OFS to double fiber manufacturing capacity, focus on U.S., Europe

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OFS, the optical fiber and connector subsidiary of Furukawa Electric, plans to nearly double its 2016 optical fiber manufacturing capacity by 2019 and to increase its optical fiber cable manufacturing capacity.

Unsurprisingly, OFS’ capacity expansion is in response to growing fiber demand for various applications, including 5G wireless, data center expansion, business services and FTTH expansions.

Between 2014 and 2016, Furukawa Electric increased its global fiber production capacity by 20% and planned to achieve another capacity increase of 20% by 2018.

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"The proliferation of hyper-scale and edge data centers, 5G wireless, and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), along with the greater digitization of communications in business, are creating the need for fiber in the network around the world," said Timothy Murray, head of the Global Optical Fiber and Cable business of Furukawa Electric and CEO of OFS, in a release. "Furukawa Electric is responding with greater capacity as we foresee this demand continuing into the next decade with communication traffic estimated to increase during this period.”

Although OFS did not cite specific customers that this increase is being driven by, Furukawa Electric’s board approved $150 million in capital spending for further expansion in production, primarily in the U.S. and Europe, through the optical fiber and cable operations of OFS, its wholly owned subsidiary.

OFS is not the only fiber provider enhancing its fiber production capacity.

Fellow fiber manufacturer Corning, whose $1-billion-a-year optical solutions purchase agreement with Verizon will support the telco’s wireline broadband and future wireless expansion efforts, is also increasing its fiber production capacity.

In order to fulfill Verizon’s requirements, Corning plans to expand capacity and to invest more than $250 million in its optical fiber, cable and solutions manufacturing facilities. Corning expects these capacity expansions to begin to come online in 2017 and become fully operational in 2018.