2013-09-05 15:07:01 -
Spark plugs set a new standard in high voltage capability
Southfield, Mich. September 5, 2013. Federal-Mogul Corporation's Powertrain
Segment (FDML: NASDAQ) has introduced a new high performance spark plug ceramic
to address increasing thermal and voltage demands of high-output gasoline
engines. Called SureFire Plus, the new spark plug ceramic technology delivers
higher voltages, extends plug life and packages efficiently into the crowded
cylinder heads of multi-valve downsized engines.
SureFire Plus is a step-change technology, derived from the company's SureFire
plug launched in 2008. Advanced ceramic insulator materials enable SureFire
Plus plugs to deliver voltages of 42kV or more, compared to 36kV previously.
Higher spark voltages permit the use of leaner fuel mixtures, enabling increased
engine performance and/or better fuel economy while reducing CO(2) emissions.
The improved ceramic performance also enables a reduction in
the size of the
spark plug, from 14mm down to 12mm or 10mm, according to customer requirements.
"The ceramic insulator is the only barrier between the electrodes. It forces the
spark to jump the gap, which initiates combustion," explained Rich Keller,
director of product ignition engineering, Bearings & Ignition, Federal-Mogul
Powertrain. "The unprecedented level of ceramic performance we have achieved in
SureFire Plus spark plugs enables a new generation of ignition systems that
provide greater energy and durability in a smaller package."
Spark plug insulators are typically composed of 95 percent alumina (aluminium
oxide), with the balance being glass, which aids in manufacturability but limits
the electrical and mechanical properties. The SureFire Plus insulator is made
with a formulation containing a significantly higher percentage of alumina, with
the remaining content a combination of various oxides engineered to optimize
high temperature shunt resistance, helping to minimize the electrical current
leakage through the ceramic. To address this change in material
composition, Federal-Mogul is using new manufacturing processing equipment that
achieves the industry's highest ceramic formula compaction pressures during the
The trends in modern gasoline engines towards lower CO(2) emissions with
increased performance and longer life are possible due to advances in component
technology. Critical among these is the spark plug. Downsized, highly boosted
engines produce much higher peak temperatures and pressures during the
combustion process, while leaner mixtures and alternative fuels are more
difficult to ignite. All these factors increase the energy requirement, and
hence the voltage needed, across the spark plug.
Downsized engines mean smaller cylinders, often with four valves where once
there were two. Direct injection engines must also accommodate the fuel injector
within the combustion chamber, while increased power output requires more space
for the coolant passages. These factors combine to limit the diameter of the
spark plug, making the insulator thinner in cross section and increasing the
risk of electrical breakdown.
"Developing a ceramic microstructure with superior resistance to high-voltage
breakdown was a vital first step, but to make SureFire Plus a production reality
required a development breakthrough in compaction process technology," said
Keller. "That's how Federal-Mogul maintains its technical lead; by combining
cutting edge materials research with advanced manufacturing techniques."
Federal-Mogul is currently in pilot production with SureFire Plus, with high
volume production scheduled for May 2014. The new patent pending material is
also expected to have an impact outside the automotive sector, in applications
such as the compressed natural gas (CNG) market.
Federal-Mogul Corporation (NASDAQ: FDML) is a leading global supplier of
products and services to the world's manufacturers and servicers of vehicles and
equipment in the automotive, light, medium and heavy-duty commercial, marine,
rail, aerospace, power generation and industrial markets. The company's products
and services enable improved fuel economy, reduced emissions and enhanced
Federal-Mogul operates two independent business segments, each with a chief
executive officer reporting to Federal-Mogul's Board of Directors. Federal-
Mogul's Powertrain Segment designs and manufactures original equipment
powertrain components and systems protection products for automotive, heavy-
duty, industrial and transport applications. Federal-Mogul's Vehicle Components
Segment sells and distributes a broad portfolio of products through more than
20 of the world's most recognized brands in the global vehicle aftermarket,
while also serving original equipment vehicle manufacturers with products
including braking, chassis, wipers and other vehicle components. The company's
aftermarket brands include ANCO(®) wiper blades; Champion(®) spark plugs, wipers
and filters; AE(®), Fel-Pro(®), FP Diesel(®) Goetze(®), Glyco(®), Nüral(®),
Payen(®) and Sealed Power(®) engine products; MOOG(®) steering and suspension
parts; and Ferodo(®) and Wagner(®) brake products.
Federal-Mogul was founded in Detroit in 1899. The company employs 45,000 people
in 34 countries, and its worldwide headquarters is in Southfield, Michigan,
United States. For more information, please visit www.federalmogul.com.
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Source: Federal-Mogul Corporation via Thomson Reuters ONE