Livonia-based TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (NYSE: TRW) Monday unveiled its Electric Park Brake system for front axles — a development that makes the technology more affordable for a wider range of vehicle segments.

TRW’s EPB offers a number of safety benefits in addition to space optimization in the vehicle’s passenger compartment thanks to the elimination of the handbrake lever or pedal.

“Until recently, vehicle manufacturers have been reluctant to routinely fit disc brakes to the rear axles of small cars — normally a pre-requisite for EPB – because they are relatively expensive and lower cost drum brakes can comfortably meet performance specifications,” said Josef Pickenhahn, vice president of braking engineering at TRW. “TRW’s front axle EPB offers an affordable solution, requiring only small modifications to the front axle calipers and integrating the necessary electronic components and software into an existing ESC control unit.” 

Similar to conventional rear EPB applications, the front axle system offers simple vehicle assembly within the wheel environment and enhances emergency braking performance through integration with antilock braking and electronic stability control systems in the event of hydraulic failure. In addition, a wide range of comfort and safety features can be included, for example: hill and drive away assist; ECD (electronically controlled deceleration); rollaway detection; and premium stand still management to support ‘stop and go’ and ‘auto hold’ functionality.

Pickenhahn continued: “Our front axle EPB has the potential to further reduce the cost and weight of the rear drum brake systems which no longer require shoe actuators, linkages, fixing devices, cables, or the handbrake lever itself. It’s a further example of how we’re taking existing products and improving their affordability and fuel savings potential in line with market requirements to deliver the safety and efficiency that all drivers deserve.”

TRW’s front EPB is planned for launch in 2013.

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