Hideyuki HasegawaJoined Akebono in 2006R&D Division, Module Project“I’d like to be involved in testing the configuration ofmodules and analyzing braking mechanisms.”This will be my second year assisting in the development ofautomotive rotors. The goal/purpose of the Module Project,which I currently belong to, is creating three-piece sets thatcouple together our two mainstay products, calipers and brakepads, with rotors.The creation of these three-piece sets allows Akebono tocontrol total brake performance and thus raise the level ofquality. The problem with rotors is that the processing equipmentused to make them and the trace ingredients in the castingmaterials can differ among countries, markets andsuppliers. Scrap metal is the raw material used in making castiron, the main material in rotors, and the trace impurities varywidely among local markets. The processing method for finishingthe sliding surface varies as well, depending on the supplier.These factors mean that brake performance is not alwaysthe same. To advance C&S+t, we plan to examine how themany differences in production processes affect performanceand noise in addition to establishing technologies that canensure uniform friction performance around the globe.I believe that, going forward, as regenerative brakesbecome popular with the proliferation of electric automobiles,the performance and use requirements for conventionalbrakes will evolve. I also believe it is imperative to establishfundamental research for three-piece sets that include rotorsin order to constantly deliver products matched to customerneeds and assuredly keep ahead of this trend.“We’d like to strengthen Akebono’s core technologiesby perfecting fundamental brake technology research.”From our position responsible for fundamental research andsowing the seeds of development, we keep asking ourselves,“What is Akebono’s core technology?”The current priority is the production of proprietary rawmaterials for friction materials. If we were able to manufacturethe raw materials on our own and not be limited to the rawmaterials suppliers suggest, that would be a big advantage.One issue with that would be controlling such variables as particlesize and composition as well as the shape of the particleneeded for friction materials. Another issue would be figuringout what kind of correlation there is between material properties,like particle shape, and actual friction performance. Byresearching these two areas, it should be possible to freely producefriction materials that have the exact performance we areaiming for. In order to differentiate our technologies from othercompanies, we’ll continue our research in the field, improvingsimulation technology for configuring composite materials, keepingin mind future environmental regulations and other trends.While carrying out fundamental research on friction materials,we are also evaluating friction material performance frommultiple perspectives in search for the possibility of applicationsbeyond brakes.Looking ahead to 2020, we’d like to be able to provideinformation quickly for all development needs while alsostrengthening core technologies.Realizing Common Production Anywhere inthe World?Designing Manufacturing FacilitiesRealizing uniform quality at the global level is a big issue indesigning manufacturing facilities as well. Another factor ofgrowing importance is the ability to easily use and maintain afacility anywhere in the world.Jun AokiJoined Akebono in 2009Production Engineering Division,Application Engineering Department“I want to contribute to the GPF and further manufacturingautomation with the ease of maintenance in mind.”I am responsible for designing manufacturing facilities and trialoperations. I’m currently designing and developing a manufacturingfacility for high-performance calipers, and this is one ofthe central fiscal 2013 programs. The cores4 for this machinewill, for the first time, be produced by Akebono itself.Looking ahead to 2020, we are involved in several initiativeswith an eye to automating the manufacturing process. I’mcurrently conducting research and creating trial facilities to seehow to cut back manual labor requirements by increasing thenumber of automated processes. The issue when advancingautomation is the diversification of component shapes. Toadvance C&S+t, people in my department observe and recordwhat happens during component assembly. We then providefeedback to the product developers about which shapes allowfor better handling. It’s also imperative that when we createmanufacturing facilities that can guarantee the product qualityour customers demand, we simultaneously put in place maintenancemanagement. We’re also working to optimize data managementso that the results of standardized quality testing arereflected in actual products and performance.My target going forward is to create machines that produceno defective products in order to retain the tradition ofJapanese manufacturing and establish a GPF. I’d also like tocompile data to facilitate maintenance as well as conduct onsiteinspections so that production process can be enhancedto better suit each product.Notes:1. Noise: Resonation produced by the vibration of calipers and other parts due tofriction between the pads and rotors.2. Brake drag: Resistance cause by constant structural contact between the discbrake pads and the rotors.3. Jig: A general name for tools and devices that fix an object in place and assistin the control and guidance of a tool.4. Core: The inner mold used with a larger outer mold when producing castingswith hollow centers.Akinori HashimotoJoined Akebono in 1995Naeko OkumuraJoined Akebono in 2005Akebono Research & Development Centre Ltd.