Air Disc Brakes: Increasing Demand and Steady Growth

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Air Disc Brakes: Increasing Demand and Steady Growth

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In the last 5 years, air disc brakes (ADB) penetration in heavy-duty applications has grown from a range of 12 -15% to about 18-25%. This is strong growth for what’s still a relatively new option, but many of the brake makers see ADBs carving out an even larger slice of the pie in the near future.  

Major OEMs use front-axle air disc brakes as standard in Class 8 truck and tractor to meet enhanced federal stopping distance standards. Air disc brakes offer the shortest stopping distances and provide a compact design, minimizing weight, reducing maintenance while improving vehicle and operator efficiency. The pads in a disc brake system can last 500,000 or 600,000 miles, while the rotors can last up to 1 million miles. Brake pad on a disc system can take as little as 20 minutes to change, in some cases without removing the wheel, rotor or drum changes can both be more complicated, but it’s likely that the first owner of the truck may not need to change a rotor. Although there are benefits and advantages of air disc brakes over drum brakes there are also disadvantages especially when you compare parts prices. The price for parts will decrease as air disc brakes become more mainstream and parts jobbers can stock in greater quantities thus being able to order from suppliers at a lower cost.  ADB volume is increasing steadily on both trucks and trailer and is about 25% of all installs at present and should double by 2021.  

In addition, air disc brakes may work well for long haul trucks, but pad replacement is more frequent for intercity vehicles compared to drum brakes. In the case of drums, brake adjusters need periodic lubrication, clevis pins need to be checked for free movement and linings and drums need to be inspected for cracking, expansion of the linings, oil contamination, etc. Pad wear is easy to measure and pads are easy to replace. Routine brake inspections and minor service events also can be completed in less time than with drum brakes, further building favorable ROI. There is significantly less maintenance on disc brakes as there are no grease points on the caliper and no chamber strokes to measure on air disc brakes, simplifying inspections. It is important that the installer and maintenance technician follows the user manual of the brake system manufacturer. Fleets operating disc brakes in freezing temperatures, wheel freeze up is eliminated. Vertical design of disc brakes prevents water from pooling and freezing like in the case of drum brakes. Another important benefit of disc brakes is the wheels cannot depart the vehicle if a wheel bearing fails. The caliper will hold rotor/wheel in position until the operator can pull off the highway.

If you are servicing vehicles equipped with air disc brakes, you need to stock proper parts such as repair and replacement parts like calipers repair kits (some recent calipers are sealed and cannot be repaired by the user), rotors and friction pads. The good news with air disc brakes is that steer and drive axle brakes are essentially the same. This allows for the same pad replacement kits to be used regardless of the wheel-end position for both tractors and trailers. DuraBrake continues expanding its air disc brake product line and the number of part numbers, to support rising market demand.  As more vehicles are equipped with air disc brakes, the need for replacement products continues to grow.   

Turn to DuraBrake for extensive knowledge and continual growth of Air Disc Brake Rotors.  We manufacture over 100 part numbers for the ADB rotor segment currently, so we have a comprehensive product offering for truck, trailer, transit and motorcoach applications.  We can also easily develop new part numbers.  In addition, DuraBrake’s Disc Brake Caliper Repair Kit contains the components necessary for repair of the Disc Brake Caliper.  All of the rubber components are of high-quality designed for resistance to glycol-based brake fluid. DuraBrake has been a major supplier of OE, private-label and aftermarket wheel end components and assemblies with brake drums and brake discs.  With over seven decades of experience in manufacturing, logistics management, large production capacity and quality control expertise DuraBrake’s Strategic Formula is a proven example of specialty know-how & long term success.

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