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Preparing for the SCR market in the US starting in 2010

Automotive Industries spoke to Jürgen Zürbig, managing director (diesel catalyst), Ceram Catalysts GmbH.

The Austrian Frauenthal Holding AG, under whose umbrella Ceram Catalysts GmbH is a key company, has reportedly signed a 7 million Euro deal with a large European truck manufacturer to increase its supply of SCR diesel catalysts. The truck manufacturer is likely to be MAN since in 2005, Frauenthal signed a multi-year supply deal with MAN for its emission control catalysts.

Since October 2006, Euro 4 exhaust emission standards came into effect for commercial vehicles. “For Porzellanfabrik Frauenthal this means entry into a new high-tech market with very good growth opportunities. Over the next three years we will be doubling production capacity each year,” said Frauenthal Holding CEO Winifried Braumann.during the signing of the agreement with MAN.

European legislation requires a further reduction in the concentrations of pollutants in the exhaust gases of commercial vehicles with a net weight exceeding 3.5 tonnes. The Euro 4 exhaust emission standard apply to all newly registered vehicles with effect from 1st, October 2006. The new limits represent reductions in NOx and particulate emission of approx. 30% and 80%, respectively as compared with the current Euro 3 standard introduced in 2000. The emission limits for the Euro 5 standard have also already been set, and call for a NOx reduction of 60% relative to the Euro 3 standard and will apply to all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes with effect from 1st October 2009. The Euro 6 standard, due for 2012, will bring still tighter exhaust gas regulations, and similarly to the current transition from Euro 3 to Euro 4/5 tax incentives could mean that Euro 6 compliant commercial vehicles start coming on to the market as early as 2009.

All this is great news for Porzellanfabrik Frauenthal which decided to devote increased human resources and capital to investment in expanding production. The company decided to invest 6 million Euro in ramping up and automating its diesel catalyst production in order to meet customers’ rapidly-growing demands. In the medium term, the requirements for partnerships with more European commercial vehicle manufacturers will be met and the product range considerably extended.

The company, which was founded in 1921, is a specialist in honey-comb ceramics. Initially, the company manufactured high voltage insulators made of hard porcelain. It was sold to Swedish EUROC group and in 1985 started manufacturing SCR catalysts. Subsequently, the filter and heat recovering media increased the honey-comb division. In 1990, the company was bought out by the CERAM group, which went on to become the world’s second largest manufacturer of porcelain insulators. In 2001, the insulator division was sold to American investor group The Riverside Company and Porzellanfabrik Frauenthal GmbH was taken over by Frauenthal Holding AG. Since then, catalysts and non-catalytic honey-combs have become the company’s main business.
The company currently has 150 employees work in the Western Styria region that make honey-comb ceramics.

Frauenthal’s core competencies include those in the field of complex shaping procedures e.g. extrusion of monolithic honeycomb structures. These structures are the optimum between maximum specific surface for chemical and physical reactions and at the same time minimum loss of pressure drop at the gas flow. And its products are a tailor-made selection of active oxides for different applications such as catalytic flue gas cleaning of stationary and automotive sources, heat storage, flow distributor etc. The company says it is highly flexible in order to meet customer demands.

Automotive Industries spoke to Jürgen Zürbig, managing director (diesel catalyst), Ceram Catalysts GmbH.

AI: Does your company concentrate more on SCR diesel catalysts for commercial vehicles rather than on passenger cars? If so, why?

At the moment there is only a SCR-Diesel market for commercial vehicles, but catalysts for passenger cars are under development and testing.

AI: Do you plan to increase your product offerings to include catalysts for all vehicles?

If the market will request it we will be offering catalysts for all vehicles of curse.

AI: Recently, your contract with MAN reportedly increased – is this true and if so, can you please give us details?

The ongoing Production of EURO 5 – vehicles by MAN leads to increasing deliveries from our side.

AI: Please explain to us the advantages of your honey-comb ceramics that are used in the SCR diesel catalysts vis a vis similar products.

Our fully extruded catalyst is homogenous. That means all the catalyst volume is catalytically active vis a vis a coded catalysts where the carrier is not active.

AI: What plans does your company have in expanding business overseas?

We will be prepared for deliveries to the US in 2010 when the SCR market will start there. We were also looking to the developing markets because there the emission limits will become stronger and stronger. The worldwide market for SCR catalysts is still in movement.

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