Air Liquide Supports Chinese Fiber Optics
France’s Air Liquide, in its current status as the world’s largest producer of industrial gases, has signed new 10 to 15-year supply contracts with three major Chinese fiber optic manufacturers.
Under the terms of the agreements with Futong Group Communication Technology, Yangtze Optical Fibre and Zhongtian Technology Fine materials, Air Liquide will provide more than 6,000Nm3 per hour of hydrogen and 4,000Nm3 per hour of nitrogen, together with bulk oxygen, helium, argon and carbon dioxide.
In the fiber optic manufacturing process, industrial gases are used to consolidate the center of the fiber, which consists of a silica glass rod, to initially manufacture a glass preform. The gases are subsequently used to strengthen the preform before heating and drawing. In the final step, helium and argon are used to cool the drawn fiber effectively.
Demand for fiber optics in China has been growing rapidly in recent years, driven by 4G deployment and broadband home and office systems. The three companies being supplied by Air Liquide account for more than 30% of Chinese production, the company said.
Francois Abrial, member of Air Liquide’s executive committee with responsibility for Asia Pacific, said the gas supply contracts reinforce its position in the growing Chinese fiber optics market.