pay off:

2. Extruder

3. Electric cabinet

4. Water trough and tank

5. OD gauge

6. Dancer of taking  up

7. Take-up

Most of these components play the same role in different production lines. The difference between the production lines is the level of the extruder to add. It is added according to the desired cable size.

From the core to the tight buffer, and aramid. An indoor fiber optic cable is filled with different parts. These structures come together to make up high-quality optic cables. Like the ones used in the telecommunication industry. 

While the terminologies may be complex. Having an understanding of how the fiber core and aramid relate to the other parts of an indoor optic cable structure is important. It will help you comprehend and visualize how the indoor fiber optic cable functions. 

In this part, you will learn in detail; the structure of an indoor fiber optic cable. 

Keep reading.  

As discussed earlier, the indoor fiber optic cable is made up of the following components:

1. Fiber core

2. Tight buffer/TB

3. Aramid

4. Steel wire

5. Sheathing

6. Steel Armoured

1.FIber core:

As we discussed earlier, the fiber core is the part that guides the light. In a fiber optic cable, it is a very vital component. Most fiber optic cable manufacturers buy fiber cores differently. The popular companies that sell them are:  

Fiber drawing tower

2.Tight buffer

The tight package is the most central part of making indoor fiber optic cable besides FTTH. 

It consists of thick jackets that are suitable for general intra building. The tight buffer structure consists of two parts:

Tight buffer
  • Fiber core
  • Jacket/sheathing 

To manufacture this product, you will need a complete production line. 

Hk 30 Tight Buffered Fiber Production Line

HK-30 IPC+PLC Control Tight Buffer Production Line

3. Aramid Yarn

It is important to note that the reinforcement is to achieve a purpose, to help protect the fragile fiber, such as aramid, its role is to make the tensile strength of the fiber optic cable; and in the indoor fiber optic cable, only need to add aramid discharge frame can meet the aramid filling requirements;

duplex soft cbale
Mini cable

The common indoor fiber optic cable with aramid to increase the tensile properties of the product have the following in common.

  • Tight buffer/TB
  • Yarn
  • Jacket/Sheathing 

It is processed for the second time after the tight pack is made, so they have some differences in the production line:

The production line structure changes to:

  • FIber cores’ pay off  (1-12 heads)
  • Yarn’s pay off device
  • The model of extruder increase as HK-50
  • An accumulator is added. This is to eliminate the need of stopping the complete production line. Especially when bobbin change is required.
1-12 cores Mini cable line

HK-50 IPC+PLC Control Simplex/Duplex Soft Cable Production Line

4. Steel wire:

Steel wire has stronger bending resistance and tensile strength, generally have applications to outdoor/aerial operations are used to strengthen the steel wire as a member

FTTH drop cable
FTTH drop cable outdoor

In indoor fiber optic cable, steel wire is only used in FTTH fiber optic cable. These products have the following structure:

  • Fiber core
  • Steel wire
  • Jacket/sheathing

In the case of the same extruder as the flexible fiber optic cable line.

The production line structure here changes to:

  • fiber cores’ pay off (1-6 heads)
  • The addition of  the steel wire pay off device
  • The addition of the steel wire strand pay off the device

(ps: because of the non-conductivity/longer life/corrosion resistance of FRP, here sometimes FRP will replace steel wire as a reinforcement)

FTTH drop cable production line


5. Jacket/Sheathing 

This is the final step in fiber optic cable production. However, a point to consider here is the selection of an appropriate extruder model. Here is a list of common model choices:

If you have the same product but different speed requirements, feel free to contact HongKai to communicate your requirements.

ModelHK-30 ExtruderHK-50 ExtruderHK-70 Extruder
Production Speed350m/min(TB)120m/min (FTTH)75m/min(8.0mm)

6. Steel Armoured

Generally speaking, Spiral Kai is only used for indoor or outdoor soft cable, and that’s it, and the equipment used to manufacture it is quite special

Steel armoured machine

First, it is necessary to first flatten the wire and then wrap it around the outside of the soft cable in a spiral-like manner.

