Quick Hits on ZF’s Integrated Braking Control System

The Integrated Brake Control (IBC) system from ZF made a splash in October when the company announced it would be included in the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.

The BRAKE Report spoke with Dan Milot, VP Brake Engineering, one of the key architects of the technology.

What is it?

The IBC is a vacuumless booster and slip control device that replaces a conventional booster and electronic stability control system. It eliminates the need for vacuum from the power train or a vacuum pump. It uses an electronically controlled motor and plunger-type system that is electronically controlled and pushes brake fluid into the system. The pedal input from the driver is interpreted by a hydraulic simulator, which provides the driver the feel of a traditional brake system.

 Why the Chevy Silverado?

The ZF IBC can work for virtually any light vehicle, and ZF anticipates that it will be broadly adopted. The IBC does have the advantage of being able to be finely calibrated to provide car-like braking on a larger vehicle or even to standardize the brake feel across a line of otherwise disparate vehicles.

According to Milot, one of GM’s goals was to have a system that is transparent to the driver used to a conventional system, and the IBC has provided that.

Can consumers calibrate the feel of the IBC?

Not right now, nor is it in the works, but in theory, yes.

Dan Milot

How does regen braking tie in to the IBC?

Because of a simulated pedal feel, IBC can integrate regenerative braking seamlessly with electric motors to recuperate kinetic energy as electric battery charge – reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing fuel economy.

Is it a type of brake-by-wire?

ZF says that it is accurate to think of the IBC as a stepping stone toward fully dry brake-by-wire.

In case of an IBC system failure, the system will diagnose the failure and revert back to a master-cylinder type device that manually pushes fluid into the brake system. According to Milot, “It’s enough of a change that the driver will realize the system should be fixed, but not so much that the driver is startled.”

Any maintenance and upkeep issues?

There is fluid in the system, so it will need the same sort of general maintenance as current brake systems. However, ZF anticipates that the system should be easy to understand for dealers and mechanics once trained on the diagnostics.

According to ZF, here are the main benefits of the IBC:

  • The system can rapidly create brake pressure — at about three times the rate of conventional systems on the market today. This allows it to integrate very well with advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) and, in the future, autonomous vehicles. The extra time the vehicle might need to sense a bicyclist, for example, can be made up on the braking side — providing additional safety advantages.
  • By replacing multiple conventional brake system components, the IBC creates weight savings of up to 11 pounds.
  • The traditional pedal feel means that the system is truly transparent to the driver while also creating enhanced, safer braking.
Ben Nussbaum
Ben Nussbaum

Ben Nussbaum, Chief Content Officer of The Brake Report, has more than 20 years experience in publishing. He was the founding editor for USA Today's line of special interest magazines and the founding editor for i5 Publishing's newsstand one-off magazine program. He lives outside Washington, D.C. Email him at [email protected].