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Global Research & Development

R & D taking advantage of distinct characteristics of Japan, North America & Europe

Based on three pillars of success: improving efficiency, reducing costs (including weight and size reductions) and implementing future technologies, Akebono takes advantage of distinctive characteristics of facilities throughout Japan, North America and Europe to carry out product development. We aim to secure critical technologies as we move forward in pursuit of next-generation products that are highly competitive on a global level.

Japan

Development of product offering improved performance and reduced costs

To respond to the demand of the Japanese market and customers, Akebono is progressing in our efforts to develop high-performance, low-cost products, while following the principles of eco-friendly development.

In case of friction materials, Akebono focuses on high-performance passenger car brake pads and cost-competitive brake pads that offer high quality, excellent performance, great noise and vibration characteristics and, by using safe and eco-friendly raw materials, reduce the amount of brake dust generated.

In the development of disc and drum brake mechanisms, we also concentrate on improving performance and lowering cost. Our efforts have been recognized by customers, who offer high praise for our opposed piston disc brakes employing aluminum alloys developed for high-performance cars. Moreover, we are thoroughly implementing measures to ensure the standardization and commonization of materials and processes as well as otherwise working to boost our cost-competitiveness.

To help combat global warming, we are striving to improve fuel efficiency through innovative weight and drag reductions. We work to meet stringent technical and cost benchmarks to reinforce our global supply system and promote technological development aimed at devising purpose-built products.

One of Japan's largest testing & evaluation installations supporting quality: Ai-Ring

Photo: Ai-Ring

Various brake tests are carried out at the Ai-Ring located in Iwatsuki City, Fukushima Prefecture.

As far as automobile part manufacturers go, Akebono owns one of Japan's largest test tracks where various brakes are tested and evaluated: total site area is approximately 760,000 m2, with lap length of 3,016m.

Severe brake tests, such as high-speed braking at 200 km per hour are conducted on slippery tracks (low/mid μ*), circular roads, test slopes, rough roads and flooded roads in order for Akebono to provide safety and security. These tests are considered one of the most important aspects of guaranteeing quality and safety.

  • *μ (Mu)
    Friction coefficient. Snowy or otherwise slippery roads have low μ.

North America

Development of products responding to a wide range of needs

Akebono is working to develop optimal new friction materials and next-generation foundation brakes based on the domestic and global needs of U.S based automotive manufacturers. We support Japanese automotive manufactures as well with completely local operations, from development to mass production.

Akebono undertakes the development of friction materials for use in a wide range of vehicles, from passenger cars to SUVs to pickup trucks. These materials have exceptional NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) characteristics and are also environment-friendly. Akebono is mass-producing a new disc brake made from a lightweight aluminum alloy as well as new disc brakes with rear-wheel parking functions and others for a wide range of vehicle models. We are also promoting the development of next-generation products in tandem with R&D facilities in Japan.

Europe

Development of friction materials which conform to the rigorous environmental standards of the European market

Our European operations specialize in developing friction materials, and Akebono conducts R&D to respond to a wide range of customer needs, from friction materials that meet unique performance demands and conform to the rigorous environmental standards of REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation to friction materials intended for auto exports to Japanese and U.S. markets from the European market.

Development of hybrid materials, incorporating characteristics suited to both the quiet-running cars preferred by the Japanese and U.S markets and the high performance vehicles popular in the European market

We also strive to expand our customer base by marketing hybrid materials, which incorporate characteristics that are suited to both the quiet-running cars preferred by the Japanese and U.S markets and the high performance vehicles popular in the European market. In addition to the existing development base in France, we established a local agency with a development function in Germany in pursuit of more customer-oriented development activities. Standardizing materials by procuring them from local markets and introducing a European style manufacturing process helps to reinforce our cost-competitiveness.

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