AKEBONO REPORT 2013
Technology to Control Noise and VibrationWhen it comes to making brakes, finding ways to control the noiseand vibrations that may make the driving experience unpleasant forthe end-user is of the utmost importance. Akebono pays particularattention to what it calls NVH (noise, vibration and harshness, orvibrations caused by unevenness in road surfaces), which makes fora less pleasant braking experience. Noise itself refers to the soundgenerated when vibration caused by the friction between the padsand rotors is transmitted through the calipers and resonates throughoutthe brake.Noise and vibration are affected by many factors, including drivingconditions, speed, brake temperature, quality of componentmaterials, configuration of the parts and rotor speed. Akebono usessimulations of various conditions to attempt to predict noise andvibration. This enables the Company to predict noise from the designstage and thus allows the number of prototypes needed for testing tobe decreased, contributing to both energy and resource savings.Developing Products Free of Environmental Load SubstancesAkebono is developing products that use lower volumes of environmentalload substances in accordance with its in-house guidelines,which set forth stricter regulations than required by law either inJapan or overseas.As for substances restricted by REACH and other global chemicalregulations, we are doing our utmost to avoid using them. Moreover,we try to avoid even substances that are not restricted by these regulationswhen we believe that they may possibly have adverseeffects on human health or the environment. In light of the tighteningof regulations on environmental load substances in recent years,before adopting any candidate materials we painstakingly examinetheir possible impact on the environment and work environment safety.If an environmental load substance is deemed to be present ina class of materials, we confirm the amount contained therein, howeversmall it may be, and select the variant that contains the leastamount of such substances. Also, in anticipation of expected futureregulation on certain substances, we are proactively developing alternativesbefore such regulation comes into effect.Moreover, we are developing new technologies for minimizing theemission of brake dust generated by the abrasion of brake pads.R&D for Environment-Friendly Materials and ProductsPhenolic resin, which is used to bind friction materials, is traditionallyproduced from petroleum and natural gas. The CO2 released whenburning materials from these resources and soaring prices due toresource depletion are causes for concern. To address these issues,we are researching inedible plant-based biomass as a carbon neutralalternative. We have so far succeeded in creating a thermosettingbiomass resin from such plant materials as wood and straw, but it isless heat-resistant than conventional phenolic resin. We are nowadvancing research to improve its heat resistance so that it can beused in friction materials.Powder Coatings to Improve Working Environments and SaveResourcesAkebono uses metal plating to prevent rust on disk brakes. However,conventional plating using a solution bath results in a large amountof waste fluid and ammonia gas. To solve these problems, Akebonois advancing the use of powder coatings. Because powder coatingsare applied in an enclosed space, approximately 90% of excess coatingpowder can be collected and reused. Even when conventionalplating methods are used, Akebono is working to reduce waste bydownsizing facilities and creating systems that allow fluid to bereused many times.Motoki Kuroe of theAkebono Research andDevelopment Centre wasadmitted by special selectionto the doctoral programat Yokohama NationalUniversity’s Graduate Schoolof Engineering, where hereceived a doctor’s degree in Engineering under the guidance ofprofessor Akio Takahashi.Comment from Dr. Kuroe:I’m very thankful to have had this opportunity. Preparing my thesisfor journal publication in English was extremely tough, but I’llnever forget how happy I felt when it was published. I learned alot outside my field of specialty through interactions with the variouspeople in the lab. I hope in continuing my research I will beable to give back to the Company.Akebono Engineer Awarded Doctor’s Degree inEngineering through Special SelectionTopicsThesisHigh Functionalization of Brake Friction Materials by NovelPhenolic ResinsAbstractTwo new types of phenolic resin are synthesized and testedwith friction materials. The results of friction tests showedthat benzoxazine resin improved wear resistance and ligninphenolic resin helped to stabilize friction coefficients.Environmental ManagementInitiatives at the Design and Development StageWhile striving to supply more lightweight and long-lasting products, we are workingto develop brake products that are friendly to both people and the environment.