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Chassis Brakes International debuts first NA-produced products

One of the world’s largest producers of automotive brakes and calipers debuts its first North American manufactured products in 2018.

Volume production at the 100,000-ft2 Chassis Brakes International manufacturing facility in Queretaro, Mexico began in April with multiple product launches.

“Our first business for Chassis Brakes in North America includes a mechanical rear parking brake for a low-volume vehicle program in Thailand, and an electric parking brake for a new vehicle model being assembled in North America,” Dennis Berry, Chassis Brakes International’s President of the Americas, told Automotive Engineering.

Chassis Brakes has been manufacturing an electric parking brake in Europe since 2012, and the addition of a new North American production facility dovetails with the industry’s march toward electrification. “The take-rate of this technology is still relatively low compared to mechanical parking brakes," Berry said. "But electric parking brake usage is on an upward trajectory with significant growth forecast for North America.”

Company projections show that on a worldwide basis, electric park brakes claimed 17% of the market share in 2017. That take-rate is projected to reach 35% by 2022. On a micro-level, Europe’s electric parking brake penetration rate was 28% in 2017 with projections of 38% by 2022. In the U.S. market, electric parking brakes had an 8% marketshare in 2017 with growth expected to reach 35% by 2022.

“You can get more functionality from an electric parking brake than what is possible with a mechanical version,” Berry said. He cited the ability to engage emergency braking through an electronic control unit.

Like other brake producers, Chassis Brakes is working to develop a production-ready, brake-by-wire system. “We believe that in 2025 many cars will have SAE Level 3 autonomy, and in that timeline we’ll see the electronic control unit going onto the brake at each wheel,” Berry said.

In the 2030s, Berry said that SAE Level 4-5 autonomous vehicles will be part of the public road landscape. “This timeframe is when we expect to see our Smart Brake [a name the company has trademarked] on production vehicles. It’s a pure electric brake, so it’s a dry brake,” he said about the hydraulic fluid-free system.

Engineers are currently testing the Smart Brake on multiple vehicles at a test track facility in France as development work continues. “We have a dedicated brake-by-wire group in Eindhoven, Netherlands, which is considered the Silicon Valley of Europe,” Berry said, noting that Chassis Brakes was the 150th company to locate in this city’s technology hub. “This is a good place to be as we’re looking to partner with other companies to help drive our Smart Brake technology to production-reality,” he said.

Headquartered in The Netherlands, Chassis Brakes was formed following the acquisition of Robert Bosch GmbH’s foundation brake business in 2012. Chassis Brake’s North American operations, which includes a sales and engineering center in Farmington Hills, Michigan, began in 2015.

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