INTERNATIONAL BRAKE INDUSTRIES (IBI) AT A GLANCE
- IBI is a maker of aftermarket brake hardware, selling to retail, wholesale, and remanufacturers worldwide since 1967
- It manufactures complete brake hardware kits, including clips, bolts, boots and springs, as well as complementary products like caliper pistons, electric wear sensors and brake lines
- IBI has 350 employees, with teams in Lima, Ohio; South Bend, Indiana; and Shanghai, China
International Brake Industries (IBI) is a leading supplier of brake hardware. The company has manufactured hardware for more than 50 years. During that time, it has amassed a huge catalog of parts and as well as a substantial amount of in-house expertise. It’s also built a very large collection of actual brakes.
In fact, more than 4,000 disc and drum brake assemblies are housed at the company’s Lima, Ohio, headquarters, ranging from a 1965 Chevy Corvette caliper to a 1988 Pontiac Bonneville drum assembly to a 2019 RAM 1500 pickup caliper. Several hundred more join the library each year.
According to Gene Triplett, IBI’s director of quality and engineering, that library is a good example of what sets IBI apart. “We use the library for development of parts,” he says, “but also if there is ever a customer issue. For example, suppose a customer took the brake assembly apart and isn’t sure how it goes back together. We can pull out the same assembly and advise them.”
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“We also use our library to verify each product before it goes out,” Triplett says. “We are truly regarded as an expert in the field of hardware, because with our library we have hands-on expertise with nearly every brake assembly, going back to the ’60s.”
Triplett says that IBI’s focus on quality, thoroughness, and precision sets it apart. “We control the process from beginning to end. We do the research, the design, the materials; we test it. Our engineering department does all of it in-house. We manage the entire process, from the initial research until it is tested and becomes a final approved part.”
“We put all of our product lines through an extensive testing process,” he says. “As an example, for a typical aftermarket pad clip, we measure 60 or 70 different dimensions to make sure they are perfectly fit to the OE requirements. We PPAP test and do incoming/receiving inspection with every single shipment to verify that the tooling did not wear or malfunction. By testing every shipment, we make sure that quality is maintained throughout the life cycle of the part so you can trust what is in every box.”
Everything but the Pad
Brake hardware encompasses a large amount of different products. IBI offers a huge variety of springs, screws, lines, tubes, seals, bolts, dampers, and clips. It offers parking brake hardware kits, drum all-in-one kits, pin boot kits, brake pad electric wear sensor kits, pad installation kits, and many other products. Brake lines, ABS sensors, pistons, and commercial vehicle hardware are some of the areas of growth for the company.
The company has over 6,000 individual parts, making up over 18,000 kit variations. According to Triplett, IBI has the most comprehensive coverage of any parts maker. All those parts are serviced from a state-of-the-art distribution center in South Bend.
“There are fast moving parts and slow-moving parts – we stock them all so you don’t have to,” says Triplett. “Our customers can get what they need when they need it.” Triplett adds, “We make a complicated category easy for our customers.”
Even though IBI has a rigorous process when it comes to producing parts, it also moves quickly to make sure it has the latest parts.
“We are always first to market with new coverage in both the US/Canada and Mexico,” says Triplett. “Every year we research every new make and model to maintain the best coverage in the industry. We purchase all the OE parts every year, analyze them, and develop aftermarket products that meet or exceed all the OE specifications so we can guarantee it will fit and function exactly like the OE part. We verify fit and function of every part before the tooling is released to full production.”
IBI parts cover 98% of the entire vehicle parc. “Best-selling vehicles and niche vehicles. Current and classic. We research as low as 500-VIO per year. They may not be the first ones we add to coverage, but they are still on our radar and we know when to add the part.”
Engineers on Call
Triplett joined IBI after many years in commercial vehicle braking, including six years as business unit director for drum brakes at Bendix. He says the IBI team is full of people who live and breathe brake hardware. “People in our engineering department have dedicated their lives to brake hardware and understanding brake systems.”
Triplett stresses the role of the engineers in the company. If someone calls with a technical question, “a true engineer responds,” he says.
“Our engineering group has an incredible knowledge base. We understand how the whole brake system works together. We can convey that message to our customers and their trainers as a value-add. We help educate them and share our expertise,” he says. “We want to share our knowledge with the customers, because we know that the more people understand the full brake system, the more they realize the importance of brake hardware.”