The Saturday Video: Fiber Optics

By December 17, 2005Cool Stuff Being Made

Fiber OpticsA little while ago we got a comment from one of our regular Saturday Video viewers asking for a video of fiber optics being made. And so we went looking through our vast membership. We asked Verizon, who sent us to Corning, who in turn delivered this week’s excellent video.

If it’s possible for one 10-minute video to puncture the myth of manufacturing as a dark and dirty undertaking, this is it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this video is worth a short book on the subject, and definitely more fun. When you watch this, you’ll see why we say that manufacturing is changing. You’ll see why some manufacturers suffer a shortage of skilled workers. The kind of workers needed to make fiber optics is typical of the kinds of worker needed in 21st Century manufacturing.

This video, “At the Speed of Light” is inspirational on any number of levels. It describes what Corning calls “the union of glass and light”. Developed in the 70’s by a trio of scientists — Drs. Keck, Maurer and Schultz — who went on to win the National Medal of Technology for their efforts, it is truly remarkable. They are making fibers thinner than a human hair. The single mode fiber is a mere 8 microns thick. One micron is one-millionth of a meter. Corning Optical Fiber went on to win the prestigious Baldridge Award for their excellence in manufacturing for this — what they call “the catalyst of innovation.”

You young people who are regular “Cool Stuff Being Made” watchers should check out this link about careers in manufacturing. If you want to be at the forefront of innovation, this is the place to be. If you want to push paper (paper that we make, by the way), go someplace else.

Click here to watch this week’s video and see what manufacturing in the 21st century looks like. As we like to say, feel the manufacturing vibe.