Steel Shell (Composite) Brake Drum: Breakthrough in Pricing

centrifuge style brake drums

Steel Shell (Composite) Brake Drum: Breakthrough in Pricing

centrifuge style brake drums

Meritor X30 and Stemco’s CentriFuse brake drums for long have successfully dominated the centrifugally cast brake surface inside a steel shell. DuraBrake introduced its own version of the lightweight steel shell brake drum in 2018 so we have had these in service for a little over a year now. This new lightweight steel shell brake drum added a new premium drum to DuraBrake’s current long list of all cast brake drum and Air Disc Brake Rotor part numbers. This brake drum is made using a formed steel outer shell for greater strength in which molten cast iron is poured in the shell spun centrifugally to ensure even distribution of the braking surface. Under these manufacturing conditions the cast iron and the steel shell form a metallurgical bond at the interface. The result is a lighter, stronger and safer brake drum. The steel shell is stronger than normal cast iron, so it prevents drum from shattering or falling apart in extreme circumstances. The steel shell also allows weight to be 15-20% lighter than a normal cast drum leading to better fuel mileage and increased payloads.


LIGHTWEIGHT – 91 lb. drum that is 15-20% lighter than a full weight cast drum.

LONGER LIFE – Superior heat dissipation, resulting in less brake fade and wear.

BALANCED – Drums balanced as a standard option

WARRANTY – 10-year warranty or wearable life

INCREASED SAFETY – One-piece shell design means no welds in the steel shell. Steel shell with high strength shields drum from shattering or falling apart which can happen in cast brake drums when exposed to thermal shocks. Steel shell provides more resistance to heat cracks. Meets and exceeds FMVSS121 requirements

APPLICATION – Application for composite brake drum include original equipment, fleets and aftermarket replacement

COST SAVINGS – Fleet costs will be reduced due to higher fuel economy and profits will be increased by maximizing payloads. Breakthrough in processing and manufacturing makes our composite drums up to 30-40% less expensive than other composite drums currently on the market

COMPATIBILITY – Applications compatible with most common wheel end configurations

We have a breakthrough in cost saving with better manufacturing and engineering which finally makes the application economical. Steel shell makes the drum thinner, stronger and safer as the chances of shattering in use are significantly reduced. The tooling cost is high, which limits the application mainly to the high volume 16.5” by 7” drum and a couple more as high-volume brake drums are price sensitive. We have reduced the price by 30 to 40% from current composite drums based on application and quantity. Equivalent composite drum has reduction in weight by roughly 15 to 20% of cast drum while improving performance and reliability. We have significantly narrowed the price difference between an all cast and composite brake drum. Now we have 20 to 30% increase in upfront cost (composite vs. cast drum) in return for savings in weight and performance based on volume purchase and shipping destination. In summary, the advantages of DuraBrake’s centrifugally fused cast iron drum in a steel shell include:

Total Cost: DuraBrake’s Metallurgically bonded composite brake drum approaches in cost to a heavier all cast brake drum with several engineering benefits of strength and safety. It is also easier to handle during shipping and installation.
Safety: DuraBrake composite drum is safer to use as the steel shell limits the possibility of shattering in use.
Experience: The technology has been widely used and tested but its application is limited by higher tooling and part cost. Now the upfront prices are within striking range but cost savings from application makes the investment more economical. This drum is widely used in OEM application when a standard 16.5” by 7” drum is required, and it is interchangeable in aftermarket application to replace an all cast brake drum.
We have seen great success of this drum in the market.

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