Issue: Apr 2006


TRW Automotive Expands Beijing Plant to Localize Latest Braking Technology for Chinese Market



by Alan Tran

TRW Automotive Holdings Corp has announced the expansion of its Chinese joint venture, LucasVarity Langzhong Braking Company Limited (LVLB), in preparation to launch TRW's Electronic Park Brake (EPB) system in China. LVLB has expanded braking actuation production into a new building, with an additional 8,000 square metres, and plans to start production of EPB systems in 2007, for two Chinese vehicle manufacturers.

Established in 1994, LVLB is TRW's joint venture with Langfang Municipal Heavy Industrials State-Owned Asset Management Company Limited. The plant currently produces front and rear calipers and braking actuation, including brake boosters and master cylinders, for a range of customers including First Auto Works/Volkswagen (FAW/VW), First Auto Works (FAW), Chery, Nissan and BMW, with 2005 sales of 720,000 units of calipers and 75,000 actuation systems.

The plant's general manager, Terry Larcombe, commented: "We are proud of the developments within the LVLB site and relish the opportunity of localizing TRW's state-of-the-art electronic park brake for the Chinese market. We have secured contracts which are expected to start production in 2007 and are in advanced discussions with a number of other customers.

"We are committed to growing the facility to offer attractive employment locally and provide world-leading braking products to Chinese and global vehicle manufacturers."

TRW's Electronic Park Brake was first to market in Europe in 2001 on the Lancia Thesis, and the Company has subsequently launched EPB systems on the Audi A6 and A8 and 2005 model year Volkswagen Passat.

The EPB system is part of TRW Automotive's ongoing commitment to enhance overall brake system performance and driver comfort and convenience. The system functions as a conventional hydraulic brake for standard service brake applications and as an electric brake for parking.

Neville Rudd, director of braking, electronics and modules, Asia Pacific, explained: "The EPB's electronic cable and control switches simplify routing and allow for greater freedom of design for vehicle interiors. Its smaller package becomes even more attractive as vehicle manufacturers continue to requisition space for new standard features and options."

The TRW Electronic Park Brake System

TRW's Electronic Park Brake system is composed of two electro-mechanical actuators integrated into the rear disc brake calipers and a controller with redundant connections to the power supply. The system interfaces with the vehicle's Controller Area Network (CAN) for continuous monitoring and feedback.

The EPB system's communication interface with vehicle computer systems means that a number of design features can be added or deleted as specified for the application. In addition to drive-away assist and emergency braking (which includes anti-lock functionality when coupled with Electronic Stability Control), the system can offer a variety of options such as:

-- Manual release - only when the brake pedal is pressed
-- Interface between the EPB switch and accelerator pedal
-- Rear disc temperature model (for re-clamp in case of hot brakes)
-- Automatic parking for vehicles with continuously variable transmissions


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