US Pat. No. 9,140,585

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor comprising:
a cylindrical housing which extends in a longitudinal direction of the gas sensor;
a sensor element inserted into the inside of the housing while having a distal end side thereof projecting from a distal end
of the housing;

a sealing material which is filled in a gap between the sensor element and the housing;
a cylindrical insulation member which is arranged on a proximal end side of the sealing material so as to surround the sensor
element and having at least an outer surface of the proximal end portion thereof spaced apart from an inner surface of the
housing; and

an annular metal ring which is arranged on a proximal end side of the insulation member and has an outer peripheral portion
thereof projecting outward in a radial direction from the proximal end portion of the insulation member, wherein

the sealing material, the insulation member and the metal ring are fixed by caulking in a pressed state from a proximal end
side to a distal end side by a caulking portion which is formed by bending a proximal end portion of the housing inward,

the caulking portion is brought into close contact with a whole proximal-end facing surface of the outer peripheral portion
of the metal ring, and

a portion of an inner end of the caulking portion is gradually spaced apart in the longitudinal direction from a radially
inner end portion of a proximal-end facing surface of the metal ring at an opposing region where the caulking portion and
the metal ring face each other in an opposed manner in the longitudinal direction.

US Pat. No. 9,301,404

CERAMIC SUBSTRATE AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING THE SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO. LTD, ...

1. A ceramic substrate, comprising:
a ceramic substrate main body having a principal surface;
a connecting terminal portion disposed on the principal surface of the ceramic substrate main body for connection to a component
via solder, the connecting terminal portion including a copper layer and a coating metal layer covering a surface of the copper
layer; and

a contact layer disposed between the ceramic substrate main body and the copper layer, the contact layer including one of
a nickel-chromium alloy, chromium, molybdenum, and palladium,

wherein the contact layer is set back from a side surface of the copper layer in a substrate plane direction such that a gap
is formed between the copper layer and the ceramic substrate main body, and

wherein the coating metal layer extends into the gap.

US Pat. No. 9,420,703

WIRING BOARD AND MANUFACTURING METHOD OF THE SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring board comprising a laminate, in which one or more resin insulating layers and one or more conductor layers are
stacked,
wherein the conductor layer of an outermost layer of the laminate comprises:
a plurality of connection terminal portions, which are disposed in a mounting area of a semiconductor chip and surfaces of
which are exposed for flip-chip mounting the semiconductor chip; and

a wiring conductor that is arranged at a predetermined position between the plurality of connection terminal portions, and
wherein the resin insulating layer of the outermost layer of the laminate comprises:
a dam portion for covering the wiring conductor, the dam portion having a corner portion with a first curvature; and
a reinforcement portion, which is formed between the wiring conductor and the connection terminal portion adjacent to the
wiring conductor and to be lower than a height of the dam portion, and which is concatenated with a side surface of the dam
portion to form a concatenated region between the dam portion and the reinforcement portion, the concatenated region having
a second curvature smaller than the first curvature.

US Pat. No. 9,054,501

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a center electrode including a rod portion extending in a direction of an axis and a head portion extending continuously from
a rear end of the rod portion and having a diameter larger than a diameter of the rod portion;

an insulator having an axial bore, the center electrode being disposed in the axial bore at a front end thereof; and
a seal portion for fixing the center electrode in the axial bore, wherein
the insulator has a leg portion inner circumferential surface which surrounds the rod portion, a cylindrical trunk portion
inner circumferential surface which has a diameter larger than a diameter of the leg portion inner circumferential surface,
surrounds the head portion, and has a center axis coinciding with the axis, and a support surface which supports the head
portion and extends continuously between the leg portion inner circumferential surface and the trunk portion inner circumferential
surface,

the seal portion has a seal portion outer circumferential surface in contact with the trunk portion inner circumferential
surface, a seal portion abutment surface in contact with the support surface, and a connecting surface extending continuously
between the seal portion outer circumferential surface and the seal portion abutment surface, and,

in a cross section of the seal portion cut along a plane including the axis, a curve, which is part of a contour of the seal
portion appearing in the cross-section and is included in the connecting surface, has a radius of curvature R of 0.1 mm or
more.

US Pat. No. 9,485,853

WIRING SUBSTRATE HAVING A PLURALITY OF CONNECTION TERMINALS AND A FILLING MEMBER PROVIDED THEREBETWEEN

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring substrate comprising a laminate of one or more insulation layers and one or more conductive layers, characterized
by further comprising:
a plurality of connection terminals formed directly on one of the one or more insulation layers of the laminate and spaced
apart from one another, each having an indentation formed at an outer periphery of a first main surface opposite a contact
surface in contact with the laminate; and

a filling member provided in a filling manner between the connection terminals,
wherein the filling member is a solder resist layer,
wherein the connection terminals project at least partially from a surface of the filling member,
wherein the laminate is covered with a solder resist layer having an opening from which the plurality of connection terminals
are exposed, and covering a wiring pattern connected to the connection terminals, and

wherein the plurality of connection terminals are disposed within the same opening.

US Pat. No. 9,313,888

PACKAGE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A package, comprising:
a package body that is made of an insulating material, has a front surface and a back surface, and has a rectangular shape
in a plan view;

a metal layer that is formed along a peripheral portion of the front surface of the package body and that has a frame shape
in a plan view;

a metal frame that is joined to the metal layer with a brazing material and that has a frame shape in a plan view;
a pair of electrode pads that are formed on the front surface of the package body surrounded by the metal layer;
an opening portion of a cavity opened in a position that excludes the pair of electrode pads; and
a groove formed in a layer on which the metal layer is formed and located on the front surface of the package body between
the metal layer and the pair of electrode pads;

wherein the metal layer, the pair of electrode pads, and the opening portion of the cavity are positioned in the same plane.

US Pat. No. 9,130,355

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug including a metal shell whose outer surface is coated with a nickel plated layer, characterized in that
the nickel plated layer is such that when the atomic concentrations of constituent elements are measured in a depth direction
by an X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), the atomic concentration of C elements is 1.0% to 10.0% at a depth at which
the atomic concentration of Ni elements is 80%.

US Pat. No. 9,491,867

WIRING SUBSTRATE AND MULTI-PIECE WIRING SUBSTRATE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring substrate comprising:
a substrate body made of insulating material and having a front surface and a rear surface, the front surface and the rear
surface each having a rectangular shape in a plan view and the rear surface having edges;

a plurality of rear surface electrodes formed on the rear surface of the substrate body, each of the plurality of rear surface
electrodes positioned adjacent to a corresponding pair of edges of the rear surface that intersect with each other, and with
a part of the rear surface exposed between the plurality of rear surface electrodes and each edge of the rear surface;

a frame-shaped conductive portion provided on a front surface side of the substrate body and having a rectangular frame shape
in a plan view;

a via conductor penetrating the substrate body and establishing electric connection between the plurality of rear surface
electrodes and the frame-shaped conductive portion, and

at least one projecting wiring formed on the rear surface of the substrate body between each of the plurality of rear surface
electrodes and each of the corresponding pair of edges adjacent to the rear surface electrode.

US Pat. No. 9,151,728

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor, comprising:
a cylindrical sensor element;
a connection terminal extending axially of the sensor element and brought into contact with an outer surface of the sensor
element; and

a separator located rear of the sensor element and having a through hole in which a rear end side of the connection terminal
is inserted,

wherein the connection terminal has:
a cylindrical outer fitting portion formed on a front end side of the connection terminal and fitted onto the sensor element;
an extension portion extending rearward from the outer fitting portion and inserted in the through hole of the separator;
and

a pulling prevention portion adapted to prevent the extension portion from further pulling in the through hole by contact
with a front end surface of the separator;

wherein the outer fitting portion has cuts axially formed in a rear end side thereof such that the cuts are located on opposite
sides of the extension portion; and

the extension portion includes a bottom section protruding axially from a position in front of a rear end of the outer fitting
portion.

US Pat. No. 9,526,172

WIRING SUBSTRATE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring substrate comprising:
an insulating substrate having a substantially quadrangular planar shape and including a surface having a periphery and a
mounting region for mounting of an electronic component;

a frame having a substantially quadrangular shape, positioned on the surface of the insulating substrate along the periphery
of the surface, and surrounding the mounting region, the frame defining a cavity for accommodating the electronic component
and including an upper surface, a corner portion, and an adjacent portion to the corner portion, the corner portion including
a width-expanded portion expanding toward the mounting region and defining a via hole having a diameter of 100 ?m or less
and extending in a thickness direction, the width-expanded portion including an inner wall surface having a rectilinear edge
in a plan view, the adjacent portion including an inner wall surface and having a width of 150 ?m or less, and the inner wall
surface of the width-expanded portion forming an obtuse angle with the inner wall surface of the adjacent portion;

a via conductor filling the via hole and not exposed from the inner wall surface of the width-expanded portion; and
a sealing metallization layer formed on the upper surface of the frame and electrically connected to the via conductor.

US Pat. No. 9,124,073

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
an insulator having an axial bore extending in a direction of an axis, said axial bore having
a first inner circumferential surface extending at a forward side of the axial bore, a second inner circumferential surface
extending at a rear side of the axial bore and having a diameter greater than that of the first inner circumferential surface,
and a ledge connecting the first inner circumferential surface and the second inner circumferential surface;

a center electrode having a head supported by the ledge and extending in a space surrounded by the second inner circumferential
surface, and a cylindrical columnar leg extending continuously from a forward end of the head in a space surrounded by the
first inner circumferential surface of said insulator; and

a seal material charged into a space surrounded by the ledge, the second inner circumferential surface, and the head to thereby
hold the center electrode in the axial bore;

wherein, assuming a position P1, P1 is a position on the center electrode where an outside diameter of the center electrode begins to increase, beyond an outside
diameter H of the leg, from the leg toward a rear end of the center electrode,

when an axial distance E along the axis from the position P1 to a forward end of the center electrode is 15 mm or more, an axial distance A along the axis from the position P1 to the rear end of the center electrode is 3.8 mm or more.

US Pat. No. 9,538,650

WIRING BOARD HAVING AN OPENING WITH AN ANGLED SURFACE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring substrate comprising:
an insulating base layer;
an insulating layer laminated on the base layer, the insulating layer having a first surface with an opening, and a second
surface located within the opening and being concave toward the base layer in relation to the first surface; and

an electrically conductive connection terminal projecting from the insulating layer inside the opening, wherein
the second surface extends from the first surface to the connection terminal inside the opening;
on a cut surface which is a flat surface extending along a lamination direction in which the insulating layer is laminated
on the base layer, an angle which is larger than 0° but smaller than 90° is formed between a normal line extending outward
from an arbitrary point on the second surface and a parallel line extending from the arbitrary point toward the connection
terminal in parallel to the first surface, with the angle larger than 0° but smaller than 90° at all points on the second
surface; and

the second surface has a surface roughness greater than that of the first surface.

US Pat. No. 9,124,075

IGNITION SYSTEM

NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd.,...

1. An ignition system comprising:
an ignition plug including a tubular insulator having an axial hole extending in the direction of an axis, a center electrode
inserted into a forward end portion of the axial hole, and a rod-shaped ground electrode which forms a gap in cooperation
with a forward end portion of the center electrode; and

a power supply for supplying electric energy to the gap, wherein spark discharge is produced at the gap when electric energy
is supplied from the power supply to the gap,

wherein
the electric energy output from the power supply for producing spark discharge of one unit is 100 mJ or greater; and
S1?[{?30 (mm?1)×G1+60}/100]×S2, S1?0.8×S2, and G1<2.0 are satisfied wherein

G1 represents the size (mm) of the gap, and
when the forward end portion of the center electrode and the ground electrode are projected along the axis on a plane orthogonal
to the axis, S1 represents an area (mm2) defined with a region obtained by removing, from a projection region of the center electrode, a region where the projection
region overlaps with a projection region of the ground electrode, and S2 represents an area (mm2) defined with the projection region of the center electrode.

US Pat. No. 9,172,215

SPARK PLUG HAVING CENTER ELECTRODE TIP OF VARYING WIDTHS

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a tubular insulator having an axial hole extending in a direction of an axis;
a center electrode inserted into a forward end portion of the axial hole;
a tubular metallic shell provided around the insulator;
a ground electrode provided at a forward end portion of the metallic shell; and
a tip which is made of metal, whose base end portion is joined to a forward end portion of the center electrode and whose
forward end portion forms a gap in cooperation with a distal end portion of the ground electrode, wherein

the tip is joined to the center electrode through a fusion portion which is formed over the entire circumference of an interface
between a peripheral portion of a rearmost end of the tip and an outer peripheral portion of a forward end of the center electrode
and in which the tip and the center electrode are fused and mixed together,

the center electrode has a coefficient of linear thermal expansion greater than that of the tip,
the tip has a gap-forming portion which has a maximum width of 1.2 mm or greater as measured on a cross section including
the axis and which forms the gap in cooperation with the ground electrode, and a to-be-joined portion which is located between
the gap-forming portion and the fusion portion and adjacent to the fusion portion and which is joined to the center electrode,

at a position A which is shifted 0.1 mm from a forward end of an outer surface of the fusion portion toward the forward end
side with respect to the direction of the axis, the width of the to-be-joined portion, measured on the cross section including
the axis, is made smaller than the width of the gap-forming portion measured on the cross section, and

the to-be-joined portion satisfies a relation Dtw/Dw?1.1, where Dtw represents the width (mm) of the to-be-joined portion
at the position A measured on the cross section, and Dw represents the width (mm) of the fusion portion at the forward end
of the outer surface thereof measured on the cross section.

US Pat. No. 9,123,936

SOLID OXIDE FUEL CELL APPARATUS

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A solid oxide fuel cell apparatus comprising:
a fuel cell having
(i) a plate-shaped first solid electrolyte,
(ii) an anode provided on one side of the first solid electrolyte and coming in contact with fuel gas, and
(iii) a cathode provided on the other side of the first solid electrolyte and coming in contact with oxidizer gas; and
a cell-follow-up deformation member located on at least one of opposite sides of the fuel cell with respect to a first stacking
direction, SY0, along which the anode, the first solid electrolyte, and the cathode are stacked together, the cell-follow-up deformation
member deforming according to a deformation of the fuel cell on the basis of at least one of physical quantities including
differential thermal expansion coefficient,

wherein the cell-follow-up deformation member comprises:
an electricity-nongenerating laminate configured such that a plate-shaped second solid electrolyte and a plate-shaped differential
thermal expansion member are laminated together, the differential thermal expansion member being provided on one side of the
second solid electrolyte and having a thermal expansion coefficient different from that of the second solid electrolyte, and
configured so as not to contribute to electricity generation; and

a plate-shaped electrically conductive member in contact with the fuel cell and with the electricity-nongenerating laminate,
and

wherein the electricity-nongenerating laminate has the same shape and size as that of a laminate of the first solid electrolyte
and the anode.

US Pat. No. 9,166,376

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a tubular insulator extending along and centered on an axis; and
a tubular metal shell secured to an outer peripheral surface of the insulator by crimping, the tubular metal shell including
an inner peripheral surface and being filled up with powder for sealing between the outer peripheral surface of the insulator
and the inner peripheral surface, wherein

the metal shell includes a tool engagement portion and a crimped lid, the tool engagement portion overhanging in a polygonal
shape in an outer circumferential direction,

the crimped lid is disposed at an end portion of the metal shell coupled to the tool engagement portion, the end portion being
bent toward the outer peripheral surface of the insulator by crimping,

the powder is filled between the crimped lid and the insulator,
an annular ring member that contacts the inner peripheral surface of the crimped lid of the metal shell and the outer peripheral
surface of the insulator, and

a relationship between a length L and a thickness t satisfies 2.50?L/t?3.10, the length L being a length along a shape of
the crimped lid from the tool engagement portion to the insulator in a planar surface that passes through the axis, the thickness
t being a thickness at a midpoint provided on the shape of the crimped lid.

US Pat. No. 9,516,751

WIRING BOARD AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring board, comprising
a laminated body where respective one or more layers of insulating layers and conductor layers are laminated, the conductor
layer in an outermost layer of the laminated body including a plurality of connecting terminal portions disposed in a mounting
area for a semiconductor chip so as to flip-chip mount the semiconductor chip, a solder resist layer being disposed as the
insulating layer in an outermost layer of the laminated body, the plurality of connecting terminal portions including a surface
exposed through an opening portion formed in the solder resist layer, wherein

for each of the plurality of the connection terminal portions exposed through the opening portion, the connecting terminal
portion includes a connection region and a wiring region, the connection region being to connect to a connecting terminal
of the semiconductor chip via solder, the wiring region exposed through the opening portion and being disposed to extend from
the connection region along a planar direction, and

the solder resist layer includes a side-surface covering portion and a projecting wall portion within the opening portion,
the side-surface covering portion covering a side surface of each connecting terminal portion, the projecting wall portion
being integrally formed with the side-surface covering portion, the projecting wall portion being disposed to project so as
to intersect with the connection region of each connecting terminal portion and divide each connecting terminal portion into
the connection region and the wiring region with the connection regions arrayed alternately on either side of the projecting
wall portion to connect the semiconductor chip.

US Pat. No. 9,466,951

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug having an insulator formed of an alumina-based sintered material which contains an Si component and a rare
earth element component in such amounts that satisfy the following conditions (1) and (2):
(1) an oxide-reduced amount of the Si component (mass %) is greater than or equal to 0.05 and less than or equal to 0.45;
and

(2) a ratio of an oxide-reduced amount of the rare earth element component to the oxide-reduced amount of the Si component
is greater than or equal to 2.5 and less than or equal to 4.5,
and which has alumina grains and an alumina grain boundary phase including a complex oxide crystal phase satisfying the following
condition (3):
(3) the complex oxide crystal phase contains at least two components selected from among an Al component, an Si component,
a Group 2 element component, the Group included in the periodic table defined by Recommendations 1990, IUPAC, (hereinafter
may be referred to simply as a Group 2 component), and a rare earth element component.

US Pat. No. 9,065,257

METHOD OF MANUFACTURING ELECTRODE COMPLEX FOR FORMING ELECTRODE OF SPARK PLUG, AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A method of manufacturing an electrode composite for forming an electrode of a spark plug, the electrode composite being
formed by laser-welding a first electrode member and a second electrode member together,
the method comprising the steps of:
a first electrode member holding step of holding the first electrode member by a chuck of a chuck unit;
an eccentric error detection step to detect an eccentric error between a position of an actual center axis of the first electrode
member and a shaft of a base rotatably supporting the chuck of the chuck unit;

a center axis position correction step of correcting the position of the actual center axis of the first electrode member
when the eccentric error detected in the eccentric error detection step falls outside a tolerance range subsequent to the
eccentric error detection step, said center axis position correcting step aligning the actual center axis of the first electrode
member with an axis of the shaft of the base;

a second electrode member supply step of supplying the second electrode member such that an end surface of the second electrode
member comes into contact with an end surface of the first electrode member; and

a laser welding step of welding outer circumferential edges of the end surfaces through which the first electrode member and
the second electrode member are in contact with each other.

US Pat. No. 9,388,786

IGNITION SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An ignition system, comprising:
a first control unit configured to generate a high voltage that is to be supplied to a spark plug at a secondary winding of
an ignition coil by applying and then cutting off a primary current to a primary winding of the ignition coil;

a second control unit configured to cut off electric power to be supplied from the secondary winding to the spark plug by
energizing the primary winding after the first control unit cuts off the primary current;

a re-energizing current measuring unit configured to measure a re-energizing current energizing the primary winding by the
second control unit;

a primary current measuring unit configured to measure the primary current; and
an energizing period determining unit configured to determine an energizing period during which the primary current is applied
to the primary winding by the first control unit, corresponding to the re-energizing current measured by the re-energizing
current measuring unit and the primary current measured by the primary current measuring unit.

US Pat. No. 9,160,145

INSULATOR FOR SPARK PLUG AND SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An insulator for spark plug with a main constituent of alumina and containing silicon, comprising
a grain boundary phase positioned between alumina particles, wherein the grain boundary phase contains:
at least one group 2A element selected from a group of group 2A elements consisting of a magnesium, calcium, strontium, and
barium;

at least one rare earth element selected from a group of rare earth elements consisting of lanthanum, neodymium, praseodymium,
yttrium, ytterbium, and cerium; and

at least one first element selected from a group of first elements consisting of zirconium, titanium, chrome, niobium, manganese,
and iron, wherein

when element determination is performed in a visual field of 180 ?m×250 ?m at any given cross section in terms of oxide with
an electron probe microanalyzer (EPMA), and defining a total amount of an element selected from the group of rare earth elements
is X (mass %), a total amount of an element selected from the group of group 2A elements is Y (mass %), and a total amount
of an element selected from the first element group is Z (mass %), the following are met:

0.40?Y/X?2.00

0.10?Z/X?0.40.

US Pat. No. 9,172,214

SPARK PLUG COMPRISING EARLY RECOVERY FROM A FUEL BRIDGE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a center electrode extending in an axial direction;
a cylindrical insulator provided with an axial hole into which the center electrode is inserted;
a cylindrical metal shell disposed on an outer periphery of the insulator; and
a ground electrode having one end fixed to a leading end of the metal shell and another end having a facing surface that faces
a leading end surface of the center electrode,

wherein the spark plug has an annular space which is formed by an outer peripheral surface of the center electrode and an
inner peripheral surface of the axial hole and is opened toward a leading end side in the axial direction,

wherein, when C (mm) is a distance between the outer peripheral surface of the center electrode and the inner peripheral surface
of the axial hole in an opening of the annular space along a direction orthogonal to the axial line, C?0.2 mm is satisfied,
and

wherein, in a cross-section which includes the axial line and is orthogonal to the center axis of the ground electrode, a
contour line of a lateral surface of the ground electrode, which is adjacent to the facing surface, has a curved shape which
is convexed outward in relation to the facing surface of the ground electrode and a back surface of the ground electrode,

wherein the lateral surface of the ground electrode is visible when viewed in both directions along a center axis of the center
electrode,

wherein said ground electrode has a maximum width that is narrower than a diameter of the axial hole;
wherein a contour line of the facing surface is linearly shaped in the cross-section, and
wherein, when B (mm) is an outer diameter of the leading end surface of the center electrode, and D (mm) is a length of the
contour line of the facing surface in the cross-section, D?B is satisfied.

US Pat. No. 9,119,333

MULTILAYER WIRING BOARD

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A multilayer wiring board comprising:
a build-up layer including a conductor layer and a resin insulation layer that are alternately layered;
a conductive pad that is formed so that the whole conductive pad projects from a surface of the build-up layer, the conductive
pad having a columnar portion at a lower part thereof and a convex portion at an upper part thereof, a surface of the convex
portion of the conductive pad forming a continual curved shape;

a barrier metal layer covering the entire conductive pad, a coating thickness of a portion of the barrier metal layer formed
on a side end face of the conductive pad situated on the resin insulation layer being greater than a coating thickness of
a portion of the barrier metal layer formed on a surface of the conductive pad situated at a higher position than the side
end face; and

a solder layer covering the entire barrier metal layer that covers the conductive pad.

US Pat. No. 9,310,331

NOX DETECTION APPARATUS AND NOX SENSOR SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

6. An NOx sensor system comprising:
an NOx sensor including a first measurement chamber, a first pumping cell including paired first electrodes positioned internally
and externally, respectively, of the first measurement chamber and adjusting an oxygen concentration of a to-be-measured gas
introduced into the first measurement chamber, an NOx measurement chamber in communication with the first measurement chamber, and a second pumping cell including paired second
electrodes provided internally and externally, respectively, of the NOx measurement chamber, a second pumping current flowing between the paired second electrodes and corresponding to an NOx concentration within the to-be-measured gas whose oxygen concentration has been adjusted in the first measurement chamber;
and

an NOx detection apparatus connected to the NOx sensor and adapted to detect an NOx concentration within the to-be-measured gas, the NOx detection apparatus including

first concentration computation means for computing a first NOx concentration on the basis of the second pumping current;

specific concentration determination means for determining whether the first NOx concentration is higher than a predetermined specific concentration; and

concentration correction means for correcting the first NOx concentration using predetermined specific concentration correction information set for the NOx sensor in advance wherein

when the specific concentration determination means determines that the first NOx concentration is higher than the predetermined specific concentration, the concentration correction means corrects the first
NOx concentration, and

when the specific concentration determination means determines that the first NOx concentration is not higher than the predetermined specific concentration, the concentration correction means does not correct
the first NOx concentration.

US Pat. No. 9,136,031

ALUMINA SINTERED BODY, MEMBER INCLUDING THE SAME, AND SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING APPARATUS

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An alumina sintered body comprising:
alumina (Al2O3) as a main component; and

titanium (Ti),
wherein the alumina sintered body further contains at least one element selected from the group consisting of lanthanum (La),
neodymium (Nd), and cerium (Ce),

aluminum (Al) is contained in an amount such that a ratio of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) to total oxides in the alumina sintered body becomes 93.00 to 99.85% by weight, wherein said total oxides are defined as
a total amount of all oxides contained in the alumina sintered body and an amount of each metal in the alumina sintered body
being converted into an amount of an oxide containing the metal,

titanium (Ti) is contained in an amount such that a ratio of titanium oxide (TiO2) to the total oxides becomes 0.10 to 2.00% by weight,

lanthanum (La), neodymium (Nd), and cerium (Ce) are contained in a combined amount such that a ratio of a combined amount
of lanthanum oxide (La2O3), neodymium oxide (Nd2O3), and cerium oxide (CeO2) to the total oxides becomes 0.05 to 5.00% by weight, and

volume resistivity of the alumina sintered body is 1×105 to 1×1012 ?·cm at room temperature.

