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Glow plugs and spark plugs: discover the differences

The ignition systems on today’s cars are highly technological, operating at very high standards to ensure your engine complies with current environmental regulations. However, the ignition systems in petrol and diesel cars work in different ways, with a diesel car relying on a glow plug to start the engine while a petrol car uses a spark plug. So, what exactly are glow plugs and spark plugs? How do they work? And, why is it important to choose for quality components?

What’s a glow plug?

As you know, a glow plug is essential for starting your cold diesel engine quickly and easily. It is a heating element that heats incoming fuel and air in your diesel engine to encourage efficient fuel combustion that enables you to drive. BERU®️’s glow plugs have a short warm-up time, heating up to 1300°C in just a few seconds (ceramic glow plugs), so that the engine works as quickly as possible. They are built for a long service life, which offers the driver peace of mind and generates clean emissions.

There is one glow plug in each cylinder of a diesel engine, which are managed in a modern Diesel engine by a glow plug control unit, all of which are managed by a glow plug control unit. Performance is ensured by the glow plug control unit which translates information from the Engine Control Unit (ECU) into instructions for the glow plugs.

BERU®️ glow plugs

BERU®️ couples the latest development, quality and production methods with over 100 years of experience to deliver advanced glow plugs that meet original equipment (OE) manufacturer standards. Our diesel cold-start know-how and constant drive for innovation makes us a global market leader and trusted name in ignition technology.

And, how do we guarantee the quality of our glow plugs? We thoroughly test every single plug before it leaves our workshop, to ensure that it meets the highest quality standards. The results of our testing: the characteristic BERU®️ black tip, your guarantee of a quality glow plug.

Technical characteristics of BERU®️ glow plugs:

  • Built according to precise dimensions (ISO standard), for optimal combustion
  • A short and clean cold start (2-5 seconds, depending on the engine and the environmental conditions)
  • Fewer particle emissions during the warm-up phase
  • Vibration-resistant and protected against shorting by the ceramic sheathing of filaments (ceramic glow plugs)
  • Performance guaranteed to -30°C
  • Tested and used in diesel engines of major car brands (Fiat, Ford, Opel, PSA, Renault, Toyota, and others)
  • Developed in collaboration with OEMs

Advantages of BERU®️ glow plugs:

  • Promised reliability throughout the service life of the glow plug
  • Up to 100% faster warm-up time
  • Precise operation regardless of the outside temperature
  • Maximum temperature always within tolerances, resulting in longer service life
  • Significantly less warping, crumbling or corrosion thanks to a better choice of materials
  • Less knocking during a cold start, which extends the engine’s service life
  • Special BERU®️ testing and manufacturing according to ISO standards ensures maximum quality

For more information about glow plugs, read our connected blog post.

Types of BERU®️ glow plugs

BERU®️ offers a range of innovative glow plugs that cover 95% of the glow plug market for diesel cars in Europe. BERU®️’s glow plugs have specific features for a variety of applications:

Pressure Sensor Glow Plugs (PSG)

BERU®️ developed the world’s first glow plug that enables the regulation of the combustion processes inside a closed-loop system. A heating rod measures the rapidly changing pressure in the combustion chamber during each combustion cycle. By continuously transmitting this information to the ECU via the Glow Plug Control Unit, it enables higher peak pressures, pushes combustion processes even further to their limit and enables constantly stable emissions.

pressure-sensor-glow-plug2

Ceramic Glow Plugs (CGP)

Delivering a maximum temperature of 1300°C in less than 3 seconds, the BERU®️ CGP offer more stability, optimal performance and improved fuel consumption. This innovative BERU®️ glow plug was first to market for brands including Audi, BMW and XXX[CM1] .

High-tech Steel Glow Plugs

BERU®️’s high-tech steel glow plugs are an ideal fast, durable and green solution for two- and three-phase glow technologies.

Commercial Vehicle 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 BERU®️’s range of glow plugs, click here.

What’s a spark plug?

Unlike in diesel engines, the ignition system on petrol-driven engines is external. This means that an electrical spark from the spark plug is used to combust the compressed fuel-air mixture. The spark is created from the high voltage produced by the ignition coil, and leaps between the electrodes. The released heat increases the temperature, rapidly building up pressure in the cylinder and forcing the piston downwards. This movement is transferred via the connecting rod to the crankshaft, which drives the vehicle via the clutch, gears and axles.

