The RELIABLE project will combine Alcon’s extensive experience in the design, development and manufacture of automotive braking systems with Keronite’s expertise in advanced surface treatments to develop an aluminium brake disc for use in high volume automotive applications. The grant, worth in excess of a quarter of a million pounds, will subsidise comprehensive testing and enable the two companies to deploy working prototypes in live vehicles.
Matt Hamblin, Keronite’s CEO, highlighted the importance of the partnership with Alcon: “We’re delighted to be working closely with Alcon on this project. Their expertise in bringing innovative braking solutions to market coupled with our experience of industrialising world-leading surface technologies will prove a very fruitful combination”.
“Most modern passenger vehicles still use heavy cast iron brakes”, comments Robin Francis, Keronite’s Chief Technology Officer. “Cast iron’s onerous weight contributes significantly to the unsprung mass of a vehicle, the type of weight that greatly reduces fuel efficiency and increases vehicular emissions”. Additional concerns have been highlighted in recent years over the particulate emissions created by cast iron brakes, which have been shown to be hazardous.
RELIABLE aims to enhance the performance of aluminium alloys in braking applications. Aluminium is significantly lighter than cast iron – however, its relatively poor thermal properties and lack of intrinsic wear resistance have limited its potential in braking applications – until now.
Keronite’s scientists have employed a unique variant of the plasma electrolytic oxidation coating to improve the performance of aluminium brake discs. Initial trials proved successful, with the coatings evaluated by leading university in the UK and some premier car makers in Europe.
The initial versions of the coating have significantly improved aluminium’s wear and thermal properties. Once deployed, the new technologies could revolutionise passenger vehicle braking systems and help auto manufacturers meet increasingly stringent EU emissions targets for new vehicles.
Keronite design, develop and deploy the world’s most advanced surface coating technologies for light alloys. The company works closely with a range of industries, including automotive, aerospace and oil & gas sectors – developing bespoke coating solutions to reduce weight and increase life in numerous applications.