US Pat. No. 9,207,130

SENSOR AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING THE SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A method of manufacturing a sensor comprising:
a temperature sensor element having a temperature-sensing portion whose electrical characteristic changes with a change in
an atmosphere, and a terminal wire extending from the temperature-sensing portion in an axial direction; and

an electricity conduction wire composed of a plurality of stranded conductors, extending in the axial direction, and conveying
an electric signal from the temperature sensor element,

the terminal wire and the electricity conduction wire being disposed such that they overlap each other in the axial direction
and being joined through welding, the method being characterized by comprising:

a first step of partially fusing the plurality of conductors by first welding, to thereby unite the plurality of conductors;
and

a second step of connecting the terminal wire and the electricity conduction wire by forming a second weld portion by second
welding in a region where the terminal wire overlaps with the electricity conduction wire,

wherein a first weld portion which unites the plurality of conductors is formed by the first welding, and the second weld
portion is formed by the second welding at a position located rearward of the first weld portion.

US Pat. No. 9,160,146

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
an electrode that includes a noble metal tip and a base material, wherein
the noble metal tip is formed in a circular cross-sectional shape and contains a noble metal,
the base material is disposed around an outer periphery of the noble metal tip,
the noble metal tip is welded to the base material to form a fusion region extending from the base material to the noble metal
tip,

the noble metal tip has a diameter of not less than 2 mm,
in a cross section perpendicular to a central axis CL1 of the noble metal tip and passing a point closest to the central axis
CL1 in the fusion region, the fusion region includes a plurality of central fusion portions formed at an inner side with respect
to a circumference of a circle A concentric to an outline of the noble metal tip, the concentric circle A having a diameter
corresponding to a length of 90% of the diameter of the noble metal tip,

a concentric circle B is a circle concentric to the outline of the noble metal tip and having the same diameter as the noble
metal,

a total of lengths on the concentric circle A passing through the fusion region is not less than 30% of the length of the
circumference thereof, and

a total of lengths on the concentric circle B passing through the fusion region is not less than 30% of the length of the
circumference thereof, and

in the fusion region, a content ratio of a metal constituting the noble metal tip in a portion overlapping the circumference
of the concentric circle B in the cross section is not more than 10 mass %.

US Pat. No. 9,284,938

GLOW PLUG AND FABRICATION METHOD FOR SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A glow plug, comprising:
a cylindrical housing having an axial hole in an axis direction of the glow plug and including, on an outer circumferential
surface thereof, a thread portion for screwing in a mounting hole of an internal combustion engine; and

a heater inserted in the axial hole with at least a front end portion of the heater protruding from a front end of the housing,
wherein the housing further includes on the outer circumferential surface thereof: a press contact portion brought into press
contact with a plug seat surface of the internal combustion engine upon screwing the thread portion into the mounting hole
of the internal combustion engine; and a cylindrical front body portion located between the press contact portion and the
thread portion;

wherein the front body portion has a thickness of 1.6 mm or smaller when the thread portion has a thread diameter of M12 and
a thickness of 0.9 mm or smaller when the thread portion has a thread diameter of M10, M9 or M8; and

wherein the front body portion includes a plurality of front reinforcing parts provided intermittently in a circumferential
direction of the housing in the form of either protrusions or recesses extending in the axis direction.

US Pat. No. 9,124,074

SPARK PLUG REDUCING METAL SHELL TO IMPROVE FOULING RESISTANCE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug, comprising:
a cylindrical insulator having an axial hole in an axis direction of the spark plug;
a center electrode inserted in a front end side of the axial hole; and
a cylindrical metal shell arranged around an outer circumferential surface of the insulator,
the metal shell having a thread portion formed on an outer circumferential surface thereof for mounting of the spark plug
and a step portion formed on an inner circumferential surface thereof,

the insulator having an engagement portion held on the step portion of the metal shell via an annular plate packing and a
leg portion located front of the engagement portion with a clearance left between an outer circumferential surface of the
leg portion and the inner circumferential surface of the metal shell,

wherein the thread portion has a thread diameter of M12 or smaller; and
wherein, assuming that: L (mm) is a distance from a front end of a contact region of the plate packing with the metal shell
toward the front in the axis direction; and A (mm) is a size of the clearance in a direction perpendicular to the axis direction,
when the clearance has a site where the size A becomes 0.5 mm or smaller, the site of the clearance where the size A becomes
0.5 mm or smaller is located at or rear of a position of 2 mm from the front end of the contact region of the plate packing
with the metal shell toward the front in the axis direction, and the spark plug satisfies a relationship of A?L×0.2+0.2 (mm)
within a range of 3.0?L?4.0.

US Pat. No. 9,169,820

IGNITION SYSTEM

NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd.,...

1. An ignition system comprising:
a spark plug;
a discharge power source applying a voltage in order to generate a spark discharge at the spark plug;
an AC power source supplying AC power to a spark generated by the spark discharge; and
an ignition cable electrically connecting the spark plug, the discharge power source and the AC power source, wherein the
ignition cable includes,

a discharge electrode connecting the discharge power source and the spark plug in order to apply the voltage from the discharge
power source to the spark plug,

an AC electrode transmitting the AC power from the AC power source to the spark plug side,
an insulator interposed between the discharge electrode and the AC electrode, and
a cylindrical shaped second insulator, wherein at least a portion of the second insulator is arranged to surround at least
a portion of an outer circumference of the discharge electrode, the AC electrode and the insulator, and

wherein a permittivity of the insulator is larger than a permittivity of the second insulator, and
wherein the ignition cable is configured, such that
the AC electrode is cylindrical shaped and is arranged at an inner circumference of the second insulator,
the insulator is cylindrical shaped and is arranged at an inner circumference of the AC electrode,
the discharge electrode is arranged at an inner circumference of the insulator, and
an end of the discharge electrode is at the spark plug side and is connected to the spark plug.

US Pat. No. 9,135,760

INFORMATION SHARING SYSTEM, ON-VEHICLE DIAGNOSIS TERMINAL, AND DISPLAY TERMINAL

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An information sharing system comprising a plurality of on-vehicle diagnosis terminals, and one or a plurality of display
terminals, the on-vehicle diagnosis terminals and the one or the plurality of display terminals comprising a terminal that
comprises a communication unit including one of first and second communication units configured to perform peer-to-peer wireless
communication,
the on-vehicle diagnosis terminals comprising:
the first communication unit, and a diagnostic information acquiring unit configured to acquire diagnostic information on
an electric vehicle equipped with the on-vehicle diagnosis terminal,

the one or the plurality of display terminals comprising:
the second communication unit, and a display configured to display the diagnostic information on the electric vehicles equipped
with the on-vehicle diagnosis terminals,

the on-vehicle diagnosis terminals and the one or the plurality of display terminals sharing the diagnostic information on
the electric vehicles equipped with the on-vehicle diagnosis terminals over wireless communication among the terminals using
the communication units,

wherein the on-vehicle diagnosis terminals comprise:
a first clock unit that keeps a common time that is unified in the information sharing system;
an own-vehicle data storing unit configured to store one or more own-vehicle data sets that each comprise one or more data
sets comprising at least a unique identifier that is uniquely assigned to the on-vehicle diagnosis terminal, the diagnostic
information acquired by the diagnostic information-acquiring unit of the on-vehicle diagnosis terminal, and an acquisition
clock time in the common time at which the diagnostic information is acquired; and

an other-vehicle data storing unit configured to store other-vehicle data sets that comprise the data sets on other electric
vehicles that are acquired through the first communication unit of the on-vehicle diagnosis terminal,

wherein the one or the plurality of display terminals comprise:
a second clock unit that keeps the common time; and
a data storing unit configured to store data sets on the electric vehicles that are acquired through the second communication
unit of the display terminal,

wherein the on-vehicle diagnosis terminals comprise:
a first communication establishing unit configured to establish peer-to-peer wireless communication with the communication
units of the terminals capable of establishing wireless communication with the on-vehicle diagnosis terminal;

a first newly-storing unit configured to make the other-vehicle data storing unit of the on-vehicle diagnosis terminal store
new data sets comprising at least a unique identifier that is not stored in the other-vehicle data storing unit of the on-vehicle
diagnosis terminal among the data sets stored in first terminals that comprise the terminals with which the wireless communication
is established with the on-vehicle diagnosis terminal;

a first renewing and storing unit configured to renew and store the one or more data sets that each comprises at least a unique
identifier which is the same as the unique identifier of an other-vehicle data set stored in the other-vehicle data storing
unit of the on-vehicle diagnosis terminal, and has a newer acquisition clock time among the data sets stored in the first
terminals; and

a first clock time storing unit configured to renew and store, every time a data set stored in each first terminal is stored
in the other-vehicle data storing unit of the on-vehicle diagnosis terminal, a first stored clock time in the common time
for every first terminal, the first stored clock time being the stored timing,

wherein the one or the plurality of display terminals comprise:
a second communication establishing unit configured to establish peer-to-peer wireless communication with the communication
units of the terminals capable of establishing wireless communication with the display terminal;

a second newly-storing unit configured to make the data storing unit of the display terminal store a new data set comprising
at least a unique identifier that is not stored in the data storing unit of the display terminal among the data sets stored
in second terminals that comprise the terminals with which the wireless communication is established with the display terminal;

a second renewing and storing unit configured to renew and store the data sets that each comprise at least a unique identifier
which is the same as the unique identifier of the data set stored in the data storing unit of the display terminal, and has
a newer acquisition clock time among the data sets stored in the second terminals; and

a second clock time storing unit configured to renew and store, every time a data set stored in each second terminal is stored
in the data storing unit of the display terminal, a second stored clock time in the common time for every second terminal,
the second stored clock time being the stored timing,

wherein the on-vehicle diagnosis terminals comprise a first determination unit configured to:
determine, when the peer-to-peer wireless communication is established by the first communication establishing unit, whether
or not a first predetermined time has passed from the first stored clock times that are stored in relation to the first terminals
with which the wireless communication is established;

perform, when the first predetermined time has passed, the storing into the other-vehicle data storing units using the first
newly-storing units and the first renewing and storing units; and

establish, when the first predetermined time has not passed, new wireless communication using the first communication establishing
units with the communication units of the terminals capable of establishing wireless communication with the on-vehicle diagnosis
terminal, and

wherein the one or the plurality of display terminals comprise a second determination unit configured to:
determine, when the peer-to-peer wireless communication is established by the second communication establishing unit, whether
or not a second predetermined time has passed from the second stored clock times that are stored in relation to the second
terminals with which the wireless communication is established;

perform, when the second predetermined time has passed, the storing into the data storing units using the second newly-storing
units and the second renewing and storing units; and

establish, when the second predetermined time has not passed, new wireless communication using the second communication establishing
units with the communication units of the terminals capable of establishing wireless communication with the display terminal.

US Pat. No. 9,091,443

GLOW PLUG AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING GLOW PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A glow plug comprising:
a heater having a heat generating resistor that generates heat by passing an electric current therethrough;
a metal shell formed in a tubular shape having a shaft hole extending in an axial direction and which directly holds the heater
in a front end part thereof or indirectly through a holding member;

an intermediate shaft formed in the shape of a rod, arranged in the shaft hole of the metal shell with a clearance provided
relative to an inner peripheral surface of the metal shell and which has one end part thereof connected to a rear end part
of the heater and the other end part thereof protruding from a rear end of the metal shell; and

a cylindrical insulator arranged between the shaft hole of the metal shell and the intermediate shaft , which insulator is
urged toward the front end of the metal shell in the axial direction and positioned by a fixing part provided in the other
end part of the intermediate shaft, further including:

a first tapered part that is provided in the inner peripheral surface of the metal shell in a rear end part of the metal shell
and which expands from the shaft hole to an opening of the shaft hole; and

a second tapered part that is provided in an outer peripheral surface of the insulator, expands from an end side to a rear
end side of the insulator and abuts the first tapered part,

wherein a rear end surface of the insulator abuts an end surface of the fixing part, and when a maximum outside diameter of
the first tapered part of the metal shell is D1, a maximum outside diameter of the second tapered part of the insulator is D2, a maximum outside diameter of the rear end surface of the insulator is D3 and a maximum outside diameter of the end surface of the fixing part is D4, the relations of D1>D2 and D3

US Pat. No. 9,136,033

SINTERED OXIDE COMPACT AND CIRCUIT BOARD USING SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

8. A circuit board in which an electrically conductive layer is formed on a surface of an insulating substrate,
wherein the electrically conductive layer is configured by a sintered oxide compact;
wherein the sintered oxide compact is represented by a composition formula: REaCobNicOx (where RE represents a rare earth
element, a+b+c=1, and 1.3?x?1.7);

wherein the sintered oxide compact comprises a perovskite phase with a perovskite-type oxide crystal structure; and
wherein the a, b, and c satisfy the following relationships:
0.459?a?0.535,

0.200?b?0.475, and

0.025?c?0.300.

US Pat. No. 9,166,379

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug, comprising:
a tubular insulator that extends in an axial direction; and
a tubular metal shell disposed at an outer periphery of the insulator, wherein
the metal shell includes:
a caulking portion disposed in a rear end portion of the metal shell, the caulking portion being bent toward an inner peripheral
side;

a bulge portion positioned on a tip end side with respect to the caulking portion, the bulge portion projecting toward an
outer peripheral side;

a seat portion positioned on the tip end side with respect to the caulking portion;
a thread portion positioned on the tip end side with respect to the seat portion, the thread portion being threadably mounted
on a mounting hole of a combustion apparatus; and

a protrusion positioned at an inner periphery on the tip end side with respect to the seat portion, the protrusion projecting
toward the inner peripheral side, wherein

the insulator has an outer diameter gradually decreasing toward the tip end side, the insulator including a lock portion directly
or indirectly locked to the protrusion, the insulator being secured to the metal shell in a state held between the caulking
portion and the protrusion,

the seat portion has an outer diameter gradually decreasing toward the tip end side, the seat portion including a tapering
surface that at least partially contact a seating portion of the combustion apparatus when the thread portion is threadably
mounted on the mounting hole of the combustion apparatus, and

SB/SC?3.5, SB/LB?12.0, and SC/LC?12.0 are satisfied in a case where:
the thread portion has a thread size equal to or less than M12;
the tapering surface has an area of SB (mm2);

a length of a seat-portion outer peripheral surface along the axis is LB (mm), the seat-portion outer peripheral surface being
a surface extending from a rear end of the tapering surface toward the rear end side along the axis in the seat portion;

a locked surface has an area of SC (mm2), the locked surface being positioned on the inner peripheral side with respect to a rear end of the lock portion in the
protrusion, the locked surface locking the lock portion; and

a protrusion inner peripheral surface has a length of LC (mm) along the axis, the protrusion inner peripheral surface being
a surface extending from a tip end of the locked surface toward the tip end side along the axis in the protrusion.

US Pat. No. 9,140,202

SENSOR CONTROL DEVICE, SENSOR CONTROL METHOD AND COMPUTER READABLE RECORDING MEDIUM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A sensor control method for controlling a gas sensor including: a first measuring chamber into which a detection target
gas is to be introduced; a first oxygen pump cell that includes a first solid electrolyte layer and a pair of first electrodes
which are disposed inside and outside the first measuring chamber, respectively; a second measuring chamber communicating
with the first measuring chamber; and a second oxygen pump cell that includes a second solid electrolyte layer and a pair
of second electrodes which are disposed inside and outside the second measuring chamber, respectively, the sensor control
method comprising:
performing a concentration control of adjusting an oxygen concentration in the detection target gas introduced into the first
measuring chamber to a predetermined value through electrification of the first oxygen pump cell;

performing a drive control of applying an operation voltage to the second oxygen pump cell;
calculating a concentration correspondence value indicating a concentration of a specific gas based on the magnitude of current
flowing in the second oxygen pump cell to which the operation voltage has been applied;

determining whether the gas sensor is activated;
performing a preliminary control of lowering the oxygen concentration in the second measuring chamber before starting the
drive control;

determining whether a first as elapsed from an activation timing at which the gas sensor is determined to be activated;
performing the concentration control at an elapse timing which elapses by the first time; and
performing the preliminary control in at least a partial period between the elapse timing and a start timing at which the
drive control is started.

US Pat. No. 9,194,494

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a tubular metallic shell extending in an axial direction; and
an annular gasket defining a hole that extends through the annular gasket from an upper surface to a lower surface, the annular
gasket provided around the metallic shell, the spark plug being characterized in that:

the gasket is solid and contains copper as a main component and nickel in an amount of 0.10 wt. % to less than 0.80 wt. %;
the gasket has a maximum thickness of 0.4 mm or more in the axial direction;
the gasket has a Vickers hardness of 30 HV to 150 HV; and
the upper surface of the gasket is in contact with the metallic shell and has an area of 92 mm2 or less.

US Pat. No. 9,065,255

SPARK PLUG AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING THE SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug, comprising:
a rod-shaped center electrode that extends in an axial direction;
an insulator with a shaft hole that extends in the axial direction, the insulator holding the center electrode inside of the
shaft hole;

a metal shell that surrounds and holds a part of the insulator in a circumferential direction; and
a ground electrode that includes a base end welded to the metal shell, wherein
the metal shell and the ground electrode are joined via a fusion portion, the fusion portion being formed by melting both
the ground electrode and the metal shell together by welding,

an end face of the base end of the ground electrode is melted entirely, and
when a smallest thickness of the fusion portion in the axial direction is A, said smallest thickness being provided at a side
of the fusion portion facing the center electrode;

when, in a cross section that includes a center line of the ground electrode and the axis, and is parallel to the axis, a
length of a ground-electrode-side melted boundary is B, said boundary being formed between the fusion portion and the ground
electrode; and

when a thickness of the ground electrode is C,
conditions of A?0.2 mm and B>C are satisfied.

US Pat. No. 9,297,778

SENSOR CONTROL APPARATUS, SENSOR CONTROL SYSTEM, AND SENSOR CONTROL METHOD

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A sensor control apparatus for controlling a gas sensor including a first measurement chamber into which an object gas
is introduced, a first oxygen pump cell having a first solid electrolyte layer and paired first electrodes provided on an
inside and outside, respectively, of the first measurement chamber, a second measurement chamber in communication with the
first measurement chamber, and a second oxygen pump cell having a second solid electrolyte layer and paired second electrodes
provided on an inside and outside, respectively, of the second measurement chamber, the sensor control apparatus comprising:
a drive control section programmed to perform drive control for adjusting an oxygen concentration of the object gas introduced
into the first measurement chamber by supplying an electric current to the first oxygen pump cell and for applying an operating
voltage to the second oxygen pump cell;

a preliminary control section programmed to perform, before start of the drive control, preliminary control which supplies
a constant current to the second oxygen pump cell over a constant period of time, to thereby control to a constant level an
amount of oxygen pumped out from the second measurement chamber to outside of the second measurement chamber;

a calculation section programmed to calculate a concentration correspondence value which represents a concentration of a specific
gas contained in the object gas, on the basis of the magnitude of current flowing through the second oxygen pump cell to which
the operating voltage is applied after the start of the drive control;

a storage medium for storing, as correction data common among a plurality of the gas sensors, pattern data which represents
a pattern of a time course change in the concentration correspondence value after the drive control is started after the preliminary
control which has been set in advance is executed, which pattern data is obtained under a condition where both the preliminary
control and the drive control are performed in the presence of a reference gas;

a determination section programmed to determine a timing for applying the correction data; and
a correction section programmed to correct the concentration correspondence value by applying the correction data to the concentration
correspondence value at the timing determined by the determination means,

said correction data being applied when the determination section determines that a pattern of a time course change exhibited
by the concentration correspondence value after the start of the drive control approximately coincides with the pattern of
the time course change represented by the correction data.

US Pat. No. 9,232,643

CERAMIC WIRING BOARD, MULTI-PIECE CERAMIC WIRING BOARD, AND METHOD FOR PRODUCING SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A ceramic wiring substrate comprising:
a substrate main body which has a rectangular shape in plan view, and which has a front surface and a back surface and has
side surfaces, each being located between the front surface and the back surface, and having a groove surface located on a
side toward the front surface and a fracture surface located on a side toward the back surface; and

a notch which has a concave shape in plan view, and which is provided on at least one of the side surfaces so as to extend
between the front surface and the back surface, the ceramic wiring substrate being characterized in that:

in the side surface having the notch, the boundary between the groove surface and the fracture surface has curved portions
on opposite sides of the notch, the curved portions being convex toward the front surface of the substrate main body in side
view.

US Pat. No. 9,386,633

HEATER CONTROL METHOD AND HEATER CONTROL APPARATUS FOR GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A heater control method for controlling energization of a heater of a gas sensor the gas sensor comprising:
a gas detection element having at least one cell composed of a solid electrolyte body and a pair of electrodes provided thereon,
and

a heater which generates heat, when a power supply voltage is applied to the heater from a power supply apparatus, so as to
heat and activate the gas detection element, the power supply voltage applied from the power supply apparatus to the heater
being higher than 16 V,

the heater control method comprising:
controlling energization of the heater by operating the switching means under PWM control at a PWM frequency of 30 Hz or higher,
wherein the power supply voltage is applied to the heater when the switching means is turned on, and the power supply voltage
is not applied to the heater when the switching means is turned off; and

operating the switching means at a duty ratio of less than 100% such that the temperature of the heater does not change 25°
C. or more per 0.1 second and such that the PWM control acts to reduce power input to the heater as if supplied at an applied
voltage set in advance that is lower than the power supply voltage of higher than 16 V.

US Pat. No. 9,312,054

THERMISTOR ELEMENT, TEMPERATURE SENSOR, AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING THE THERMISTOR ELEMENT

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A thermistor element comprising:
a thermistor main body made of an electrically conductive sintered oxide and having a rectangular parallelepiped shape; and
a first covering layer which has reduction resistance, said first covering layer covering an entire periphery of the thermistor
main body and having an outer surface, at least a portion of which is an exposed outer surface exposed to the outside, wherein

when a shortest distance in a straight line in the first covering layer extending from a starting point on the thermistor
main body to the exposed outer surface is defined as an exposed layer thickness at the starting point,

the first covering layer is formed such that the exposed layer thickness measured by using any vertex of the rectangular parallelepiped
thermistor main body as a starting point is equal to or greater than the smallest one of exposed layer thicknesses measured
by using, as starting points, points which are other than the vertex and are located on three sides and three flat surfaces
which form the vertex.

US Pat. No. 9,279,795

COMBUSTIBLE GAS DETECTING DEVICE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A flammable gas detection apparatus comprising:
a heating resistor disposed in an atmosphere for detection and whose resistance value is changed in response to a temperature
change in the heating resistor;

an energization control unit that performs control to switch an energization state of the heating resistor at regular periods
of time so that the heating resistor has resistance values respectively corresponding to preset two set temperatures;

a temperature-measuring resistor whose resistance value is changed by a change in an environment temperature which is the
temperature in the atmosphere for detection; and

a gas concentration computation unit that computes a concentration of flammable gas in the atmosphere for detection by using
a voltage across the heating resistor that is detected at the time of energization of the heating resistor by the control
by the energization control unit, and the environment temperature based on a voltage change caused by a change in the resistance
value of the temperature-measuring resistor,

wherein:
the two set temperatures include a first set temperature on a high temperature side and a second set temperature on a low
temperature side;

the voltage across the heating resistor that is detected at the first set temperature is a high temperature voltage, and the
voltage across the heating resistor that is detected at the second set temperature is a low temperature voltage; and

the gas concentration computation unit computes the concentration of the flammable gas based on a first information group
including an average high temperature voltage averaging the values of two temporally successive high temperature voltages,
the low temperature voltage in a period of time between the two high temperature voltages, and the environment temperature
in the period of time in which the low temperature voltage is detected, or a second information group including an average
low temperature voltage averaging the values of two temporally successive low temperature voltages, the high temperature voltage
in a period of time between the two low temperature voltages, and the environment temperature in the period of time in which
the high temperature voltage is detected.

US Pat. No. 9,182,309

KNOCKING SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A knocking sensor comprising:
a sensor body that includes:
a metal shell that includes a cylindrical portion and a flange portion positioned at one end of the cylindrical portion and
protruding outward in a radial direction;

an annular piezoelectric element that is fitted to an outer periphery of the cylindrical portion;
upper and lower electrode plates that are superimposed on upper and lower surfaces of the piezoelectric element;
a weight that is fitted to the outer periphery of the cylindrical portion so that the piezoelectric element is interposed
between the weight and the flange portion;

a lower insulating plate that is disposed between the flange portion and the lower electrode plate and electrically insulates
the flange portion from the lower electrode plate; and

an upper insulating plate that is disposed between the upper electrode plate and the weight and electrically insulates the
upper electrode plate from the weight; and

a resin molding that is made of a resin and covers the sensor body,
wherein
a thickness of each of the upper and lower insulating plates is in the range of 0.05 mm to 0.50 mm, and
the resin molding is made of polyphenylene sulfide or a copolymer of tetrafluoroethylene and ethylene.

US Pat. No. 9,049,793

MULTI-PIECE-ARRAY AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING THE SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A multi-piece-array that is formed by laminating a plurality of ceramic layers and has a front surface and a back surface,
the multi-piece-array comprising:
a product region where a plurality of wiring board portions having a rectangular shape in plan view and including cavities
are arranged in matrix;

an edge portion that is positioned along a periphery of the product region; and
dividing grooves that are formed on at least one of the front surface and the back surface along a boundary between the wiring
board portions and a boundary between the wiring board portion and the edge portion,

wherein a deepest portion of the dividing groove has an arc shape and the dividing groove includes a middle portion between
the deepest portion and a groove inlet on a cross-section orthogonal to an extending direction of the dividing groove, and

wherein a width of the deepest portion is greater than a width of the groove inlet and a width of the middle portion is equal
to or less than the width of the groove inlet.

