AKEBONO REPORT 2011 Akebono Brake Industry Co. Ltd. 21“Friction and Vibration their Control and Analysis ” is notmerely akebono’s Corporate Mission it refers to the basis ofthe Company’s core technologies. akebono constantly leveragesits competencies to develop new friction materials andnext-generation brakes that make possible an array of brakerelatedproducts for automobiles and other means of transportation.Stepping up its focus on basic technologies anddeepening the analysis essential to product development akebono is augmenting its R&D investment and R&D structure.In addition further deepening its knowledge about noise andvibration akebono aims to reinforce its lineup of standardized low-cost brakes and to establish environment-friendly technologiesfor lighter weight electro-mechanical brakes thatcan be used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and electricvehicles (EVs) as well as technologies that meet variousdemands associated with products used in high-performancevehicles and products distributed in emerging countries.Details of R&D activities in each region are as follows.Japanakebono is progressing in its efforts to develop highperformance low-cost friction materials responsive to bothmarket and customer needs. In its endeavors to develophigh-quality products akebono focuses on high-performance cost-competitive brake pads for passenger cars usingenvironment-friendly safe materials that realize excellentperformance with regard to noise and vibration and thatminimize wheel dust. In addition while working to enhanceproduct performance with due consideration to environmentalconcerns we are taking steps to reduce costs through the useof both new materials and improved manufacturing processes.In the development of brake mechanisms we apply our effortsto improving performance and lowering costs. These effortshave been recognized by customers who offer high praise forour opposed-type disk brakes which employ an aluminum alloydeveloped for high-performance cars. Moreover we are thoroughlyimplementing measures to ensure the standardizationof materials and processes as well as otherwise working toboost our cost-competitiveness.In the development of environment-friendly products we arestriving to raise fuel efficiency through innovative weight anddrag reductions. We work to meet stringent technical and costbenchmarks to reinforce our global supply system and promotetechnological development aimed at devising built-to-purposeproducts.United Statesakebono is working to develop optimum new friction materialsand next-generation foundation brakes based on the domesticand global needs of U.S.-based automotive manufacturers. Wesupport Japanese automotive manufacturers as well with completelylocal operations from development to mass production.akebono undertakes the development of friction materialsfor use in a wide range of vehicles from passenger cars toSUVs to pickup trucks. We also develop brake mechanisms forsuch vehicles and are proactively engaged in the mass productionof lightweight aluminum alloy disk brakes. Furthermore wemass produce rotors and drums for various vehicle types andFiscal 2010 R&D by Region(Billions of yen)2007 2008 2009 2010 2011Total R&D-Related Expenditures*Years Ended March 318.99.70481210.89.98.2develop lightweight products with excellent performance withregard to noise and vibration using brake modules.EuropeOur European operations specialize in developing frictionmaterials and akebono conducts R&D that responds toa wide range of customer needs from friction materials thatmeet unique performance demands and conform to therigorous environmental standards of REACH (Registration Evaluation Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulationsfor friction materials intended for auto exports to Japaneseand U.S. markets from the European market. We striveto cultivate new customers by marketing “hybrid materials ”which incorporate characteristics that are suited to both thequiet-running cars preferred by the Japanese and U.S. marketsand the high-performance vehicles popular in the Europeanmarket. As a result our products are gradually gaining greateracceptance among European manufacturers. In addition to ourexisting development base in France we established a localagency with a development function in Germany to carry outmore customer-oriented development activities. Standardizingmaterials by procuring them from local markets and introducinga European-style manufacturing process helps reinforce ourcost-competitiveness.ChinaLooking to develop low-cost brakes mainly for Asian principallythe Chinese markets we collect information on local needsthrough market surveys conducted by visiting local sites tosee real products in real-life situations. Utilizing the resultsof these efforts we have established a development centerin China for the purpose of conducing all-new developmentactivities that are not limited by Japanese preconceptions.We also began developing low-cost pads that meet localdemands for friction materials. For the development of brakemechanisms we are focusing on the reduction of productweight enhancement of performance in terms of noise andvibration and improvement of cost-competitiveness.* Above figures include R&D costs and other R&D-relatedexpenditures incurred as part of regular improvements.Feature Social Repor t Environmental Repor t Economic Report Reference Materials