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Q&A with Alessandro Ciotti, Chief R&D Officer, Brembo

EuroBrake 2021 Gold Sponsor Brembo on brake emissions, motorsport, vehicle electrification, and autonomous driving

Brembo returns to EuroBrake for a ninth year, appearing at EuroBrake 2021 as a Gold Sponsor. In this Q&A, the company's Chief R&D Officer, Alessandro Ciotti, discusses brake emissions, the importance of racing, and the influence of electrification and automation on brake disc design.


Brembo was recognized at the end of last year with a double 'A' score for global climate and water stewardship. How is Brembo improving its braking products to reduce particulate emissions?


Brembo is well-positioned for the market evolution, thanks to its commitment to innovation. It is doing this while making sustainability a priority. This is applied to its entire business cycle, its people and its communities around the world. In recent years, the company has developed numerous projects to develop new solutions and processes with low environmental impact. Since 2015, for example, Brembo has coordinated a European project called “Lowbrasys,” which aims to reduce brake particle emissions by up to 50%. This project has allowed the company to acquire more skills and know-how on emissions. Everything Brembo has learned is reflected today in the launch of a new generation of disc.


How is sustainability reflected in your brake products?


In September 2020, Brembo presented two new products: Greentive® and Enesys®, tangible examples of its commitment to support its partners in their challenges to make mobility more sustainable.


Greentive® is a new brake disc, the name being a fusion of the words “green” and “distinctive,” with the former emphasising the disc’s environmentally friendly features and the latter highlighting its elegance and recognisability. Thanks to its braking surface, Greentive® ensures very low wear, significantly extending the disc life cycle and offering a high level of corrosion resistance – a feature particularly appreciated in the new generation of electric cars. Reducing brake dust contributes to a decrease in brake emissions as well as cleaner rims.


Enesys, Energy Saving System® is a spring designed to ensure the brake pads return to their initial position in the caliper once the brake pedal is released, thus avoiding undesired friction between the pads and the brake disc. This solution gives “zero residual drag” to the braking system, and results in CO2 reduction due to lower fuel consumption, and a decrease in particle emissions by reducing parasitic friction.


To drive fast safely, you must be able to stop quickly. In addition to visibility in front of motorsports fans, how does Brembo's involvement in major world championships help improve its products?


For Brembo, entering the world of racing has been very important. It is an extraordinary training ground for experimenting with technological solutions that it would be difficult to test in other contexts; in this field you have to know how to innovate, and you have to do it quickly, to be ready race after race. This has allowed the company, over the years, to test technological solutions directly on the track, which then, after a few years, have transferred to the world of cars and motorbikes.


Can you provide specific examples that began in racing and are now in regular family cars?


One of the most recent examples is the carbon ceramic disc, which comes directly from the application of carbon in Formula One. After years in racing, the material, suitably modified for road application, has become a standard on the world's most prestigious cars.


How is the move to electrification changing brake design at Brembo?


Brembo is ready to play a leading role in what promises to be a truly epoch-making transition for car braking systems. The company has been preparing for this revolution for over 20 years, dedicating increasing investments in R&D activities.


And what impact do artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicle technology have on braking technology development?


In this new era of artificial intelligence, the ability of Brembo’s ability to identify and manage data is key, and must be strengthened across all parts of the organization.


Brembo needs to develop data driven processes, leveraging its expertise and know-how and building digital skills. Therefore, the company is developing an intensive training program with aim of spreading and consolidating a culture of data throughout the company.


The impact of autonomous driving, for example, is already influencing numerous Brembo projects. Brake by wire is ready for a high level of autonomous driving, including Level 5, which, as defined by SAE International, means the vehicle can operate without any human driver intervention. This doesn’t mean that if you are a passenger, rather than a driver, you cannot enjoy a high level of driving pleasure. It means you must be prepared to consider different requirements for autonomous driving. Brembo is highly active in this field with a number of partners around the world, as it prepares to implement new requirements.


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