US Pat. No. 9,295,151

WIRING SUBSTRATE, MULTI-PIECE WIRING SUBSTRATE, AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring substrate comprising:
a substrate main body which is formed of a ceramic material and has a rectangular shape in plan view, and which has a front
surface and a back surface and has four side surfaces, each being located between the front surface and the back surface,
and having a groove surface located on a side toward the front surface and a fracture surface located on a side toward the
back surface; and

a metalized layer which is formed on the front surface of the substrate main body so as to extend along the four side surfaces,
and which has a rectangular frame shape in plan view,

wherein the metalized layer has an inclined surface located on an outer side toward the side surfaces of the substrate main
body and forming an inclination angle with respect to the front surface of the substrate main body, the metalized layer also
having a center-side surface on an inner side toward a center of the substrate main body in plan view and forming an angle
of intersection with respect to the front surface of the substrate main body;

wherein the inclination angle of the inclined surface is smaller than the angle of intersection of the center-side surface;
and

wherein the wiring substrate being characterized in that a horizontal surface where the ceramic material of the substrate
main body is exposed is located between the metalized layer and the groove surface of each of the four side surfaces of the
substrate main body.

US Pat. No. 9,194,724

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor comprising:
a detection element extending in an axial direction and having a detection portion which is provided on a forward end side
thereof and adapted to detect a particular gas component contained in a gas-to-be-detected;

a housing which surrounds a radial circumference of the detection element in a state in which the detection portion projects
from a forward end of the housing; and

a protector which is fixed to the housing and which surrounds the circumference of the detection portion, the protector including
an inner protector which accommodates the detection portion in an internal space of the inner protector, and an outer protector
which accommodates the inner protector, wherein

the inner protector includes
a tubular first inner wall having a first inner hole extending therethrough,
a tubular second inner wall which is located on an axially forward end side of the first inner wall and which has a diameter
smaller than that of the first inner wall, the second inner wall having a second inner hole extending therethrough, and

an inner bottom wall which closes a forward end of the second inner wall; and
the outer protector includes
a tubular first outer wall which surrounds the circumference of the first inner wall and forms a tubular first space between
the first outer wall and the first inner wall, the first outer wall having a first outer hole extending therethrough at a
position on the axially forward end side in relation to the first inner hole,

a tubular second outer wall which is located on the axially forward end side of the first outer wall, which has a diameter
smaller than that of the first outer wall and larger than that of the first inner wall, and which surrounds the circumference
of the second inner wall and forms a tubular second space between the second outer wall and the second inner wall, the second
outer wall being airtightly connected, at a base end portion thereof, to a forward end portion of the first inner wall, and
extending toward the axially forward end side in relation to the inner bottom wall, and

a taper wall which is located on the axially forward end side of the second outer wall, which has the shape of a tapered tube
whose diameter decreases toward the axially forward end side, and which has a second outer hole which is a forward end opening
of the taper wall, the entirety of the taper wall being disposed on the axially forward end side in relation to the inner
bottom wall.

US Pat. No. 9,263,857

IGNITION SYSTEM

NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd.,...

1. An ignition system comprising:
a spark plug having a center electrode and a ground electrode;
a discharging power supply which applies a voltage to a spark gap defined between the center electrode and the ground electrode
to generate an electric spark discharge in the spark gap;

an alternating current power supply which introduces alternating current power to an electric spark generated by the electric
spark discharge so as to generate an alternating current plasma in the spark gap; and

a controller for controlling a timing at which the alternating current power of the alternating current power supply is supplied
to the spark plug, an output voltage of the alternating current power set so that, in an introduction duration of the alternating
current power, a lower one of

(i) a first absolute value of an average of peak values of a plus-side voltage applied to the spark gap and
(ii) a second absolute value of an average of peak values of a minus-side voltage applied to the spark gap,
is 20% or more of a higher one of the first and second absolute values.

US Pat. No. 9,252,569

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a tubular insulator having an axial hole extending therethrough in the direction of an axial line;
a center electrode inserted into a forward end portion of the axial hole;
a tubular metallic shell provided on an outer circumference of the insulator; and
a ground electrode disposed at a forward end portion of the metallic shell and adapted to form a gap in cooperation with a
forward end portion of the center electrode;

the spark plug being characterized by further comprising a tip at least a portion of which is joined to at least the one of
two side surfaces of the ground electrode which is disposed downstream with respect to fuel gas flow, and characterized in
that

in an imaginary plane which contains a forward end surface of the center electrode and on which a discharge surface of the
tip is projected along an axial line, at least a portion of a projected image of the discharge surface is located within a
range of 2.5G from an outer circumference of the forward end surface of the center electrode, where G (mm) is a size of the
gap.

US Pat. No. 9,239,273

SENSOR CONTROL APPARATUS AND SENSOR CONTROL SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A sensor control apparatus connected to a gas sensor which is attached to an exhaust pipe of an internal combustion engine
and which includes a detection element for detecting the concentration of a gas contained in exhaust gas and a heater for
heating the detection element, comprising:
element impedance detection means for detecting an impedance of the detection element;
heater-supplied-power control means for feedback-controlling power supplied to the heater such that the element impedance
detected by the element impedance detection means coincides with a target impedance;

temperature change determination means for determining whether or not a change in the temperature of exhaust gas flowing through
the exhaust pipe falls outside a previously set allowable range; and

correction means for correcting the target impedance when the temperature change determination means determines that the change
in the temperature of the exhaust gas falls outside the allowable range,

wherein the correction means corrects the target impedance by multiplying the target impedance by a correction coefficient,
and changes the correction coefficient on the basis of the temperature of the exhaust gas at the time of start of a change
in the temperature of the exhaust gas, which change has deviated from the allowable range.

US Pat. No. 9,699,916

METHOD OF MANUFACTURING WIRING SUBSTRATE, AND WIRING SUBSTRATE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A method of manufacturing a wiring substrate, comprising: a step of forming a wiring layer including connection terminals
on a first insulating layer; a step of forming a second insulating layer on the wiring layer and on the first insulating layer;
a step of patterning of the second insulating layer to form electrically insulative dummy portions on the first insulating
layer and spaced apart from the wiring layer; a step of forming a third insulating layer on the wiring layer, on the dummy
portions, and on the first insulating layer; and a step of forming openings in the third insulating layer for exposing the
connection terminals in such a manner that at least one opening exposes both at least one connection terminal and at least
one dummy portion; wherein an upper end portion of the at least one connection terminal protrudes from the third insulating
layer, and a lower end portion of the at least one connection terminal is embedded in the third insulating layer, such that
for the at least one connection terminal an upper edge of the at least one connection terminal is located further from the
first insulating layer than an upper surface of at least a part of the third insulating layer formed between the at least
one connection terminal and an adjacent connection terminal or an adjacent dummy portion, and; wherein an upper end portion
of the at least one dummy portion protrudes from the third insulating layer, and a lower end portion of the at least one dummy
portion is embedded in the third insulating layer, such that for the at least one dummy portion an upper edge of the at least
one dummy portion is located further from the first insulating layer than an upper surface of at least a part of the third
insulating layer formed between the at least one dummy portion and an adjacent connection terminal or an adjacent dummy portion.

US Pat. No. 9,244,048

GAS SENSOR AND SUBASSEMBLY UNIT THEREFOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor subassembly unit for use in manufacturing a gas sensor, the gas sensor comprising: a cylindrical sensor element;
a connection terminal located on a rear end side of the sensor element and held in contact with an electrode of the sensor
element; and a separator located rear of the sensor element and having a through hole in which a rear end part of the connection
terminal is inserted,
wherein the gas sensor subassembly unit comprises the connection terminal and the separator integrally mounted together,
wherein the connection terminal has a cylindrical fitting portion formed on a front end part thereof so as to be fitted to
the sensor element and brought into contact with the electrode of the sensor element and an extension portion formed on a
rear end part thereof so as to extend rearward from the fitting portion and be inserted in the through hole of the separator;

wherein the separator has a protruding portion formed on a surface of a front end part thereof so as to protrude frontward;
and

wherein the fitting portion of the connection terminal is fixed to a radially lateral surface of the protruding portion under
the action of a biasing force of the fitting portion.

US Pat. No. 9,236,716

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a shaft-shaped center electrode;
a tubular insulator, which accommodates at least a rear end-side portion of the center electrode in an inner portion of the
insulator;

a grounding electrode, which is disposed while having a gap between a tip portion of the center electrode and the grounding
electrode; and

a tubular metal shell including a through-hole in which the insulator is accommodated,
wherein the grounding electrode is fixed to an inner wall surface of the through-hole of the metal shell,
wherein the grounding electrode is fixed to the metal shell via a melting portion in which the grounding electrode and the
metal shell are melted to each other, and

wherein, in a cross section including a bottom portion of the melting portion, which is a rearmost end-side portion in the
melting portion, and a central axis of the through-hole:

in the melting portion, a melting depth, which is a distance in a central axis direction of the through-hole between the bottom
portion of the melting portion and a virtual straight line including an outline of a tip-side surface of the grounding electrode,
is 5% or more of a thickness of the grounding electrode in the central axis direction; and

an area of a shell-side portion of the melting portion, which is positioned at an outer circumferential side of the metal
shell from a virtual straight line connecting endpoints of the inner wall surface of the metal shell, is 10% or more of an
entire area of the melting portion, the endpoints of the inner wall surface of the metal shell being positioned at a tip-side
and a rear end-side of the melting portion in the central axis direction.

US Pat. No. 9,192,055

CONDUCTOR PATTERN FORMING METHOD

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A method for forming a conductor pattern on a substrate, the conductor pattern having a lead portion extending in a longitudinal
direction thereof, a first conductor portion located at one end of the lead portion and a second conductor portion located
at the other end of the lead portion, the method comprising:
a printing step of printing at least the lead portion by ink-jet printing process,
wherein the ink-jet printing process includes a scanning operation of scanning a print head from the first conductor portion
to the second conductor portion in the longitudinal direction of the conductor pattern, with a plurality of nozzles of the
print head being arranged in a direction intersecting the longitudinal direction of the conductor pattern, while discharging
liquid ink drops from the respective nozzles of the print head, so as to print at least the lead portion in one scanning operation;

wherein a length of the lead portion in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the conductor pattern is
larger than a diameter of each of the liquid ink drops;

wherein a plurality of the liquid ink drops are arranged in a row in the direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction
of the conductor pattern so that the lead portion is formed by combining adjacent ones of a plurality of the rows of the plurality
of the liquid ink drops; and

wherein a length of each of the first and second conductor portions in the direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction
of the conductor pattern is larger than the diameter of the liquid ink drops and the length of the lead portion.

US Pat. No. 9,077,157

IGNITION PLUG HAVING A REAR TRUNK PORTION THAT PROVIDES SUFFICIENT STRENGTH

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An ignition plug comprising:
an insulator having an axial bore extending in a direction of an axis;
a metallic shell disposed externally of an outer circumference of the insulator;
a terminal electrode having a leg portion inserted into a rear side of the axial bore, and a head portion formed on a rear
side of the leg portion and having an outside diameter greater than that of the leg portion; and

a rear trunk portion that is exposed from a rear end of the metallic shell and is provided in the insulator, said rear trunk
portion having a maximum outside diameter of 9.5 mm or less, wherein the insulator has an end-surface seat portion located
forward of a rear end of the insulator with respect to the direction of the axis and being in contact with a forward end surface
of the head portion, and an outer circumferential portion into which at least a forward end portion of the head portion is
inserted and which is located externally of an outer circumference of the head portion, wherein

the insulator has a leg-portion insertion portion into which the leg portion is inserted and has a curved portion convexly
curved toward the axis and formed between the leg-portion insertion portion and the end of the end-surface seat portion, and

the end-surface seat portion is flat and extends along a direction orthogonal to the axis.

US Pat. No. 9,053,912

FINE PARTICLE MEASUREMENT SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A fine particle measurement system comprising:
an ion generating unit configured to generate ions by corona discharge, and a charging chamber configured to charge at least
a part of fine particles present in a gas with said ions;

a trapping unit in communication with the charging chamber, and configured to trap at least a part of the generated ions that
do not electrically charge the fine particles;

an isolation transformer configured to transform a voltage used for generating the corona discharge, the isolation transformer
comprising a secondary side connected to the ion generating unit;

a primary-side power supply circuit connected to a primary side of the isolation transformer, and capable of changing a voltage
supplied to the isolation transformer;

a control circuit connected to the primary-side power supply circuit, and configured to control the primary-side power supply
circuit so as to adjust a current supplied to the ion generating unit;

a first current measurement circuit connected to each of a secondary-side reference potential line of a secondary side of
the isolation transformer, the trapping unit and the control circuit, and configured to transmit to the control circuit a
first signal indicating a first current that flows from the trapping unit toward the secondary-side reference potential line;
and

a second current measurement circuit connected to each of a primary-side reference potential line of a primary side of the
isolation transformer, the secondary-side reference potential line and the control circuit, and configured to transmit to
the control circuit a second signal indicating a second current that is obtained based on a potential difference between the
primary-side reference potential line and the secondary-side reference potential line, the second current corresponding to
an amount of ions that are not trapped by the trapping unit,

wherein the control circuit is configured to adjust the current supplied to the ion generating unit to a desired value in
accordance with the first current, and to measure the amount of the fine particles in the gas in accordance with the second
current, and

wherein the first current measurement circuit comprises an isolation amplifier and is configured to amplify the first signal
via the isolation amplifier to transmit the first signal to the control circuit.

US Pat. No. 9,312,664

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
an insulator having an axial hole extending therethrough in a direction of an axial line;
a center electrode inserted into a forward end portion of the axial hole;
a terminal electrode inserted into a rear end portion of the axial hole; and
a resistor which is provided within the axial hole between the center electrode and the terminal electrode, said resistor
containing an electrically conductive material and a glass containing silicon dioxide and boron oxide, wherein,

a distance between the forward end of the terminal electrode and the rear end of the center electrode in the direction of
the axial line is 15 mm or more;

the glass is a phase-separated glass having aggregate phase containing silicon dioxide, and an intervening phase provided
between the aggregate phase;

the aggregate phase has a silicon dioxide content higher than that of the intervening phase;
the intervening phase has a boron oxide content higher than that of the aggregate phase; and
in a cross section of the resistor, the cross section including the axial line, and having a portion whose center corresponds
to the axial line and which has a width of 1.3 mm in a direction perpendicular to the axial line, when a plurality of imaginary
lines perpendicular to the axial line are drawn at intervals of 0.1 mm in the direction of the axial line, the number of aggregate
phase located on each of the imaginary lines is determined, and the average number of aggregate phase per imaginary line is
determined for each of a plurality of line groups each consisting of five consecutive imaginary lines, there are three or
more consecutive line groups which satisfy the condition that the average number of aggregate phase per imaginary line is
larger, by 5 or more, than the minimum average number of aggregate phase per imaginary line among the plurality of line groups.

US Pat. No. 9,285,333

COMBUSTIBLE GAS DETECTION DEVICE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A combustible gas detection device comprising:
a heat generation resistor disposed in an object atmosphere where its resistance changes with its own temperature;
an energization control section which controls the switching of an energization state of the heat generation resistor every
time a predetermined time period elapses such that the heat generation resistor alternately has resistances corresponding
to two predetermined temperatures set in advance;

a temperature measurement resistor disposed on a substrate having the heat generation resistor disposed thereon where its
resistance changes with an environmental temperature which is the temperature of the object atmosphere;

a gas concentration computation section which calculates a concentration of a combustible gas contained in the object atmosphere
by using a voltage generated across the heat generation resistor which is detected when electricity is supplied to the heat
generation resistor by the energization control section, and using the environmental temperature based on a voltage change
which occurs as a result of a change in the resistance of the temperature measurement resistor, wherein

the period of time has a length determined in advance such that a change in the environmental temperature which occurs when
the energization control section switches the energization state of the heat generation resistor falls within a range of 0.5°
C.

US Pat. No. 9,240,677

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a center electrode;
a ground electrode forming a gap with the center electrode; and
a chip welded to at least one of the electrodes,
wherein:
the chip has a thermal expansion coefficient smaller than a thermal expansion coefficient of the electrode to which the chip
is welded;

the difference between the content A (mass %) of a noble metal component in the chip and the content B (mass %) of a noble
metal component in the electrode (A?B) is 50 mass % or more;

a hole is present in an intermediate layer disposed between the chip and the electrode; and
in a cross section including a central axis of the chip, 0.1?N/L?0.4, where L is the length (mm) of a boundary of the chip
and the intermediate layer, and N is the length (mm) of the hole in a direction along the boundary of the chip and the intermediate
layer.

US Pat. No. 9,458,784

HEATER CONTROL APPARATUS AND SENSOR CONTROL SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A heater control apparatus configured for controlling a heater section of a sensor, the heater control apparatus comprising:
a heater driver which is turned on and off in accordance with a pulse drive signal composed of an on signal and an off signal
appearing alternatingly and which supplies electric power from a power supply to the heater section;

heater energization control means for outputting the pulse drive signal to the heater driver so as to control the supply of
electric current to the heater section;

power supply voltage detection means for detecting a power supply voltage of the power supply;
ideal electric energy obtaining means for obtaining a unit ideal electric energy which is an ideal electric energy to be applied
to the heater section in respective periods of the pulse drive signal;

actual electric energy calculation means for calculating an unit actual electric energy which is an electric energy actually
applied to the heater section in the respective periods; and

duty ratio determination means for determining a duty ratio of the pulse drive signal based on the unit actual electric energy
obtained for the current period and the unit ideal electric energy for the current period such that the unit actual electric
energy becomes equal to the unit ideal electric energy in a next period.

US Pat. No. 9,368,944

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug, comprising:
a center electrode that extends in an axial direction;
an insulator that has an axial hole extending in the axial direction, the center electrode being to be inserted into the axial
hole;

a metal shell arranged at an outer periphery of the insulator;
a first ground electrode that has electrical continuity with the metal shell, the first ground electrode forming a first gap
with a front end surface of the center electrode; and

a second ground electrode that has electrical continuity with the metal shell, the second ground electrode being sealed to
metal shell, the second ground electrode extending from the metal shell to a position facing a side surface of the center
electrode, the second ground electrode forming an annular second gap between the side surface of the center electrode and
an inner peripheral surface of the second ground electrode, wherein

a proportion of a size of the first gap to a size of the second gap is equal to or more than 0.80 and equal to or less than
1.25.

US Pat. No. 9,270,088

METHOD FOR INSPECTING SPARK PLUG AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A method for inspecting a spark plug comprising the steps of:
providing a tubular insulator having an axial hole extending in a direction of an axis, a center electrode inserted into the
axial hole at a front end side thereof, a tubular metallic shell disposed around the insulator, an annular space defined by
an outer circumferential surface of the insulator and an inner circumferential surface of the metallic shell and opened frontward;

applying a voltage to the center electrode;
photographing an area including at least the center electrode, the insulator, and the annular space from a front end side
in the direction of the axis to obtain an image when the voltage is applied to the center electrode;

detecting a discharge in the photographed area;
determining whether a dielectric breakdown has occurred based on the photographed image including the insulator and the annular
space; and

inspecting an insulation performance of the insulator based on a result of the determining step.

US Pat. No. 9,791,404

ELECTRODE FOR GAS SENSOR, AND GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO. LTD., ...

1. An electrode for a gas sensor, the gas sensor having a solid electrolyte body predominantly formed of zirconia, the electrode
being adapted for use on a surface of the solid electrolyte body, the electrode comprising:
particles formed of a noble metal or an alloy thereof;
first ceramic particles formed of stabilized zirconia or partially stabilized zirconia; and
second ceramic particles formed of one or more selected from the group consisting of Al2O3, MgO, La2O3, spinel, zircon, mullite and cordierite,

wherein a ratio of the amount of the second ceramic particles to the amount of the first ceramic particles is greater than
or equal to 3 volume % and less than 40 volume %.

US Pat. No. 9,291,525

GAS SENSOR ELEMENT AND GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor element comprising:
a detection portion including a solid electrolyte body, and a pair of electrodes disposed on the solid electrolyte body; and
a porous protection layer covering the detection portion, wherein the porous protection layer comprises an inner porous layer
provided over the detection portion, and an outer porous layer formed externally of the inner porous layer; the inner porous
layer has a higher porosity than the outer porous layer; the inner porous layer contains, as main components, ceramic particles,
and ceramic fiber filaments which are mainly formed of a ceramic material and which have a mean fiber length of 70 to 200
?m; and the amount of the ceramic fiber filaments is 25 to 75 vol % based on the total amount of the ceramic particles and
the ceramic fiber filaments contained in the inner porous layer, the total amount taken as 100 vol %.

US Pat. No. 9,739,487

GLOW PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO. LTD., ...

1. A glow plug comprising:
a cylindrical housing which extends along an axial direction;
a rod-shaped heater configured to be displaced along the axial direction and having
one end portion which extends along the axial direction and which is disposed within the housing, and
an other end portion which is disposed so as to be exposed from the housing;
a membrane portion configured to connect together the heater and the housing and having a continuously multi-layer construction
which has

a first layer, and
a second layer of which at least part is positioned nearer to the other end portion in the axial direction of the heater than
the first layer; and

a pressure sensor which measures a pressure within a combustion chamber in which the other end portion is disposed by making
use of a displacement of the heater, wherein

at least a portion of the second layer is positioned at an outer side of the first layer in a radial direction perpendicular
to the axial direction;

a thickness of the second layer is larger than a thickness of the first layer.

US Pat. No. 9,270,087

SPARK PLUG WITH IMPROVED GROUND ELECTRODE JOINED TO METAL SHELL

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug, comprising:
a rod-shaped center electrode extending in an axis direction of the spark plug;
an insulator having an axial hole formed in the axis direction so as to retain the center electrode in the axial hole;
a metal shell circumferentially surrounding and retaining the insulator; and
a ground electrode having a base end portion welded to the metal shell to define a weld region and a distal end portion facing
an axially front end portion of the center electrode with a gap left between the distal end portion of the ground electrode
and the front end portion of the center electrode,

the ground electrode including a surface layer defining a surface of the ground electrode and a core located inside the surface
layer and having a higher thermal conductivity than that of the surface layer,

the surface layer having a thickness of 0.2 mm to 0.4 mm at a specific position that is located 1 mm from the base end portion
in a direction toward the distal end portion along an outer shape of the ground electrode,

wherein the core includes a first core member located on an inner side thereof and a second core member located on an outer
side thereof so as to circumferentially surround the first core member and having a higher thermal conductivity and a lower
hardness than those of the first core member;

wherein the first core member has a protruding shape that protrudes to a rear of the second core member in the axis direction;
wherein the weld region has an undulating shape that undulates according to the protruding shape of the first core member;
and

wherein a distance between frontmost and rearmost ends of a part of the weld region in contact with the first core member
in the axis direction is 0.15 mm or more.

US Pat. No. 10,014,665

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug, comprising:a rod-shaped center electrode that extends in a direction of an axis;
an insulator through which a through hole extends from a front end side of the insulator to a rear end side of the insulator in the direction of the axis, where at least a portion of the center electrode is disposed in a front end side of the through hole;
a metallic terminal at least a portion of which is disposed in a rear end side of the through hole, a rear end side portion of the metallic terminal being exposed out of the through hole; and
a connecting portion that electrically connects the center electrode to the metallic terminal in the through hole,
wherein the insulator comprises:
a first portion that accommodates a front end of the metallic terminal and has a first bore diameter that is less than or equal to 2.9 mm;
a second portion that is disposed closer to the rear end side of the insulator than the first portion and has a second bore diameter that is greater than the first bore diameter; and
a middle portion that is disposed between the first portion and the second portion and has a bore diameter that increases towards the rear end side of the insulator,
wherein the metallic terminal includes a roughened surface portion extending from a position inside the first portion to a position inside the second portion through the middle portion in the direction of the axis, the roughened surface portion having at least one of one or more projecting portions and one or more recess portions on an outer circumferential surface thereof,
wherein a Vickers hardness of a portion of the metallic terminal disposed in the through hole closer to the rear end side of the through hole than the roughened surface portion is in a range of 200 Hv to 320 Hv,
wherein a first ratio, which is a ratio of an outside diameter of a part of the roughened surface portion that is accommodated in the first portion to the first bore diameter, is greater than or equal to 0.90,
wherein a second ratio, which is a ratio of the first bore diameter to the second bore, is in a range of 0.80 and 0.98,
wherein at least a portion of a front end surface of the exposed portion of the metallic terminal is in contact with a rear end face of the insulator, and
wherein, when the rear end face of the insulator and the front end surface of the exposed portion of the metallic terminal are projected along the direction of the axis on to aplane that is at right angles to the axis, a ratio of a projection area of the front end surface of the exposed portion of the metallic terminal to a projection area of the rear end face of the insulator is greater than or equal to 0.65.

US Pat. No. 9,133,812

IGNITION APPARATUS AND IGNITION SYSTEM

NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd.,...

1. An ignition apparatus used for a plasma jet ignition plug which includes a center electrode, a ground electrode, and a
cavity which surrounds at least a portion of a clearance formed between the center electrode and the ground electrode to thereby
form a discharge gap, the ignition apparatus comprising: a voltage application portion which applies voltage to the clearance;
and a power supply portion which supplies electric power to the clearance, wherein a capacitance portion for storing a capacitance
is provided, in parallel with the plasma jet ignition plug, in a voltage application path of the voltage application portion,
wherein a capacitance of the capacitance portion is equal to or larger than that of the plasma jet ignition plug.

US Pat. No. 9,190,814

MANUFACTURING METHOD OF SPARK PLUG

NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd.,...

