The Blue Streak® Legacy Continues
It’s easy to understand the automotive aftermarket with a simple aphorism: it exists because the OEM parts fail.
In April 2019, Standard Motor Products (SMP) celebrated its centennial, and one of its aftermarket lines—Blue Streak®—is soon approaching 90 years.
“We take the long view,” says John Herc, Director of Product Management at Standard Motor Products, equating the success of both SMP and Blue Streak® to their attention to quality.
"We’ve always maintained an unyielding commitment to quality. It’s what drives our relationships with our customers—we want to look people in the eye, shake their hand and assure them that what’s in our box will work right.”
Herc describes the opportunity to make a better part as something SMP and Blue Streak® have long embraced. SMP doesn’t just produce aftermarket parts and components—it strives to understand why a part fails in the first place and how it can manufacture a better product.
Making a Better Ignition Coil
At the heart of the ignition system is the ignition coil. Traditionally, engine platforms would feature one coil and a distributor to deliver electrical energy through eight individual ignition wires to the spark plug. Modern-day engines use an individual coil attached to each spark plug, eliminating the need for a distributor and ignition wire, resulting in higher spark energy and more efficient operation.
Here’s a real-life illustration of how Blue Streak® brand evaluates the shortcomings of the original design and engineers improvements for the Blue Streak® part—copper wire, bobbins, high dielectric epoxy, RF suppression and overall performance.
In our example, the tested OE ignition coils have 8 primary winding sections and an uneven number of winding turns compared to the Blue Streak® design which features 10 primary winding sections and precision-engineered winding turns. Combined with G2 insulation grade, Blue Streak® delivers a better coil, significantly reducing the risk of internal breakage.
Primary Testing Takeaways
The two OE coils tested short circuited after 68 hours and 140 hours, respectively.
The two Blue Streak® coils tested passed the 300-hour life test as well as 100 thermal cycles, a 24-hour life test, and 10 thermal shocks.
Compared to the OE, Blue Streak® coils have 9% higher spark energy and 18% higher secondary voltage, which leads to better combustion of fuel mixture and reduced exhaust gas discharge.
Every part that leaves the Blue Streak® facility is manufactured for superior performance and durability. Comprehensive end-of-life testing confirms polarity and ensures superior function.
Besides quality care and structural improvements to materials and components, Blue Streak® even engineers improved coil molds. With many years of experience, Blue Streak® has upgraded the quality of the coil epoxy to ensure it covers all internal components while eliminating damaging air pockets that can cause premature failure. Every Blue Streak® heavy-duty ignition coil comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and each one is “Made to Stand the Test of Time."
SMP’s IATF 16949 and ISO 9001-certified manufacturing facility (Bialystok, Poland) is dedicated to the highest standards of quality and engineering. The facility employs state-of-the-art lean manufacturing methods (such as the 5S philosophy to improve organization and efficiency) and features a vertically integrated manufacturing process that comprises injection molding, multi-spindle winding, potting, curing and welding.
More Than a Part in a Box
SMP doesn’t just improve the components of a vehicle; it works to improve the industry itself. Each year, SMP trains over 60,000 technicians around the country, and supports aspiring technicians through a generous scholarship program—in 2019 alone, SMP awarded $60,000 in scholarships.
The SMP and Blue Streak® promise is that it’s not just a name on the side of a box; they provide marketing services, supply chain excellence, category management, world-class training, and a sales force second to none. To that end, Blue Streak® is currently developing processes and parts to service ADAS technologies, and remains committed to providing the same oversight and care to the research, development and technology it has delivered for one hundred years.
“Shops can rest assured that a Blue Streak® part will perform,” Herc says. “What do you want when your car breaks down—a part in a box or a legacy of quality like Blue Streak?”
Here’s to another 100 years. For more information about Blue Streak®, check out StandardBlueStreak.com.