NGK Spark Plug to ignite CNG three-wheelers
Haryana-based NGK Spark Plug India Pvt. Ltd., a fully-owned subsidiary of NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd, Japan, has launched new spark plugs for CNG three-wheelers. They were developed by NGK Japan taking into account the various performance parameters. NGK India was incorporated in 2006 to produce high quality spark plugs for vehicle manufacturers and the aftermarket.
“We have incorporated a long nose plug which will ensure better combustion to CNG engine. We have kept the removable terminal knot type. Some use terminal knot and some don’t. This plug is compatible for both and is specifically developed keeping in mind BS-3 and BS-4 engines,” Sudipto Sanyal, Senior Manager, Sales and Marketing, NGK Spark Plugs India, said.
He said that the product is exclusively for the Indian market and as of now it is scalable only up to BS-4. “When BS-VI engine comes into the market, we will make plugs for that too,” he said. The plugs are imported from Japan and the company has plans for local production. “We are discussing with NGK Japan about making them in India and in the near future we will do it,” he said.
About its technology Sanyal said, “We have developed a special metal plug for the CNG market. A CNG engine runs very hot. It is
hotter than the petrol or diesel engines. When the engine is hot, pressure in the spark plug is very high and it has to withstand a very high temperature. Sometimes, when the spark plug cannot withstand the temperature, it will melt. Misfiring will happen, and it will stop the engine. We have developed this spark plug in such a way that it can withstand the rough and tough conditions of India and give optimum performance. This is the key to our technology.”
At present, the CNG plugs are made available only for three-wheelers. The company may bring plugs soon for CNG buses also. “In the segment we were the first to start with fourwheelers. Our spark plug is very successful in those areas. We have been a leader in CNG four-wheelers in Delhi, Mumbai, Gujarat and wherever there is CNG,” he said. “It is not about fuel efficiency. The basics of it is smooth drive. Jerking and knockings in the vehicles are reduced when they use our plugs.”
“Autos in Mumbai that were previously using the conventional meter are changing to electronic meter. These new meters were not running with other plugs available in the market. They found no problem when they used our plug. Even the electronic meter firms which has tie-ups with CNG firms specify that they need NGK spark plugs,” Sanyal said.
With no customer base available in India and market being too scattered with little knowledge about spark plugs, NGK India had worked in a different manner to make its mark. Over the years, the company has educated end-customers, mechanics, retailers, and distributors about the importance of spark plug for a vehicle and how to select a right one. “Before we entered the market, there was little information about how to choose a spark plug. A spark plug has to withstand the 20,000 - 30,000 voltage, 2,000-2,500 degree celsius temperature, around 50 kg/cm square pressure, corrosive activities and current flash-over, apart from igniting the fuel burning process. This is the reason we started to educate people about spark plugs and train mechanics,” he said.
The company has trained over 450 mechanics through its Ustaad Mechanics Club (UMC) under which the mechanics are invited to the Bawal plant and are given basic training. It has also set up an Aftermarket Technical Service (ATS) team to deal with distributors, retailers and customer feedback. Today NGK India is renowned for its strong sales policies, discipline in network and innovative ways of creating and managing a network of over 130 distributors, 300 subdistributors, reaching up to around 8,000 retailers all over India.
The company has announced a plan to set up a new plant in India at an investment of around 1.7 billion yen (Rs 98 crore), at the existing plant area to double the production capability of spark plugs by the end of this year and start production of oxygen sensors. About the future plans, Sanyal said, “To meet large demand for spark plugs in the aftermarket and also to meet the more strict emission standards for oxygen sensors for motorcycles under Bharat Stage VI, we decided to invest in the Indian facility which will have a full sensor line. “Twowheeler sensors will come to the market by 2019-20. Therefore, we are making this investment. We will start supplying to OEMs and then gradually come to the aftermarket,” Sanyal said.
According to its vision 2020, NGK aims at 45% market share by increasing its current clientele comprising Maruti Suzuki, Yamaha India, Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India and others.
Management team of NGK Japan visited their stall at New Delhi Auto Expo in February 2018.
Cross section of a spark plug