1. A manufacturing method of a spark plug for manufacturing the spark plug including a rod-shaped center electrode extending
in an axial direction, an insulator having a tubular shape having an axial hole and holding the center electrode in the axial
hole, a metal shell having a tubular shape having an end surface and an inner peripheral surface, a gap being formed between
a leading end side of the insulator and the inner peripheral surface, and a ground electrode welded to the end surface, the
manufacturing method comprising:
welding the ground electrode to the end surface; and
removing welding sag, which is formed inside the metal shell by the welding, by causing a tip end portion of a linear member
to come into contact with the welding sag while rotating a tool in which a base end portion of the linear member is fixed.

US Pat. No. 9,366,594

COMBUSTION PRESSURE SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A combustion pressure sensor comprising:
a tubular housing having an axial hole extending in a direction of an axis;
a flexible member disposed within the axial hole and fixed at one end to the housing, the flexible member being displaceable
and contractable along the direction of the axis;

a rod-shaped pressure transmission body inserted into the axial hole and fixed, through its outer circumferential surface,
to the other end of the flexible member, the pressure transmission body having a front end portion exposed to the outside;
and

a sensor element fixed directly or indirectly to the housing and outputting a signal on the basis of a pressure applied thereto
from the pressure transmission body, wherein

the housing includes a main body portion having, on its outer circumferential surface, a screw portion for screw engagement
with a mounting hole of an internal combustion engine, and a cap member joined to a front end portion of the main body portion
and having a press contact portion which is press-contacted with the internal combustion engine when the screw portion is
screwed into the mounting hole of the internal combustion engine; and

the one end of the flexible member is fixed to the main body portion,
the combustion pressure sensor being characterized in that a relation A per unit length along the axis of the main body portion and B represents an amount of compression per unit length along the
axis of the cap member, the compression amounts being measured when a force along the axis is applied to the housing.

US Pat. No. 9,343,876

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a center electrode;
an insulator provided around the center electrode;
a metallic shell provided around the insulator; and
a ground electrode which is provided such that one end thereof is bonded to the metallic shell, and the other end faces the
center electrode,

at least one of the center electrode and the ground electrode having thereon an intermediate member which connects the center
electrode or the ground electrode to a noble metal tip;

the intermediate member having a tip-bonding portion to which the noble metal tip is bonded, and an electrode-bonding portion
to which said one of the center electrode or the ground electrode is bonded, said electrode-bonding portion being adjacent
to the tip-bonding portion and having a diameter greater than that of the tip-bonding portion;

the intermediate member containing nickel (Ni) as a main component, and also containing chromium (Cr) in an amount of 15 to
25 wt. %;

the intermediate member further containing, in a surface portion thereof, silicon (Si) in an amount per unit volume of 0.04
mg/mm3 to 0.12 mg/mm3, and aluminum (Al) in an amount per unit volume of 0.03 mg/mm3 to 0.10 mg/mm3,

wherein the following relation is satisfied: 2.5?Se/St wherein Se represents the area of a region formed by projection of
the electrode-bonding portion on an imaginary plane parallel to a bonding surface between the electrode-bonding portion and
the ground electrode, and St represents the transverse cross-sectional area of the tip-bonding portion, and

wherein the transverse cross-sectional area St of the tip-bonding portion is 0.64 mm2 or more.

US Pat. No. 9,316,611

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor, comprising:
a gas sensor element extending in an axis direction of the gas sensor and including a bottomed cylindrical element body and
an outer electrode, the element body being exposed to a gas under measurement at a front end side thereof and opened at a
rear end side thereof and having a radially outwardly protruding flange portion, the outer electrode being formed on an outer
surface of a front end portion of the element body located front of the flange portion;

a cylindrical metal shell radially outwardly surrounding the gas sensor element and having, on an inner surface thereof, a
seat portion tapered and inclined toward the front end side so as to face a front end-facing surface of the flange portion;
and

an annular metal portion arranged between the front end-facing surface of the flange portion and the seat portion, the metal
portion having a front end-facing surface, a rear end-facing surface, a radially outer side surface and a corner connecting
the front end-facing surface and the radially outer side surface,

wherein the gas sensor further comprises a porous thermal spray layer formed on a region from the front end portion of the
element body via the front end-facing surface to at least a side surface of the flange portion so as to cover the outer electrode;
and

wherein, when viewed in cross section along the axis direction, the metal portion is formed such that: the corner of the metal
portion axially overlaps in position with or radially outwardly protrudes from an outer surface of a part of the thermal spray
layer located on the side surface of the flange portion, such that the corner of the metal portion is brought into direct
contact with the seat portion, and such that the rear end-facing surface of the metal portion is brought into contact with
an outer surface of a part of the thermal spray layer located on the front end-facing surface of the flange portion at a position
radially inside the side surface of the flange portion.

US Pat. No. 9,354,191

OXYGEN SENSOR CONTROLLING APPARATUS, OXYGEN SENSOR CONTROLLING METHOD AND COMPUTER READABLE RECORDING MEDIUM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An oxygen sensor controlling apparatus that controls an oxygen sensor that includes: a detection element made of a solid
electrolyte and having a pair of electrodes; and a heater configured to heat the detection element, in which the oxygen sensor
has a characteristic that a sensor output with respect to an air-fuel ratio is changed between a rich state and a lean state
with a theoretical air-fuel ratio being a boundary in response to an oxygen concentration in an exhaust gas of an internal-combustion
engine, the oxygen sensor controlling apparatus comprising:
a controller configured to:
obtain a degradation index that indicates a value according to a degree of degradation of the detection element;
obtain the sensor output from the oxygen sensor;
detect an internal resistance of the detection element by causing a temporary change with respect to one of a voltage between
the electrodes of the detection element and an electric current that flows between the electrodes;

successively obtain a target resistance value corresponding to the internal resistance using the degradation index and a first
sensor output that is a value of the sensor output obtained at a time before or after a period when the temporary change occurs;
and

feedback-control energization of the heater so that the internal resistance becomes the target resistance value,
wherein the controller is further configured to:
obtain a reference resistance value corresponding to the degradation index; and
correct the reference resistance value using a correction function that uses the first sensor output as a variable, to obtain
the target resistance value, and

wherein the correction function is a composite function of:
a first correction function that regulates a case where the first sensor output is on a lean side with reference to a predetermined
threshold output, with respect to the air-fuel ratio; and

a second correction function that regulates a case where the first sensor output is on a rich side with reference to the predetermined
threshold output, with respect to the air-fuel ratio.

US Pat. No. 9,093,824

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
an insulator having an axial bore extending in an axial direction;
a center electrode disposed at one end of the axial bore;
a metal terminal disposed at the other end of the axial bore; and
a connecting portion that electrically connects the center electrode with the metal terminal within the axial bore;
wherein the connecting portion includes a resistor, and
a center electrode-side resistance of the resistor is larger than a metal terminal-side resistance of the resistor, the center
electrode-side resistance being a resistance of a portion of the resistor that extends from a center thereof toward the center
electrode in the axial direction, the metal terminal-side resistance being a resistance of a portion of the resistor that
extends from the center thereof toward the metal terminal.

US Pat. No. 9,049,786

CERAMIC SUBSTRATE AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING THE SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A ceramic substrate configured to connect to probes for inspecting an electronic component, the ceramic substrate comprising:
a plurality of vias located in a center area of the ceramic substrate in a planar direction and that penetrate through the
ceramic substrate in its thicknesswise direction;

pads configured to connect to the probes, at least a portion of the pads being located in an outer periphery that surrounds
the center area where the vias are located; and

a conductive layer located only over a front surface of the ceramic substrate, wherein the conductive layer connects all of
the pads to the vias;

wherein there is a greater number of the vias than the pads.

US Pat. No. 9,478,947

PLASMA JET SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A plasma jet plug comprising:
a tubular insulator having an inner surface that defines an axial hole that extends along an axis;
a rod-shaped center electrode that is disposed in the axial hole of the insulator and extends along the axis;
a metallic shell disposed around an outer periphery of the insulator;
a ground electrode that is electrically connected to the metallic shell, said ground electrode having a through hole and being
abutted on a front side of the insulator; and

a cavity that is defined by a surface of the center electrode, the inner surface of the insulator, and a surface of the ground
electrode facing a rear side of the insulator,

wherein an inner diameter of the through hole is smaller than an inner diameter of a portion of the insulator which abuts
the ground electrode; and

wherein, a following expression is satisfied:
V1/V2?0.20, where a first volume V1 is a volume of a portion of the cavity on the front side of a front end of the center electrode, and a second volume V2 is a volume of a portion of the cavity on a rear side of the front end of the center electrode.

US Pat. No. 9,385,511

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug having an insulator containing an Al component, in terms of oxides, 89 mass % or more and a Ti component,
in terms of oxides, more than 0 mass % and 0.2 mass % or less, characterized in that
the insulator is formed of an alumina-based sintered material which contains, in a grain boundary phase present between alumina
crystal grains, a first crystal phase containing at least one species selected from among an La component, an Nd component,
a Pr component, a Y component, an Er component, a Yb component, and an Lu component, and a second crystal phase containing
at least one species of Group 2 element components, the Group included in the periodic table defined by Recommendations 1990,
IUPAC, an Al component, and an Si component.

US Pat. No. 9,236,715

SPARK PLUG AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a ground electrode having a recess with a bottom surface formed therein;
a noble metal tip having an outer circumferential surface; and
a holder having an inner circumferential surface defining a through hole, said through hole dimensioned to receive and surround
the noble metal tip, the recess in said ground electrode being dimensioned to receive the noble metal tip and surrounding
holder therein, and the holder being joined to a body of the ground electrode by laser welding with said noble metal tip held
between a rearward end surface of the holder and the bottom surface of the recess; and

a center electrode for forming a gap in cooperation with the noble metal tip, wherein Gf where a forward side is a side toward the gap as viewed from the noble metal tip,
Gf is an inside diameter of the holder at a forward end surface of the holder,
Gr is an inside diameter of the holder at the rearward end surface of the holder,
Tf is an outside diameter of the noble metal tip at a forward end surface of the noble metal tip, and
Tr is an outside diameter of the noble metal tip at a rearward end surface of the noble metal tip;
at least one of a) the inner circumferential surface of the holder which forms the through hole, and b) the outer circumferential
surface of the noble metal tip which is disposed in the through hole, continuously reduces in diameter toward the forward
side; and

the forward end surface of the noble metal tip is located on the forward side with respect to the forward end surface of the
holder.

US Pat. No. 9,267,912

APPARATUS FOR ANALYZING GAS INFORMATION

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas information system for an internal combustion engine, comprising:
a gas information estimation apparatus; and
a gas sensor element for detecting the concentration of a specific gas component of a flow gas flowing through the internal
combustion engine,

wherein the gas information estimation apparatus is connected to the gas sensor element and is configured to estimate information
regarding the flow gas other than the concentration,

the gas information estimation apparatus comprising:
gas sensor element provisional temperature calculation means for calculating a provisional temperature of the gas sensor element
by using a predetermined simulation model to provide an estimated temperature of the gas sensor element on the basis of at
least a parameter value regarding the gas information to be estimated, and inputting a reference value to the model as the
parameter value;

gas sensor element actual temperature measurement means for measuring the actual temperature of the gas sensor element;
gas information calculation means for calculating a true value of the parameter value to be input to the model in place of
the reference value such that the provisional temperature calculated by the gas sensor element provisional temperature calculation
means falls within a predetermined range centered on the actual temperature measured by the gas sensor element actual temperature
measurement means; and

gas information obtaining means for obtaining an estimative value of the gas information on the basis of the true value calculated
by the gas information calculation means.

US Pat. No. 9,551,684

GAS SENSOR ELEMENT AND GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor element configured as a laminate of platelike solid electrolyte bodies, comprising
electrodes provided on front sides or back sides of the solid electrolyte bodies and leads provided on the front sides or
the back sides of the solid electrolyte bodies and connected to the electrodes, respectively, wherein

the electrodes include a water-permeable first electrode having a space exposure portion exposed to an internal space of the
gas sensor element, the internal space communicating with an ambient atmosphere of the gas sensor element;

the leads include a water-impermeable first lead connected to the first electrode;
the first electrode includes a first connection portion which is disposed at a position not exposed to the internal space
and connected to the first lead, and which is a portion of the first electrode located most distant from the internal space;
and

the entire first connection portion is located in a region which extends from the internal space over a distance of 1.0 mm
or less.

US Pat. No. 9,385,381

FUEL CELL STACK

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A fuel cell stack comprising:
a first block having a first number of cells;
a first fuel supply channel having a first fuel gas trunk channel and first branch channels branching off from the first fuel
gas trunk channel, and adapted to parallelly supply the cells of the first block with fuel gas;

a collecting channel for collecting the fuel gas which has passed through the cells of the first block;
a second block having a second number of cells, the second number being smaller than the first number;
a second fuel supply channel having a second fuel gas trunk channel and second branch channels branching off from the second
fuel gas trunk channel, and adapted to parallelly supply the cells of the second block with the fuel gas which has passed
through the cells of the first block and has been collected into the collecting channel; and

a discharge channel for discharging the fuel gas which has passed through the cells of the second block, from the second block
to an external section;

the first fuel supply channel, the first block, the collecting channel, the second fuel supply channel, the second block,
and the discharge channel being arranged sequentially from an upstream side along a direction of flow of the fuel gas;

the fuel cell stack being characterized in that a throttling section capable of throttling the fuel gas and smaller in channel
diameter than the first and second fuel gas trunk channels, the first and second branch channels, the collecting channel,
and the discharge channel is provided at a position located downstream of the collecting channel and upstream of the second
fuel supply channel; and

the throttling section comprises a channel connecting the collecting channel to the second fuel supply channel and a cross-sectional
area of the channel of the throttling section is smaller than any one of: a cross-sectional area of the first and second fuel
gas trunk channels; a cross-sectional area of the first and second branch channels; a cross-sectional area of the collecting
channel; and a cross-sectional area of the discharge channel.

US Pat. No. 9,197,036

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
an insulator that has an axial hole extending in a direction of an axial line;
a center electrode disposed at a front end side of the axial hole;
a metal terminal disposed at a rear end side of the axial hole;
a connecting portion which is electrically connected to the center electrode and the metal terminal within the axial hole;
a metal shell accommodating the insulator therein; and
a ground electrode, a first end portion of which is joined to a front end portion of the metal shell, and a second end portion
of which is disposed apart from the center electrode so as to define a gap therebetween,

wherein at least either of the center electrode and the ground electrode has a tip which defines the gap,
wherein the tip contains Ir, Rh and Ru in a total amount of 95 mass % or more with respect to the whole mass amount thereof,
and the contents (Rh, Ru) of Rh and Ru (mass %) lie within an area that is surrounded by a line connecting point A (6, 1),
point B (6, 15), point C (33, 18), point D (33, 4) and the point A (6, 1) in this order or lie on the line,

wherein the tip satisfies a relation of 1.5?Has/Han?2.2, wherein Has is a Vickers hardness measured at a cut surface of the
tip which results when the tip is cut along a plane which includes the axial line, and Han is a Vickers hardness measured
at the cut surface after the tip is placed in a furnace of an Ar atmosphere to be heated and held at 1300° C. for 10 hours
and is then cooled down, and

wherein the tip is cooled down by stopping the heating of the tip with Ar caused to flow at a rate of 2 liter/min and keeping
Ar flowing into the furnace at the same rate even after the heating of the tip has been stopped.

US Pat. No. 9,494,547

GAS SENSOR CONTROL APPARATUS AND METHOD

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

3. A control method of a gas sensor control apparatus including:
a gas sensor having at least an oxygen pump cell including a solid electrolyte body and a pair of electrodes provided on the
solid electrolyte body; and

a sensor drive circuit which, being connected to the gas sensor, energizes the gas sensor in order to drive the gas sensor,
the method comprising:

a terminal voltage output step which outputs a terminal voltage of the oxygen pump cell;
an anomaly detection step which compares the terminal voltage and a first threshold value, and when the terminal voltage exceeds
the first threshold value, outputs a short circuit anomaly signal informing of a short circuit between a supply voltage which
drives the gas sensor and the electrodes, and when the terminal voltage does not exceed the first threshold value, the anomaly
detection step compares the terminal voltage and a ground threshold value less than the first threshold value, and when the
terminal voltage is less than the ground threshold, outputs a GND short circuit anomaly signal informing of a short circuit
between a supply voltage and the electrodes;

a cell voltage anomaly signal generation step which compares the terminal voltage and a second threshold value less than the
first threshold value and more than the ground threshold value when the terminal voltage is less than the first threshold
value and more than the ground threshold value, and when the terminal voltage exceeds the second threshold value, generates
a cell voltage anomaly signal informing of an application of an overvoltage of the oxygen pump cell, but not informing of
a short circuit of the oxygen pump cell; and

a de-energization setting step which, when receiving, by a control unit, the short circuit anomaly signal or the cell voltage
anomaly signal, sets, by the control unit, the sensor drive circuit to be de-energized.

US Pat. No. 9,453,490

CONNECTION DEVICE, IGNITER AND IGNITION SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A connection device for connecting a first power supply and a second power supply to an ignition plug, comprising:
a first power supply side line which establishes electrical connection between the ignition plug and the first power supply
and which is electrically connected to the second power supply; and

a second power supply side line which establishes electrical connection between the ignition plug and the second power supply,
wherein

the first power supply side line includes a first diode which prevents a current inflow from the second power supply into
the first power supply or a current inflow from the first power supply into the second power supply, and an inductor disposed
between the first diode and the ignition plug, and

the inductor is composed of a wound metal wire and is disposed around at least a portion of the second power supply side line
while being separated from at least the second power supply side line.

US Pat. No. 9,373,940

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
an insulator having a through hole formed therein in a direction of an axis;
a center electrode disposed in a front side of the through hole;
a metal terminal disposed in a rear side of the through hole;
an electrical connection part arranged in the through hole to establish electrical connection between the center electrode
and the metal terminal; and

a metal shell holding therein the insulator,
wherein the electrical connection part has a conductor including a conductive material and at least one kind of Fe-containing
oxide material;

wherein the Fe-containing oxide material contains at least FeO; and
wherein the conductor satisfies a relationship of 0.06?S1/(S1+S2)?0.46 where, in a cross section taken along the axis, S1
is an area occupied by the conductive material; and S2 is an area occupied by the Fe-containing oxide material.

US Pat. No. 9,318,878

SPARK PLUG WITH NOBLE METAL TIP

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a center electrode extending in a direction of an axis;
a ceramic insulator having an axial bore extending in the direction of the axis and holding the center electrode in the axial
bore;

a metallic shell provided externally of an outer circumference of the ceramic insulator; and
a ground electrode having an extending portion extending in the direction of the axis, attached to the metallic shell at one
end, and forming, at the other end, a gap in cooperation with the center electrode, at least one of the center electrode and
the ground electrode has an electrode base metal;

a columnar noble metal tip disposed in such a manner as to face the other electrode; and
an intermediate member disposed between the electrode base metal and the noble metal tip, said intermediate member having
a first surface and a second surface the first surface of said intermediate member being in contact with the noble metal tip
and the second surface of the intermediate member being in contact with the electrode base metal, said second surface of said
intermediate member having an area greater than that of a cross section of the noble metal tip defined by a plane cut parallel
to the first surface;

said intermediate member attached to said electrode base member by a nugget that is formed through fusion and solidification
resulting from welding at least a portion of the boundary between the intermediate member and the electrode base metal; and

in a section of the spark plug cut by a plane which passes through the center of gravity of the intermediate member and is
in parallel with a facing direction between the extending portion and the center electrode, a relational expression S1/(D1×H1)?0.005
is satisfied, where

S1 is a total area of the nugget,
H1 is a height of an end surface of the noble metal tip from a disposition surface of the electrode base metal where the intermediate
member is disposed, and

D1 is a maximum width of the noble metal tip.

US Pat. No. 9,228,987

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor having an axis, the gas sensor comprising:
a detecting element extending in the axial direction and including a detecting portion provided at a front end portion thereof
and detecting a specific gas contained in a gas to be detected;

a main metal fitting surrounding and holding the radial periphery of the detecting element in a state that the detecting portion
protrudes from a front end portion of the main metal fitting; and

a protector fixed to the front end portion of the main metal fitting and accommodating the detecting portion therein,
wherein the protector includes
a large-diameter portion including a cylindrical first peripheral wall and a first front end wall connected to a front end
portion of the first peripheral wall,

a small-diameter portion connected to the first front end wall, protruding forward from the large-diameter portion in the
axial direction, and including a cylindrical second peripheral wall connected to the first front end wall and a second front
end wall connected to a front end portion of the second peripheral wall,

first recessed portions formed at the first front end wall and recessed rearward in the axial direction,
first opening portions formed at the first recessed portions and opened toward only an inner surface of the first peripheral
wall,

a second recessed portion formed at the second front end wall and recessed rearward in the axial direction, and
second opening portions formed in the second recessed portion and opened toward an inner surface of the second peripheral
wall so that the detecting element is not visible from the outside, and

the first peripheral wall and the second peripheral wall are closed.

US Pat. No. 9,086,393

SENSOR CONTROL DEVICE AND SENSOR CONTROL METHOD

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A sensor control device comprising:
a sensor section which outputs an electric signal value corresponding to a physical or chemical characteristic of a measurement
subject;

a first amplification section which receives the electric signal value output from the sensor section and amplifies the electric
signal value at a first amplification factor for a first detection range of the characteristic;

a second amplification section which receives the electric signal value output from the sensor section and amplifies the electric
signal value at a second amplification factor for a second detection range of the characteristic, at least a portion of the
second detection range overlapping with the first detection range; and

a control section which obtains a value representing the characteristic on the basis of an output from the first amplification
section and an output from the second amplification section, and which outputs the value as a sensor detection value,

the sensor control device being characterized by further comprising:
an equivalent value acquisition section for acquiring a first characteristic equivalent value based on the output from the
first amplification section and a second characteristic equivalent value based on the output from the second amplification
section;

an equivalent value determination section for determining whether or not at least one of the first and second characteristic
equivalent values falls within an anomaly diagnosis range, which is a predetermined range contained in an overlap portion
between the first detection range and the second detection range; and

an anomaly diagnosis section configured such that, when the equivalent value determination section determines that at least
one of the first and second characteristic equivalent values falls within an anomaly diagnosis range, the anomaly diagnosis
section determines whether or not an anomaly has occurred in at least one of a signal system containing the first amplification
section and a signal system containing the second amplification section, through comparison between the first characteristic
equivalent value and the second characteristic equivalent value.

US Pat. No. 9,068,934

GAS SENSOR PROCESSING APPARATUS

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor processing apparatus for processing an output of a gas sensor including a detection element which is formed
of a solid electrolyte body, which has a pair of electrodes, and which detects the concentration of a specific gas, comprising:
voltage shift means for shifting a detection element voltage produced between the electrodes of the detection element from
a pre-shift voltage to a post-shift voltage different from the pre-shift voltage;

recovery means for returning the detection element voltage from the post-shift voltage to the pre-shift voltage through self-discharge
by an internal capacitor of the detection element after the end of a voltage shift period in which the detection element voltage
is shifted by the voltage shift means; and

deterioration index detection means for detecting a deterioration index representing the degree of deterioration of the detection
element on the basis of a change in the detection element voltage in a recovery period in which the detection element voltage
is returned to the pre-shift voltage by the recovery means;

wherein, when the detection element is represented by an equivalent circuit, the detection element is equivalent to a series
circuit between the electrodes thereof, the series circuit including a cell that generates an electromotive force in accordance
with the concentration of the specific gas and an internal impedance composed of an internal resistor and an internal capacitor
connected in parallel, and

the post-shift voltage is greater than the electromotive force generated by the detection element.

US Pat. No. 9,518,954

GAS SENSOR CONTROL DEVICE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor control device for controlling a gas sensor, said gas sensor comprising a gas sensor element including a cell
comprising a solid electrolyte and a pair of electrodes disposed on the solid electrolyte for detecting concentration of a
specific gas component, said gas sensor control device comprising:
a circuit board electrically connectable to the gas sensor via an electrical conductor;
a voltage control unit mounted on the circuit board and configured to control a voltage developed across the pair of electrodes
of the cell to a constant voltage;

a temperature detecting unit mounted on the circuit board and configured to detect a temperature of the circuit board; and
a voltage correcting unit mounted on the circuit board and configured to apply a correction voltage to the voltage control
unit compensating for a temperature-dependent variation in the level of the constant voltage based on the temperature detected
by the temperature detecting unit,

wherein the gas sensor element comprises a plurality of the cells including a first cell and a second cell,
wherein said gas sensor further comprises a plurality of the voltage control units comprising a first voltage control unit
and a second voltage control unit connected to the first cell and the second cell, respectively, the first voltage control
unit and the second voltage control unit configured to maintain the voltage developed across the pair of electrodes of the
first cell and developed across the second cell to first and second constant voltages, respectively, and

wherein the voltage correcting unit is configured to apply the correction voltage to only one of the first voltage control
unit and the second voltage control unit based on the temperature detected by the temperature detecting unit, the correction
voltage compensating a temperature-dependent variation in a voltage difference between the voltage developed across the pair
of electrodes of the first cell and the voltage developed across the pair of electrodes of the second cell, and

an inter-terminal voltage difference is maintained constant regardless of a temperature variation of the circuit board.

US Pat. No. 9,432,635

INSPECTION DEVICE FOR ARTICLE BEING INSPECTED, SPARK PLUG INSPECTION METHOD, AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A device for inspecting an identification mark formed on a surface of an inspection object, said surface being made of
metal, comprising:
a camera that captures an image of the inspection object surface in an image capturing direction orthogonal to the inspection
object surface;

a work holder that holds the inspection object such that a predetermined distance along the image capturing direction is established
between the camera and the inspection object surface;

an illuminator that has a light source, adapted to illuminate the inspection object surface with irradiation light emitted
from the light source, and disposed at a position which is located between the inspection object surface and the camera with
respect to the image capturing direction such that reflected light resulting from regular reflection of the irradiation light
impinging on the inspection object surface is not incident on the camera;

an image processor that processes an image captured by the camera, and acquires characteristic information of the identification
mark from an image of the identification mark in the captured image;

a storage device configured to execute a program that compares the characteristic information of the identification mark and
characteristic information of a reference mark acquired beforehand from an image of the reference mark, and judges whether
or not the identification mark and the reference mark are the same mark,

the inspection object surface has a maximum diameter or diagonal length of 10 mm or less, and
the illuminator is configured such that the light source has an annular shape, whose inside diameter is 10 mm or more.

