PRI 2011: Champion Spark Plugs Continues to Bring New Technology
Champion has been in the spark plug business for over a century and involved in lighting up every kind of combustion engine during that time. With more than 100 years of experience, the company is still bringing more technology to the industry with every year that passes. We stopped by to see what the latest technological advances were from one of the oldest high performance automotive groups in existence.
We checked in with Champion’s Richard Keller at their PRI trade show booth to get an explanation of Champion’s ongoing pursuit of superior spark plug technology. “A lot of things have changed over the years,” says Keller, “We’ve found ways to increase the life expectancy of spark plugs from as little as 15,000 miles to 120,000 miles in the past one hundred years.”
“Another area where we have made major technical advancements during that time was in the capabilities of the spark plugs. We’ve gone from plugs that were rated as low as 15 kV to a modern 45kV capacity,” explained Keller.
One of the major areas where Champion Spark Plugs have found technological advances is through the use of modern materials and precious metals like Iridium. “Iridium was originally used in turbine jet engines in the aviation industry. We brought it to the industrial market for use back in the 1960’s,” Keller clarified.
Racing spark plugs have to be well constructed in order to survive in that harsh environment.
Keller went on to explain how Champion has placed a high emphasis on spark plug construction. “Racing spark plugs have to be well constructed in order to survive in that harsh environment. They must have a very strong shell seal and strong ceramic insulation.”
According to Keller, spark plug technology has continuously been challenged by other advancements in combustion engines. “The engine operating conditions are becoming harsher as cylinder pressures, internal engine temperatures and the use of newer and more corrosive fuels are on the rise. Champion spark plugs are always looking for technology and materials that will provide an optimal combination of extended life and high value.”
“Our customers want reliable service with increased service life intervals, minimal down time and low operating costs. We work to successfully meet those challenges with a combination of innovation and value,” he added.
Whether it is using a different material like precious metals or a design change in electrodes that position the electrodes to provide better spark efficiency and improved gap wear, Champion Spark Plugs continue to push the technological envelope for higher performance.