“Braking is about so much more than stopping” – brake industry leaders discuss the evolution of braking
EuroBrake is the world’s largest braking community, and the annual EuroBrake conference provides the opportunity for the braking community to come together for knowledge-sharing, networking and more.
In that spirit of knowledge-sharing and networking, FISITA invited leadership from AsiaBrake, EuroBrake, and the SAE Brake Colloquium, to join a moderated panel discussion at EuroBrake 2021.
Moderated by FISITA Chief Executive Chris Mason, the panel discussion was titled “From stopping vehicles to regenerative braking – the evolution of brake technology,” and featured Dr Seong Rhee, representing AsiaBrake, Roy Link of the SAE Brake Colloquium, and Jan Münchhoff, the Chair of the EuroBrake Steering Committee.
Technologies are changing at a fast pace, and it’s essential to keep up with the latest brake technology developments. And that’s what EuroBrake offers
The panel discussion kicked off EuroBrake 2021, and addressed a range of topics that included the impact on braking of connectivity, automation, sharing, and electrification (CASE), and the regulation of brake emissions.
The impact of CASE on brake technology developments
Evolutions in vehicle technology mean that braking is now about so much more than stopping vehicles, said Chris Mason, opening the discussion. What is the impact of CASE technologies on brake development?
The automotive industry has seen a wave of new technologies in the last 30-40 years, noted Jan Münchhoff, with the pace of change in technology driven first by safety and then by customer comfort and convenience.
“Right now, we are talking about connectivity, automation, sharing, and electrification as major factors impacting braking technology,” he said. “We face some very tough goals for safety, notably reducing fatalities to zero. For braking systems, and for foundation brakes, this is a significant technological challenge.”
We’re working with companies on solutions to encapsulate the brake and prevent brake debris from leaving the vehicle
“We’ve evolved into the era of smart brakes,” said Roy Link, Chief Executive and Chairman of Link Engineering, and Chair of the Executive Board for the SAE Brake Colloquium. In the past, he noted, if you wanted to stop your vehicle, you’d pull on a lever or put your foot on the brake pedal; now the impulse to stop may come from a vehicle sensor triggered by a dog walking out in front of the vehicle. “We have all sorts of technologies contributing to make smart brakes perform safely and optimally.
“We’re seeing all kinds of demands for testing related to smart brakes,” said Link, whose company provides testing engineering services. “We see plenty more evolution in smart brakes, and we’ve not reached the end yet. Technologies are changing at a fast pace, and it’s essential to keep up with the latest brake technology developments. And that’s what EuroBrake offers. There are so many people, interactions and technologies that are presented during EuroBrake that really make it a worthwhile experience.”
CASE technology is making a major impact on brake technology development, but there is still considerable work to do on conventional braking, said Dr. Seong Rhee. “We need to remember that conventional internal combustion engine vehicles and electric vehicles will co-exist for a long time to come, and even in 30 years’ time, the majority of vehicles on the US roads alone will be internal combustion engine vehicles. So, it is good to have the excitement of these technological changes, but at the same time we have to remind ourselves that they will co-exist with conventional vehicles using conventional brakes.”
We face some very tough goals for safety, notably reducing fatalities to zero. For braking systems, and for foundation brakes, this is a significant technological challenge
Secondly, he said, electric vehicle regenerative braking systems give long durability, but they also present numerous technological challenges. “Since we are not going to be doing heavy duty braking at high temperatures, low-temperature braking will give us long durability, which implies the possibility of smaller, lighter brakes which will result in new materials and new manufacturing processes being used to produce new brake materials,” he explained. “And in conjunction with this, electrification leads to the consolidation of electrical devices, such as using single actuation control units and electromechanical brakes.”
Exciting times lie ahead, he said, adding that these are also challenging times. India and China each have populations of over a billion people, and each country imports enormous quantities of oil. Vehicle electrification offers countries one opportunity to reduce their oil imports, but they need to balance electrification with their economic strategy. “The future,” he said, “will be very much dependent on regulations in each region.”
Regulation of brake emissions
The imminent regulation of brake emissions has become a priority topic for automaker, suppliers, and others in the brake engineering community.
The future will be dependent on regulations in each region
"The issue of brake emissions is becoming very important, in working groups, in conference topics, and in scientific research,” said Münchhoff. “The primary effect of brake emissions regulation will be the increased use of regenerative braking for extending mileage and reducing emissions, but a secondary effect of this will be that the braking industry will face a different usage profile for brakes. This will see brake engineers focusing on issues such as rust and noise.”
An added complexity is the issue of brake noise in electric vehicles, which otherwise operate silently, noted Mason. The industry has addressed engine emissions, and is now looking at brakes and tyres as the biggest source of contaminants.
“At Link, we’re working with companies on solutions to encapsulate the brake and prevent brake debris from leaving the vehicle,” said Roy Link. “There is a considerable focus on this, and infrastructure is being built up to test for that problem.”
Speaking from the US, Link added that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) both have brake emissions very high on their agenda, and the technologies they use are comparable to the technologies used to investigate engine emissions, so the level of nanoparticles are similar to engine emissions. “Brake emissions is a very big issue in the US,” he noted.
These will be revolutionary changes – and big challenges present big opportunities
Seong Rhee agreed, adding, “Brake emissions is a global issue.” And in this regard, he said, there are two issues facing the industry.
With electrification, brake noise is becoming a significant issue. “We have no perfect capability to predict brake noise, such as high-frequency squeal and low-frequency groan. Many people will admit in private but not in public that even with artificial intelligence and advanced computing technologies, we are not capable of predicting brake squeal. This is a major challenge, especially with quiet vehicles such as electric vehicles. When people hear brake noise, they think there is a problem and take the vehicle in for service.”
The second challenge, he said, involves materials. “By moving from conventional brakes to regenerative brakes, brake emissions will be reduced by up to 80%, but the remaining percentage will depend on brake material wear,” he explained. “With this material wear, we will become increasingly concerned by environmentally friendly or unfriendly ingredients, and carcinogenic materials. This will be a future trend on the material side, which will have to be combined with new friction materials, because material ingredients and manufacturing processes will change.”
Challenges – and opportunities
Drawing the discussion to a close, FISITA’s Chris Mason noted the magnitude of the challenges facing the braking industry. “These will be revolutionary changes – and big challenges present big opportunities,” said Mason. EuroBrake and FISITA, he noted, are perfectly placed to facilitate the necessary pre-competitive discussion.