US Pat. No. 9,316,199

IGNITION DEVICE AND STRUCTURE FOR MOUNTING SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An ignition device comprising:
a power supply for discharge;
an AC power supply for supplying AC power;
an ignition coil which includes a primary coil and a secondary coil and which generates a high secondary voltage in the secondary
coil by stepping up a voltage applied to the primary coil from the power supply for discharge;

an ignition plug electrically connected to the secondary coil;
an AC electrode electrically connected to the AC power supply;
a high-voltage electrode located between the secondary coil and the ignition plug and electrically connected to the secondary
coil and the ignition plug;

an insulator disposed between the high-voltage electrode and the AC electrode; and
a second insulator which covers the ignition coil and a capacitor composed of the AC electrode, the high-voltage electrode,
and the insulator,

wherein the secondary voltage and the AC power are supplied to the ignition plug via the high-voltage electrode, and
wherein the ignition device further comprises a semiconductor device capable of permitting and stopping supply of the AC power
from the AC power supply to the AC electrode, the semiconductor device being provided between the AC power supply and the
AC electrode.

US Pat. No. 9,291,518

KNOCKING SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A knocking sensor, comprising:
a metal shell having a cylindrical portion, and a flange portion that is located on one end side of the cylindrical portion
and projected toward an outside of the cylindrical portion in a circumferential direction;

an annular weight that is fitted onto an outer circumference of the cylindrical portion, and has an upper surface on an opposite
side of a side facing the flange portion;

an annular piezoelectric element that is fitted onto the outer circumference of the cylindrical portion, and interposed between
the flange portion and the weight; and

an insulating body that is interposed between the flange portion and the piezoelectric element,
wherein a protruding portion that is protruded while being plastically deformed from an inner circumferential surface of the
cylindrical portion outward in a circumferential direction, and contacts the upper surface of the weight to lock the weight
is disposed on an outer circumferential surface of the cylindrical portion,

wherein a plating layer is disposed on the outer circumferential surface of the cylindrical portion.

US Pat. No. 9,179,553

METHOD OF MANUFACTURING MULTILAYER WIRING BOARD

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A method of manufacturing a multilayer wiring board in which a plurality of insulating layers and a plurality of conductor
layers are alternately laminated, the method comprising:
a step of forming, on a support substrate, a laminate in which at least one insulating layer and at least one conductor layer
are alternately laminated;

a step of forming a prepreg, which has an opening capable of accommodating an electronic component and a sheet-like glass
fiber impregnated with resin, on a surface of the laminate;

a step of accommodating the electronic component in the opening; and
a step of heating and pressurizing a surface of the prepreg such that an upper surface of the electronic component is covered
with molten resin of the prepreg.

US Pat. No. 9,080,964

GAS SENSOR ELEMENT AND GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor element comprising:
a laminate of a detection element and a heater; and
a porous protection layer which entirely covers a forward end portion of the laminate, wherein
the detection element has at least one cell composed of a solid electrolyte body and a pair of electrodes disposed on the
solid electrolyte body;

the heater has an insulating ceramic body and a heat-generating element provided in the insulating ceramic body and adapted
to generate heat by passing electric current therethrough; and

the laminate has at least one measuring chamber which is formed in its forward end portion, into which a gas-to-be-measured
is introduced from an ambient atmosphere via a diffusion resistor, and which one of the pair of electrodes faces,

the gas sensor element being characterized in that
the porous protection layer comprises an inner porous layer disposed externally of the diffusion resistor and covering at
least the diffusion resistor, and an outer porous layer formed externally of the inner porous layer and entirely covering
the forward end portion of the laminate;

the inner porous layer has a higher porosity than the outer porous layer;
the porosity of the inner porous layer is 50% to 75% and the porosity of the outer porous layer is 30% to 50%;
the inner porous layer has a higher porosity than that of the diffusion resistor; and
as viewed in a plurality of 100 ?m×100 ?m regions on a scanning electron micrograph of sections of the inner porous layer
and the diffusion resistor, a pore diameter greater than a greatest pore diameter CDIF in the regions of the diffusion resistor exists in each of the regions of the inner porous layer.

US Pat. No. 9,496,687

METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A method for manufacturing a spark plug comprising the steps of:
providing a center electrode extending in an axial direction;
providing an insulator having an axial bore extending therethrough in the axial direction, and holding the center electrode
in an axially forward end portion of the axial bore;

providing a tubular metallic shell circumferentially surrounding and holding the insulator; and
assembling the insulator into the metallic shell through insertion of the insulator into the metallic shell from an axially
rear end opening portion of the metallic shell, wherein

the assembling step includes a displacement restricting step of restricting a relative positional displacement between the
metallic shell and the insulator in a radial direction intersecting with the axial direction so as to reduce eccentricity
between an axis of the metallic shell and an axis of the insulator to a predetermined value or less while allowing a relative
positional displacement between the metallic shell and the insulator in the axial direction, and

in the assembling step;
whether or not the insulator is cracked in the assembling step is judged by detecting acoustic emission from the insulator,
the metallic shell is supported by a pedestal, and
the acoustic emission is detected by a sensor which is installed at such a position as to be able to detect the acoustic emission
conducted through the pedestal.

US Pat. No. 9,410,468

TEMPERATURE SENSOR ATTACHMENT MEMBER TREATED WITH DRY FILM LUBRICANT

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An attachment member for an internal combustion engine that is attached to a screw attachment member mounted on a flow
pipe through which exhaust gas exhausted from the internal combustion engine flows, the attachment member comprising:
a ring pressure section having a front-end facing surface that is seated on a ring seat face provided on an exterior wall
of the flow pipe; and

a fixing member having a cylindrical shape and comprising a threaded section on an outer periphery of the fixing member, the
threaded section being screwable into the screw attachment member, the ring pressure section being fixed to the ring seat
face by screwing the fixing member into the screw attachment member in a state which the ring pressure section is seated on
the ring seat face, and pressing a front-end facing surface of the fixing member that is closer to a front-end side than the
threaded section against a rear-end facing surface of the ring pressure section,

wherein a dry film comprising an organic silicon polymer having a polycarbosilane skeleton that is cross-linked by a metal
element and a solid lubricant is provided on at least one of the front-end facing surface of the fixing member and the rear-end
facing surface of the ring pressure section.

US Pat. No. 9,257,817

SPARK PLUG HAVING FUSION ZONE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a rod like center electrode extending in a direction of an axis;
a tubular insulator provided around the center electrode;
a tubular metallic shell provided around the insulator;
a ground electrode whose proximal end is welded to the metallic shell and whose distal end faces the center electrode; and
a columnar noble metal tip formed from a noble metal alloy and provided on at least one object member of the center electrode
and the ground electrode;

one end surface of the noble metal tip being joined to the object member via a fusion zone formed through radiation of a laser
beam or an electron beam from a side toward a side surface of the noble metal tip;

the spark plug being characterized in that the fusion zone comprises:
a first fusion zone formed through radiation of the laser beam or the electron beam along the entire circumference of a boundary
between the object member and the one end surface of the noble metal tip along a perimetrical direction of the noble metal
tip, and

a second fusion zone formed through radiation of the laser beam or the electron beam from the side from which the laser beam
or the electron beam has been radiated in forming the first fusion zone, and intersecting with the first fusion zone; wherein

the thickness of the second fusion zone along a longitudinal center axis of the noble metal tip is greater than the thickness
of the first fusion zone along the longitudinal center axis of the noble metal tip.

US Pat. No. 9,225,150

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a tubular insulator having an axial hole extending in a direction of an axis thereof, the tubular insulator having an outer
periphery with a tapered outer face where an outer diameter thereof decreases from a rear end to a front end thereof;

a tubular metal shell having a through-hole extending in the axial direction through which the insulator is inserted, the
tubular metal shell having a thread portion including an installation thread ridge on an outer periphery of the thread portion
and a tapered inner face where an inner diameter thereof decreases from the rear end to the front end on an inner periphery
of the thread portion; and

a circular packing, which is sandwiched between the tapered outer face of the insulator and the tapered inner face of the
metal shell to seal a gap therebetween, wherein:

the thread portion has a nominal diameter of not more than 10 mm; and
on at least one cross section including the axis, relationships (A/B)?3.1, B?0.25, and (A+B)?2.0 are satisfied, where A represents
a length (mm) of (a difference between an effective diameter of the thread portion and an inner diameter at a rear end of
the tapered inner face)/2, and B represents a length (mm) of (a difference between the inner diameter at the rear end of the
tapered inner face and an inner diameter at a front end of the tapered inner face)/2.

US Pat. No. 9,528,960

GAS SENSOR ELEMENT AND GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor element comprising:
a plate-shaped laminated structure in which a plurality of ceramic layers are laminated, wherein
the plurality of ceramic layers comprise a solid electrolyte ceramic layer having an electrode formed on a surface thereof
and a second ceramic layer,

the laminated structure has a gap which is formed between the solid electrolyte ceramic layer and the second ceramic layer,
said gap extending in a longitudinal direction of the laminated structure,

the electrode is exposed to the gap,
a cross-sectional shape of the gap obtained by cutting the laminated structure along a plane orthogonal to the longitudinal
direction has an end point A which is one of contact points at which the cross-sectional shape is in single-point contact
with a virtual straight line parallel to a lamination direction of the plurality of ceramic layers, the one contact point
being closest to one side of the laminated structure extending in the longitudinal direction and the lamination direction,
an end point B which is one of the contact points closest to another side of the laminated structure opposite the one side,
an end point C which has the greatest separation from a straight line AB passing through the end point A and the end point
B toward the solid electrolyte ceramic layer, and an end point D which has the greatest separation from the straight line
AB toward the second ceramic layer,

a distance H1 between the straight line AB and the end point C and a distance H2 between the straight line AB and the end
point D satisfy a relation 0.25?H1/H2<1.00 or a relation 1.00


a height H of the gap which is the sum of the distance H1 and the distance H2 falls within a range of 10 ?m to 100 ?m.

US Pat. No. 9,513,252

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor comprising:
a detection element extending in an axial direction and having a detection portion which is provided on a forward end side
thereof and adapted to detect a particular gas component contained in a gas-to-be-detected;

a housing which surrounds a circumference of the detection element such that the detection portion projects from a forward
end of the housing; and

a protector which is fixed to the housing and which surrounds the circumference of the detection portion, the protector including
an inner protector which accommodates the detection portion in an internal space of the inner protector, and an outer protector
which accommodates the inner protector, wherein

the inner protector includes
a tubular first inner wall having a first inner hole extending therethrough,
a tubular second inner wall which is located on an axially forward end side of the first inner wall and which has a diameter
smaller than that of the first inner wall, the second inner wall having a second inner hole extending therethrough, and

an inner bottom wall which closes a forward end of the second inner wall;
the outer protector includes
a tubular first outer wall which surrounds the circumference of the first inner wall to define a tubular first space between
the first outer wall and the first inner wall, the first outer wall having a first outer hole extending therethrough at a
position on the axially forward end side in relation to the first inner hole,

a tubular second outer wall which is located on the axially forward end side of the first outer wall, which has a diameter
smaller than that of the first outer wall and larger than that of the first inner wall, and which surrounds the circumference
of the second inner wall to define a tubular second space between the second outer wall and the second inner wall, the second
outer wall having a base end portion which radially overlaps a forward end portion of the first inner wall, and extending
toward the axially forward end side in relation to the inner bottom wall, and

an outer bottom wall located on the axially forward end side of the second outer wall and having a second outer hole; and
relations of A?B represents the total opening area of the second inner hole, C represents the total opening area of the first inner hole, and
D represents the total opening area of the first outer hole.

US Pat. No. 9,500,536

TEMPERATURE SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A temperature sensor comprising:
a temperature-sensing element including:
a temperature-sensing portion; and
a pair of element electrode wires extending rearward from the temperature-sensing portion; and
a pair of second electrode wires welded to corresponding ones of the element electrode wires for taking an electric signal
out of the temperature-sensing element, and made of a kind of metal having a different thermal expansion coefficient than
the element electrode wires; wherein:

each second electrode wire includes an overlap section overlapping with an overlap section of the corresponding element electrode
wire over an overlap region in a longitudinal direction in which the overlap section of the each second electrode wire and
the overlap section of the corresponding element electrode wire extend longitudinally;

the overlap section of each second electrode wire is welded to the overlap section of the corresponding element electrode
wire at a plurality of weld zones, wherein the plurality of weld zones are arranged in the longitudinal direction;

the plurality of weld zones include:
a front-side weld zone at a front-side longitudinal end of the overlap region closer to the temperature-sensing portion; and
a rear-side weld zone at a rear-side longitudinal end of the overlap region farther from the temperature-sensing portion;
the front-side weld zone is formed on a front-side longitudinal end of the each second electrode wire by laser welding by
directing a laser beam in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction; and

the rear-side weld zone is formed on a rear-side longitudinal end of the corresponding element electrode wire by laser welding
by directing a laser beam in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction.

US Pat. No. 9,455,453

FUEL CELL, AND FUEL CELL STACK

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A fuel cell comprising:
a pair of interconnectors;
a cell body disposed between the interconnectors, and including an air electrode on one surface of an electrolyte and a fuel
electrode on the other surface; and

a current collecting member disposed between at least one of the air electrode and the fuel electrode, and the interconnectors,
and arranged to electrically connect the air electrode and/or the fuel electrode with the interconnectors,

wherein the current collecting member comprises a connector contact portion that is in contact with the interconnector, a
cell body contact portion that is in contact with the cell body, and a connecting portion that is bent approximately 180 degrees
and connects the connector contact portion and the cell body contact portion, the connector contact portion, the cell body
contact portion and the connecting portion being formed in line, and the current collecting member comprising asperities having
surface roughness of which ten-point average roughness is Rz?4 ?m on an inside surface that is oriented inward in a state
where the current collecting member is bent, and

wherein the fuel cell comprises a spacer disposed between the connector contact portion and the cell body contact portion
that are opposed to each other between the cell body and the interconnector.

US Pat. No. 9,419,415

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug, comprising:
an insulator that extends along a central axis, the insulator including a through hole that passes through the insulator along
the central axis;

a center electrode that extends along the central axis, the center electrode including a rear end positioned inside of the
through hole;

a metal terminal nut that extends along the central axis, the metal terminal nut including a tip end positioned at the rear
end side with respect to the rear end of the center electrode inside of the through hole;

a resistor disposed in a position between the center electrode and the metal terminal nut inside of the through hole and apart
from the center electrode; and

a conductive seal disposed between the resistor and the center electrode inside of the through hole, the conductive seal contacting
both the center electrode and the resistor, wherein

the resistor has a contact surface in contact with the conductive seal, the contact surface including:
a portion where a distance in the central axis direction between the contact surface and a virtual plane changes according
to a position on the contact surface, the virtual plane including a rear end of the resistor and being vertical to the central
axis; and

only one point where the distance is local maximum and only one point where the distance is local minimum, in at least one
cross section including the central axis.

US Pat. No. 9,347,913

APPARATUS AND PROCESS FOR GAS SENSOR CONTROL

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor control apparatus for controlling a gas sensor for sensing a concentration of a specified gas, the gas sensor
including a cell including a solid electrolyte member and a pair of electrodes formed on the solid electrolyte member, the
gas sensor control apparatus comprising:
an electronic controller comprising:
a heater regulating section to control a supply of electricity to a heater included in the gas sensor;
a sensor control circuit to sense an impedance of the cell of the gas sensor, from an output of the cell;
an impedance condition examining section to examine whether the impedance sensed by the sensor control circuit is greater
than or equal to a predetermined abnormality judging threshold;

a voltage condition examining section to examine whether a maximum effective voltage is applied to the heater, when the impedance
is judged to be greater than or equal to the predetermined abnormality judging threshold;

a duration measuring section to examine whether an application time duration of application of the maximum effective voltage
to the heater becomes equal to or longer than a predetermined heater overheat preventing time; and

a voltage decreasing section to command the heater regulating section to apply, to the heater, a lower effective voltage which
is lower than the maximum effective voltage and which is so set as to hold the temperature of the cell higher than or equal
to 500° C. when the application time duration becomes equal to or longer than the predetermined heater overheat preventing
time.

US Pat. No. 9,276,383

SPARK PLUG, AND PRODUCTION METHOD THEREFOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a tubular insulator having an axial hole extending in a direction of an axial line;
a center electrode inserted into a forward portion of the axial hole; and
a tubular metallic shell provided around the insulator and having a protrusion projecting inwardly in a radial direction,
wherein

the protrusion has a diameter-decreasing portion whose diameter decreases toward the forward end of the metallic shell,
the insulator has, on an outer wall thereof, an engagement portion whose diameter decreases toward the forward end of the
insulator,

the engagement portion seats on the diameter-decreasing portion of the protrusion via an annular seat packing,
the seat packing is disposed on a cross section including the axial line so as to contain a first line segment extending,
in the direction of the axial line, between the rear end of the engagement portion and the diameter-decreasing portion, and

on a longitudinal cross section including the axial line, relationships of ?s>?p and Hvo>Hvi are satisfied, where;
?p represents an acute angle (°) between a straight line orthogonal to the axial line and the contour of the engagement portion,
and ?s represents an acute angle (°) between a straight line orthogonal to the axial line and the contour of the diameter-decreasing
portion,

and
Hvo represents the Vickers hardness (Hv) of the seat packing at the midpoint of the first line segment, and Hvi represents
the Vickers hardness (Hv) of the seat packing at the midpoint of a second line segment extending, in the direction of the
axial line, between the engagement portion and the forward end of the diameter-decreasing portion which is in contact with
the seat packing.

US Pat. No. 9,276,384

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An ignition plug comprising:
a tubular insulator having an axial hole extending in a direction of an axial line;
a center electrode inserted into a forward end portion of the axial hole; and
a metallic shell provided around the insulator and having a protrusion protruding radially inward, wherein
the insulator has an engagement portion which is engaged directly or indirectly with a receiving surface of the protrusion
which is a rear-end-side surface thereof, and an intermediate trunk portion extending rearward from a rear end of the engagement
portion,

the metallic shell has, on its outer circumference, an attachment screw portion located on a radially outer side of the protrusion,
a seating portion located rearward of the screw portion and projecting radially outward, and a tube portion located between
the screw portion and the seating portion, the tube portion being located on the radially outer side of the intermediate trunk
portion and having a diameter smaller than that of the seating portion,

the screw portion has a screw diameter of 10 mm or less; and
a relation A?1.70 and a relation B?1.20 are satisfied, where A is a thickness (mm) of the metallic shell along a direction
which passes through a center of the receiving surface and is orthogonal to the axial line on a cross section including the
axial line, and B is a minimum thickness (mm) of the metallic shell at the tube portion along the direction orthogonal to
the axial line.

US Pat. No. 9,093,823

SPARK PLUG AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An ignition plug comprising:
a metallic shell having a through hole extending therethrough in an axial direction;
an insulator fitted into the through hole of the metallic shell and having an axial hole extending in the axial direction;
a center electrode fitted into the axial hole of the insulator; and
a cap member which covers a front end opening of the metallic shell, provided on a front end side thereof where the center
electrode is disposed, to thereby form an ignition chamber in a front end portion of the metallic shell; and

a ground electrode disposed within the ignition chamber and facing a circumferential surface of the center electrode directly
or indirectly, wherein

the ground electrode has a rod-like shape;
a proximal end portion of the ground electrode is fixed to the metallic shell such that the ground electrode is cantilevered
and extends in a chord direction of the ignition chamber, and a distal end portion of the ground electrode faces the circumferential
surface of the center electrode directly or indirectly via a gap G; and

a metal fitting is disposed adjacent to the proximal end portion of the ground electrode,
wherein the proximal end portion of the ground electrode is fixedly held between the metal fitting and the metallic shell,
wherein the metal fitting has a cylindrical tubular shape; the metallic shell has, at its front end, a diameter-increased
hole into which the metal fitting is fitted; and the metal fitting is joined to the metallic shell in a state in which the
ground electrode is sandwiched between a step portion at the rear end of the diameter-increased hole and a rear end portion
of the metal fitting; and

wherein a clearance is formed between an outer circumferential surface of the metal fitting and a wall surface of the diameter-increased
hole; and the step portion at the rear end of the diameter-increased hole and the rear end portion of the metal fitting are
joined together through resistance welding.

US Pat. No. 9,068,549

GLOW PLUG WITH PRESSURE SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A glow plug with a pressure sensor comprising:
a housing in a cylindrical shape that is extended in a direction of an axis line;
a heater unit in a rod shape that has a rear end part placed in the housing and a front end part protruded from a front end
of the housing and is movable along the direction of the axis line;

a coupling member in a thin film shape that is connected at one end with the housing and at the other end with the heater
unit and is configured to enable the heater unit to move along the direction of the axis line and couple the heater unit with
the housing; and

a pressure sensor that detects a pressure based on a load transmitted via the heater unit, wherein
the coupling member includes:
a first bend and a second bend folded in the direction of the axis line; and
a joint section in a tapered shape configured to connect the first bend with the second bend and reduce diameter toward a
rear end side of the housing, wherein

the first bend is located closer in a direction orthogonal to the axis line to the housing than the second bend and is located
closer in the direction of the axis line to a front end side of the housing than the second bend, and

the first bend has a greater bend radius than a bend radius of the second bend.

US Pat. No. 9,653,220

CAPACITOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A capacitor comprising:
a solid electrolytic body; and
a plurality of electrodes which is formed on the solid electrolytic body and disposed opposite to each other with the solid
electrolytic body interposed therebetween,

characterized in that:
the solid electrolytic body includes an oxide-based lithium ion conductive solid electrolyte as a base material and contains
oxide particles formed of a part of elements configuring the base material; and a content of the oxide particles is 5 vol
% to 33 vol % with respect to the solid electrolytic body.

US Pat. No. 9,655,170

CERAMIC HEATER, GLOW PLUG, METHOD OF MANUFACTURING CERAMIC HEATER AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING GLOW PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A ceramic heater comprising:
a resistor which generates heat when energized; and
a base member which extends along an axial direction and in which the resistor is embedded, the base member being formed of
a ceramic material which is lower in electrical conductivity than the resistor, wherein

the resistor includes a first portion extending from a forward end portion of the base member toward a rear end portion thereof,
a second portion spaced from the first portion and extending from the forward end portion of the base member toward the rear
end portion thereof, and a connection portion embedded in the forward end portion of the base member and connecting the first
portion and the second portion; and

in a cross section of the ceramic heater taken orthogonal to the axial direction, a first resistor cross section taken through
the first portion of the resistor and a second resistor cross section taken through the second portion of the resistor, the
first cross-section being spaced from the second cross-section,

with two straight lines which are in contact with both a peripheral contour of the first resistor cross section and a peripheral
contour of the second resistor cross section and which pass between the first resistor cross section and the second resistor
cross section in the cross section of the ceramic heater being defined as a first straight line and a second straight line,

the first resistor cross section has no protrusion on a first inner portion, the first inner portion being that portion of
the contour of the first resistor cross section that is located on the side of the first resistor cross section that faces
toward the second resistor cross section, the first inner portion extending from a first position at which the contour of
the first resistor cross section is in contact with the first straight line to a second position at which the contour of the
first resistor cross section is in contact with the second straight line, and

the first resistor cross section has two or more protrusions on a first outer portion, the first outer portion being that
portion of the contour of the first resistor cross section that is located on the side opposite of the first resistor cross
section that faces the second resistor cross section, the first outer portion extending from the first position to the second
position

the protrusions in the first resistor cross section are provided near both sides of the first portion in an orthogonal direction
that is perpendicular to both the axial direction of the base member and a direction where the first portion and the second
portion face each other.

US Pat. No. 9,368,942

IGNITION PLUG AND IGNITION SYSTEM

NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd.,...

1. An ignition plug comprising:
a center electrode having a forward end portion that includes a forward end surface;
a tubular insulator which holds the center electrode such that the forward end portion of the center electrode projects from
the insulator;

a tubular metallic shell which holds the insulator; and
a ground electrode whose one end is joined to the metallic shell and whose other end is a free end, the ground electrode having:
a bent portion formed between the one end and the other end,
a base member, and
an electrode tip joined to the base member on the other end side of the ground electrode, the electrode tip having (i) a facing
end surface which faces the forward end surface of the forward end portion of the center electrode, and (ii) side surfaces
adjacent to the facing end surface, wherein the electrode tip is dimensioned to satisfy relational expressions A>B and A?(B+C),
where

A represents an area of the forward end surface of the center electrode,
B represents an area of a region of the facing end surface which is located within the projection of the forward end surface
of the center electrode, and

C represents an area that is a sum of areas of regions of the side surfaces adjacent to the facing end surface and which are
located within the projection of the forward end surface of the center electrode,

wherein
a plurality of peak voltages can be applied to the center electrode after application of a voltage for trigger discharge thereto;
and

when the forward end surface of the center electrode and the facing end surface are projected onto a plane orthogonal to an
axial direction of the center electrode, a projection of the center of the forward end surface of the center electrode and
a projection of the facing end surface overlap with each other, and a projection of a remote-side edge portion of the facing
end surface which is located on a side remote from the bent portion is located within the projection of the forward end surface
of the center electrode.