BERU®️ spark plugs

What is needed for your petrol engine to operate smoothly, powerfully and in an environmentally-friendly manner? Two elements: the correct amount of perfectly balanced fuel/air mixture in the cylinder and a high-energy ignition spark leaping between the electrodes exactly at the predetermined moment.

This means that spark plugs have to meet high performance requirements and deliver a powerful ignition spark between 500 and 3,500 times a minute (in 4-stroke operation). This is regardless of whether the car is driving at high speeds or stuck in traffic. BERU®️ high-tech spark plugs provide low-emission combustion and optimum fuel efficiency, even at -20°C, without misfiring which can destroy the catalytic converter by allowing unburnt fuel to enter it.

BERU®️ spark plugs all meet the following requirements:

  1. Electrical requirements
    • Reliable high-voltage transmission, even at ignition voltages of up to 40,000 volts
    • Good insulation capability, even at temperatures of 1,000°C, preventing arcing and flashover
  2. Mechanical requirements
    • Pressure-tight and gas-tight sealing of the combustion chamber, resistance to oscillating pressures of up to approximately 100 bar
    • High mechanical strength for reliable installation
  3. Thermal requirements
    • Resistance to thermal shock (hot exhaust gases, cold intake mixture)
    • Good thermal conduction by insulator tip and electrodes
  4. Electrochemical requirements
    • Resistance to spark erosion, combustion gases and residues
    • Prevention of build-up of deposits on the insulator

For more information about spark plugs, visit our website.

Types of BERU®️ spark plugs

BERU®️ has a wide range of spark plugs, with each type using different materials for the centre electrodes, different geometry and different technology to ensure the optimum spark plug is always available for the many different engine types and applications.

For example, special nickel-based alloys and copper-core electrodes offer good thermal conductivity and high corrosion resistance. Platinum and iridium offer excellent resistance to erosion, so it extends the length of time between replacements. And, the design of the earthing electrode is just as important. Its geometry influences mixture accessibility, wear, heat dissipation and ignition voltage requirements.

BERU®️ Ultra spark plugs

The BERU®️ Ultra is the car manufacturers’ choice. Delivering uncompromising OEM quality, this durable spark plug uses proven materials and precious metals, including iridium and platinum, to guarantee reliable ignition, even at low temperatures. Its environmentally-friendly combustion saves you fuel and protects the catalytic converter for a smooth and reliable ride. There are three types of BERU®️ Ultra spark plugs: Iridium, Platinum and Copper.

BERU®️ Ultra Plus Titan spark plugs

BERU®️’s top-of-the-line spark plugs combine advanced technology borrowed from Formula 1 with BERU®️’s automotive and non-automotive expertise for great performance results. Designed specifically for naturally aspirated engines, as well as turbo and direct injection high power engines, BERU®️’s Ultra Plus Titan spark plugs is a range of short, universal plugs with an extended lifespan and outstanding reliability.

BERU®️ specialty spark plugs for gas engines

For gas-powered engines ranging from communal installation to district heating facilities, BERU®️ offers spark plugs that deliver reliability, performance, favourable consumption values and a long service life.

BERU®️ Isolator spark plugs

Two-stroke and older engines also deserve a reliable and high-quality spark plug. BERU®️ delivers with the robust isolator spark plugs that offer consistent ignition and optimal, environmentally-friendly combustion over a long lifespan.

For more information on BERU®️’s range of spark plugs, click here

BERU®️ quality

BERU®️ is a global market leader and trusted name in ignition technology. Many leading OE manufacturers choose premium quality BERU®️ components for their vehicles and automotive systems. BERU®️ spark plugs, glow plugs, coils, leads and sensors are always produced to the same stringent OE-quality standards.

We take our quality standards seriously, which is why all BERU®️ production sites are ISO9001 and ISO/TS16949 certified, so we comply with the most recent standards.

BERU®️ glow plugs and spark plugs

Discover more about BERU’s wide range of ignition components, including glow plugs and spark plugs here.

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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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