Here's what's behind the callipers and discs developed by one of Italy's leading companies.
Acceleration, speed, counter-steering are among the first things you think about when it comes to performance driving. These are key elements to driving fun, of course, but there’s more going on behind the scenes and beneath the sheetmetal that influence the dynamics of driving, whether on the road or the track. This is the case with the brakes, which are not only essential for safety, but also the driver’s ability to manage the vehicle’s weight. Slowing down is a decisive aspect of driving fast. Brembo, the famed Italian automotive supplier, is a key part of this, building the discs and callipers of the world’s performance vehicles. It does so through continuous engineering collaboration with automakers, from the design phase to final tests on the road and the track.
From the factory to road testing
After the first phase of planning we move on to practice, transforming raw materials into discs, callipers, and components that will absorb braking energy. As you can see in the video, highly automated departments host the different phases of production, under the supervision of specialised engineers and technicians who analyse the behaviour of materials in any condition.
The tests, which take place in the Testing Area, are used to verify the response to what in engineering is called "fatigue", identifying the limits of static (application of cyclic loads) and dynamic (involving the entire braking system) mechanical strength, and simulating the stresses the brakes will be subjected to in daily use. On the road, engineers carry out braking cycles with prototypes equipped with sensors capable of acquiring parameters on operating temperatures, pressure, speed, and acceleration of the car. Without forgetting, of course, to report the sensations you receive at the pedal.
From cast iron to carbon-ceramics
If we refer to pure performance, the maximum level that Brembo is able to guarantee is represented by carbon-ceramic discs. For their manufacture, carbon fibre, silicon, and other raw materials are poured in pre-established quantities into aluminium moulds which, passing under hot presses, form the disc. As you can see, the processing phases do not stop here, with the disc undergoing further surface heat treatments to protect the carbon fibre while driving; numerically controlled machines contribute to the final geometry before engineers, as with the cast-iron discs, inspect the units for final structural control.
What is this all for? Feeling a solid, linear, and intuitive pedal under foot not only benefits performance, but guarantees better control of the machine and, consequently, increases safety. Everything you could see in the video is the result of the continuous work of a company that, with its roots in suburban Milan, has been able to establish itself internationally, so as to be considered a synonym for the word "brakes" and one of the best examples of the Made in Italy movement.