US Pat. No. 9,322,680

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor comprising:
a gas sensor element having a detecting portion which detects a specific gas component in gas to be measured,
wherein the detecting portion is disposed at a front end side in a direction of an axial line of the gas sensor element;
a main body section which surrounds a circumference in a radial direction of the gas sensor element,
wherein a front end side portion of the main body section is configured to be inserted into a gas sensor mounting hole of
a mounting target body, and

wherein a rear end side portion of the main body section is configured to be disposed outside the gas sensor mounting hole
when the gas sensor is mounted on the mounting target body;

a thin plate member which is disposed radially outside the front end side portion of the main body section with a gap interposed
between the thin plate member and an outer surface of the front end side portion of the main body section,

wherein at least one end of the thin plate member is joined to an outer surface of the main body section; and
a seal member which is disposed between the thin plate member and the mounting target body and which is brought into pressure
contact with the mounting target body when the gas sensor is mounted on the mounting target body.

US Pat. No. 9,322,816

GAS SENSOR CONTROL APPARATUS

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor control apparatus for controlling a gas sensor which includes a sensor element section made of a solid electrolyte
member and detecting the concentration of a gas, and a heater section for heating the sensor element section, comprising:
change amount detection means for causing a temporary change in voltage between electrodes of the sensor element section or
current flowing between the electrodes and for detecting, as a response change amount, a change in the voltage or the current
produced in response to the temporary change;

element resistance detection means for detecting an element resistance of the sensor element section on the basis of the response
change amount;

instruction signal output means for outputting an instruction signal for instructing the change amount detection means to
detect the response change amount; and

heater energization control means for on-off controlling the state of supply of electric current to the heater section through
use of pulses having a fixed period, wherein

when, of an energization ON edge timing of the respective pulses at which the state of supply of electric current to the heater
section is switched from an OFF state to an ON state and an energization OFF edge timing of the respective pulses at which
the state of supply of electric current to the heater section is switched from the ON state to the OFF state, a timing which
occurs at fixed intervals corresponding to the fixed period is defined as a first timing, and a timing which changes depending
on a pulse width of the pulses is defined as a second timing,

the instruction signal output means outputs the instruction signal at a third timing which comes after elapse of a predetermined
wait time from the second timing.

US Pat. No. 9,206,757

PARTICULATE DETECTION SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A particulate detection system for detecting a quantity of particulates contained in exhaust gas which is discharged from
an internal combustion engine and flows through an exhaust pipe, comprising:
a detection section for generating an output signal corresponding to the quantity of particulates contained in the exhaust
gas, the detection section being attached to the exhaust pipe; and

a drive processing circuit electrically connected to the detection section, driving the detection section, and detecting and
processing the output signal from the detection section,

wherein the drive processing circuit includes a measurement control circuit for delaying start of the driving of the detection
section without driving the detection section until a start condition determined by the drive processing circuit is satisfied
after startup of the internal combustion engine.

US Pat. No. 9,074,575

ENERGIZATION CONTROL APPARATUS FOR GLOW PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An energization control apparatus for a glow plug which generates heat upon supply of electric current thereto and having
a resistance which changes in positive correlation with a change in its own temperature, the energization control apparatus
being adapted to control the supply of electric current to the glow plug in accordance with a resistance control scheme in
which, when an internal combustion engine to which the glow plug is attached is stopped, electric current is supplied to the
glow plug such that its temperature reaches a predetermined target temperature, a resistance of the glow plug at the time
that the glow plug reaches the predetermined target temperature is obtained as a pre-correction target resistance, and the
supply of electric current to the glow plug is controlled such that the resistance of the glow plug becomes equal to a target
resistance based on the pre-correction target resistance, the energization control apparatus comprising:
calibration means for supplying electric current to the glow plug at a time of calibration when the internal combustion engine
to which the glow plug is attached is stopped, to thereby obtain the pre-correction target resistance of the glow plug, wherein

the calibration means supplies during a calibration period a predetermined first electric power to the glow plug in a predetermined
first energization period, and supplies during the calibration period a predetermined second electric power to the glow plug
after the first energization period;

the second electric power is set such that, when the second electric power is supplied to the glow plug and the temperature
of the glow plug becomes saturated, the temperature of the glow plug becomes equal to the target temperature; and

the first electric power is greater than the second electric power.

US Pat. No. 9,482,637

SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A sensor comprising:
a detection element extending along an axial direction, and having a first main surface and a second main surface which face
opposite each other and constitute a portion of a surface extending along the axial direction, and a plurality of electrode
terminal portions disposed on each of the first main surface and the second main surface;

a plurality of terminal members provided in correspondence with the electrode terminal portions and electrically connected
to the corresponding electrode terminal portions, each of the terminal members comprising an elongated frame body portion
extending along the axial direction, a folded portion connecting with a forward end side of the frame body portion and folded
back towards a detection element side and a rearward end side, and an element contact portion connecting with the folded portion
at a forward end side thereof and brought into elastic contact with the electrode terminal portion; and

a separator surrounding the element contact portions and a portion of the detection element at which the plurality of electrode
terminal portions are disposed,

wherein, with a direction in which the first main surface and the second main surface face opposite each other being defined
as a thickness direction,

a plurality of first electrode terminal portions are formed on the first main surface of the detection element, the plurality
of first electrode terminal portions including at least one specific first electrode terminal portion and an other first electrode
terminal portion other than the specific first electrode terminal portion, and the specific first electrode terminal portion
and the other first electrode terminal portion being disposed so as be offset from each other in the axial direction of the
detection element,

a plurality of second electrode terminal portions are formed on the second main surface of the detection element,
the second electrode terminal portion is disposed so as to overlap with the other first electrode terminal portion in the
axial direction of the detection element and is disposed so as to be offset from the specific first electrode terminal portion
in the axial direction of the detection element, and

in the frame body portions of the terminal members, with respect to the thickness direction of the detection element, a distance
between the detection element and a specific first frame body portion, which is brought into electrical connection with the
specific first electrode terminal portion on the first main surface, is larger than a distance between the detection element
and the other first frame body portion, which is brought into electrical connection with the other first electrode portion.

US Pat. No. 9,453,815

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor comprising a gas sensor element,
the gas sensor element having:
a first measuring chamber into which a gas-to-be-measured is introduced via a first diffusion resistor;
a second measuring chamber receiving the gas-to-be-measured from the first measuring chamber, from which oxygen has been pumped
out or into which oxygen has been pumped in, via a second diffusion resistor;

a reference oxygen chamber provided separately from the first measuring chamber and the second measuring chamber and maintained
at a predetermined oxygen concentration;

a first pump cell which has a first solid electrolyte body and a pair of first electrodes formed on the first solid electrolyte
body, a first inner electrode which is one of the paired first electrodes being disposed in the first measuring chamber, a
first outer electrode which is the other of the paired first electrodes being disposed externally of the first measuring chamber,
the second measuring chamber and the reference oxygen chamber, and which pumps oxygen out of or into the gas-to-be-measured
introduced into the first measuring chamber;

a second pump cell which has a second solid electrolyte body and a pair of second electrodes formed on the second solid electrolyte
body, a second inner electrode which is one of the paired second electrodes being disposed in the second measuring chamber,
and a second outer electrode which is the other of the paired second electrodes being disposed in the reference oxygen chamber,
and configured such that a current flowing between the second inner electrode and the second outer electrode upon operation
of the gas sensor element corresponds to the concentration of a particular gas in the second measuring chamber; and

an oxygen concentration detection cell which has a third electrolyte body and a pair of third electrodes formed on the third
electrolyte body, a detection electrode which is one of the paired third electrodes being disposed in the first measuring
chamber, and a reference electrode which is the other of the paired third electrodes being disposed in the reference oxygen
chamber;

the reference oxygen chamber being formed between the second solid electrolyte body and the third solid electrolyte body,
the first measuring chamber being formed between the first solid electrolyte body and the third solid electrolyte body,
the gas sensor being characterized in that a gas-permeable, porous, insulative protection layer is formed on at least one
of the two electrodes disposed in the reference oxygen chamber, the insulative protection layer being disposed to face the
other electrode opposite the one electrode on which the insulative protection layer is formed, or so as to face another insulative
protection layer formed on the other electrode, with a gap present therebetween,

wherein:
the gas sensor element has a heater overlaid thereon,
the insulative protection layer is formed on the surface of a selected one of the two electrodes disposed in the reference
oxygen chamber, the selected electrode being located on a side of the gas sensor element toward the heater, and

a thickness of the insulative protection layer is from 5 to 40 ?m.

US Pat. No. 9,419,414

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising a center electrode and a ground electrode which forms a gap between the ground electrode and the
center electrode,
wherein, when a side toward the gap is taken as a front side of the center electrode or the ground electrode, at least one
of the center electrode and the ground electrode has a cover portion and a core portion covered with the cover portion and
formed of a material having a thermal expansion coefficient different from a thermal expansion coefficient of the cover portion,

the core portion of the at least one electrode has a concave portion and a convex portion formed at the front side of the
core portion, and

the convex portion is such that, in a cross section passing through a center axis of the electrode and also passing through
the convex portion with a line along the cross section perpendicular to a bisector of the convex portion and passing through
a point 0.2 mm shifted from a front end of the convex portion in a direction of the bisector, the line intersecting a contour
of the convex portion at two points, a cross-sectional area of the cross section passing through the convex portion delimited
by the contour of the convex portion and the line perpendicular to the bisector is smaller than a triangular area of the cross
section having vertices at the front end of the convex portion and each of the two points of intersection of the line perpendicular
to the bisector and the contour of the convex portion.

US Pat. No. 9,395,273

MICROPARTICLE DETECTION SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A particulate detection system for detecting the quantity of particulates contained in a gas under measurement flowing
through a gas flow pipe, comprising:
a detection section attached to the gas flow pipe and coming into contact with the gas under measurement;
a compressed air source which includes a compressor for producing compressed air and which supplies the compressed air to
the detection section;

a compressor drive circuit which drives the compressor; and
control means for controlling the compressor drive circuit, wherein
the detection section has a space forming member which forms an internal space into which the gas under measurement is introduced,
and a gas jetting source which is located adjacent to the internal space and which jets the compressed air supplied from the
compressed air source toward the internal space through a jetting hole formed in the gas jetting source;

of drive conditions under which the compressor is driven by the compressor drive circuit, a drive condition for jetting air
from the jetting hole at a first flow rate is defined as a first drive condition, and a drive condition for jetting the air
from the jetting hole at a second flow rate smaller than the first flow rate is defined as a second drive condition; and

the control means comprises first instruction means for instructing the compressor drive circuit to drive the compressor under
the first drive condition when the quantity of the particulates is detected, and second instruction means for instructing
the compressor drive circuit to drive the compressor under the second drive condition when the quantity of the particulates
is not detected.

US Pat. No. 9,395,325

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor to be exposed to gas to be measured, comprising
a sensor element having
a closed-bottomed tubular solid electrolyte body having a closed forward end and extending in a direction of an axis,
an outer electrode portion provided on an outer surface of a forward end portion of the solid electrolyte body, and
an outer lead portion extending rearward from the outer electrode portion in the direction of the axis and having a circumferential
width narrower than a width of a rear end region of the outer electrode portion; and

a heater having a heat-generating portion formed of a heat-generating resistor which generates heat through application of
electricity, and being in contact with an inner surface of the sensor element,

the gas sensor being characterized in that
the outer electrode portion has at least an outer partial electrode portion formed partially with respect to a circumferential
direction of the outer surface, and the outer electrode portion is disposed at such a position as to face a contact portion
of the inner surface of the sensor element in contact with the heater with the solid electrolyte body intervening therebetween,
and

a surface area S of the outer electrode portion is 8% to 20% of a surface area T of a gas contact portion of the solid electrolyte
body to be exposed to the gas to be measured.

US Pat. No. 9,343,878

MANUFACTURING METHOD OF MAIN METAL FITTING FOR SPARK PLUG AND MANUFACTURING METHOD OF SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A method of manufacturing a metallic shell for an ignition plug, the metallic shell having a tubular shape, extending in
a direction of an axial line, and having a threaded portion on its outer circumferential surface to be engaged with a mounting
hole of a combustion apparatus, the method comprising:
a metallic shell tubular intermediate forming step of forming a metallic shell tubular intermediate by providing a tubular
portion to a metallic shell intermediate that is to become the metallic shell for an ignition plug, and

a rolling step of performing rolling on the metallic shell tubular intermediate using rolling dies to form the thread portion,
wherein
the metallic shell tubular intermediate forming step comprises the steps of:
forming a first tubular portion at an end portion of the metallic shell intermediate, and
forming a second tubular portion at at least a portion of that region of the metallic shell intermediate which differs from
the first tubular portion; and

the rolling step comprises the steps of:
inserting a bearing member into the metallic shell tubular intermediate for nipping the metallic shell tubular intermediate
in cooperation with working surfaces of the rolling dies;

rolling simultaneously at least the first tubular portion and the second tubular portion such that a post-rolling radial eccentricity
between a center axis of the first tubular portion and a center axis of the second tubular portion becomes smaller than a
pre-rolling radial eccentricity between the center axis of the first tubular portion and the center axis of the second tubular
portion; and

providing a diametral difference between an inside diameter of the metallic shell tubular intermediate and an outside diameter
of the bearing member to be 0.8 mm or less in a radial cross sections of the first tubular portion and the second tubular
portion.

US Pat. No. 9,325,156

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a center electrode including a center electrode body extending in an axial direction and a center electrode tip joined to
a front end of the center electrode body;

an insulator having an axial hole extending in the axial direction, the center electrode being arranged in the axial hole;
a metal shell arranged around an outer circumference of the insulator; and
a ground electrode including a ground electrode body electrically connected to the metal shell and a projection part that
is a portion projecting toward the center electrode from an end part of the ground electrode body, the projection part including
a ground electrode tip forming a gap between itself and the center electrode tip,

wherein a particular cross section includes a center axis of the center electrode tip,
wherein two directions that are orthogonal to the center axis of the center electrode tip and opposed to each other are denoted
as a first direction and a second direction,

wherein an outer diameter of a first face that is a face of the center electrode tip forming the gap is denoted as R1,

wherein an outer diameter of a second face that is a face of the ground electrode tip forming the gap is denoted as R2,

wherein a length of the gap is denoted as G1,

wherein an average distance of a distance between an end in the first direction of the first face and an end in the first
direction of the second face and a distance between an end in the second direction of the first face and an end in the second
direction of the second face is denoted as G2, and

wherein the following is satisfied:
R2/R1>1,

R1
G2/G1>1,

0.5 mm?R1?1.1 mm,

0.7 mm?R2?1.2 mm,

1
0.6 mm?G1?1.3 mm, and

1.4?R2/R1×G2/G1?1.8.

US Pat. No. 9,306,374

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug, comprising:
a cylindrical insulator having an axial hole formed therethrough in an axis direction of the spark plug;
a center electrode inserted in a front side of the axial hole;
a cylindrical metal shell arranged on an outer circumference of the insulator;
a ground electrode comprised of a base material, said ground electrode having a first end joined to a front end portion of
the metal shell and a free end forming a gap with the center electrode, said ground electrode having an electrode base portion,
a curved bent portion and an electrode distal end portion, the electrode base portion being joined to the front end portion
of the metal shell and extending from the front end portion of the metal shell toward a front end of the spark plug in the
axis direction; the curved bent portion being connected at one end thereof to the electrode base portion and connected at
another end to the electrode distal end portion, said electrode distal end portion extending from the bent portion in a direction
different from the direction of the electrode base portion, said distal end portion having a distal end face at the free end
of said ground electrode, and forming the gap with the center electrode,

a coating layer applied to the base material of said ground electrode, said coating layer made of a material having higher
oxidation resistance than that of the base material, said coating layer applied to the face end of the ground electrode so
as to cover the distal end face and an outer circumferential surface of said ground electrode except a surface of the electrode
distal end portion facing the center electrode; and

wherein at least a part of the base material of the electrode base portion of the ground electrode is not covered by said
coating layer.

US Pat. No. 9,246,313

IGNITION SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An ignition system comprising:
an ignition plug having a center electrode and a ground electrode;
a discharge power supply for applying a voltage to a gap formed between the center electrode and the ground electrode so as
to generate spark discharge at the gap;

a high-frequency power supply for supplying a high-frequency current to the gap so as to generate high-frequency plasma at
the gap;

a matching unit provided between the ignition plug and the high-frequency power supply; and
a mixer which is electrically connected to the ignition plug and through which current output from the discharge power supply
and current output from the high-frequency power supply flow, wherein

when an oscillation frequency of a current which flows between the matching unit and the mixer when spark discharge is generated
is represented by fs (Hz),

a current whose oscillation frequency is equal to the oscillation frequency fs flows between the matching unit and the mixer
when spark discharge is not generated.

US Pat. No. 9,160,144

SPARK PLUG WITH INTERNAL RESISTOR HAVING TI AND ZR COMPONENTS

NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a circular columnar insulator having a through hole extending in an axial direction;
a center electrode fixed in the through hole of the insulator;
a terminal shell fixed in the through hole of the insulator; and
a resistor which is provided in the through hole and between the terminal shell and the center electrode, and which contains
glass, a Ti component, a Zr component, and a non-metallic electrically conductive material, wherein:

in a cross section of a conduction path portion of the resistor, the conduction path portion containing the Zr component and
the Ti component, the average of the Ti component contents by weight of five continuous circular regions, each region having
a diameter of 20 ?m, is 0.5 wt. % to 15 wt. %, wherein the Zr component content by weight of the conduction path portion is
10 wt. % to 40 wt. %; and

when A represents the average of the Ti component contents by weight of any 30 circular regions, each region having a diameter
of 20 ?m, in the conduction path portion, and when B represents the Ti component content by weight of each of the 30 circular
regions, the total of the number of circular regions in which B is less than 0.25 times A and the number of circular regions
in which B is greater than 3.0 times A is 2 or less; and

wherein the resistor is produced from at least TiO2 particles and ZrO2 particles, and the TiO2 particles have a mean particle size smaller by 0.2 ?m or more than that of the ZrO2 particles.

US Pat. No. 9,952,120

SENSOR CONTROL DEVICE AND SENSOR CONTROL SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A sensor control device for connection to an oxygen sensor including a sensing element that measures oxygen concentration in an intake atmosphere of an internal combustion engine and a heater that heats the sensing element, the sensor control device comprising:a detection unit that detects an output signal corresponding to the oxygen concentration output from the sensing element; and
a calculation unit that calculates a compensation coefficient of the output signal used for calculating the oxygen concentration,
wherein the calculation unit collects compensation information used in calculating the compensation coefficient when the internal combustion engine is in operation and in a specific operation state in which the oxygen concentration in the intake atmosphere is subject to estimation,
the specific operation state is a state in which an opening degree of a control valve controlling an amount of recirculating exhaust gas, which is provided in an exhaust gas recirculation device that recirculates a part of the exhaust gas in the internal combustion engine into the intake atmosphere, is less than a predetermined opening degree and the internal combustion engine is in an idle state,
an oxygen concentration in the intake atmosphere in a case where the opening degree of the control valve is less than the predetermined opening degree and the internal combustion engine is in the idle state is stored in advance in the calculation unit,
the calculation unit collects the compensation information when the opening degree of the control valve is less than the predetermined opening degree and when the idle state has continued for a predetermined period of time,
the calculation unit determines whether an ignition key for the internal combustion engine is in an off position, and
the calculation unit calculates and updates the composition coefficient when the ignition key is in the off position.

US Pat. No. 9,557,751

SENSOR TEMPERATURE CONTROL APPARATUS

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A sensor temperature control apparatus used for a sensor having a sensor element section and a heater section for heating
the sensor element section and adapted to control temperature of the sensor element section by controlling pulse energization
of the heater section, the sensor temperature control apparatus comprising:
a switching device which allows and prohibits supply of electricity to the heater section;
energization control means for feedback-controlling a duty ratio of an energization control pulse signal input to the switching
device such that the sensor element section is maintained at a target temperature;

storage means for storing in advance a first duty ratio which is the duty ratio in an un-shorted constant temperature state
in which all current flowing through the switching device flows through the heater section and the sensor element section
is maintained at the target temperature;

element temperature judgment means for determining whether or not the temperature of the sensor element section falls within
a first temperature range including the target temperature; and

semi-shorted state detection means for comparing a present duty ratio which is the duty ratio at present with the previously
stored first duty ratio in a state in which the temperature of the sensor element section falls within the first temperature
range, to thereby determine whether or not there has arisen a semi-shorted first temperature range state in which only a portion
of the current flowing through the switching device flows through the heater section and the temperature of the sensor element
section falls within the first temperature range.

US Pat. No. 9,525,270

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a tubular insulator having an axial hole extending therethrough in the direction of an axial line;
a center electrode inserted into a forward end portion of the axial hole;
a tubular metallic shell provided around the insulator;
a ground electrode whose base end portion is fixed to the metallic shell and which has an annular portion formed at a forward
end portion thereof, the center electrode being disposed radially inward of the annular portion, the ground electrode having
a plurality of leg portions provided on the outer circumference of a rear end portion of the annular portion in a circumferential
direction and extended toward the rear end side; and

an annular tip which is joined to an inner circumference of the annular portion and which forms a gap between the center electrode
and an inner circumferential surface of the annular tip,

wherein a recess is provided on at least one of the inner circumference and an outer circumference of the annular portion,
the annular portion having an outer diameter greater than a width of the leg portion.

US Pat. No. 9,455,074

PATTERN FORMING METHOD, DEVICE, AND DEVICE MANUFACTURING METHOD

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A pattern forming method comprising ejecting, through a nozzle, a liquid material containing a solvent and metal particles,
and depositing droplets of the liquid material onto a pattern formation object, to thereby form a pattern thereon, the pattern
forming method comprising:
a first step of maintaining the liquid material at a first temperature before ejection thereof through the nozzle;
a second step of maintaining the pattern formation object at a second temperature lower than the first temperature;
a third step of depositing droplets of the liquid material ejected through the nozzle onto the pattern formation object; and
a fourth step of promoting evaporation of the solvent contained in the liquid material deposited onto the pattern formation
object, wherein:

the viscosity of the liquid material before ejection thereof through the nozzle before the third step is lower than that of
the liquid material at the time of deposition of droplets thereof onto the pattern formation object after the third step;

wherein promotion of evaporation of the solvent in the fourth step is carried out by heating the liquid material; and
wherein, after the third step, the viscosity of the liquid material at the time of deposition of droplets thereof onto the
pattern formation object is 25 mPa·s or more.

US Pat. No. 9,335,047

GLOW PLUG AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A glow plug comprising:
a housing having an axial hole, a screw portion, and a tool engagement portion, the axial hole extending in a direction of
an axis, the screw portion being on an outer circumferential surface of the housing, said screw portion being dimensioned
to be screwed into a mounting hole of an internal combustion engine, the tool engagement portion being provided at a rear
end side of the screw portion, said tool engagement portion being dimensioned to engage a tool when said housing is mounted
to the internal-combustion engine;

a heater member inserted into the axial hole in a state where at least a front end portion thereof projects from a front end
of the housing;

a center pole extending in the direction of the axis, inserted through the axial hole and electrically connected with the
heater member; and

an annular seal member in contact with an inner circumference of the tool engagement portion and an outer circumference of
the center pole,

wherein, along an axial length of the tool engagement portion, the inner circumference of the tool engagement portion has
a shape that follows a shape of an outer circumference of the tool engagement portion,

wherein the housing further has an annular step portion that is located on the inner circumference of the tool engagement
portion, the annular step portion projecting radially inwards and being in contact with the seal member, and

wherein, when a surface of the outer circumference of the tool engagement portion, a surface of the outer circumference of
the center pole, and a surface of an outer circumference of the step portion are projected along the axis on a plane perpendicular
to the axis, an area of a first projected region defined between the outer circumferential surface of the center pole and
the outer circumferential surface of the step portion is 30% or more of an area of a second projected region defined by the
outer circumferential surface of the tool engagement portion.

US Pat. No. 9,261,480

CERAMIC HEATER AND GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor having an axis, a rear end side and a front end side, the gas sensor including a ceramic heater and a contact
terminal member, the ceramic heater comprising:
a ceramic base body having a bar shape extending in the axial direction and a heater element disposed inside the ceramic base
body;

an electrode pad disposed on a surface of a base end side in the axial direction of the ceramic base body and conductive with
the heater element, the electrode pad having a first pad side edge and a second pad side edge extending parallel to the axial
direction, and a pad front end edge located at a front end side in the axial direction with respect to the first and second
pad side edges and connecting a front end of the first pad side edge and a front end of the second pad side edge;

a heater terminal member having a terminal connection portion arranged at the base end side in the axial direction apart from
the pad front end edge; and

a brazing material portion formed of a brazing material containing Ag, ananged on the electrode pad and interposed between
the electrode pad and the terminal connection portion to bond the electrode pad and the terminal connection portion, and

the contact terminal member having a negative potential relative to the electrode pad and coming into contact with the ceramic
base body at the front end side in the axial direction apart from the pad front end edge,

wherein the terminal connection portion has a plate shape extending in the axial direction having a constant width dimension,
and a terminal front end edge thereof has a convex shape at the front end side in the axial direction and has a circular-arc
shape with a radius from 0.5 times to 0.8 times the width dimension, which terminal connection portion is ananged in the center
between the first pad side edge and the second pad side edge, on the electrode pad,

wherein the brazing material portion has a form spreading to the front end side in the axial direction away from the terminal
connection portion, and

wherein a brazing material front end edge which is a front end edge of the brazing material portion has a convex and circular-arc
shape at the front end side in the axial direction, and configured to be apart from the pad front end edge.

