Release: May 27, 2003
NGK Insulators, Ltd. (NGK; President: Shun Matsushita, Head Office: Nagoya, Aichi) announced that Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda; President: Lewis Booth, Head Office: Hiroshima, Japan) has selected NGK's diesel particulate filters (DPFs) for use in its diesel-powered vehicles for monitoring. "Bongo Van", compact commercial vehicles equipped with the catalyst-coated DPF system, will begin monitoring in Japan in May 2003. The DPF is made of ceramics based on SiC (silicon carbide), which has excellent heat resistance. It therefore offers superior purification performance and durability under a variety of conditions.
The DPF is a component that almost completely eliminates particulate matter (PM) contained in the exhaust gas of diesel-powered vehicles. Diesel emission regulations will become significantly more stringent from 2005 in Japan, Europe and the USA, and the automotive industry has developed various types of systems for exhaust gas purification. In order to respond to these technologies, NGK has developed a SiC-DPF, in addition to the Cordierite-DPF which was commercialized 1989.
Since the DPF gradually clogs with PM with continuous use, the filter needs to be regeneration by combusting accumulated PM, applying the heat contained in exhaust gas. However, in some regeneration methods, the heat generated during combustion damages the DPF. NGK has solved this problem by using ceramics based on SiC, which has excellent heat resistance. Conventional SiC-DPFs also suffer from cracking caused by sudden temperature changes (thermal shock). In order to rectify this problem, the Company improved thermal shock resistance by adding silicon (Si) with the superior elasticity to the base SiC, creating a complex. At the same time, porosity and pore size of the porous ceramic material have been optimized, thus preventing poor fuel consumption caused by loss of discharge pressure associated with DPF installation.
NGK plans to increase production volume in response to expected adoption by other automakers. In April 2003, NGK established a mass-production facility in the Komaki Plant (Komaki, Aichi). This facility will serve as the mother factory for NGK Ceramics Polska Sp. z o. o., which was established in January 2003 as a mass-production base in Europe, the main market for DPFs. The Company plans to begin production in January 2005. NGK has many years of experience with the development and productions of HONEYCERAM® - a catalytic converter for exhaust gas purification for gasoline-powered vehicles. Taking advantage of its success and experience with this, NGK is collaborating with automakers and catalyst manufacturers in the ongoing development of DPFs. NGK will retain its market share and expand its business through technical differentiation.