Exclusive interview with Gilbert Couvert, Product Manager Spark Plugs, After Market & Industrial Solutions DENSO Europe B.V.
This year the Automechanika Exhibition in Frankfurt gathered many companies specialized in various areas of the aftermarket. Having visited the exposition, the Info-Parts journalists could not pass by the stand with a big spark plug mock-up with a plasma ball on the top of it to operate the program on the screen and an industrial robotic arm. We talked with Mr. Gilbert Couvert, representative of the company, which manufactures spark plugs not only for the aftermarket.
Info-Parts: Mr. Couvert, could you please describe us the difference between the spark plugs manufactured for the aftermarket and OE?
DENSO: To start with, it should be mentioned that DENSO spare parts designed for installation into a motor vehicle on the conveyor are produced exclusively to the specifications and on the request of automobile manufacturers. This production takes a big part of DENSO activities and is the indicator of high level of technical proficiency.
Main difference in various types of the spark plugs lays in their performance. DENSO always tries to employ the cutting-edge technologies in production to ensure superior operation of the engine as longer as possible.
The aftermarket has fewer restrictions from automobile manufacturers, so DENSO manufactures spark plugs based on the internal standards using in-house patented technologies such as U-shaped groove, ultra-thin iridium centre electrode, ТТ – the two counter electrodes technology, and super ignition plug technology. All innovations are implemented in Iridium Power, Iridium Tough, Iridium Racing, SIP and TT spark plugs.
DENSO also optimizes the spark plug range for the aftermarket, e.g. the TT line offers 15 product items that cover 85% of motor vehicle fleet.
Info-Parts: What is the difference between DENSO TT spark plug and a standard nickel plug?
DENSO:The patentedDENSO ТТ spark plugs are manufactured using SIP (Super Ignition Plug) technology. These are the first spark plugs with thin electrodes made without use of precious metals. The ТТ plugs have nickel centre and ground electrodes with diameter 1.5 mm, which is smaller than in the standard plugs. Thanks to this option DENSO TT plugs demonstrate higher spark power and provide more effective ignition of air-fuel mixture.
By ignition parameters ТТ plugs are close to iridium plugs and allow reducing fuel consumption. This is achieved through complete combustion of mixture in the cylinder while engine performance is improved. As an example let’s take a motor vehicle with standard nickel plugs consuming 1 litre of fuel for 16.9 km. After 10 000 km run the same vehicle equipped with DENSO ТТ spark plugs will save car owner 7 liters of fuel and increase a run range for 120 km.
The spark plugs of TT line have the same service lifetime as nickel plugs, but greater efficiency As a result, a car owner can win back the money spent for replacing the plugs to DENSO ТТ and increase vehicle performance. In addition to fuel economy, these plugs reduce emissions of carbonic gas (CO2) and hydrocarbons (CH) by 5% in comparison to nickel spark plugs.
Info-Parts: Does DENSO offer spark plugs with multiground electrodes for standard applications?
DENSO: Using more electrodes is the cheapest way for a car manufacturer to increase lifetime of a plug. Unfortunately the more ground electrodes, the more negative impact it has on a refined bright spark development.
No matter how many electrodes are there in a spark plug — two, three, or four — a high-voltage pulse born in the coil depths will generate just one spark that “chooses” one of the ground electrodes. A set of several electrodes is destructed gradually: a spark generated on the electrode with the least resistance, “destroys” such electrode progressively and then moves to the next electrode.
In DENSO we believe that money spent for designing a cheap multi-electrode spark plug does not worth of the promised performance result. If a high-effective plug with many electrodes needs to be designed, its prime cost will increase considerably, but this is not always a justified decision. As it is said, the more is not always the better.
Nevertheless, DENSO offers two-ground electrode plugs instead of four-ground-electrode plugs for a number of engines. The DENSO plugs with two ground electrodes had been checked for performance and service lifetime. DENSO always puts the quality of its products first. Our plugs with two ground electrodes are a serious competition to majority of four-electrode spark plugs of other manufacturers.
Info-Parts:What is the difference between multi-electrode plugs and iridium SIP?
DENSO: Super Ignition Plugs (SIP) – are the absolutely different plugs, which employ the latest available standard in the market. SIP design looks quite ordinary, but materials used for manufacturing are far away from the standard. The centre iridium electrode ensures better performance, and a platinum tip on the ground electrode contributes to decrease of power loss and maximum service lifetime. It is fair to say that SIP is a double needle plug, but more efficient and durable.
Info-Parts: Is there any difference in DENSO product lines for the markets of the USA, Europe, Asia and Middle East?
DENSO: The demand for DENSO plugs exists everywhere in the world. Of course, there are certain differences between the countries as to volumes and types of needs in our products. However, DENSO does not introduce differences in product ranges all over the world. The DENSO plugs are manufactured in Japan, Indonesia, and the USA.
All types of platinum and iridium plugs are manufactured in Japan. A part of nickel spark plugs is manufactured in Japan and another part in Indonesia. The quality of nickel plugs produced in Indonesia is absolutely identical to that of plugs produced in Japan. The Indonesian-made plugs are successfully sold in Western Europe for two years.
Packaging may look different for the markets of the USA, Europe, Asia and Middle East, but the product inside of the pack is of the same quality. If any doubt arises, a client may check product authenticity by looking at the stamping on insulator and body, and to visit the website to obtain more information.
Continuous and strict control of the end product allows DENSO to occupy the leading positions in the original equipment and the aftermarket.