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Undercarriage Brembo Uses Gravity Die Casting for Producing Calipers

Author / Editor: Sven Prawitz / Alexander Stark

In compact cars is no room for high-performance fixed aluminium semi-trailers. Brembos` newly developed model based on gravity die casting is supposed to close this gap.

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Brembo Flexira is the supplier's first fixed aluminium saddle for the compact class.
Brembo Flexira is the supplier's first fixed aluminium saddle for the compact class.
(Source: Brembo)

When Bodo Buschmann founded Brabus in 1977, the tuning business was still relatively small. Large numbers of performance cars were not yet conceivable. For many years, car tuning was a thing for the aftermarket — in this field the D&W catalogue is well known. In the meantime, however, it has become an extremely lucrative business: brands such as AMG, Audi Sport, BMW M, Cupra, Heico and Volkswagens R-Line generate very good sales.

The Hyundai i30N and Ford Fiesta ST are the youngest models in the compact and mid-range segment. In September, for example, the new BMW M2 Competition will be launched.

The Italian brake manufacturer Brembo is successful in these performance cars: sales rose by four percent to $ 774.5 million in the first quarter of this year. The supplier generates three quarters of these sales with products for passenger cars; the rest is divided between motorcycles, commercial vehicles and racing.

Uwe Hein, Sales Manager of Brembo's Systems Division.
Uwe Hein, Sales Manager of Brembo's Systems Division.
(Source: Andreas Beyer)

Famous for Colorful Brake Calipers

Especially, the colored brake calipers are a typical feature of Brembo: there are currently a good 120 different ones to choose from. The company's main business is in the area of luxury and premium vehicles — this segment is now to be significantly expanded. As with many other suppliers, the focus is on electric mobility: from the 2018/2019 season Brembo will supply the braking system for the Formula E standard chassis. The new brake system will provide important findings for future products.

“Flexira" was another new product on display at the Geneva Motor Show — aluminum fixed semi-trailer for compact cars. The previous fixed caliper models were too large for these cars. Technically, it is a compact fixed brake caliper with the dimensions of a floating caliper. "With this new product we are entering the mid-premium and specialty segment," says Uwe Hein, Sales Manager Systems, about the market potential.

The new calipers are made of an aluminum alloy by means of gravity die casting. Steel bushings are pressed into the outside: "This provides the stiffness and strength that the fixed caliper needs," says Hein. The inserts can be seen on the front of the caliper, where the logo is usually applied.

Completely New Market for Brembo

According to Uwe Hein, the development took almost four years — he is enthusiastic about the result: "With this construction method we are able to build approximately nine to ten millimeters narrower models. This opens up a completely new market for Brembo: "We are now entering the 16-inch and 17-inch ranges", says Hein, referring to the size of the wheels.

The supplier's racing know-how has once again been incorporated into the development. In addition to performance and response, the race track also provides insights about the limits of the systems. "When does the brake fluid start to 'boil' and what can we do about it?”

Racing Know-How Helps "In Normal Use Cases"

As a manufacturer of brake discs, the Italian company can also test the interaction within the system. This allows brake shoes, brake discs and the control system to be easily matched to one another. "This helps us in the high-performance area, but also in usual applications," says Hein about the advantage of the company’s activities in these demanding applications.

The new compact caliper from Brembo uses pistons with a diameter of 38 and 42 millimeters, a brake lining with a surface area of 72 square centimeters and an 11-millimetre thick abrasion layer. The performance of the caliper is of course important — a decisive advantage over the floating calipers. Uwe Hein: "The advantage of this design is a lower drag torque, i.e. the shoes release faster after braking — no undesired grinding of the shoes on the disc occurs".

Series Production Starting in Autumn 2018

And "Flexira" has another advantage over floating calipers: Two to two and a half kilograms of weight can be saved per axle. In view of constantly decreasing emission limits, this lightweight construction approach offers additional market potential — "depending on how great the pressure will be to save weight in the future," says Hein.

Series production for a German manufacturer of the new fixed saddle will start in October 2018. Uwe Hein does not yet want to reveal the name of this client. It will certainly not be difficult to recognize the fixed calipers — Brembo is already working on the first color requests of their customers.

This article was first published by Automobil Industrie.

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