US Pat. No. 9,237,656

METHOD OF MANUFACTURING MULTI-LAYER WIRING BOARD

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A method of manufacturing a multi-layer wiring board, comprising:
forming, on a supporting substrate, a first laminated structure in which at least one conductor layer and at least one resin
insulating layer are alternately formed;

forming a core substrate on the first laminated structure so as to come into contact with a conductor layer which is an uppermost
layer of the first laminated structure;

forming a through hole in the core substrate on which a metal layer is provided on its upper main surface by emitting laser
light to the core substrate;

removing a portion of the metal layer which is disposed immediately above a portion of the core substrate in which the through
hole will be formed before the laser light is emitted to the core substrate;

forming a through hole metal layer on at least an inner circumferential surface of the through hole;
forming a second laminated structure in which at least one conductor layer and at least one resin insulating layer are alternately
formed on the core substrate having the through hole metal layer formed thereon; and

removing the supporting substrate from the first laminate structure,
wherein a thickness of the conductor layer which is the uppermost layer of the first laminated structure is greater than a
thickness of other conductor layers.

US Pat. No. 9,234,870

GAS SENSOR ELEMENT, AND GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor element comprising:
a detection portion including a solid electrolyte body, and a pair of electrodes disposed on the solid electrolyte body; and
a porous protection layer covering the detection portion, wherein the porous protection layer comprises an inner porous layer
provided over the detection portion, and an outer porous layer formed externally of the inner porous layer; the inner porous
layer is higher in porosity than the outer porous layer; the inner porous layer contains, as main components, ceramic particles,
and ceramic fiber filaments which are mainly formed of a ceramic material and which have a mean fiber length of 70 to 200
?m; and the amount of the ceramic fiber filaments is 25 to 75 vol % on the basis of the total amount of the ceramic particles
and the ceramic fiber filaments, the total amount being taken as 100 vol %, wherein the ceramic particles are formed of one
or more species selected from the group consisting of alumina, silica, spinel, zirconia, mullite, zircon, cordierite, silicon
carbide, silicon nitride and titania.

US Pat. No. 9,231,382

PLASMA IGNITION DEVICE AND PLASMA IGNITION METHOD

NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd.,...

1. A plasma ignition device comprising:
a spark plug;
an AC power supply which generates AC power for generating AC plasma between electrodes of the spark plug; and
a power control section for controlling the AC power generated by the AC power supply, wherein said power control section
reduces the AC power during an AC power supply period, after AC plasma has been generated between the electrodes in the AC
power supply period, wherein during the AC power supply period the AC power is continuously supplied to the spark plug within
a maintainable power range within which the AC plasma can be maintained.

US Pat. No. 9,197,038

SPARK PLUG AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING THE SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising: a center electrode, a ground electrode body, and an electrode tip that is resistance welded to
the ground electrode body and that has a discharge surface that forms a gap between the discharge surface and the center electrode,
wherein, in a specific sectional plane, which is one of sectional planes that perpendicularly cut the discharge surface and
which cuts the discharge surface so that a linear length of the discharge surface is largest,

when a first direction is defined as a direction that is perpendicular to the discharge surface and in which the ground electrode
body is located as viewed from the discharge surface and a point P1 is defined as one of points on a welding surface of the electrode tip where the electrode tip is welded to the ground electrode
body, the one of the points being farthest from the discharge surface,

the welding surface is located in the first direction from an outer surface of the ground electrode body, and
the welding surface includes a flat portion whose distance to the point P1 in the first direction is 0.05 mm or smaller, and

when a point E1 and a point E2 are defined as ends of the flat portion and a second direction is defined as a direction from the point E2 toward the point E1,

in the second direction from the point E1, a distance between the welding surface and the discharge surface in the first direction is smaller than a distance between
the discharge surface and the point E1 in the first direction, and

a linear length L1 of the discharge surface, a length L2 of the flat portion in the second direction, and a length L3 from the outer surface of the ground electrode body to the point P1 in the first direction satisfy

1.4 mm?L1?1.7 mm, 0.4?(L2/L1)?0.8, and 0.1 mm?L3?0.4 mm.

US Pat. No. 9,132,494

WIRING BOARD AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING THE SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring board comprising:
terminal members put on terminal pads of a multilayer board made by alternately stacking one or more conductor layers and
one or more resin insulation layers, wherein a solder resist layer configured to cover the multilayer board is formed on a
surface, on which the terminal pads are formed, of the multilayer board, the solder resist layer is provided with terminal
openings at positions corresponding to the terminal pads, and each of the terminal members is a pin member including a base
whose bottom surface is bonded to each of the terminal pads inside the terminal openings by way of solder and a pin that stands
upright on a top surface of the base; and

an electric insulation surface layer made of an electric insulation material formed over an exposed surface of the solder
to which the base is bonded, wherein the solder is bonded to the bottom surface of each of the bases and the solder is not
bonded to the top surface of each of the bases, the electric insulation surface layer is not bonded to the top surface of
each of the bases, and the electric insulation surface layer is not bonded to an area of the solder resist layer between the
terminal openings.

US Pat. No. 9,107,334

CERAMIC SUBSTRATE AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING THE SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A ceramic substrate comprising:
a substrate body formed by laminating a plurality of ceramic layers and including a first principal surface, a second principal
surface on an opposing side of the substrate body from the first principal surface, and a peripheral portion around a periphery
of the substrate body in plan view, the peripheral portion having a plurality of positioning portions;

a first conductor pad formed on the first principal surface;
a second conductor pad formed on the second principal surface and having a diameter or a shortest length in plan view smaller
than that of the first conductor pad; and

a conductor post connected to at least one of the first conductor pad and the second conductor pad and formed in the substrate
body;

wherein at least one of the plurality of positioning portions defines a continuous hole including a first through hole and
a second through hole that are each defined by respective ceramic layers, have different cross-sectional areas, and are in
communication with each other in an axial direction,

wherein the first through hole passes through the first principal surface,
wherein the second through hole passes through the second principal surface and has a transverse cross-sectional area that
is smaller than a transverse cross-sectional area of the first through hole, and

at least a part of an inner peripheral surface of a ceramic layer defining the second through hole is visible through the
first through hole.

US Pat. No. 9,059,152

WIRING SUBSTRATE AND MANUFACTURING METHOD OF THE SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring substrate, comprising:
a multilayer portion that includes a plurality of interlayer insulation layers, each of the plurality of interlayer insulation
layer including via holes having a reverse cone shape and via conductors formed in the via holes, a top-most interlayer insulation
layer constituting a substrate main surface; and

a plurality of projection electrodes arranged within an electrode formation region on the substrate main surface, each of
the plurality of projection electrodes directly formed on a respective via conductor in the reverse truncated cone shaped
via hole of the top-most interlayer insulation layer;

wherein at least one among the plurality of projection electrodes comprises a variant projection electrode having a recess
portion on an upper surface, an outer diameter at an upper end that is larger than an outer diameter at a lower end, and a
reverse trapezoidal cross-section shape and a curved portion formed at a boundary area between the upper surface of the variant
projection electrode and a lateral surface of the variant projection electrode.

US Pat. No. 10,123,415

WIRING SUBSTRATE AND PRODUCTION METHOD THEREFOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A production method of a wiring substrate, the wiring substrate comprising:a surface layer having electrical insulation properties; and
a connection terminal protruding from the surface layer and including a base portion made of an electrically conductive first metal and a covering portion made of an electrically conductive second metal having a melting point lower than that of the first metal and covering the base portion, the production method comprising:
applying the second metal to the base portion by displacement plating such that the covering portion is formed on the base portion and a hollow is formed in the base portion so as to extend from a lateral surface of the base portion toward the inside;
heating the connection terminal at a temperature higher than or equal to the melting point of the second metal so as to fill the hollow with a molten metal melted from at least the covering portion among the base portion and the covering portion and thereby forming a filling portion made of at least one of the second metal and an alloy containing the first and second metals and filling the hollow in the base portion.

US Pat. No. 10,031,047

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor comprising:a sensor element having at least one electrode terminal portion through which a detection signal indicative of a result of detection of a target gas is output from the sensor element to external equipment or through which external current or voltage is input to the sensor element;
a metal terminal electrically connected to the electrode terminal portion of the sensor element; and
a signal wire electrically connected to the metal terminal and forming a signal path for outputting the detection signal to the external equipment, wherein
the metal terminal comprises a forward terminal member in contact with the electrode terminal portion, and a rear terminal member connected to the signal wire;
the forward terminal member comprises;
a body portion extending in an axial direction of the gas sensor,
a female connection portion located rearward of the body portion,
a bend portion bent in a direction perpendicular to the axial direction at a forward end of the body portion, and
an element contact portion extended from the bend portion and configured to abut the sensor element,
the rear terminal member comprises;
a male connection portion inserted into the female connection portion, and
a signal wire connection portion crimping the signal wire radially inward;
the forward terminal member and the rear terminal member are configured so that the electrode terminal portion is electrically connected to the signal wire while the male connection portion and the female connection portion are connected together;
the forward terminal member is made of a material superior in heat resistance to and greater in 0.2% yield strength than a material of the rear terminal member;
contact between the sensor element and the element contact portion is maintained through elastic deformation of the bend portion; and
the signal wire connection portion extends from the male connection portion.

US Pat. No. 9,543,739

SPARK PLUG, AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
an insulator having a axial hole penetrating in a direction of an axis;
a central electrode provided on a front end side of the axial hole;
a tubular metal shell that holds the insulator; and
a ground electrode including a surface layer and a core material that is surrounded by the surface layer and has a larger
thermal conductivity than that of the surface layer, wherein

the metal shell has a protruding portion in which at least a part of the metal shell protrudes toward a front end side only
in the direction of the axis,

the core material prior to joining is exposed to an outside on a first end surface present at one end of the ground electrode
in a longitudinal direction,

the core material is not exposed to the outside on a second end surface present at an other end of the ground electrode in
the longitudinal direction, and

the first end surface of the ground electrode is joined to an inside surface of the protruding portion such that the first
end surface is not exposed to the outside after joining to the inside surface, said inside surface facing the axis, and the
other end portion of the ground electrode in the longitudinal direction faces the central electrode.

US Pat. No. 9,484,718

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
an insulator having an axial hole extending therethrough along an axial line;
a center electrode inserted into a forward end side of the axial hole;
a terminal electrode inserted into a rear end side of the axial hole; and
an interelectrode insert which contains glass and electrically conductive carbon and is disposed in the axial hole between
the center electrode and the terminal electrode;

the spark plug being characterized in that the interelectrode insert has a carbon content of 1.5% by mass to 4.0% by mass
at a forward portion located forward of a center point along the axial line between a rear end of the center electrode and
a forward end of the terminal electrode;

the interelectrode insert has a resistance of 1.0 k? to 3.0 k?; and
the forward portion is lower in resistance than a rear portion of the interelectrode insert located rearward of the center
point along the axial line between the rear end of the center electrode and the forward end of the terminal electrode.

US Pat. No. 9,466,952

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a center electrode extending in a direction of an axial line;
an insulator having an axial hole which extends in the direction of the axial line and in which the center electrode is disposed;
and

a metallic shell disposed around the insulator, wherein
the metallic shell has
a first ground electrode which is electrically connected to the metallic shell and has a first surface facing a side surface
of the center electrode in a radial direction so as to form a first gap, and

a second ground electrode which is electrically connected to the metallic shell and has a second surface facing the side surface
of the center electrode in the radial direction so as to form a second gap;

a relation 60°???150° is satisfied, where ? is a smaller one of angles formed between a first line connecting the axis and
a center of the first surface and a second line connecting the axial line and a center of the second surface when viewed from
a forward end side toward a rear end side in the direction of the axis; and

the metallic shell has a specific plane which bisects the metallic shell such that all the ground electrodes are located on
one side of the plane,

wherein at a position in the direction of the axis at which the first surface and the second surface face each other, the
center electrode has an outer diameter greater than largest widths of the first surface and the second surface.

US Pat. No. 9,412,676

CERAMIC PACKAGE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A ceramic package comprising:
a package main body which is formed of a ceramic material, which has a front surface and a back surface, and which has a cavity
opening toward the front surface; and

a first metalized layer which has a frame shape in plan view and is formed on the front surface; and a second metalized layer
which is formed on the front surface of the first metalized layer so as to assume a frame shape, and which has a width smaller
than that of the first metalized layer, the width being measured in an inward/outward direction of the package main body,
the ceramic package being characterized in that:

the width, in the inward/outward direction, of the second metalized layer at a corner portion of the front surface in plan
view is smaller than the width, in the inward/outward direction, of the second metalized layer in a region other than the
corner portion in plan view.

US Pat. No. 9,385,496

GLOW PLUG TERMINAL AND GLOW PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A pin terminal for a glow plug comprising:
a small-diameter portion which has a shaft shape extending in an axial direction and is to be connected to a conductive member
for supplying electric power from an outside;

a flange that is formed integrally with a front end of the small-diameter portion and is formed so as to have an outer diameter
larger than an outer diameter of the small-diameter portion;

a cylindrical large-diameter portion that is formed integrally with a front end of the flange so as to be shorter than the
small-diameter portion in the axial direction, is formed so as to have an outer diameter larger than the outer diameter of
the small-diameter portion and smaller than the outer diameter of the flange, and includes a fitting recess formed therein
in a radial direction so as to be recessed toward a rear end of the large-diameter portion from a front end of the large-diameter
portion in the axial direction; and

an engagement portion which is positioned between a maximum diameter position of the flange and the large-diameter portion
and has an outer diameter gradually reduced toward the large-diameter portion,

wherein the large-diameter portion includes a crimp formation region which is formed in a range from a front end of the large-diameter
portion to a front end of the engagement portion so as to have an even outer diameter and be capable of being crimped,

wherein the flange includes a convex curved surface, said convex curved surface, when taken in cross-section in a direction
perpendicular to the axial direction, having a circular shape, and

wherein a step is formed on the convex curved surface at a side of the cylindrical large-diameter portion with respect to
the maximum diameter position, said step configured to inhibit an elastically deformable sleeve that is slidable over the
pin terminal from sliding off.

US Pat. No. 9,360,448

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor comprising a sensor element which measures the concentration of a specific gas component contained in gas
flowing through a flow passage provided in an internal combustion engine, a housing which accommodates and holds the sensor
element and which is inserted into the flow passage, and a base portion which is attached to the housing and which is disposed
outside the flow passage, the gas sensor being characterized in that the base portion includes:
a first base portion which is a portion of the base portion located on the side toward the housing; and
a second base portion which is molded separately from the first base portion, which is a portion of the base portion located
opposite the housing, and which has a connector portion in which a plurality of terminals which are to be connected electrically
to the sensor element are disposed such that they extend in a direction intersecting an insertion direction of the sensor
element,

wherein the first base portion is formed of metal, and the first base portion and the housing are fixed together by welding,
a sleeve and a talc ring are accommodated in the housing, and the sleeve is disposed so as to press the talc ring toward a
lower end side of the gas sensor in cooperation with the housing, and

an upper end of the housing is deformed inward in a radial direction, the radial direction being perpendicular to the insertion
direction of the sensor element.

US Pat. No. 9,354,142

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor, comprising:
a sensor element extending in an axis direction of the gas sensor, the sensor element having a detection portion formed at
a front end part thereof to detect a specific gas component in a gas under measurement and a porous protection layer covering
the detection portion;

a cylindrical ceramic holder having an insertion hole through which a part of the sensor element located at a rear side with
respect to the protection layer is inserted and surrounding a radial circumference of the sensor element; and

a metal shell having an axial inner hole in which the ceramic holder is placed, the axial inner hole including a small-diameter
hole located in a front end side thereof and a large-diameter hole located at a rear side with respect to the small-diameter
hole and made larger in diameter than the small-diameter hole, the metal shell surrounding a radial circumference of the ceramic
holder by engagement of a front-facing surface of the ceramic holder with a rear-facing surface of the metal shell defined
between an inner surface of the small-diameter hole and an inner surface of the large-diameter hole,

wherein the ceramic holder has a recessed hole formed with a larger diameter than the insertion hole and recessed toward the
rear from the front-facing surface of the ceramic holder so as to be in communication with a front end of the insertion hole;

wherein a rear end part of the protection layer is accommodated in the recessed hole with a space left between an inner circumferential
surface of the recessed hole and an outer surface of the sensor element; and

wherein the ceramic holder has a front circumferential edge defined between the inner circumferential surface of the recessed
hole and the front-facing surface of the ceramic holder such that the whole of the front circumferential edge is located radially
inside with respect to the inner surface of the small-diameter hole.

US Pat. No. 9,281,662

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
an insulator having an axial hole extending in an axial direction;
a center electrode held at one end side of the axial hole;
a terminal electrode held at the other end side of the axial hole;
an electrical connection portion electrically connecting the center electrode and the terminal electrode inside the axial
hole; and

a metal shell accommodating the insulator,
wherein the electrical connection portion includes a conductor including a ceramic phase and a metal wire having a spiral
structure portion,

wherein the metal wire has a wire diameter of 0.1 mm or greater and 0.5 mm or smaller, and
wherein the spiral structure portion of the metal wire is configured such that an outer diameter thereof is 1.0 mm or greater
and 3 mm or smaller, a pitch thereof is 0.3 mm or greater and 1 mm or smaller, and a height thereof is 8 mm or greater and
30 mm or smaller.

US Pat. No. 9,252,568

SPARK PLUG HAVING GROUND ELECTRODE WELDED TO METAL SHELL

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

3. A spark plug, comprising:
a center electrode extending in an axial direction of the spark plug;
a ground electrode formed of a metal material containing 95 mass % or more of nickel;
a substantially cylindrical metal shell having a front end face to which one end of the ground electrode is welded,
wherein an embedment amount BD, and original width EW1 and a deformation width EW2 satisfy the conditions:

0.15 mm?BD?0.40 mm; and
(EW2?EW1)/EW1?0.1

where the embedment amount BD is a depth from the front end face of the metal shell to a portion of the ground electrode embedded
most deeply in the metal shell by the welding of the ground electrode and the metal shell; the original width EW1 is a width of a portion of the ground electrode located closest to a portion of the ground electrode deformed by the welding;
and the deformation width EW2 is a width of the portion of the ground electrode deformed by the welding at the front end face of the metal shell;

wherein the ground electrode contains a rare earth element;
wherein the spark plug comprises, at the portion of the ground electrode embedded most deeply in the metal shell, a fused
layer formed of a crystal containing therein the rare earth element and having a grain size of 20 ?m or less; and

wherein a fused layer thickness MH satisfies the condition: 10 ?m?MH?200 ?m where the fused layer thickness MH is a thickness
of the fused layer in the axial direction.

US Pat. No. 9,247,585

CERAMIC HEATER ELEMENT, CERAMIC HEATER, AND GLOW PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A ceramic heater element comprising an insulating substrate, and a heating resistor embedded in the insulating substrate,
characterized in that:
the insulating substrate contains a main phase formed of ?-SiAlON or a multiphase SiAlON of ?-SiAlON and ?-SiAlON; a grain
boundary phase containing a rare earth element; and a silicide of at least one species selected from among Cr, W, Mo, V, and
Fe; and

the heating resistor contains a main phase formed of an electrically conductive compound containing at least one species selected
from among silicide, nitride, and carbide of Mo, and silicide, nitride, and carbide of W; ?-SiAlON or a multiphase SiAlON
of ?-SiAlON and ?-SiAlON; and a grain boundary phase containing a rare earth element,

wherein the SiAlON phase contained in the insulating substrate or the heating resistor has a percent ? content of 50% or less,
wherein ?-SiAlON contained in the insulating substrate or the heating resistor has a Z value of more than 0 and 1 or less,
and

wherein the rare earth element contained in the insulating substrate contains at least one species selected from among Y,
Er, and Yb, and the rare earth element contained in the heating resistor contains at least one species selected from among
Y, Er, and Yb.

US Pat. No. 9,176,093

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor, comprising:
a gas sensor element including a plate-shaped detecting element extending in a longitudinal direction, a sensing portion,
disposed in a leading end portion in the longitudinal direction of the detecting element and detecting a specified gas in
a gas to be measured, and a plurality of electrode pads disposed on an outer surface in a rear end portion in the longitudinal
direction of the detecting element, at least one of the electrode pads outputting a detection signal from the sensing portion
to an external circuit; and

a housing that encloses the periphery of the gas sensor element, wherein
the gas sensor element has at least one chamfered portion linking a first outer surface and a second outer surface of the
detecting element, the first outer surface extending in the longitudinal direction and having the electrode pads disposed
thereon, and the second outer surface extending in the longitudinal direction and intersecting the first outer surface,

said chamfered portion including a rear end chamfered portion making a first chamfer angle with a rear end portion of the
first outer surface and a leading end chamfered portion making a second chamfer angle with a leading end portion of the first
outer surface,

said first chamfer angle being larger than said second chamfer angle, and said second chamfer angle being greater than zero,
and

the electrode pads are arranged adjacent to the chamfered portions.

US Pat. No. 9,131,621

WIRING SUBSTRATE AND METHOD FOR PRODUCING WIRING SUBSTRATE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring substrate comprising:
a layered structure including one or more insulating layers and one or more conductor layers;
a plurality of connection terminals formed on the layered structure;
a first resin layer formed on the layered structure defining a plurality of first openings aligned with the connection terminals,
such that the connection terminals are respectively exposed through the first openings; and

a second resin layer formed on the first resin layer defining a plurality of second openings smaller in opening diameter than
the first openings and aligned with the plurality of first openings, such that the plurality of connection terminals are respectively
exposed through the plurality of second openings,

wherein the second resin layer has, around each of the plurality of second openings, an inclined surface which is formed such
that a distance between the inclined surface and the layered structure decreases toward each of the plurality of second openings.

US Pat. No. 10,122,154

METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING SPARK PLUG USING A JIG HAVING A VARIED SHAPE RECESS TO PREVENT DISPLACEMENT OF THE NOBLE TIP DURING WELDING

NGK SPARK PLUG CO. LTD., ...

1. A method for manufacturing a spark plug, the spark plug including a first electrode and a second electrode, the first electrode including a noble-metal-containing tip joined to an electrode base material, the second electrode opposed to a first surface of the tip with a spark gap interposed therebetween, the tip having a second surface on a side opposite the first surface, the method comprising:a pressing step of pressing the tip with a jig in a first direction from the first surface of the tip toward the second surface of the tip when the second surface of the tip is in contact with the electrode base material; and
a welding step of welding the electrode base material to the tip being pressed by the jig,whereinthe tip further has a side surface contiguous to the first surface and the second surface, and an edge at which the side surface and the first surface meet each other,
the jig has a recessed portion to be brought into contact with the edge,
the recessed portion has a diameter-decreasing portion having an inner dimension that gradually decreases in a second direction opposite to the first direction,
a first end portion of the diameter-decreasing portion in the first direction having an inner dimension larger than an outer dimension of the edge, and a second end portion of the diameter-decreasing portion in the second direction having an inner dimension equal to the outer dimension of the edge, and,
in the pressing step, the diameter-decreasing portion is brought into contact with at least a portion of the edge, and the tip is moved to a target position on the electrode base material to which the tip is to be welded.

US Pat. No. 10,033,163

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:a first electrode including
an electrode base member containing Ni as a main material,
an intermediate member which is formed of an alloy containing Ni as a main material, and is welded to the electrode base member so as to protrude from the electrode base member,
a tip formed of an alloy containing Pt as a main material, and
a melt portion formed by melting the intermediate member and the tip together; and
a second electrode opposing a discharge surface of the tip with a spark gap, wherein
the tip contains not less than 6 mass % of Rh, at least one element selected from an R group consisting of Rh, Re, Ir, Ru, W, Mo, and Nb, not less than 5 mass % of Ni, and at least one element selected from an N group consisting of Ni, Co, Fe, and Cu,
the tip contains Rh most among the elements of the R group, and contains Ni most among the elements of the N group,
the total of contents of Pt, Rh, and Ni is not less than 91 mass %,
the total of contents of Pt, the R group, and the N group is not less than 95 mass %, and
a value obtained by dividing the content of the R group by the content of the N group is not less than 0.7 and not greater than 8.

US Pat. No. 9,494,548

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

6. A gas sensor comprising:
a detection element, the detection element including a solid electrolyte body having a plate form, and a pair of electrodes
formed on opposite sides of the solid electrolyte body, and

a porous heat-generating element for heating the detection element, the heat-generating element being formed on an insulation
layer, one of the paired electrodes being a sensing electrode which is exposed to a gas-to-be-measured, and the other electrode
being a reference electrode which functions as an oxygen reference electrode, wherein:

the reference electrode is connected to a porous reference electrode lead extending along a surface of the solid electrolyte
body;

the heat-generating element is connected to a porous heat-generating element lead extending along a surface of the insulation
layer;

each of the reference electrode lead and the heat-generating element lead contains a noble metal as a main component and also
contains a ceramic material;

the reference electrode lead has a specific resistance lower than that of the reference electrode, and the heat-generating
element lead has a specific resistance lower than that of the heat-generating element; and

in each of the reference electrode lead and the heat-generating element lead, the ceramic material has, in a sintered state,
a mean primary grain size greater than that of the noble metal.

US Pat. No. 9,476,807

MICROPARTICLE SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A particulate sensor attached to a pipe having electrical conductivity, and adapted to detect the amount of particulates
in gas flowing through the pipe, comprising a sensor unit, wherein
the sensor unit comprises
an ion generation section for generating ions,
an electric charge section for electrically charging at least portion of the particulates in the gas which contains the particulates,
by use of the ions,

a capture section for trapping at least portion of the ions not used for electrically charging the particulates, and
a sensor ground section connected to the capture section and having a first floating potential corresponding to the amount
of the ions trapped by the capture section;

the sensor unit can detect the amount of the particulates in the gas on the basis of electric potential of the sensor ground
section; and

the sensor ground section is covered with insulating ceramic at an outer portion of the sensor unit which comes into contact
with the gas,

wherein
the ion generation section comprises a first electrode having a second floating potential different from the first floating
potential, and a second electrode connected to the sensor ground section and having the first floating potential;

the ion generation section generates the ions by producing discharge between the first electrode and the second electrode;
the sensor unit further comprises a discharge potential portion connected to the first electrode and having the second floating
potential; and

the sensor ground section surrounds the first electrode and the discharge potential portion.

