SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Federal-Mogul Corporation is making a substantial investment in its Toledo, Ohio, Ignition Technical Center, bringing the ceramic development process for its Champion(R) spark plugs in-house to increase responsiveness in a competitive market in order to exceed customer expectations. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20030217/DEM014 http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000525/DETH025LOGO ) "The quality of spark plugs required by our original equipment and aftermarket customers is continually increasing," said Mark Sullivan, vice president, Ignition Products, Federal-Mogul. "To meet their needs, we must continually update our research and development in ignition products and dedicate ourselves to discovering and implementing the most innovative spark plug designs and the most efficient production processes." The multi-million dollar investment in the Toledo facility includes forming a ceramic group, consisting of new equipment and employees specializing in glass and ceramics. The new ceramic analysis, testing and development equipment will help Federal-Mogul determine the most efficient materials and processes to be used in the ceramic development process. Some new equipment is already in place, with the remainder expected to arrive by the end of April. The complete transformation of moving this process in-house will be complete by late spring. Richard Keller, director of sales and technology at the Toledo facility, added, "Enhancing our technical capabilities allows our ignition research and development group to develop new materials and methods to produce the best ceramic possible, capable of meeting and exceeding industry demands. Advantages come from the face-to-face interaction between the ceramic group and the other product and process development engineers and employees who provide manufacturing support, as well as better contact with our customer base." Ceramics play a key role in spark plugs. The ceramic material is heated and glazed to become the insulator, the heart of the spark plug. The insulator electrically, thermally and mechanically isolates the high-voltage center of the plug from the external portion of the plug. Considerations in developing and producing world-class ceramic insulators include optimizing insulator strength and durability while minimizing scrap and overall cost. "The ceramic development process is a very critical step in the entire design of the spark plug," Keller said. "It is very important to get this step right, and bringing this process in-house will allow us to have more control and careful watch over the process and allow us to produce a higher quality spark plug, more competitive in the industry today." "Investment in our Toledo Ignition Technical Center underscores our dedication to meeting automotive and heavy-duty industry expectations and remaining a leader in spark plug technology," Sullivan said. The Toledo Technical Center provides research and development and technical and engineering support to all 10 Federal-Mogul ignition manufacturing locations and other worldwide plants that operate under license arrangements with Federal-Mogul. Federal-Mogul also operates an ignition technical center in Upton, England, serving the European automotive market. Federal-Mogul invests millions of dollars in these two technical centers to ensure the growth of the Champion brand. Federal-Mogul's Champion spark plugs are known throughout the industry as "powering all" including automotive, industrial, marine, motorsport and small engine applications. More than 1 million Champion plugs are manufactured daily and the brand is ranked first in the world market. Federal-Mogul is a global supplier of automotive components and sub- systems serving the world's original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket. The company utilizes its engineering and materials expertise, proprietary technology, manufacturing skill, distribution flexibility and marketing power to deliver products, brands and services of value to its customers. Federal-Mogul is focused on the globalization of its teams, products and processes to bring greater opportunities for its customers and employees, and value to its constituents. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, Federal-Mogul was founded in Detroit in 1899 and today employs 47,000 people in 24 countries. For more information on Federal-Mogul, visit the company's Web site at http://www.federal-mogul.com .
SOURCE Federal-Mogul Corporation