ODENSE, Denmark – Earlier this year, the Meneta Group announced its application to patent the SmartStack™ shim technology incorporating both calendered and liquid rubber layers – the first shim to do so. The BRAKE Report recently had the opportunity to speak with three key members of the Group’s SmartStack team about the product, the technology, the marketplace, and the timing of its availability.
“In our industry, shim manufacturers normally only specialize in either one or the other of these technologies [ calendered or liquid rubber],” explained Jens Thuesen, R&D Brake Noise & Vibration Manager. “Meneta is the first shim manufacturer that has the capabilities to utilize both rubber technologies in-house.
“So, not only can we make a shim with calendered or liquid rubber , we can now make a product that has one side being with calendered rubber and the other side being with liquid coating.”
In addition to the two different types of rubber layers, Meneta’s SmartStack shims also have additional features to reduce noise, improve [brake] pedal feel and eliminate glue oozing.
The company has been speaking with its aftermarket and original-equipment customers about these new shims with interest coming from both segments of the brake industry.
“I just had a meeting with a potential new customer saying, ‘can we see this new product and when can we have it?’” said Søren Jollmann, Team Leader, IAM Sales. “They think it’s highly interesting; they’ve been searching for new things to differentiate with, and this is a good fit for the customer. It’s a good option, it’s a good way of introducing something new to the market.
“We’re hearing very good feedback from the aftermarket customers. There is a lot of good interest there.”
“And we have also been visiting some of the OEMs and introduced this material and given a detailed presentation on this. They are also very, very interested in this and have asked for samples,” added Thuesen.
One reason for OEM interest, according to Martin Søgaard, PhD, Group R&D manager, is the SmartStack’s potential ability to be a quick solution to NVH issues surrounding a new-car’s brake system.
“They would very much like a product that can quickly provide a solution to the specific NVH problem on that specific brake. And therefore, the SmartStack can represent a faster solution in terms of development.”
And shims, according to Thuesen, are the key to reducing brake noise. When a new vehicle’s braking system is designed, the engineers will finalize the friction materials, the brake housing, the discs, the pads in such a way to meet stopping parameters, but they might still have squeal.
“They can do a lot of design optimization during the development,” he explained. “But it is almost impossible to design it so that it is completely noise-free. And we can actually go from something like 50-percent noise to less than two-percent noise where a shim plays the main role in the final noise solution. So, it is the cheapest [and quickest] way to solve noise issues.”
The patent application has been published (this and other basics of the SmartStack story were covered in a previous TBR post), word is spreading through the automotive community and interest is growing. Initial production will most likely go to the aftermarket, which Jollmann hopes will happen by the fourth quarter of 2023.
“It is ready to be produced,” said Søgaard, “once customers evaluate and make their commitments.”