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RFoF In-house production tool

Submitter: Lesley Goudbeek
Description: At ASTRON we develop and create very specific and specialized products to make astronomy happen. At the R&D photonics group we develop RF over Fiber (RFoF). Our astronomy colleagues in Australia took notice of the RFoF technology and want to use it in their telescope upgrade. They requested 256 optical transmitter and receiver units, 512 modules total. This was a great opportunity for us to develop methods for producing these RFoF units on larger scale. And specialized products require specialized tool.

To produce the 512 modules, pins of lasers and detector components had to be bent and cut a certain to be suited for assembly. This would have been a very labour intensive task to do by hand and the tolerances of the bends would be operator dependent. The mechanical department developed a bending tool that preform this task in mere seconds. The laser or detector component is placed in the tool and by a 3 stage press mechanism the tool does the following in one operation:
- it secures the component tightly (front black element),
- it bends the pins (the brass element),
- it cuts the pins.
Do note the very small dimensions off the components and assembly jig! Thanks to this tool we managed to prepare the components for assembly in mere hours instead of day's of intensive manual labour. Furthermore the tool can be used in the future to prepare plenty of more components!

Special thanks to Jan Idserda, Sjouke Kuindersma and Paula Fusiara at the mechanical department for creating always awesome products.
Copyright: Lesley Goudbeek, Jan Idserda, Sjouke Kuindersma, Paula Fusiara
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