Next Generation Technologies
Next generation technologies, promoting Akebono philosophy
To respond to the needs of next generation automobiles, Akebono strives to develop environmentally friendly products as well as new brake systems.
Guided by Akebono's corporate philosophy, which designates "friction and vibration, their control and analysis" as our core competencies, we continue our challenge in the forefront of next generation technology.
Electro-mechanical brake caliper (under development). Arrow indicates the electro-mechanical actuator.
An electro-mechanical brake system includes electro-mechanical brake calipers, an electronic control unit and various electronic sensors, which provide input signals. When the brake pedal is pressed, a sensor signal is received by the control unit, which controls power to the electro-mechanical brake calipers, pressing the pads into the rotors and achieving the level of deceleration required by the driver.
Advantages of Electro-mechanical Brakes
The electro-mechanical system is lighter than the conventional hydraulic one, due to the elimination of the hydraulic master cylinder, hydraulic control unit, hydraulic piping as well as parking brake Bowden cables and hand or foot lever, more than compensating for the increased mass of the electro-mechanical calipers themselves.
Electro-mechanical braking systems are also more environmentally friendly, thanks to the elimination of hydraulic brake fluid, which could potentially damage the environment when spilled or improperly disposed of.
Since electro-mechanical brakes have only an electrical connection to the brake pedal, the brake pedal "feel" can be designed to have short travel and appropriate forces to give the driver high confidence in all operating conditions, without the vibration caused by ABS operation or uneven disc wear, or increased travel at high brake temperatures associated with conventional hydraulic brake systems.
Electric Parking Brakes
Electric parking brakes are one type of electro-mechanical brakes. They use conventional hydraulically actuated pistons for normal braking when the vehicle is moving, but use an electro-mechanical actuator to apply the brake for parking. The parking brake clamping force is maintained mechanically, so that once it is applied no electrical power is needed to keep the brake on.
Advantages of electric parking brake systems include reduced system mass, more available space in the cabin due to the elimination of Bowden cables and hand or foot levers, push button control for ease of driver operation as well as automatic parking brake apply and release functionality, useful during hill starts, stop and go driving in heavy traffic, etc.
Low Drag Calipers
Low drag caliper (revised model)
In conventional disc brakes there is always slight contact between brake pads and the rotor, even when the brakes are released. This creates rotational resistance of the rotor, known as "brake drag", which negatively affects fuel economy and can cause uneven rotor wear resulting in undesirable vibration felt by the driver when braking.
On the other hand, if the gap between rotor and pad becomes too wide, the pedal travel to initiate braking becomes long, reducing driver confidence. Additionally, if the gap is wide, it leaves room for rain, snow, ice or other foreign material to get inside, which leads to degradation of brake performance.
The forces necessary to slide the pads and caliper body also contribute to the brake drag.
The low drag caliper incorporates specially designed components to ensure that the pad to rotor gap is precisely maintained, and that slide forces are kept low throughout the life of the vehicle. This way brake drag is reduced, contributing to improved fuel economy.
Development of environmentally friendly raw materials
Manufacturing of friction materials involves blending multiple raw materials, which introduces a lot of variables. Understanding how the resulting product will behave under different temperatures, pressures and speeds involves a lot of meticulous research, time and hard work.
To respond to ever increasing demands, we continue to search for new materials, while aiming to achieve our main goal of good braking performance and at the same time following our policy of avoiding the use of materials that can do harm to the human body.
We are also continuously developing technologies to reduce emission of particulate matter due to brake wear.
Lead-Free Sintered Friction Material for Railroad Train Brakes
Lead-free sintered friction material for railroad train brakes was first developed in 2002 and since then, we have been pushing to increase the ratio of lead-free rail vehicle products we deliver. We achieved excellent friction characteristics for these materials by using proprietary lubricants and adjusting the metal matrix.
Disc brake pads used in Porsche Panamera
Bullet train disc brake linings