The main engineering challenges in any braking system are to withstand the extremely high temperatures involved, remove the very large amount of heat generated during hard deceleration and minimise the weight of the braking units. As brake manufacturers continue to focus on designs that improve brake feel and reduce engineering costs, Matthew Beecham talked with executives of Continental's hydraulic braking systems' business about how they see the market developing.

What is driving hydraulic braking system innovation?

For sure CO2 reduction and the request to increase robustness of components and systems is currently driving innovations. In addition Electric Parking Brake (EPB) innovations are driven due to interior reasons.

How can OEMs provide very fast, precise brake control without introducing drag?

Only with a very precise design of the caliper in regard of roll back and knock back of the caliper. A very limited but constant clearance between pad an rotor ensure that we have no drag and a good, sportive pedal feel. In addition the matching/ alignment of the single components to a system should be done in a very professional way.

Where do you see the greatest growth potential for hydraulic brakes over the next five years?

In regard of components - EPB. The most growing market is China.

Although brake system specifications are expanding, development time-scales are not ...

Continental brake development is spending a lot of effort and money to install simulation wherever it is possible to, first, strengthen robustness of our products and, second, to save time in the overall development process.

As we understand it, one of the main engineering challenges in any braking system are to withstand the extremely high temperatures involved, to remove the very large amount of heat generated during hard deceleration, and to minimise the weight of the braking units. Is that correct? And how can you achieve that?

Yes, this is one of our main topics but with a very well defined brake system, performance is not really an issue. The much more severe issue today is to avoid squeal and dust. And here we spend a lot of know-how and engineering capacity to meet the customers and end users expectation.

To what extent are you seeing greater use of, say, carbon ceramics in disc brakes?

Carbon ceramic brake discs are limited to luxury or sporty segment. We do not see that this will be introduced to lower segment cars.

With weight reduction in mind, to what extent are you seeing greater use of aluminium in disc brakes?

We see a clear trend to use aluminium instead of steel in booster shells an aluminium instead of cast iron for caliper housings.

How do you see the further application of disc brakes across these lower segments?

We can see a renaissance of the drum due to cost reasons. So, for sure drum brake will remain in lower segment cars. This is valid for all markets.

How is the market for electric parking brake systems developing in emerging BRIC countries?

The remainder of this interview is available on just-auto's QUBE research service

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