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The Evolution of Brake Friction Materials

It is now 120 years since Herbert Frood invented the first “proper” brake lining and founded the world’s first brake lining manufacturing company. Until then brake linings were made from whatever was to hand be it wooden blocks, lengths of rope or leather strips from old boots!

Since those days, brake friction linings have steadily evolved into the modern resin bound complex composites used today.

Modern friction materials comprise five main material groups and typically contain up to 20 or more different individual raw material ingredients; reinforcing fibres such as steel and/or aramid, abrasives to provide friction and solid lubricants such as graphite to reduce wear, all bound together by phenolic resin.

Friction Material Composition

(5 main material groups)

  • Resin Binder
  • Reinforcing Fibres
  • Abrasives
  • Solid Lubricants
  • Friction Modifiers and Fillers

Steel backing plates are coated with adhesive and come together on the production line with the mixture of raw ingredients where they are pressed in dies, cured, baked, machined, painted and branded into the finished shape and form.

In developing product to meet modern market requirements, the product developer needs to strike the right balance between conflicting pressures – on the one hand, the continual demand for better performance and durability, overlaid with legal and environmental considerations concerning the ingredients that can be used and restrictions versus the manufacturability and final cost of the product.

So where does the product developer start? Usually with the aim of improving on some aspect of the performance or cost of an existing grade – it might be to reduce service costs by reducing wear or increasing performance to reduce stopping distances. The process usually involves producing and testing numerous iterations of slightly different formulations to determine which most closely matches the development brief.

Then testing generally follows the following pattern from the first development steps to legal approval.

Static Tests

  • Physical properties – e.g. density or compression

Rig Tests

  • Performance vs temperature & speed –

fade & recovery – drag testing

  • Wear vs temperature

Vehicle Tests

  • Stopping power & durability running
  • NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness)

Service Field Trials

  • Service behaviour

Legal Approvals

  • UNECER90:02

The entire process can take in excess of two years to complete from concept to market launch.

In the case of the development of the new SYNERGY pads, Juratek went back to basics and asked themselves exactly what the vehicle owner and operator wants and then set about satisfying that need.

It is well recognised that brake friction components are critical to vehicle safety. With heavy demands on performance, these components need to be robust and to work efficiently and effectively in all operating environments, temperatures, pressures and speeds in addition to satisfying legal requirements for safe braking at the specified test speeds and pressures. All SYNERGY products fully qualify as “Matching Quality to OE parts” as defined by EU Block Exemption Regulation 461/2010 and are tested and approved to UNECER90:02 by the VCA, the UK’s designated type approval authority with more than 30 years’ experience in testing and providing certification for vehicle systems and components. However, Juratek wanted to provide users with much more than minimum legal requirements in terms of stopping power and developed SYNERGY to provide a high and stable level of brake performance at all speeds from 20kph to 100kph and over the full pressure range with both cold and hot brakes to ensure the operator can have full confidence in their brake system no matter what speed their brakes are applied or what load they are carrying.

Juratek also recognised that when brakes are replaced, either with the existing brake discs or with new brake discs, operators do not want to have reduced brake effectiveness for the extended period of time needed to bed and condition the new parts – Juratek wanted their pads to give an immediate performance from the moment they are fitted and to perform to full operating conditions within a short period of time. So, Jurakek developed a new high friction coating which they apply to the braking face of their pads to give this “out of the box” performance and aid faster pad to disc conditioning.

With total operator costs of over £100K per annum, minimising downtime is vital for a successful transport business operation, so extending pad and disc life to reduce time lost replacing brakes would make a more than useful contribution to operational savings. SYNERGY has been developed with this objective very much in mind and delivers ~20% longer pad and disc life than many standard materials that are common in the market place today.

SYNERGY Braking will also be a strong presence in the BTRA truck racing this year. SYNERGY Braking will be the main sponsor to TEAM OLIVER Racing, not only as a sponsor but as a friction supplier too. This provides the perfect test and demonstration of the capabilities of this friction material.

SYNERGY braking is available exclusively from Juratek and is available in two versions:

  • SYNERGY RED (Premium Grade) suitable for most truck and trailer applications and
  • SYNERGY YELLOW (Premium Plus Grade) offering enhanced performance and pad life under more extreme operating conditions especially for bus and coach applications.

For more information: www.juratek.com