Brake Discs

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    Trends such as the electrification of the powertrain, connectivity – networking cars to each other and their environment – and autonomous driving as well as, naturally, environmental concerns, present the automobile industry with new challenges.

    By maintaining its own development department, SHW ensures that these trends are recognised at an early stage. The department identifies the demands that will be placed on brake discs in future and realises technically challenging solutions. The engineers at SHW are in close contact with the development departments of the automobile manufacturers.


    Brake discs - development focus

    The demands placed on brake discs change constantly. With its innovative brake disc concepts, SHW is also shaping the age of electromobility.

    In development, SHW is concentrating equally on conventional integrated brake discs and composite brake discs. In terms of its dimensions, weight and performance, SHW has managed, with its composite brake discs, to push the envelope of what is technically feasible. The largest composite brake disc with the best braking performance produced by SHW weighs 21 kg, has an external diameter of 420 mm and is designed for a vehicle weighing roughly 2.9 tons and a top speed of 330 km/h. The composite brake disc will also be used as the platform for electric cars in future.

    Moreover, diverse basic research projects are being driven forward. These are aimed at longer lasting stainless steel pins which combine the aluminium pot with the friction ring of the brake. Development focus is also placed on further weight reduction, improved corrosion protection and reduction of brake particulates.

    SHW has decades of experience in developing and manufacturing brake discs. The motivation to constantly improve products and processes culminates in a high level of competence. SHW can accompany its customers from the original design concept right through to serial production of a product.

    The point of departure is the sheet of specifications containing all the requirements expected of the brake disc. This forms the basis for design and engineering work. Various simulations ensure that the brake disc fulfils all relevant functions in the development phase already. This avoids later costs and saves valuable time. For example, simulations study how the brake disc changes shape as the temperature rises while braking. This is also important for braking dynamics. Various development methods, such as Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), are used to identify risks and take counteraction.

    Naturally, the respective requirements placed on the brake disc must be met in a way that is commercially feasible. Specialists from the production department therefore assess the casting and machining aspects and suggest changes that are decided on together with the customer. Here too, use is made of simulations. An example is a simulation of the casting process to obtain knowledge of its manufacturing capability and quality of the brake disc.

    A number of milestone reviews are held during the development process. During this process, the results are reflected upon to ensure that future brake discs meet the requirements on both sides. The design is only approved when all the specifications are met.

    After approval, the casting tools are designed and manufactured. These are produced by SHW’s own tool shop. These casting tools, which are nearly ready for serial production, are then used to cast the first development samples.

    To ensure that the later brake disc fulfils all the defined functions, the first development samples are validated on the SHW test. This involves a number of tests that are conducted in keeping with the customer’s test guidelines.

    Only after the product successfully passes all the tests and is validated are the development samples sent to the customer. With these samples, the customer can, for example, run the first tests on its vehicles.

    The results of the various tests are discussed with the development team of the customer and any improvements to the product are made before it goes into serial production. Only then does serial production of the brake disc begin.

    We secure our future and our competitiveness for the long-term by identifying changes in the business environment at an early stage and adjusting our products accordingly.