Engineer goes all the hog for breakthroughs in fiber optics, cable

Visitors view a 3-meter-long fiber-optic raw quartz stick at the Third China International Import Exhibition. [Photo/China News Service]

Luo Jie, CTO of Yangtze Optical Fiber and Cable Joint Stock Ltd Co, a global leader in optical communication, is on a mission to make a breakthrough in key technologies in China’s optical fiber and cable industry.

In his view, strengthening basic skills through independent innovation is of great importance for a company in order to strengthen its competitiveness, expand the product portfolio as well as expand its global presence.

“The whole network is connected by optical fiber. With the development of wireless technology, the demand for bandwidth and transmission rate is higher, which has given a big boost to the advancement of the fiber optic technology, ”Luo ​​said, stressing the importance of fiber optics to support the development of ultra-fast 5G wireless technology.

Founded in 1988, YOFC was a joint venture of three partners. These are the former Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Wuhan Municipal Government and Royal Philips, based in the Netherlands.

At first, all manufacturing techniques related to fiber optics were introduced by Royal Philips, and the company just made products in accordance with foreign standards because it was not able to change technical parameters and improve performance. of the product, Luo said.

In 2000, YOFC created a research and development department and began its journey of independent innovation. Luo became director general of the R&D department after leaving his post as a researcher at the Wuhan Post and Telecommunications Research Institute.

Luo and his team have done a lot of research and conducted countless experiments under tremendous pressure. Despite many failures, they did not give up.

In 2004, they finally solved the technical problem of the global fiber optic industry to use the plasma chemical vapor deposition process and process to produce low water peak fiber, which has been widely applied in the construction of fiber optic networks.

“Today, we can design and manufacture ourselves, and the product categories are diversifying,” Luo said. Till now, YOFC has mastered three kinds of fiber optic preform manufacturing technology, and obtained more than 700 invention patents at home and abroad.

Luo added that he gains a sense of accomplishment when each new product developed by his team can be applied to the large-scale construction of the country’s telecommunications networks in a timely manner. After more than 30 years, YOFC has successfully grown from a follower to a leader in the global optical communications industry. The company has grown to become the world’s largest supplier of optical fibers, optical cables and fiber preforms.

It owns the national key laboratory for fiber optic and cable manufacturing technology and has offered products and services to more than 70 countries and regions around the world. YOFC has also stepped up its efforts to expand into overseas markets, establishing joint ventures in Indonesia, Myanmar and South Africa.

China is at the forefront of the development and adoption of 5G. The nation built more than 1.15 million 5G base stations as of mid-November, representing more than 70% of the global total, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said. The rapid development of 5G technology has resulted in an increasing demand for optical fiber.

“We have the responsibility and the mission to fight against several technological bottlenecks related to optical fiber. At present, our R&D team has more than 300 members, and the annual R&D expenditure represents about 5% of the total turnover of the company. “

In addition, Luo said the company is more involved in ITU-T, the telecommunications standardization sector of the International Telecommunication Union, which is responsible for developing new standards and revising existing standards. for the global information and communications technology industry.

“There are around 10 standards for fiber optics at ITU-T, and we are currently responsible for four standards,” Luo said, adding that they had increased the power of speech in formulating international standards for the fiber optic and cable industry.

At present, Luo spends more time studying advanced technologies in fiber optic and cable industry and learning about the development history of optical telecommunications networks, in order to offer more help and advice for young engineers.