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Federal-Mogul develops line of spark plugs for heavy-duty CNG vehicles

Transit spark plugs allow the use of different electrode configurations with an iridium centre and depending on the application, platinum or iridium ground to optimise the electrode surface for extended life.

Federal-Mogul Powertrain, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation, has developed a range of spark plugs for heavy-duty vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Demand for CNG-fueled vehicles for urban transport (buses) and freight distribution (trucks) is being driven by increasing restrictions on emissions and environmental pressures to use more sustainable energy resources.

Federal-Mogul will present its range of ignition products at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hannover from 23 September to 2 October 2014.

CNG-fueled engines meet current Euro-6 emissions and are suited to transportation tasks in congested cities to reduce further pollution. With the growth of this market, Federal-Mogul has built upon its existing CNG product portfolio with new material and design variations tailored for this market segment.

Each application is tailored to provide optimum performance enabling greater durability, and reduced fuel consumption and emissions to suit our customers’ needs. For example, we have different electrode material configurations with an iridium centre and depending on the application, a platinum or iridium ground to optimise the electrode surface for extended life.

The transient operation of CNG heavy-duty vehicle engines and the wide range of ambient conditions encountered can produce temperature gradients that are different to those in stationary engines. For example, engines for power generation do not idle, whereas heavy-duty vehicle engines often encounter frequent idling periods, followed by wide open throttle operation. This puts additional thermal shock stress on the material bonds of the spark plug, according to Trebbels.

The electrode temperatures also tend to be higher in heavy-duty vehicle applications compared to stationary applications, and spark energy levels are lower, but we can carry across a great deal of our experience in geometry, materials and manufacturing processes to accommodate these variations.

Federal-Mogul is one of the world’s largest spark plug manufacturers, producing more than a million plugs per year globally for the CNG engine market alone.