Composite discs and drums are on the rise. Semimetallic pads and shoes contain less heavy metal.
China’s brake parts industry is rolling out more environment-friendly designs. Suppliers are either developing lightweight high-performance models that will enable greater fuel efficiency or adopting less toxic materials.
The first trend is particularly apparent among makers of metal components. For instance, in the disc and drum sector, many companies have launched carbon-ceramic types.
Weighing about 5kg each, the products are 50 percent lighter than cast iron and steel versions. These are also more durable, boasting a service life of 300,000km, four times longer than metal counterparts.
In the brake caliper line, CME Auto Co. Ltd is offering aluminum alloy designs that are at least 50 percent lighter than iron and steel versions. These are fitted with four or six pistons, in contrast to the usual one or two.
The parts are priced no more than $200 per piece. TÜV and ISO/TS 16949 standards are followed during production.
For brake pads and shoes, the shift to “green” materials continues to gain momentum. Suppliers are expanding asbestos-free selections, which now account for the bulk of exports. Output of asbestos models has been on a downturn since the US and other major markets limited adoption of the material due to its harmful effects on health and the environment.
In the semimetallic sector, several companies are making designs more environment-friendly by reducing the levels of copper and other types of heavy metal.
ANTCH Industries Co. Ltd, meanwhile, is scheduled to release nonmetallic pads this year. The company developed the line in cooperation with a university in Shandong province.
Brake parts made of advanced materials target primarily the upscale segment. Encouraged by strong demand, makers are moving higher up the value chain.
A number intend to enter or shift more resources to the OE sector in coming months. At present, less than 10 percent of China’s brake parts industry supplies domestic vehicle assemblers and even fewer count overseas manufacturers as clients. These midsize to large parts makers adhere to various international standards, including ISO/TS 16949 and 14001.
Qingdao Sunsong Co. Ltd, Ruian Huachi Auto Parts Co. Ltd and ANTCH are among the companies already catering to vehicle assemblers.
For the aftermarket, suppliers are expanding selections for high-end cars. Ruian Hauchi, for instance, is developing brake pads for the BMW 5 series. Haiyan Zhenda Automobile Fittings Fty will be introducing models that can be used in Mercedes-Benz heavy trucks.
Brake parts can be procured from about 2,000 companies in China. About 85 percent of these makers are private enterprises, while the rest are SOEs or foreign-invested operations. Most suppliers are located in Shandong, Hebei, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces.
Discs, drums, pads and shoes account for the majority of products in this industry. The first two lines are available from an estimated 600 enterprises, while pads and shoes are offered by 900 makers.
Brake discs & drums: Output in this category exceeded 150 million pieces last year. Forty percent of the parts were shipped overseas.
Seventy percent of China-made discs and drums come in cast iron, and these usually target the low end or midrange. Priced $4 to $40 each, export-bound models adopt HT250 gray iron compliant with the G3000 standard of the US. Designs can withstand up to 600 C.
Versions made of steel and its alloys constitute about 20 percent of output. Quoted between $30 and $60, these can endure up to 800 C. The products are 25 to 35 percent lighter than cast iron variants, which helps reduce fuel consumption.
Designs in carbon-carbon and carbon-ceramic composites are also available. These are generally priced higher than cast iron and steel variants, being more lightweight and resistant to corrosion and high temperatures.
Brake pads & shoes: Production in this line reached 120 million sets last year. Exports accounted for approximately 70 percent of output.
Packed in sets of four for the front or rear wheels, models are classified as asbestos or asbestos-free.
The former accounts for 25 percent of output. Prices in this category range from $1.50 to $5 per set.
In the nonasbestos category, semimetallic, NAO and ceramic models are available. Semimetallic types are the mainstream line, accounting for almost half of production.
Fujian Hua Min Group
Model: Air Brake Chamber
Model: SAE J1401/3.2*10.5mm
Ruian Huachi Auto Parts Co. Ltd
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All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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