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      06-06-2009, 03:38 PM   #1
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Carbon ceramic rotors

Being an unsprung weight fanatic, I have been searching for reasonable brake rotor options for our E9xs. I have a bro who is a prof in materials engineering at U Washington, and ceramics are his specialty. Anyway, he suggested that SGL carbon AG was working on some useful new technologies, and I ran across this notice that they were joining up with Brembo. Hopefully this will eventually result in more affordable options than Stoptech's 15k system.

Brembo and SGL Group Join Forces in Carbon Ceramic Brake Discs

Brembo and SGL Group sign a full-fledged joint venture in carbon ceramic brake discs for the passenger car and commercial vehicle markets

The new company will be leader in the development of carbon ceramic brake systems as well as production and sale of carbon ceramic brake discs for the premium segment

Significant synergies in technological development, operations and marketing

Development of the next generation carbon ceramic brake discs with larger scale automated production as a medium-term target

Stezzano / Wiesbaden, May 28, 2009. Brembo S.p.A. – a world leader in high performance brake systems – and SGL Group – The Carbon Company – announced today the contract closing of a joint venture for carbon ceramic brake discs, with each parent company owning a 50% share in the new entity. For this purpose, the current subsidiaries Brembo Carbon Ceramic Brake Systems S.p.A. and SGL Brakes GmbH will combine their activities. The joint venture operates under the name “Brembo SGL Carbon Ceramic Brakes” and will become operational effective June 1, 2009. The new headquarter will be in the Milan area. The merger of activities has already been approved by the relevant authorities.

The objective of the joint venture is to further develop carbon ceramic brake systems as well as to produce and market carbon ceramic brake discs exclusively for the passenger car and commercial vehicle markets. The joint venture will also focus on the automated production of the next generation of carbon ceramic brake discs for the broader car market.
With approximately 350 employees at its sites in Meitingen (Germany) and Stezzano (Italy), the joint venture expects sales of approximately €70 million in 2009. Brembo S.p.A. and SGL Group announced their intent in April to merge their respective carbon ceramic brake disc activities into a joint venture. The joint venture will be headed by two General Managers, Antonio Braiato from Brembo and Bruno Toniolo from SGL Group, who both have extensive management experience within each respective parent company.

The current customer base includes, among others, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Daimler, Ferrari, General Motors, Lamborghini and Porsche.

Robert Koehler, CEO of SGL Group, comments: “Brembo SGL Carbon Ceramic Brakes will be the worldwide benchmark in technology, design, development and production of carbon ceramic brake discs for sports and luxury cars. After intense efforts made in recent years, the carbon ceramic disc technology is now ready to be applied on a wider scale. Brembo is the ideal partner for SGL Group to bring this innovative product to the next level of industrialization and commercialization. The joint venture is in line with our Carbon Fibers & Composites growth strategy which is to cooperate in the down-stream businesses with established industry partners and to bundle know how so as to better leverage the market potential to offer superior solutions to our customers.”

Alberto Bombassei, CEO of Brembo S.p.A., remarks: “I am especially proud to announce this joint venture, which will give a critical boost to the next generation of carbon ceramic brake discs. The combination of our expertise in top level brake systems and carbon ceramic disc application with SGL Group’s outstanding knowledge of the materials will allow this type of product to be applied in a broader market segment. “Brembo SGL Carbon Ceramic Brakes” marks a further step in Brembo’s development towards systems with even greater performance and lightweight that meet the changing requirements of the automotive world, including respect for the environment.”

Synergies in materials, processes and product development
The complementary skills of both companies will result in the release of synergies in areas such as materials, processes and product development. Brembo, a leader in the development and production of high performance brake systems for car and motorbike applications, has developed carbon and carbon ceramic materials for F1 and street applications and will contribute its expertise in automated production as well as its brake system know-how. SGL Group has comprehensive experience in carbon fiber based materials and is the only European integrated supplier covering the entire value chain, ranging from precursor and carbon fiber production, to fabrics, preforms and prepregs, as well as composite components. The combined capabilities will enable Brembo SGL Carbon Ceramic Brakes to serve OEMs as their development partner, which will be a key success factor for carbon ceramic brake systems in the marketplace. Joint R&D investments will ensure the efficient utilization of resources and lower development costs by avoiding duplicate work in similar areas.

Large scale production is medium-term objective
Carbon fiber reinforced ceramic materials have been used in aerospace applications since the 1990s. In 2001, with the start-up of the Brembo Carbon Ceramic Brakes Systems and SGL Brakes plants, the first cars were equipped with carbon ceramic brakes on a commercial basis. Both manufacturing facilities have sufficient production capacities to meet current market demand. Despite the present slow-down in the automotive mass market, the significant untapped growth potential for carbon ceramic brakes in the premium segment offers a potential triple digit million Euro market. However, current production technology is still characterized by several manual and semi-automated process steps. Efforts will therefore continue to develop and launch new products based on automated processes suitable for larger scale production. Ultimately, these developments aim to significantly reduce manufacturing costs to justify future investment in a new large scale production facility.

Carbon Ceramic Discs: Green performance
Compared to traditional cast iron discs, carbon ceramic discs offer significant weight reduction – up to 50% – and therefore lower fuel consumption. This product is more environmentally friendly, with lower CO2 emissions, a longer life span, greater corrosion resistance, avoidance of fine particle dust and performance advantages, as well as a very high level of thermal stability (fading resistance).