ZF Aftermarket is launching three new or revised TRW products for brake repair; and in doing so is supporting one of the most important business areas in the independent workshop. These include a new, copper free version of TRW Electric Blue brake pads, which are specially designed for electric vehicles. In addition, two new products show that significant progress can be made through meticulous development and leveraging the ZF OE power: the new design of brake hoses, and the low abutment clip with active spring return.
The brakes of battery electric vehicles place special demands on the brake pads. They must operate as quietly as possible, generate little abrasion and should still have full friction performance even after a long period of non-use. These requirements have been met by the TRW Electric Blue brake pad, specially designed for electric vehicles, since its debut in 2018.
Now, TRW brake experts have further improved its performance with revisions and new properties. This includes, for example, dispensing with copper in the pad compound. Although the copper content has been limited for many years by the specifications dictated by ECE-R90 regulations, ZF Aftermarket has now succeeded in completely dispensing with the heavy metal. Furthermore, TRW brake pads consist of an average of 13 percent recycled materials and are free of organic solvents. Together with the further reduction in abrasion – the first generation of Electric Blue already produced 45 percent less brake dust than conventional friction pads – the optimised TRW products significantly reduce the emission of pollutants into the environment.
In addition, ZF uses only electricity obtained from wind and solar energy in the production process at its plant in Spain where the TRW Electric Blue brake pads are produced, which reduces CO2 emissions by 14,600 tons per year. Furthermore, in quarter 1, 2023, as part of the Electric Blue relaunch, all polythene bags used in the packaging will be replaced by organic bags in the first quarter of 2023, saving more than nine tons of plastic per year.
But it is not only in terms of environmental protection that the brake experts have further developed the Electric Blue product range. NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) behaviour, i.e. driving comfort, has also improved. The new generation of TRW Electric Blue brake pads can be recognised by their new design. From now on, over 60 versions have been available for many current electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
New TRW brake hoses that are easier to install
In another innovation story, ZF Aftermarket has completely redeveloped its range of TRW brake hoses. An improved elastomer has made it possible to reduce the outer diameter from 10.2 to 9.0 millimetres. This reduces the weight by up to 15 percent, has made the hoses 13 percent more elastic, and as a result are easier to install. The hose material with its middle layer of ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (EPDM) is more resistant to brake fluid and high temperatures, thus improving the safety and durability of the components. In addition, the more stable construction results in a smaller increase in volume under pressure. This gives the driver a faster brake response and thus a shorter braking distance. The pedal feel is also more precise.
To make it easier for workshops to order, use and fit the new components, from now on ZF Aftermarket will use the same part numbers as for the respective predecessor components. All mounting parts and seals also remain unchanged. With around 1,400 references, ZF Aftermarket provides comprehensive market coverage.
And finally, in line with ZF’s greener thinking, the packaging has been changed to now consist of 60 percent recycled material; thus avoiding the use of 4.9 tons of plastic per year.
Small part, big effect: The new TRW low abutment Clip
Under the TRW brand, a product already in production for OE is added to the aftermarket portfolio in the first quarter of 2023: the low abutment clip with active spring return. This is a specially shaped spring that clips between the brake caliper and the brake pad. Such clips are used to primarily ensure the correct positioning of the pad, but the TRW product innovation also supports the roll-back function of the brake piston, ensuring that the brake pad doesn’t rest against the disc while driving. This avoids unnecessary abrasion and reduces fine dust emissions and fuel consumption. At the same time, this increases the proportion of kinetic energy that can be recovered in electric cars through recuperation. And last but not least, the lack of continuous friction between the brake pad and the disc also prevents noise.
Markus Wittig, Head of the Passenger Car Aftermarket Business Line, emphasises: “Environmental protection and innovation are deeply anchored in the DNA of ZF Aftermarket. Our current portfolio expansions show how we consistently implement these two corporate goals in product development. This is particularly important for brake products, as this area will also be one of the key sales drivers for our customers in the age of electromobility. With the products of the TRW brand, we completely cover the European vehicle fleet and are also at the forefront of technical progress.”