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Ash – the silent killer of DPF Euro 6 filters

Ash and soot are essentially different materials, but both accumulate in the DPF. Removing each of these materials from the DPF requires completely different processes. Soot is usually removed from the particulate filter by automatic regeneration, which burns soot but not ash. Ash is by definition non-flammable and must be removed from the particle filter by a special cleaning process.

Ash is a standard by-product of the combustion process of the engine, whose main culprits are calcium from engine oil and sulfur from diesel. However, unlike soot, the ash that accumulates in the filters cannot be burned using a simple regeneration process. After a certain mileage (usually exceeding 300kms), the filter will get clogged with ash, and even if you perform forced regeneration, ash will still be present.

Soot is easily distinguished from residual ash due to the dark colour of the soot. For comparison, the ash has a much lighter colour and consists mainly of non-flammable metal components. Although many sources contribute to ash formation, most of the ash comes from engine oil.

Disassembly of the DPF euro 6 filter from IVECO Stralis

Ash and soot are essentially different materials, but both accumulate in the DPF. Removing each of these materials from the DPF requires completely different processes. Soot is usually removed from the particulate filter by automatic regeneration, which burns soot but not ash. Ash is by definition non-flammable and must be removed from the particle filter by a special cleaning process.

Ash is a standard by-product of the combustion process of the engine, whose main culprits are calcium from engine oil and sulfur from diesel. However, unlike soot, the ash that accumulates in the filters cannot be burned using a simple regeneration process. After a certain mileage (usually exceeding 300kms), the filter will get clogged with ash, and even if you perform forced regeneration, ash will still be present.

Soot is easily distinguished from residual ash due to the dark colour of the soot. For comparison, the ash has a much lighter colour and consists mainly of non-flammable metal components. Although many sources contribute to ash formation, most of the ash comes from engine oil.

Soot (Black) and Ash

This is why such a huge number of for or five year-old trucks equipped with Euro 6 DPFs are starting to have problems with the particulate filter today.

You can hear about examples where forced regeneration was performed, but it turned out that the problem returned after a few days or weeks. In most cases this is the result of ash accumulation.

If the ash accumulation in the vehicle is high, then the OBD system will register an increase in back pressure on the DPF. As a result, the OBD will start DPF regeneration (as if it was soot). These regenerations will be more frequent and the back pressure will increase over time and eventually the vehicle may go into emergency mode.

Euro 6 DPF filter clogged with ash

Until recently, cleaning DPF filters from trucks was not generally available and little was said about it. Only a few companies cooperating directly with OEM services were involved in cleaning.

Currently, the number of DPF Euro 6 filter cleaning services is increasing, which can be used by all of us. Noteworthy is OTOMATIC technology, a Polish manufacturer of DPF cleaning machines. The company has developed and patented a specialized pressure chamber with a hydrodynamic cleaning system.

How often does a DPF need cleaning? In general, for heavy-duty trucks using low ash oil, the DPF should be cleaned once annually or every 150,000 miles, and even more frequently in severe-service applications. For medium-duty trucks, using low ash oil every 75,000 miles.

DPF filters are cleaned in a fully automated OTOMATIC device. The filter is put into a sealed pressure chamber, which is inside the machine.

The patented method pushes accumulated ash and solid particles out of the filter, cleaning the entire filter structure. Otomatic technology not only cleans filters, but returns them to a “like new” level of efficiency. All filters are checked before cleaning and provided with an inspection report showing the air flow measurements before / after cleaning.

DPF cleaning service

DPF cleaning business seems to be very profitable. The price of the DPF cleaning service is around €250 to €400 and it takes only one hour.

Professional DPF cleaning workshops are able to clean around five to 10 filters in one day.

If you are looking for a professional cleaning service, send your DPF filter to one of companies equipped with the OTOMATIC machine. The entire cleaning service costs much less than the OEM replacement and the filter is usually returned next day.

More information on www.otomatic.eu