SWE - Swedish-made brake innovation boosts sustainability in EVs, HEVs

Swedish company Automotive Components Floby has relaunched its SiCA Light product – an aluminium brake disc with silicon carbide particle reinforcement.

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When the automotive industry is mentioned in an environmental context, the focus tends to be on emissions from combustion engines. What many people don’t talk about is the fact that the brake system generates more particle emissions from the vehicle than the actual engine. “The brake disc replaces conventional cast iron discs, while also releasing fewer harmful particles and lasting longer over time. Our unique manufacturing process makes the product very attractive on the market,” says Adam Thomas, Development Engineer at AC Floby.

During EuroBrake, one of the world’s leading trade conferences and exhibitions for brake experts primarily in cars and commercial vehicles, AC Floby relaunched its SiCA Light brake disc. It replaces previous cast iron discs and contributes to more sustainable driving. Automotive Components Floby says the SiCA Light disc reduces particle emissions considerably, but it also has a longer life span over time than conventional alternatives.

“We can see this disc suiting customers who primarily manufacture electric or hybrid cars. If you have an electric car with standard friction brakes, you tend not to use the brakes so much, which causes problems with corrosion for instance. Conventional brakes are also extremely over-dimensioned for normal users, which means the vehicles are carrying around a lot of unnecessary weight,” explains Thomas.

Change is constant

Plans for the SiCA Light disc were originally sketched in the 1990s, and were progressively developed up to 2013 when the product was first launched on the market. But the market wasn’t ready, says the manufacturer. Now that more and more people have realised the effect of climate change , new innovations are being seen from a new perspective.

“As combustion engines are replaced moving forward, whether wholly or partly, by electricity and batteries, several other components will also need to be replaced. The market is looking for innovative, lightweight, sustainable components that follow current developments. Particle emissions from brakes have also come more into the limelight recently. Our product offers a long life span and low environmental impact, which makes it ideal for the market right now,” says Magnus Johansson, Director Business Development at AC Floby.

Extensive interest from the industry

According to both Thomas and Johansson, sustainability and environmental impact were two distinct trends during the fair in Germany. AC Floby presented its SiCA Light at its stand, and also held a technical seminar on the new aluminium disc.

“There was tremendous interest in SiCA ight. It was very clear that the industry is looking for something other than what conventional products can offer. We met a lot of exciting potential customers and business partners, which we will now be following up on,” says Thomas.

Since AC Floby manufactures components for the automotive industry, the company now needs a car maker to help take the product forward. After that, at least two years will be required for customisation and verification. Since forecasts suggest that 50 percent of the new cars sold in 2025 will be electric or hybrids, Magnus Johansson believes that the SiCA Light disc has huge market potential. “We have already come a long way in the process and have a unique production method that many find exciting. My vision is that demand starts exceeding what we can manufacture in Floby, but time will tell,” he concludes.

Automotive Components Floby was founded in 1957 and delivers parts such as brake discs, wheel hubs and connecting rods to car companies all over the world. It employs over 560 staff – mainly in Sweden –and opened a Shanghai operation in 2018.