|The brake dyno has a scatter shield just in case highly stressed components fail at high RPM. The brake dyno has a highly sophisticated computer controller that can do anything from cycle testing to simulating laps around a race track. The dyno can read torque output and operating pressure as well as making use of thermal imagery to track temperatures across the system.|
After looking at how the pads were made, our next stop was the brake dyno. The brake dyno is a computer controlled device that can test brake systems at their limits. The brakes are loaded with a huge flywheel powered by a large electric motor. The dyno can be programmed to simulate different driving cycles and even laps around certain tracks in cars of differing weights and power levels. The brake dyno is great for durability cycle testing and for thermal and ultimate performance testing and Performance Friction makes extensive use of their brake dyno cell in development and long term testing. A lot of technology used for the brake dyno was also secret and we could only take pictures from a limited number of angles.
|This view shows part of the huge electric motor that powers the dyno. Performance Friction wanted us to limit what we showed here to protect their proprietary technology so this is about all we could show.|
The next stop was the rotor manufacturing area. Performance Friction makes a wide assortment of rotors from heavy duty stock replacement parts to racing applications. All of Performance Friction’s rotors are not copies of the OEM rotors but reengineered to be better. The rotors are made of a special heat resistant and dimensionally stable at high heat grade of iron. The rotor’s vents are reengineered with the vent locations and geometry determined by extensive airflow, stress and thermal analysis. The rotor axial and radial runout is closely controlled to a few ten thousandths of an inch to ensure nearly perfect balance.
|Performance Friction’s super high tech CNC rotor turning centers are highly automated and can hold amazingly close tolerances. We feel pretty safe to say that no other brake manufacturer can hold such tolerances which are a few then thousandths of an inch! The machines themselves and tooling are all highly secret but we were able to get this one shot.|
|A view of the automated rotor machining center.|
We were very impressed with the precision of Performance Friction’s rotor machining process. All rotor blanks, from OEM replacement to racing are ground to size with ultra precise CNC turning equipment. Close tolerance CNC turning is a very specialized and precise machining method which is usually reserved for components that need really tight tolerance like camshafts and pistons. Performance Friction was very reluctant to give us specifics of the process but we did observe a high degree of automation, very rigid bespoke tooling and a lot of cooling airflow.
|The rotor turning operation makes extensive use of SPC or statistical process control. This is a real time X Bar R chart taken automatically right after the machining process. The CNC machine takes this data and adjusts itself on the fly to keep everything right in the middle of tolerances. For you data geeks, look at the histogram and note how centered the distribution is. For those of you in manufacturing engineering, you understand that this is a distribution to die for!|
The CNC grinders had built in automated measuring systems using a jeweled probe much like a coordinate measuring machine. The data gathered by the probes were sent to a computerized SPC system. SPC is statistical process control, where the trend of the measurements can be used to track tooling and machine wear. The really cool thing is that the CNC grinders used the SPC data as feedback to automatically adjust and keep the dimensions centered within the manufacturing tolerance. This is all very state of the art for machining and was very secret. When we asked questions we only got very guarded answers.
|This is a CMM or a Coordinate Measuring Machine. It can measure objects automatically with a high degree of precession. Performance Friction makes extensive use of these machines to do statistical layout inspections of rotors and calipers. The machine is so accurate, it must be kept in a temperature controlled room and parts to be measured must normalize at a constant temperature as the heat can cause variance.|
In addition to the real time machining dimensional data, rotors are also statistically sampled and given a very though inspection by Performance Friction’s Metrology department. There, rotors and calipers are carefully measured and given a full layout inspection with a series of CMM or coordinate measuring machines. This sort of equipment and quality processes are unheard of in the performance aftermarket and usually only reserved for the OEM’s and their suppliers.
|The CMM machine uses a probe with a Ruby tip. The jewel tip is super hard and doesn’t wear due to its low friction.|