GOING BEHIND THE CURTAIN

Bendix provides a glimpse into its Research and Development Laboratories

In this article, Bendix Head of Engineering, Andrew French, provides a deeper look at what goes into the research and development of brake components at Bendix’s Product Engineering Centre in Ballarat, Victoria.
Andrew explains that countless hours go into the research and development of brake pads and components to make sure they suit specific driving styles and perform to the highest standards. Components are tested to extreme tolerances to make sure they withstand anything that is thrown at them and then some more, he states.
The first phase of the process is developing the compounds to make up each particular brake pad. Each compound is developed to meet various customer needs: from those that simply drive their cars around town to the more extreme use of performance vehicles on the racing circuit.
Andrew advises that the Bendix formulations are developed right there in its Product Engineering Centre at Ballarat, where the brake pads are made and tested with the whole process occurring in-house.
“Both international and special in-house procedures and guidelines are used to validate the materials to ensure that our brake pads are safe once installed in a vehicle,” Andrew said.
“They then undergo extensive lab testing both on hub dynamometers and on vehicles.”
The range of Bendix brake pads developed at the Ballarat plant caters for a wide range of driving styles and each brake pads type is developed differently to cater for these special needs, explained Andrew before going on to describe the range:

General CT
Andrew states this is the bedrock of the Bendix brake pad range but “they are not just the standard OEM spec replacements, but an improved pad that is quieter, smooth across a wide range of operating conditions whilst also delivering low dust levels and consistent pedal feel.”
One feature pointed out by Andrew in the General CT pad is the specially developed Blue Titanium Strip. He explained this feature acts as an intermediate layer between the brake pad and the rotor and does away with the standard bedding in process, providing maximum friction and pedal feel right out of the box.

4WD/SUV
“Our 4WD/SUV brake pads cater for the avid adventurer, providing rugged and reliable performance in the most extreme conditions. We also understand that most off-roaders also spend a lot of time in urban surroundings so our 4WD/SUV brake pads are designed to deliver outstanding braking performance both on and off-road,” Andrew said.
To formulate the 4WD/SUV brake pads, Bendix has taken the General CT type characteristics and combined these with that of the Heavy Duty, with Andrew stating the result is that these offer low dust, low noise and very effective performance.

Heavy Duty
“Our Heavy Duty brake pads cater for vans, trucks, utes and other load carrying vehicles operating under higher load and temperatures than your average road car,” Andrew said.
“Catering for these special needs the Heavy Duty pad is specially formulated to withstand high temperatures and loads. Ceramic materials wear excessively in high heat applications so a material with a high metallic content was needed to ensure performance and wear life is maintained in these conditions. The Heavy Duty pad is also available for most cars where loads such as heavy trailers are used.”

Euro+
According to Andrew, it can be tricky finding the right parts for European cars and this includes brake pads. Fortunately, he says, Bendix has developed the Euro+ brake pads to meet and exceed OEM and European Union’s ECE Regulation 90 rules.
“These regulations stipulate that our brake pads need a plus or minus 15 percent performance against the OEM item,” Andrew said.
“To meet these stringent rules Bendix selects the right formulations to suit each vehicle and also includes all the hardware such as sensors and sundry components for an easy, stress free installation. Euro+ pads are also formulated to provide lower dust levels than the original pads.”

Ultimate and Street Road Track
Bendix notes this is the formulation used for car enthusiasts who like to push their cars hard and has been specifically developed for performance across all conditions to maintain high braking performance and resist brake fade at high temperatures.
“Because of this, the testing regime for our high performance brake pads is different to the testing done on our General CT pads. Standard strength testing is combined with additional testing on the dynamometer and also on the race track,” Andrew said.

But that’s not all…
Along with the research, development and manufacture of brake pads for passenger vehicles, brake shoe kits and brake linings are also manufactured for commercial vehicles such as long haul trucks, trailers and buses.
Bendix says the development of formulas for these applications draws on the learnings from the passenger car brake pad research and development, adding materials for improved strength and wear life to meet heavy commercial use.
Dynamometer and extensive field testing is also undertaken with fleet operators around Australia, providing Bendix with real world conditions and feedback, comments Andrew.
“Our research and development also trickles down to our other brake products and accessories such as Ceramasil Brake Lubricant, Brake Cleaner, shims, sensors and clips, each tested to ensure long lasting reliable performance,” Andrew said.

To learn more, check out episode 107 at the BendixTV YouTube channel or visit www.bendix.com.au