The Main Structure of an Outdoor Fiber Optic Cable

The components below form an outdoor optic cable:

  1. Fiber core
  2. Jelly 
  3. PBT
  4. Aramid Yarn
  5. Water blocking tape
  6. Stranded steel wire
  7. Sheathing

1. Fiber core

The outdoor cable has multiple cores. The cores need to be covered with different colors. The colors help to differentiate them. The coloring machine is used to achieve this.

Coloring and rewinding machine

HK-235 Fiber Coloring And Rewinding Machine

2. Jelly/PBT

In multiple cores of fiber, the jelly helps to prevent them from rubbing against each other. 

 It also protects them with PBT as the outer sheath. All these operations need to be done with a single line The finished product is called the loose tube. 

Here’s the production process for these multiple cores:

Fiber cores≦144≧144
Fiber pay offset1224
Finish OD1.8-2.0mm2.2-2.5mm
Loose tube lines produce speed350m/min250m/min
Loose Tube Production Line


3.Central Strength Member/water blocking tape

In the case of multiple cores, reinforcement is added. Including the same outer diameter as the tube in the middle.  It helps to prevent the loose tube from being crushed. Or, further extended into deformation after sheathing due to rubber shrinkage. 

Central strength member cable
Central strength member cable

During the production process, here’s what’s done: 

  • We combine the multi-core tubes
  • Tie the yarn
  • Add water blocking tape

Which is the most important step in the cable production process. This combination helps the cable core to remain loose. 

All in all, the strength of a good equipment supplier is reflected in the equipment they provide.

HK-800/12 SZ production line


4. Stranded steel wire/Armour/Aramid Yarn/Sheathing

We add all the reinforcement parts for fiber production. The stranded steel wire increases the cable’s compressive properties. While aramid yarn strengthens the tensile properties at high altitudes.

A high hardness sheath material, such as the highest strength large HDPE is generally used here. 

A few points to note: 

  • In terms of the Stranded steel wire,  we can all use the same FTTH line. 
  • Unlike indoor fiber optic cables, the aramour process requires two stranded steel wires to be stranded at the same time in order to ensure the overall compactness.
  • Here Armour is different from steel armoured, it is not only used with outdoor fiber optic cable, the manufacturing equipment is also completely different, the material used can be generally steel/aluminum tape
Outdoor optic cable line


For example 

Above we have analyzed and explained the structure of each cable and the equipment needed to make them, so you must have a general understanding of the different cable production processes, so come with us to answer the following questions, this is also considered to do a summary

1.How to produce the duplex soft cable?

First, let’s analyze how the cable is structured:

Duplex soft cable

According to the product diagram, it is not difficult to analyze that it is composed of these parts:

  1. Fiber
  2. Tight buffer
  3. Kevlar Yarn
  4. Sheathing

Next, we configure the devices one by one for each structure:


Get the original fiber core from these companies:  

2.Tight buffer

Hk 30 Tight Buffered Fiber Production Line

HK-30 IPC+PLC control tight buffer production line

3.Kevlar yarn/sheathing



2. How to produce the ADSS cable?

In the same way, we first analyze the cable:

  1. Fiber(Multicolor)
  2. Loose tube
  3. Tube*6 cores with 1 Central Strength Member
  4. Water blocking tape/ Ripcords/ Aramid Yarn/ Sheathing

Next, we configure the devices one by one for each structure:


coloring and rewinding machine

HK-235 Fiber Coloring And Rewinding Machine

2.Loose tube

Loose Tube Production Line


3.Tube*6 cores with 1 Central Strength Member

HK-800/12 SZ production line


4.Water blocking tape/ Ripcords/ Aramid Yarn/ Sheathing

Outdoor optic cable line


We can also match the specific configuration of the production line according to the actual specifications of the cable. If there are special requirements, we can provide our customers with free and best-quality solutions.

Final Words

When a choice feels off about your purchase, seek professional service. Our expert team at Hongkai is here to help you. We can provide the perfect production line to meet your optic cable production needs. 

Feel free to call for a free consultation. And ask our professional technicians any question concerning a production line. It will help inform your choices and help you make better decisions. 

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