Makers are adopting reusable or biodegradable materials, and boosting efficiency.
China suppliers of automotive filters continue to focus product development on environment friendly models. This has yielded versions with reusable or biodegradable screening elements. The latest releases also feature better filtration capability to match market requirements for fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions.
|G&W offers oil filters with South Korea-made wood pulp paper.|
At Fujian Lano Industry Co. Ltd, reusable and washable microfiber cotton is employed in select pieces. One of these, the model 1217 air filter, is suitable for turbo- and superchargers.
For the frame, the supplier utilizes a honeycomb structure made of chrome-plated steel, which expands the absorption surface area by 30 percent, resulting in improved throttle response. A new streamlined inner casing helps reduce the product’s overall weight and allows air to flow smoothly into the engine.
Another product, the 1223A model, has a carbon fiber shell. This feature makes the design lighter than metal counterparts.
G&W International Co. Ltd utilizes fabric from bamboo fiber in its model GC-CU2897 cabin air filter to boost filtration efficiency. For the GC-07010 model, activated carbon is adopted. Releases for oil and fuel employ South Korea-made paper.
Ningbo Saire Machinery Manufacture Co. Ltd provides air filters that can screen 0.1•m particles with 99.998 percent efficiency, in contrast to the 99.7 to 99.9 percent rate of other models.
These developments, along with growing demand from the local market, will support the industry’s already booming sales. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, 1.16 billion filters will be required annually by 2020.
Exports are also on the upswing. Based on customs statistics, China sent abroad $401.6 million oil, petrol, air filters for internal combustion engines during the eight-month period ended August this year. This figure represented 20 percent growth YoY. Shipment volume, meanwhile, increased 14 percent to exceed 245 million pieces.
Italy was the top export destination, with deliveries to the area generating $76.3 million. The US was the largest market in terms of volume, absorbing more than 47 million pieces.
To sustain growth further and keep an edge over competitors, some suppliers are preparing to boost sales to the OEM segment.
Okiya Group Co. Ltd and Rodeo Auto Parts Group are among the enterprises doing so. The former began to supply the sector in 2005 and now counts FAW as one of its major customers. At Rodeo, 10 percent of output goes to carmakers.
As regards pricing, China-made filters are 5 to 10 percent more expensive than they were six months ago due mainly to the increase in raw material rates. For instance, PP utilized in the end discs and shells of air filters reached $1,900 per ton in August, rising 2 percent from June 2010 levels.
In the next six months, suppliers plan on keeping current quotes. Some companies, however, forecast a 5 percent adjustment if the upswing in raw material costs continues. The appreciation of the yuan will also be a major influence.
There are more than 1,000 automotive filter makers in China, clustered mainly in Anhui, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Hebei provinces, and Shanghai. Output from these hubs constitutes 70 percent of the country’s turnout.
The selection includes models for screening oil, air, fuel and diesel particulates. Of these variants, the first is produced in greater number as it is replaced more frequently than the others. DPFs, meanwhile, are rolled out the least due to limited market demand resulting from the emergence of the diesel oxidation catalyst, a less expensive pollution control device.
Overseas-bound models comply typically with Euro 3 emission guidelines.
Oil filters: The selection in China comprises spin-on and cartridge constructions, with the former accounting for the bulk of output. Models typically need to be replaced as soon as they reach the 10,000km point.
Available for at least $0.40, spin-on types have filter media made of paper, nonwoven fabric, wire mesh or wool felt. Rubber or plastic is employed for the sealing ring, while the other parts come in iron, steel or aluminum.
Typically more expensive, cartridge constructions have a plastic housing or cover. Several use replaceable filter elements, which go for $0.80 to $8.
Air filters: In this category, round, ring and polygon structures are the main options. Other shapes are also on offer, including mushroom-like constructions such as those from Fujian Lano.
Washable versions have to be cleaned every 5,000km. Upon reaching 10,000 to 25,000km, the component needs to be replaced, especially if utilized in heavy-duty vehicles.
Air filters typically employ paper, nonwoven fabric or wire mesh from domestic suppliers. Imported versions, however, may be utilized in upscale variants.
Cabin filters: Models come in square, rectangular or polygon shapes. Paper or nonwoven fabric is adopted as filter medium, with midrange and high-end models featuring activated carbon or bamboo charcoal. The additional materials improve the absorption rate of the design and bring quotes up.
Frames adopt PP, PU, PET and PUR. The reinforcement grid attached to the ends of the filter media comes in iron or steel. Selections last up to 20,000km.
Cabin filters are available from $0.5 to $15 each, with prices determined mainly by the size, type of filter element and service life of the model. In general, products fitted with US-, Germany- or South Korea-made materials are 30 percent more expensive.
Fuel filters: The selection comprises designs for vehicles running on gasoline and diesel. Most adopt paper as the screening element.
Using nylon housings, filters for gasoline carburetor engines are available for $1 or less. Variants for EFI systems come in iron, steel or aluminum to withstand higher operating pressure. Typically with a single-use core, such designs go for $1 to $10.
Filters for diesel engines range from $0.40 to $13. These are available in metal or plastic enclosures.
DPFs: Designs come in a cylindrical metal case and employ silicon carbide or porous cordierite ceramic sprayed with rare metal such as platinum, palladium and rhodium.
Ranging from $70 to $200, models can be used for up to 600,000km. Their filtration efficiency supports Euro 4 or 5 requirements.
Note: This article "R&D on eco-friendly automotive filters gaining strength" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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