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GLOW PLUG CONTROL UNITS AND GLOW PLUG TECHNOLOGY

If you compared today’s diesel cars with those of 30, 20 or even just 10 years ago, you’d be amazed at the differences. Modern diesel cars are quieter, more efficient and a lot more environmentally friendly.

Part of these green credentials come from BERU’s innovations in glow plug technology. In fact, without these innovations, it’s highly unlikely that emissions from diesel cars would be as low as they currently are, meaning it would be highly unlikely that you’d see (m)any diesel cars on the roads at all.

To discover how BERU glow plug control units reduce emissions and how it works hand in hand with BERU glow plugs, we need to take a closer look at the individual components that make up the glow plug system and how BERU continues to push innovation forward.

What is a glow plug?

There is a glow plug inside every cylinder of your diesel car, ready to heat up to extremely high temperatures (1300° Celsius for Ceramic Glow Plugs) when sprayed with a pressurised fuel-air mixture. The high temperature ensures that the fuel burns efficiently, with the lowest possible amount of emissions.

BERU’s compact glow plugs offer heat-up times as low as 2 seconds, or less when used in conjunction with the Instant Start System (ISS), even when the outside temperature is -30°C.

BERU’s main types of glow plugs are:

Pressure Sensor Glow Plugs (PSG)

The sensor and electronics in the PSG pin optimise performance of the glow plug, significantly reducing exhaust gases. BERU’s PSG are the first in the world to enable the regulation of the combustion processes inside a closed loop system.

Ceramic Glow Plugs (CGP)

The CGP delivers a high maximum temperature of 1,300°C in less than 3 seconds for ideal fuel combustion.

High-tech Steel Glow Plugs

An ideal fast, durable and green solution for two- and three-phase glow technologies.

Commercial Vehicles Glow Plugs

BERU also offers a range of glow plugs designed to meet the specific needs of vans, trucks and other industrial applications.

For more information on glow plugs, read our glow plug blog or take a look at our catalogue.

What is a glow plug control unit?

BERU’s glow plug control unit monitors and controls the glow plugs in your engine. It analyses information from the engine control unit (ECU) to determine how to achieve the optimal performance of your glow plugs to meet increasingly strict exhaust gas standards.

BERU’s glow plug control unit regulates the timings, electric current size (heat required) and duration for each glow plug in order to optimise engine operation. Each of these elements are important. If a glow plug isn’t turned on for long enough or to a high enough temperature, the fuel mixture won’t ignite efficiently. And if it is turned on for too long, the glow plug can sustain damage or accelerated wear.

BERU’s glow plug control unit uses three-phase technology to ensure optimal performance of your glow plugs:

  • Phase 1: pre-heating initiated when the ignition starts. Glow plugs are quickly heated up to 1300° Celsius.
  • Phase 2: Heating during starting to ensure optimal combustion of your fuel.
  • Phase 3: Post-heating. BERU glow plugs continue to be heated for approximately 3 minutes after the engine has been started. This extended glow plug operating time helps to complete the combustion process and to decrease noise output as the combustion chambers heat up.

Additionally, when the engine doesn’t operate as it should, the BERU glow plug control unit offers additional diagnostical data.

Advanced BERU technology improve the efficiency of the ignition process, dramatically decreasing start-up times, especially in cold weather.

The three main types of BERU glow plug control units are:

Glow plug control relay

The glow plug control relay compares data from sensors to values calculated by the control unit to regulate and adjust the current delivered to the glow plugs.

glow-plug-control-relay
relay-diagram

Glow plug control unit, ASIC-based

The glow plug control unit with Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) receives requests for glow function from the ECU. It is ideal for flow control and monitoring of low-voltage glow plugs. It offers optimised current control, voltage adaptation and simplified diagnostics.

glow-plug-control-unit-asci-based
asic-diagram

Glow plug control unit, micro-controller

The micro-controller communicates in both directions with the ECU via a BUS-system. Data is fed through the unit to the glow plug, while feedback is simultaneously sent back to the ECU, allowing the control unit to precisely regulate and adjust the required voltage. The unit also includes an error memory and full diagnostics. In case of failure in the BUS network, the glow plug has an emergency function to guarantee start-up of the engine.

glow-plug-control-unit-micro-controller
micro-controller-diagram

What is a glow plug relay?

The glow plug control unit uses a glow plug relay to switch the current for the glow plugs on and off. The more glow plugs monitored by a control unit, the higher the current the circuit will need. To reduce the current needed, glow plugs are often distributed across two circuits, with two glow plug relays. This is often used in older glow plug systems.

The ignition process of a diesel-powered car

To turn this from theory into practice, here’s what happens when you start a diesel-powered car:

  1. Turn the key in the ignition to start the car;
  2. The glow plug control unit analyses input from the ECU to determine the timings, electric current and duration required by the glow plugs;
  3. Electric current is sent to the glow plugs, causing them to glow;
  4. Intake air is compressed, and fuel is sprayed directly onto the hot tip of the glow plugs;
  5.  Combustion is started as soon as the injected fuel mixes with the compressed air in the warm cylinder;
  6. The glow plug control unit keeps the glow plugs on for a while after the engine starts to ensure optimal combustion of the fuel and lower emissions.

Advantages of Beru glow plug technology

  • BERU develops, tests and builds glow plug components to meet OE specifications and safety standards. This means you can rely on BERU glow plug technology for start after start, even on the coldest mornings.
  • BERU offers the largest range of glow plug control units for diesel cars*, including the perfect model for your car.
  • And it doesn’t stop here, BERU continues to invest in new products to meet customer needs.

* Source : F-M PI/TecDoc 2018
www.tecalliance.net/en/company
(Not all Diesel cars are equipped with a Glow Plug control unit)

Original Equipment (OE) manufacturer standards

BorgWarner (manufacturer of BERU products) has an international reputation for delivering innovative ignition solutions that meet OE manufacturer standards. BorgWarner produces OE glow plugs, which are delivered to the aftermarket via Federal-Mogul Motorparts under the BERU brand.

BERU offers a fast-growing range of glow plugs that cover 95% of the glow plug market for diesel cars in Europe and 90% of the glow plug control unit market for European cars equipped with a glow plug control unit.

Want to find out more about BERU glow plugs technology? Read our article on glow plugs or read our glow plug technology brochure:

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The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.

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