For a company that makes some big antennas, we also work on the smallest scale imaginable when developing and manufacturing our fiber optic gyros (aka “FOGs”). These ultra-compact precision sensors play a role in a huge number of applications ranging from helping keep the yellow “first down” line stable on your TV screen while watching football on Sunday to supporting the precision mapping that makes services like Google Streetview possible, allowing law enforcement to track down bad guys from the air and equipping soldiers to fire weapons safely and accurately from within an armored vehicle, to keeping autonomous vehicles on track.
At the heart of our FOGs is KVH’s polarization maintaining optical fiber. These seemingly delicate threads are actually coated glass, stretched like taffy in a process that creates 2 or more kilometers of fiber from a single 3 foot long hollow tube. By depositing specialized chemicals within the inner diameter (ID) of the tube, also known as the preform, we are able to create a unique optical fiber designed to transmit light, the passage of which we can measure and use to determine how the FOG (and the platform it’s attached to) is rotating or moving. In fact, we’re actually the only fiber optic gyro manufacturer to manufacture its own optical fiber, giving us tremendous control over the quality and performance of the fiber and our FOGs.
For a look behind the scenes at how we actually produce our unique E•Core and ThinFiber optical fiber, take a quick tour of two steps in our production process…
Making the “Preform”
Drawing the Fiber