NUCAP Retention System
2001 - PACE Award Winner
What: NUCAP Retention System
NUCAP is recognized for its NUCAP Retention System, as well as the spirit of innovation that characterizes the culture of this small early-stage company.
Traditionally, brake pads have been manufactured using compression molding techniques in which friction material is bonded to a steel back plate. This involves preparation of the surface of the steel plate, as well as the use of chemical agents to enhance the bond between the plate and the friction material. These steps must also be undertaken within sequence, so finishing and painting of the brake pad must be deferred until after the bonding process. Although this manufacturing process is widely accepted, the bond can break down if the steel plate is not properly prepared, leading to uneven wear, noise, or failure. Also, adhesives mean volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and traditional manufacturing processes are expensive, considering cycle time, inventories and indirect expenses.
NUCAP’s breakthrough is the development of a manufacturing process that creates a mechanical lock between the steel back plate and the friction material of the brake pad. This mechanical lock is achieved by gouging hooks in the surface of the steel back plate. The manufacturing process is unique, and changes the way this job is done: the hooks are gouged into the steel plate in two opposing directions as the steel plate is held in a neutral stress position. The pattern of opposing hooks are achieved in a single manufacturing step, which lends itself to high volume production. By creating a pattern of hooks curling in opposite directions, the need for adhesives as a bonding agent between back plate and friction material is eliminated. The result is a superior product, which can be manufactured at lower cost.
The NUCAP Retention System is a compelling example of an innovative solution to an unsatisfactory but accepted process in the automotive industry.