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Cleaire shuts down operations

28 January 2013

Cleaire Advanced Emission Controls of San Leandro, CA shut down its operations permanently on January 18, 2013. The closing of Cleaire—a major supplier of particulate filters used to comply with California diesel retrofit programs—is likely to cause problems for fleets that purchased Cleare products.

“The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is working to help those impacted by this situation, specifically fleets, dealers, and parts suppliers, as the full effects of this closure become known,” said the agency in an announcement. “Vehicles that have the Cleaire devices already installed in a verified configuration will continue to meet applicable in-use fleet rule requirements. Fleet owners that have devices from other manufacturers are not affected by this situation. For Cleaire customers, ARB is working directly with Cleaire distributors, installers, and other authorized representatives to minimize impacts on warranty service and to ensure that fleets have compliance options if replacement parts are unavailable.”

Cleaire’s closure follows two fire incidents—including a major forest fire—linked to Cleaire’s LongMile diesel particulate filter utilizing a sintered metal substrate. The forest fire occurred in September 2011 in the Washington state. Sparks coming from a truck’s tailpipe following a filter failure ignited dry grasses at the roadside. The fire spread over an area of 3,600 acres (1,460 ha) and destroyed more than 100 structures, including 29 residences. The damages were estimated at $5.2 million.

A second fire in August 2012 burned three acres of brush land, according to a report by the Land Line Magazine. A failure of the engine turbocharger reportedly occurred, resulting in amounts of oil being released into the exhaust system. The oil/soot mixture became ignited, causing a meltdown of the metallic core of the LongMile filter. A recall of the LongMile particulate filter, apparently triggered by the second fire, was announced in October 2012.

The LongMile is a passive filter utilizing a diesel oxidation catalyst upstream of a sintered metal particulate filter. The sintered metal substrate utilizes the technology developed by SWH, HJS, and Purem. The filter substrate—formed from a sintered metal sheet into a corrugated structure resembling an engine air cleaner—has a large void volume that can accumulate a substantial quantity of soot. In case of an uncontrolled regeneration, the filter seems to be prone to melting and release of burning material and/or sparks from the tailpipe.

Source: California ARB | Land Line