US Pat. No. 9,429,541

GAS SENSOR ELEMENT, GAS SENSOR AND CONTROL SYSTEM OF GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor element for detecting a concentration of oxygen in a gaseous environment and outputting an information signal
representative of the concentration of the oxygen, the gas sensor element comprising:
an elongated plate-shaped detecting element which extends in a lengthwise direction of the gas sensor element, and includes
a lower side and an upper side opposing one another, as seen in a thickness direction perpendicular to the lengthwise direction;
and

an elongated plate-shaped heater which extends in the lengthwise direction and is laminated on a surface of the lower side
of the elongated plate-shaped detecting element,

the elongated plate-shaped detecting element including:
an insulating substrate disposed on the upper side,
an integrated compensating resistor which is provided on an upper surface of the insulating substrate distally to the elongated
plate-shaped heater, and

at least one pump cell and an oxygen generating cell arranged on a side of the insulating substrate opposite the compensating
resistor, each of the at least one pump cell and the oxygen generating cell including a solid electrolyte substrate and a
pair of electrodes having the solid electrolyte substrate put therebetween,

wherein the oxygen generating cell generates the oxygen when a constant current is forced to flow through the paired electrodes
of the oxygen generating cell,

wherein the compensating resistor compensates for a variation in an oxygen concentration detecting result of the gas sensor
element and has a resistance value determined in advance according to the oxygen concentration detecting characteristic of
the gas senor element which is lower than a resistance value of the solid electrolyte substrate under condition of room temperature
and is more than ten times as much as a resistance value of the solid electrolyte substrate under a condition of 800°,

wherein the resistance value of the compensating resistor reflects correction information used for correcting the information
signal to achieve a certain value when the gas sensor element is operated, and

wherein the compensating resistor is electrically and parallelly connected to the paired electrodes of the oxygen generating
cell through a current flow line other than a current flow line that has at least one of the solid electrolyte substrates
as an essential part of the current flow line.

US Pat. No. 9,431,796

METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A method for manufacturing a spark plug comprising the steps of:
providing a center electrode;
providing an insulator disposed externally of an outer circumference of the center electrode;
providing a metallic shell disposed externally of an outer circumference of the insulator
providing a ground electrode whose one end portion is joined to the metallic shell and whose other end portion faces the center
electrode;

providing a first tip which forms a gap in cooperation with the ground electrode or the center electrode, said first tip being
disposed at the center electrode and/or the ground electrode and being joined to a tip-mating member; and

transferring the first tip to a joining position where the first tip is joined to the tip-mating member, wherein
the transfer step comprises a step of performing positional correction for the first tip before the first tip reaches the
joining position and further comprising:

(a) a step of moving, by use of a first feed device, the first tip to a middle position between a feed position where the
first tip is fed, and the joining position;

(b) a step of performing positional correction for the first tip at the middle position by gripping the first tip using a
position-correcting chuck which grips the first tip; and

(c) a step of, after the positional correction, moving the first tip from the middle position to the joining position by use
of a transfer chuck, with the first tip being chucked with the transfer chuck,

the first feed device and the transfer chuck are configured such that transfer is repeated with a horizontal distance therebetween
being fixed:

there are simultaneously performed:
a first moving process in which, in the step (a), the first feed device moves one first tip from the feed position to the
middle position, and

a second moving process in which, in the step (c), the transfer chuck moves another first tip from the middle position to
the joining position, and

the positional correction in the step (b) is performed in the course of return of the first feed device from the middle position
to the feed position and in the course of return of the transfer chuck from the joining position to the middle position.

US Pat. No. 9,425,585

INSULATOR AND SPARK PLUG

NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd.,...

1. An insulator used in a spark plug, said insulator comprising:
a sintered compact comprising alumina as a main constituent, a rare earth element, silicon, and a plurality of group 2 elements
including barium oxide,

wherein the group 2 elements are listed in the periodic table of elements based on IUPAC Recommendation 1990,
wherein a first content ratio of the rare earth element to the group 2 elements, in terms of an oxide represented by mass
percentage, satisfies a range from 0.1 to 1.4,

wherein a second content ratio of the barium oxide to the rare earth element, in terms of an oxide represented by mass percentage,
satisfies a range from 0.2 to 0.8,

wherein a third content ratio of the silicon to a sum of the silicon and the group 2 elements, in terms of an oxide represented
by mass percentage, is less than 0.60,

wherein an average particle diameter of particles of the alumina is less than or equal to 8 ?m,
wherein an average particle diameter of crystals containing the rare earth element is less than or equal to 5 ?m,
wherein at least one virtual rectangular frame of 7.5 ?m×50 ?m surrounding the crystals containing the rare earth element
lies within a region of 630 ?m×480 ?m in any cross section of the sintered compact,

wherein, in the rectangular frame, an occupancy ratio of an area of the crystals containing the rare earth element to an area
of the rectangular frame is greater than or equal to 5%,

wherein the rectangular frame is equally divided into three regions in a direction of a long side of the rectangular frame,
wherein each of the regions has a regional occupancy ratio defined by an area within the region of the crystals containing
the rare earth element to an area of the region, and

wherein a ratio of a maximum of the regional occupancy ratios to a minimum of the regional occupancy ratios is less than or
equal to 5.5%.

US Pat. No. 9,215,802

WIRING SUBSTRATE AND MULTI-PIECE WIRING SUBSTRATE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring substrate comprising:
a substrate body formed of a plate-like ceramic, having a front surface and a back surface, and having a height between the
front surface and the back surface of 0.8 mm or less;

a cavity opening at the front surface of the substrate body; and
side walls having a thickness of 0.3 mm or less between a side surface of the cavity and a side surface of the substrate body;
the wiring substrate being characterized by further comprising:
an electrically conductive layer having the form of a frame as viewed in plane and formed on the front surface of the substrate
body in such a manner as to surround an opening of the cavity for receiving a frame-shaped member or a metal lid to be joined
onto the electrically conductive layer;

a ceramic surface having the form of a frame as viewed in plane and located adjacently to the electrically conductive layer
and along an outer periphery of the front surface of the substrate body; and

a via conductor formed in the substrate body along the side surface of the cavity between a bottom surface of the cavity and
the front surface such that a portion thereof is exposed at the side surface of the cavity and such that one end thereof is
connected to the electrically conductive layer.

US Pat. No. 9,160,147

SPARK PLUG AND MANUFACTURING METHOD FOR SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
an insulator having an axial hole extending in a direction of an axis;
a center electrode held at one end of the axial hole;
a metallic terminal held at the other end of the axial hole; and
a connecting portion which electrically connects the center electrode and the metallic terminal within the axial hole,
a connecting portion diameter (B), which is a diameter of the axial hole at a position where the resistor is disposed, being
2.9 mm or less,

the connecting portion including a resistor having a porosity of not more than 5.0%.

US Pat. No. 9,083,155

SPARK PLUG WITH AN IMPROVED SEPARATION RESISTANCE OF A NOBLE METAL TIP

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
a center electrode;
a ground electrode; and
a noble metal tip resistance-welded to at least one of the center electrode and the ground electrode, wherein
the noble metal tip has a flat discharge surface, a bottom surface embedded in the electrode to which the noble metal tip
is resistance-welded, and a side surface whose width constantly increases from the discharge surface toward the bottom surface,

on a predetermined cross section containing a vertical line passing through the centroid of the discharge surface, a maximum
thickness along a direction parallel to the vertical line is defined as the maximum thickness t of the noble metal tip, and
a straight line which passes through a portion of the bottom surface where the noble metal tip has the maximum thickness and
is parallel to the discharge surface is defined as a first straight line,

on a first half cross section of two half cross sections formed by dividing the predetermined cross section by the vertical
line, a maximum width along a direction orthogonal to the vertical line is defined as the maximum width Rw1 of the noble metal tip, a distance between the first straight line and a position where the noble metal tip has the maximum
width, the distance being measured along a direction parallel to the vertical line, is defined as a warpage height h1 of the noble metal tip, and a distance from an intersection between the vertical line and the discharge surface to an end
portion of the discharge surface is defined as a width Rt1 of the discharge surface,

on a second half cross section of the two half cross sections which differs from the first half cross section, a maximum width
along the direction orthogonal to the vertical line is defined as the maximum width Rw2 of the noble metal tip, a distance between the first straight line and a position where the noble metal tip has the maximum
width, the distance being measured along the direction parallel to the vertical line, is defined as a warpage height h2 of the noble metal tip, and a distance from an intersection between the vertical line and the discharge surface to an end
portion of the discharge surface is defined as a width Rt2 of the discharge surface,

relations h1/t?0.2 and Rw1/Rt1?1.03 are satisfied, and relations h2/t?0.2 and Rw2/Rt2?1.03 are satisfied,

on the predetermined cross section containing the vertical line, the noble metal tip has a bottom surface portion which is
concave toward the discharge surface, and

on each of the first half cross section and the second half cross section, a distance h3 between the first straight line and the intersection between the vertical line and the bottom surface measured along a direction
parallel to the vertical line satisfies relations h3?h1 and h3?h2.

US Pat. No. 9,614,354

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug, comprising:
an insulator that has a through hole extending in a direction of an axial line;
a center electrode at least partially inserted into a front end side of the through hole;
a terminal metal fitting at least partially inserted into a rear end side of the through hole; and
a connecting portion electrically connecting the center electrode and the terminal metal fitting together within the through
hole, wherein

the connecting portion includes a resistor element,
the resistor element includes an aggregate, a filler containing ZrO2, and carbons, and

in a cross section including the axial line of the resistor element, when:
a center line is defined by the axial line, a target region is defined by a rectangular region where a size in a direction
perpendicular to the axial line is 1800 ?m and a size in a direction of the axial line is 2400 ?m;

a transverse line-shaped region is defined by a line-shaped region, the line-shaped region being constituted of nine square
regions arranged in the direction perpendicular to the axial line in the case where the target region is divided into a plurality
of square regions, the square region having a length of 200 ?m on a side;

a first type region is defined by the square region where a proportion of an area of ZrO2 is 25% or more; and

a second type region is defined by the square region where a proportion of an area of ZrO2 is less than 25%,

a total number of the transverse line-shaped regions including two or more of the first type regions is equal to or more than
5.

US Pat. No. 9,570,889

SPARK PLUG

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A spark plug comprising:
an insulator having an axial bore extending along an axis from a rear end of the insulator toward a front end of the insulator;
a center electrode extending along the axis and having a rear end located inside the axial bore;
a metal terminal including a trunk portion and a head portion, the trunk portion located inside the axial bore and having
a front end located rearward of the rear end of the center electrode, the head portion located rearward of the trunk portion
and exposed to the outside at the rear end of the insulator; and

a conductive seal member in contact with the front end of the trunk portion of the metal terminal in the axial bore,
wherein the insulator includes:
a cylindrical first portion having a first inner diameter, the front end of the trunk portion of the metal terminal disposed
therein;

a cylindrical second portion having a second inner diameter larger than the first inner diameter, and including a portion
1 mm or more forward of the rear end of the insulator, and

a cylindrical third portion disposed between the first portion and the second portion, and having a rear end and a third inner
diameter larger than the first inner diameter and smaller than the second inner diameter; and

wherein the trunk portion of the metal terminal includes:
a cylindrical front trunk portion, and
a cylindrical rear trunk portion located rearward of the front trunk portion, the cylindrical rear trunk portion having a
front end positioned forward of the rear end of the third portion of the insulator, the rear trunk portion having an outer
diameter larger than an outer diameter of the front trunk portion.

US Pat. No. 9,560,739

WIRING BOARD

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A wiring substrate comprising a layered structure including one or more insulation layers and one or more conductor layers,
the wiring substrate being characterized in that
a plurality of connection terminals are formed on the layered structure so as to be separated from one another;
a filling member is filled between the connection terminals;
the filling member has a thickness smaller than that of the connection terminals;
each of the connection terminals has an upper surface and a side surface, the side surface composed of a contact surface which
is in contact with the filling member and a spaced surface which is not in contact with the filling member and which is located
above the contact surface and below a top surface of the filling member such that a space is defined between the spaced surface
and the filling member with the space having a depth of 4 ?m or less; and

a metal plating layer is formed on the upper surface and the spaced surface of each of the connection terminals and enters
the space defined between the spaced surface and the filling member;

wherein the layered structure has thereon a solder resist layer having an opening through which the plurality of connection
terminals are exposed, the solder resist layer covering a wiring pattern connected to the connection terminals, and wherein
the solder resist layer and the filling member are integrally formed.

US Pat. No. 9,541,523

SENSOR CONTROL APPARATUS AND GAS DETECTION SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A sensor control apparatus for controlling a gas sensor including a sensor element which outputs a sensor output signal,
the sensor output signal changing with a change in the concentration of a gas and which includes a first cell composed of
a solid electrolyte body and a pair of electrodes,
the sensor control apparatus comprising:
a detection signal generation section which generates an impedance detection signal for detecting the impedance of the first
cell;

an analog-to-digital conversion section which receives the sensor output signal, the sensor output signal changing with a
change in the concentration of the gas, or which receives a response signal generated by the first cell in response to the
impedance detection signal, and which converts the analog value of the sensor output signal or the response signal to a digital
value, the sensor output signal and the response signal being output from the first cell; and

a time-constant variable filter section which is a low-pass filter provided in a signal path between the first cell and the
analog-to-digital conversion section and having a variable time constant,

the time-constant variable filter section having a time constant which changes such that the time constant at the time when
the sensor output signal is input to the analog-to-digital conversion section is greater than the time constant at the time
when the response signal is input to the analog-to-digital conversion section.

US Pat. No. 9,406,952

SOLID OXIDE FUEL CELL

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A solid oxide fuel cell comprising:
a fuel cell stack composed of a plurality of plate-like electricity generation cells stacked therein by way of an interconnector;
and

gas flowing paths which are configured to flow, respectively, an oxidant gas and a fuel gas in a direction of the stacking
in the fuel cell stack and which are configured to be communicated with the respective electricity generation cells,

wherein each of the plurality of electricity generation cells includes:
a solid oxide;
a cathode to be in contact with the oxidant gas;
an anode to be in contact with the fuel gas;
a separator that is configured to separate between a side of the cathode and a side of the anode; and
a gas sealing part comprising: an opening in a central area thereof; and a frame part, the gas sealing part being disposed,
between the interconnector and the separator, on at least one of the side of the cathode and the side of the anode,

wherein the gas sealing part includes:
a first gas flowing path that penetrates the gas sealing part in the direction of the stacking to constitute a part of the
gas flowing paths, and

a second gas flowing path that extends along a plane direction of the gas sealing part, that communicates with the opening
of the gas sealing part, and that does not communicate with the first gas flowing path in the gas sealing part,

wherein there is provided a member to be stacked on at least one of both sides of the gas sealing part in a thickness direction
of the gas sealing part, and the member to be stacked includes a third gas flowing path through which the first gas flowing
path communicates with the second gas flowing path, and

wherein the second gas flowing path penetrates through the gas sealing part in the thickness direction of the gas sealing
part.

US Pat. No. 9,347,914

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor, comprising:
a gas sensor element extending in an axis direction of the gas sensor and including a bottomed cylindrical element body and
an outer electrode, the element body being exposed to a gas under measurement at a front end side thereof and opened at a
rear end side thereof and having a radially outwardly protruding flange portion, the outer electrode being formed on an outer
surface of a front end portion of the element body located front of the flange portion;

a cylindrical metal shell radially outwardly surrounding the gas sensor element and having, on an inner surface thereof, a
seat portion tapered and inclined toward the front end side so as to face a front end-facing surface of the flange portion;
and

an annular metal portion arranged between the front end-facing surface of the flange portion and the seat portion, the metal
portion having a front end-facing surface, a rear end-facing surface, a radially outer side surface and a corner connecting
the front end-facing surface and the radially outer side surface,

wherein the gas sensor further comprises a porous thermal spray layer formed on a region from the front end portion of the
element body via the front end-facing surface to at least a side surface of the flange portion so as to cover the outer electrode;
and

wherein, when viewed in cross section along the axis direction, the metal portion is formed such that: the corner of the metal
portion axially overlaps in position with or radially outwardly protrudes from an outer surface of a part of the thermal spray
layer located on the side surface of the flange portion, such that the corner of the metal portion is brought into direct
contact with the seat portion, and such that the rear end-facing surface of the metal portion is brought into contact with
an outer surface of a part of the thermal spray layer located on the front end-facing surface of the flange portion at a position
radially inside the side surface of the flange portion.

US Pat. No. 9,338,897

CERAMIC SUBSTRATE, AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING THE SAME

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A ceramic substrate comprising:
a ceramic substrate main body including a principal surface;
a connecting terminal portion disposed on the principal surface of the ceramic substrate main body for connecting to a component
via solder, the connecting terminal portion including a copper layer and a coating metal layer covering a surface of the copper
layer;

a contact layer of titanium or chromium disposed between the ceramic substrate main body and the connecting terminal portion;
an intermediate layer disposed between the copper layer of the connecting terminal portion and the contact layer, the intermediate
layer including one of a titanium-tungsten alloy, a nickel-chromium alloy, tungsten, palladium, and molybdenum; and

a metallized metal layer disposed on the principal surface of the ceramic substrate main body, wherein
the contact layer and the intermediate layer are set back from a side surface of the copper layer in a substrate plane direction;
the metallized metal layer is coated with a protection layer for protecting from an etching solution for etching the contact
layer; and

at least a portion of the contact layer is formed on the protection layer.

US Pat. No. 9,308,587

CUTTING TOOL FOR BORING

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A cutting tool for boring, comprising:
a bar-shaped holder having a front end and a rear end; and
a cutting insert fixed at a front end of the holder, the cutting insert having an upper cutting surface and a cutting edge
which overhangs from an outer circumferential surface of the holder,

wherein the holder includes:
a cutting surface-sided chip pocket that is concave with respect to the outer circumferential surface of the holder and comes
into contact with a rear end of a cutting surface of the cutting insert, the cutting surface-sided chip pocket configured
to open to a portion of the outer circumferential surface where the cutting edge overhangs, the cutting surface-sided chip
pocket having a bottom surface that faces the same direction as a portion of the outer circumferential surface where the cutting
edge overhangs, and

wherein a cutting edge-sided chip pocket that is concave with respect to the outer circumferential surface of the holder and
having a bottom surface which intersects with the bottom surface of the cutting surface-sided chip pocket is formed at a rear
end portion of the outer circumferential surface where the cutting edge overhangs,

wherein, as the bottom surface of the cutting surface-sided chip pocket extends toward the rear end of the holder, the bottom
surface of the cutting surface-sided chip pocket extends toward the portion of the outer circumferential surface where the
cutting edge overhangs, such that when viewed from the upper cutting surface, a depth of the cutting surface-sided chip pocket
from an edge of the portion of the outer circumferential surface where the cutting edge overhangs decreases toward the rear
end of the cutting surface-sided chip pocket,

wherein the cutting edge-sided chip pocket is at or below the cutting surface-sided chip pocket at each of lines perpendicular
to an axial line of the holder where the cutting surface-sided chip pocket is formed when viewed from a side of the cutting
tool for boring, and

wherein the cutting edge-sided chip pocket does not rise above the cutting surface-sided chip pocket when viewed from the
side of the cutting tool for boring.

US Pat. No. 9,201,040

GAS SENSOR

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A gas sensor comprising:
a detection element extending in an axial direction and adapted to detect the concentration of a specific gas;
a metallic shell circumferentially surrounding and holding the detection element;
a sheath attached to a rear end portion of the metallic shell and surrounding a rear end portion of the detection element;
and

a separator formed of an electrically insulating ceramic, disposed inside the sheath, and accommodating at least a plurality
of conduction members for electrical connection with the detection element,

the gas sensor being characterized in that a coating layer having water impermeability is directly formed on a surface of
the separator.

US Pat. No. 10,046,276

SENSOR CONTROL METHOD AND SENSOR CONTROL APPARATUS

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A sensor control method for controlling a sensor comprising:providing an NOx sensor section having a first pumping cell which pumps out oxygen contained in a gas under measurement introduced into a measurement chamber and pumps oxygen into the measurement chamber, and a second pumping cell through which a second pumping current flows in accordance with a concentration of NOx contained in the gas under measurement whose oxygen concentration has been adjusted by the first pumping cell;
providing an ammonia sensor section and which outputs an ammonia concentration signal representing a concentration of ammonia contained in the gas under measurement;
an oxygen concentration computation step of computing an oxygen concentration contained in the gas under measurement on the basis of a first pumping current flowing through the first pumping cell;
a corrected concentration computation step of computing a primary corrected ammonia concentration on the basis of the oxygen concentration and the ammonia concentration signal output from the ammonia sensor section;
an oxygen concentration change rate computation step of computing an oxygen concentration change rate which is the rate of change of the oxygen concentration with elapse of time; and
an ammonia concentration setting step in which it is determined if a predetermined correction permission condition is satisfied, with the predetermined correction permission condition being satisfied when the oxygen concentration change rate is less than a predetermined reference judgment value and the predetermined correction permission condition being not satisfied when the oxygen concentration change rate is equal to or greater than the reference judgment value;
wherein, when the predetermined correction permission condition is satisfied, the primary corrected ammonia concentration is set to a detection result of the ammonia concentration, and when the correction permission condition is not satisfied, among a plurality of corrected ammonia concentrations computed in the past, a previous corrected ammonia concentration computed when the correction permission condition was satisfied is set to the detection result of the ammonia concentration.

US Pat. No. 9,428,708

LUBRICATING COATING COMPOSITION AND ATTACHMENT COMPONENT FOR INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. An internal combustion engine attachment component to be attached to an exhaust pipe of an internal combustion engine,
characterized in that
the component has a screw member having a threaded portion, and, a coating film formed on a surface of the threaded portion,
the coating film being formed of solid ingredients of a lubricating coating composition; and

the composition comprises, as the solid ingredients for forming the coating film, an organosilicon polymer having a polycarbosilane
skeleton cross-linked by a metallic element, and a solid lubricant consisting of molybdenum disulfide, and an organic solvent
serving as the solvent for the solid ingredients,

wherein the composition contains the solid lubricant in an amount of 25 to 300 parts by weight, with respect to 100 parts
by weight of the organosilicon polymer, and

all of the solid lubricant present in the composition consists of molybdenum disulfide.

US Pat. No. 9,276,504

CARRIER DEVICE AND CERAMIC MEMBER

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A ceramic member configured to be movable along with a carried object in a state of holding the carried object, in a carrier
device, the ceramic member comprising:
a plurality of ceramic layers laminated in a thickness direction of the ceramic member, the plurality of ceramic layers have
insulating properties and are integrally sintered;

a clamping electrode formed on a first ceramic layer among the plurality of ceramic layers and inside of the plurality of
ceramic layers, and configured to attract a dielectric material by electrostatic force;

a power feed port configured to receive a supply of electric power to the clamping electrode from outside of the ceramic member;
a land formed on a second ceramic layer, which is different from the first ceramic layer among the plurality of ceramic layers,
and configured to receive electric power through the power feed port; and

a via arranged to pass through at least one of the plurality of ceramic layers and provided as a conductive material to electrically
connect the clamping electrode with the land,

said ceramic member further comprising a first opposed surface and a second opposed surface provided as uppermost surfaces
along a layer surface direction of the plurality of ceramic layers and arranged to face the carried object in a state of holding
the carried object,

wherein the second opposed surface is located closer to the carried object than the first opposed surface, and at least part
of the clamping electrode is arranged to overlap with the second opposed surface in the thickness direction perpendicular
to the layer surface direction.

US Pat. No. 10,048,223

PARTICULATE MEASUREMENT SYSTEM

NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.,...

1. A particulate measurement system which comprises a particulate sensor for detecting particulates and a sensor drive section for driving the particulate sensor and which measures the amount of particulates contained in a gas under measurement,wherein the particulate sensor comprises:
an ion generation section for generating ions by means of corona discharge;
an electrification chamber for electrifying at least a portion of the particulates contained in the gas under measurement using the ions generated in the ion generation section;
a trapping section for trapping at least a portion of the ions generated by the ion generation section but not used for electrifying the particulates; and
an auxiliary electrode section including an auxiliary electrode maintained at a potential which repulses the unused ions and which assists in the trapping of the unused ions at the trapping section,
wherein the sensor drive section comprises:
an isolation transformer for corona discharge which has a primary-side coil and a secondary-side coil and which performs voltage conversion for electric power used for generating the corona discharge, the secondary-side coil of the isolation transformer for corona discharge being connected to the ion generation section, a reference potential of the primary-side coil of the isolation transformer for corona discharge being defined as a primary-side reference potential, and a reference potential of the secondary-side coil of the isolation transformer for corona discharge being defined as a secondary-side reference potential;
an isolation transformer for the auxiliary electrode which has a primary-side coil and a secondary-side coil and which performs voltage conversion for generating an auxiliary voltage to be applied to the auxiliary electrode, the secondary-side coil of the isolation transformer for the auxiliary electrode being connected to the auxiliary electrode section; and
a corona discharge control section which detects current flowing from the trapping section to the secondary-side reference potential and which controls the amount of electric power supplied from the isolation transformer for corona discharge to the ion generation section based on the detected current such that the amount of ions generated by the ion generation section approaches a target value set in advance,
wherein the sensor drive section further comprises an auxiliary electrode current detection section which detects auxiliary electrode current flowing to a voltage application path for connecting the secondary-side coil of the isolation transformer for the auxiliary electrode to the auxiliary electrode section.