In a recent interview with Brian Hagman, Mike Holly, an external consultant for CBMM, shared insights into the company’s advancements in the use of niobium in brake rotor applications and their presence at the upcoming SAE Brake.
Mike Holly, a materials engineer with a distinguished 43-year career at GM, now working as an external consultant for CBMM, a leader in niobium products. His expertise in brake applications, notably developing ferritic nitrocarburizing, is shaping CBMM’s innovative solutions.
Niobium is an elemental additive that enhances the strength and wear resistance of steels and irons, which Holly explains is integral to modern brake systems, likely present in many of today’s vehicles. Specifically targeting brake rotors, niobium is homogenized in the casting process, thereby improving wear resistance substantially with a minimal addition to the material.
Holly emphasizes the cost-effectiveness of integrating niobium, as it requires no significant alterations to current production processes and offers a substantial return in durability enhancement for a minimal material addition.
Ahead of SAE Brake, CBMM will actively participate in both a presentation and an exhibition. Holly mentions they will present compelling data on the performance improvements of niobium alloy gray iron in wear and corrosion durability, highlighting its synergy with existing technologies like ferritic nitrocarburizing (FNC). FNC is a heat treatment that infuses the surface of iron with nitrogen and carbon to create a composite material that is both wear-resistant and corrosion-resistant. When combined with niobium, the results are exceptional.
At the conference, CBMM will cater to the engineering community’s affinity for data and tangible evidence by showcasing tested brake rotors, complemented by relevant data sets.
Holly notes that CBMM is actively engaging with potential customers across the globe, conducting trials, and integrating niobium into various vehicle segments from light-duty to commercial trucks, without necessitating new capital investments.
CBMM’s initiative represents a significant stride in brake rotor technology, potentially setting a new standard for durability and performance in automotive engineering.