Issue: May 2013


TMD Friction drives copper-free brake pads to series production



by Jon Knox

Braking materials specialist TMD Friction was awarded the first homologation for the application of copper-free friction materials in the original equipment of high-performance vehicles. This breakthrough in the friction material world was achieved in an intensive development period and tight cooperation with a German vehicle manufacturer. In a first step, the homologation is granted for the front axle of the new vehicle with its market launch in Autumn 2013. Such a ground-breaking decision of a premium automotive producer underlines the compliance of the new copper-free friction pad with most demanding requirements for brake pads. Other car manufacturers are currently testing TMD Friction’s copper-free material. Further homologations are expected within 2013.

„The challenge when developing this new kind of friction couple is finding an adequate replacement for copper with its positive physical and chemical characteristics. Potential substances like gold, silver, aluminum, nickel or lead were out of question either for cost or toxicological reasons,“ explained Andrew Dilnot, Senior Vice President Research & Development. „In tight cooperation and intensive development work with the vehicle manufacturer we have achieved to create an equivalent formulation concocted from various raw materials and alloys, an appropriate surrogate for copper with respect to friction coefficient, wear and thermal properties.“ Now TMD can supply a copper-free OE brake pad making no consessions regarding comfort or safety while already complying with the new legislation requirements of the US state Washington for the year 2021.

„International vehicle sales based on global platform strategies are also pushing technological change in Europe. Further, European automotive manufacturers plan to exclusively offer brake systems with copper-free braking material worldwide,“ Andrew Dilnot explained. „As a technology partner of the vehicle industry, TMD Friction continiually investigates new scientific achievements and raw materials to weigh up the pros and cons of various possible substitutes suitable for a copper-free friction material technology. Now we are proud to be the first manufacturer of copper-free, high-performance braking materials and to be able to offer a friction product which, apart from meeting the most demanding performance specifications of a premium producer, complies already today with all future environmental requirements.“


About TMD Friction
TMD Friction is among the world's leading manufacturers of brake friction materials for the automotive and brake industries. Its product portfolio comprises disc brake pads and drum brake linings for passenger cars and commercial vehicles together with brake pads for racing cars and friction materials for rail and industrial applications. TMD Friction is one of the largest suppliers to the global replacement parts aftermarket with its Textar, Pagid, Mintex, Don and Cobreq brands. Brake pads for rail and industrial applications are developed and produced under the brand names Cosid and Dynotherm. TMD Friction has operations in Germany, the United Kingdom, and three other European countries, as well as in the US, Brazil, Mexico, China, Japan and South Africa. The TMD Friction Group employs approximately 4,800 people worldwide. For further information please visit www.tmdfriction.com.

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