18 May 2001

Nagoya, Japan-based NGK Insulators, Ltd. said it will invest in a commercial production facility for silicon carbide (SiC) wall-flow substrates for diesel particulate filters (DPF). NGK has developed the SiC material in anticipation of DPF market growth driven by more stringent diesel emission standards which become effective between 2005-2007 in Japan, the US, and European Union. The silicon carbide DPF will be offered in addition to the cordierite DPF, which first entered commercial production in 1989.

This investment is being made to meet the customers’ demand for samples and commercial products of the newly developed SiC DPF until larger-scale mass production begins. NGK will invest ¥1.5 billion at its Komaki Plant (Komaki, Aichi) to build production lines with production capacity up to 200,000 pieces per year. Production will be available starting in April 2002 and capacity will be increased up to 200,000 pieces by October 2002. The market for SiC DPF is estimated to grow to approximately ¥25 billion by 2005. NGK plans to make further investment in larger scale mass production facilities to meet potential demand in Europe, the leading market for diesel powered vehicles.

SiC is superior to cordierite in heat resistance, but its thermal expansion is higher and it is more expensive than cordierite. NGK’s newly developed SiC DPF addresses the thermal expansion problem with an original sintering technology and segmented design. Cordierite has been widely used as the material of HONEYCERAM®, NGK’s ceramic honeycomb substrates for automotive exhaust catalytic converters. Since 1976, NGK has produced and delivered more than 450 million HONEYCERAM® substrates to car manufacturers all over the world.

Source: NGK