SAE Brake Preview: Company Profiles

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]AE Brake Colloquium kicks off this Sunday. In anticipation of the yearly event, The Brake Report spoke with three exhibitors.

  • Cardolite creates industrial products from cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL).
  • Bruker creates high-end scientific instruments.
  • Dekati specializes in manufacturing tools to measure and sample fine particles.

Get to Know Cardolite

Cardolite is a raw material producer for the friction industry. The company is built on the many applications of cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL).

It’s a time-tested technology. One of the first applications of CNSL was in automotive brakes — in the 1930s. In 1946, a factory was built in Newark, New Jersey to produce CNSL derivatives. That factory eventually gave birth to Cardolite.

Today, brakes are still an important part of Cardolite’s business. Other applications are very diverse. “We have products that are used to protect the tiniest microchips, but we also have products that are used to coat the largest container vessels,” says Frederique Catterman, a sales and marking manager at Cardolite.

Another application of CNSL technology is in underwater coatings, says Fernanda Tavares, the company’s vice president. Some of Cardolite’s curing agents are formulated in putties that fix structures underwater. As a sign of the versatility of the technology, she also points to work being done on fireproof insulation foam that uses CNSL.

Cardolite is built around cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL)

In terms of friction itself, Cardolite is busy researching the second generation of CNSL friction particles. Many of the CNSL friction particles in use today are almost 80 years old, notes Catterman. Cardolite is engineering new particles in response to new regulations and new environmental concerns.

From an environmental standpoint, Tavares notes that CNSL starts with a huge advantage. It can actually have a beneficial impact on global warming, since cashew trees absorb CO2. Catterman adds that, since CNSL is not edible, using it for industrial purposes does not interfere with the food chain.

From the perspective of the brake industry, Catterman says the key benefit of CNSL particles is that they allow engineers to “control the compressibility of the friction material. We have particles that provide high compressibility, we have particles that provide low compressibility.”  Catterman adds that CNSL is used in brake pads, linings, clutch facings, and industrial brakes.

Cardolite has about 300 employees around the world. Production facilities are in China and India, while R&D and marketing take place in New Jersey. Sales satellite offices are located around the world.

Bruker’s New Benchtop Screening System

At SAE Brake Colloquium, Bruker will be showing off its new benchtop material screening system.

According to Steve Papanicolaou, the record of benchtop screeners in the industry isn’t great. Papanicolaou is the Americas Sales Manager at Bruker Nano Surfaces — Tribology and Mechanical Testing. In addition to representing Bruker at the Colloquium, he’ll give a short TED-style presentation titled “What’s In Your Brake Dust?”

The focus of the talk is the new Bruker UMT TriboLab. “People that know brakes are recognizing this mini friction-testing system as a potential path toward much-improved development speed,” according to Papanicolaou.

The Bruker UMT TriboLab
The Bruker UMT TriboLab

Papanicolaou stresses that this machine is more accurate than past benchtop screeners. It was created in association with Dr. Steve Shaffer and in consultation with thought leaders like Chuck Greening and Peter Filip, who has been using a version of the machine for three years.

The TriboLab “very closely mimics real-world conditions,” Papanicolaou says. He says the benchtop system ends up somewhere between a few percent and 10 percent of frictional behavior as tested by dynos.

According to Papanicolaou, the “performance of new material formulations are ranking in the same way as they do on larger scale dynos. So the system performs very well as a down select tool before moving materials to more expensive and time-consuming tests.”

Papanicolaou sees a few other ways brake companies can use the machine. Most pressing is the study of brake pad particles. In a large dyno, it can be hard to collect the particles and hard to clean the machine between tests. The TriboLab chamber is only slightly larger than the size of a few decks of cards, making particle testing much easier. Another potential use by brake makers is testing imported friction materials.

At Dekati, It’s about the Little Things

Dekati helps its customers measure and sample small particles. It does so through a handful of different tools and hands-on customer service. “Every application needs a specific solution. We offer complete solutions for every application,” says Peter Lambaerts, a Technical Sales Consultant for the company.

Measuring vehicle engine emissions is a core part of Dekati’s business. The company is working with brakes increasingly often, spurred in large part by new environmental concerns and the resulting regulation.

Lambaerts stresses that Dekati can assist with more than just brake wear and measuring harmful particles. Dekati technology can also be used in brake development to see how different combinations of materials interact.

Dekati tools and knowledge are used outside the automotive world to measure emissions from power plants, to test indoor and outdoor air quality, and in material processing. One memorable use of the technology was for a ceremonial military unit that fired old-fashioned cannons at events. Dekati was brought in to test what sorts of particles the soldiers were exposed to.

To Lambaerts, there’s a connection between Dekati’s mission and its location in Kangasala, Finland. “It’s a special environment, clean air, full of forest and lakes,” he says. The location “gives us a sense of the importance of having good air quality.”

The Dekati team
The Dekati team

The view from the Dekati headquarters is serene, but inside people are bustling. With about 20 employees in the building, “people do whatever is needed,” Lambaerts says. He adds that because of the company’s small size, it is very nimble and able to offer personalized customer support, both through its experts in Finland and through its large network of distributors.

Earlier in The Brake Report: SAE Brake Colloquium has one eye on the future

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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].