AKEBONO REPORT 2013
manufacture across every local market in Japan, NorthAmerica, China and Indonesia. Although suppliers in thesemarkets have their own issues, it would be ideal to advanceC&S as a step toward producing single-design items suited toall our customers.Our system prior to TPM was to assign one R&D memberper item, but with TPM as an intermediary, our path to C&S+thas become clear. I would like to utilize my position to directlyhear from customers in order to satisfy all of their needs aswell as to craft mutually beneficial proposals based on C&S+t.Realizing Akebono Quality Globally?Developing and Designing Friction MaterialsThe development of friction materials is handled mainly bythe Advanced Development Department and the FrictionMaterials Application Development Department. A matter ofgrowing concern is maintaining uniform quality globallywhile meeting our customers’ diverse needs.Yuki MuroyaJoined Akebono in 2004R&D Division, Advanced DevelopmentDepartment“I’d like to make comfortable brakes that provideabsolute safety for a long time.”I’m responsible for developing friction materials for commercialcars. One of our issues is responding to the combinedweight of the car’s frame and its load. Most needs are relatedto product durability. Customers are looking for friction materialscapable of withstanding significant abuse. However, sturdinessis not the only important factor; it’s also important to beable to maneuver the vehicle without causing damage to thewide range of loads being carried, from foodstuffs to animalsand fine machinery. Environmental regulations must also beconsidered. Our target for the near future is to manufacturebrake pads that generate no dust from friction. And, no matterhow good the performance is, brake noise will alwaysmake drivers nervous. I’m working hard every day to examinethe composition of friction materials to resolve the issue ofhow to create good performance without a lot of noise.Friction materials C&S is advancing for each classificationof vehicles. Due to the large variation in customer requirements,there are parts that can be difficult to simulate andsystemize. Because some friction materials can be madeonly in Japan, I design materials bearing in mind the availabilityof materials in different local markets.My all-time dream is to make brakes that provide comfortfor people riding in cars. Or, rather, I hope to provide productsthat are so reliable that people don’t have to worry about thebrakes at all.Saki MarutaJoined Akebono in 2011R&D Division, Friction Material ApplicationDevelopment Department“Because brake dust is becoming a global issue, I’d liketo make materials that are as eco-friendly as possible.”I design friction materials for brake pads in passenger cars.I’m responsible from the design through production and testingof the prototype and to mass production. Friction materialsare highly sensitive to seasonal variations, not to mentionlocal manufacturing environment, so we have to pay specialattention to controlling those factors.Manufacturing a product that displays consistent performanceregardless of where it is produced will be a key inadvancing global production. Therefore, from the designstage it is important to fully understand the properties oflocally purchased materials and consider the local weatherconditions. I examine materials from overseas and prototypesand sometimes when the results are less than satisfactory, Ipoint to how the manufacturing process could be optimized.I’m also active in promoting the documentation and digitizationof all of the collected data so as to share the informationacross the entire department.With regard to production overseas, I’d like to bridge theconceptual gap with overseas branches through proactivecommunication and increase the quality of our products andthereby improve customer satisfaction.Brake dust will be a big environmental issue going forward.One car might produce just one milligram of brake dust, butthat adds up to tons when you look at it on the global scale.Decreasing dust even by a small amount and creating environmentallyfriendly friction materials is one of my future targets.Akiko ObataJoined Akebono in 2010R&D Division, Friction Material ApplicationDevelopment Department“I get so excited thinking about how products I’vedesigned are assembled in factories all around the world.”I carry out application development for drum brake linings anddevelop brake pads for passenger cars. Although it usuallytakes one to two years to go from testing to mass production,C&S+t can ensure uniform quality while simultaneously fulfillingcustomer needs in a shorter time period. Through C&S+twe will be able to share expert know-how and I’d like to workto quicken the pace by building up our technology.I had the chance to take a tour of a facility in NorthAmerica in November 2012. The brakes I was responsible forwere being assembled there and my work felt really meaningfulwhen the quality control person at the factory told me,“Thanks to you, we are now able to make these brakes.” I amso excited that products designed in Japan are being producedaround the world. My future target is to be able todesign friction materials on my own that are suitable for multiplelocal markets and purposes.I also participate in corporate branding activities. Alongwith the brand slogan, “Absolute safety; Unparalleled control,”I would like to instill throughout the Company the understandingthat we raise the value of the Akebono brandthrough our daily operations.