Solely distributed by HELLA Australia in Australia and New Zealand, through its strategic partnership with TMD Friction, TEXTAR braking solutions are an original equipment product fitted on more than 70 per cent of European commercial trucks and buses. Precision engineered, the brake components, according to the manufacturer, deliver maximum performance, service life and safety.
TEXTAR brake discs and pads, for local operators who might have yet to familiarise themselves with these products, go through rigorous lab and field-testing to ensure an end product that inspires confidence in drivers who need to know their semi-trailer will stop when they need it to.
Avoiding collisions and reacting, at speed, to other drivers ignorant to the brake restraint of a considerably larger commercial heavy vehicle on the road is of upmost importance to those operators who make their livelihoods hauling precious goods.
A NTI National Truck Accident Research Centre report released last year showed that only seven per cent of fatal multi-vehicle crashes are the fault of the heavy vehicle. Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), as reported by the National Road Safety Strategy, can reduce death and injury through a demonstrated reduction in rear-end crashes of close to 40 per cent for early systems.
As AEB systems become more sophisticated, it has the potential to reduce deaths by between one and as much as 10 per cent.
Rare is it that a balance exists between saving lives and saving money – at least in regards to lesser quality commercial vehicle products.
A premium brand, after all, doesn’t simply inherit its reputation.
How it is perceived in the marketplace derives from the standards it meets internally and delivers for its customers, especially if the performance of the product for those same customers saves thousands of dollars in damages or even, more indispensably, lives.
When it comes to safety, a premium brand provides peace of mind. Ultimately, in the commercial road transport industry, some risks are not worth taking.
The Federal Government in late 2017 estimated that by fitting advanced braking systems to heavy vehicles up to 124 lives can be saved with serious injuries being reduced by more than 1,000 over the expected period of regulation.
Founded in 1913 as a sales company, TEXTAR delivers products, through an uncompromising approach to design and evaluation.
Since the 1950s when it first began offering replacement brake pads made to the same exacting standards under the TEXTAR brand as its original equipment, its unwavering consistency of focus has been embodied in TMD Friction research and development centres across the globe.
These facilities host an involved process of extensive evaluations. Its test series includes inertia dynamometers and noise test stands.
Many of its on-road trials are conducted on its test track in the Rossfeld Alps, Austria, where brake solutions are put through downhill trials and at high speeds. The average temperatures during some of these tests reach up to 315-420°C.
TMD Friction owns 100 test vehicles in which each new pad/lining undergoes up to 300,000 kilometres of testing.
Part of this process is to ensure the integrity of the surface life of OEM commercial vehicle brake pads which is dependent on operating conditions and variables such as ambient temperature, humidity, driver behaviour, traffic conditions, and even the topography of the surface driven on.
Other factors under intense evaluation include whether the pads have been fitted to worn or part worn discs; the level of dirt and contamination in the driven environment; the material and structure of the disc; the aggressiveness of the pad material; the freedom of movement of the sliding elements; and the piston in the calliper. Each will have a significant effect on product life.
While some disc pads and discs can provide up to 300,000 kilometres of uninterrupted service others reach the end of life at 20,000 kilometres. Lower mileages are often possible in individual cases making it impossible for manufacturers and distributors to offer guarantees for the useful life of their brake pads and discs.
To date, TEXTAR has enjoyed ongoing worldwide success in the commercial vehicle sector through its lightweight backing plates. HELLA Australia has been distributing the premium product line since 2016.
According to David Preedy, HELLA National Key Account Manager Aftermarket Commercial Vehicles, TEXTAR CV brake pads are specially designed to provide exceptional brake efficiency across a range of speeds, pressures and temperatures – a notable advantage given the extreme and contrasting conditions of the Nullarbor Plain, Derwent Valley, the Great Dividing Range, Pilbara and the sprawling cities of Australia.
“Dedicated OE formulations ensure long life, excellent disc compatibility and noise prevention,” David says. “TEXTAR products provide a balance of performance, durability and safety for commercial vehicles.”
During safety testing, TMD Friction technicians work across an expansive checklist of performance criteria. In order to ensure TEXTAR products meet its robust standards, scrutiny is directed to key areas like bedding performance, cold friction levels, speed stability, temperature stability, wet friction level, friction level with salt, pressure stability, static friction levels for parking brake, friction levels for driving backwards, growth and shrinkage, compressibility, thermal throughput and conductivity, strength in terms of appearance of cracks or tears, combustibility, corrosion resistance and flexural strength.
Comfort levels are also tested. Assessments cover noises, vehicle vibrations, pedal feeling, smell, smoke, pedal force, wheel fouling and ecological damage by abrasion products. Economic considerations include wear of friction material, wear of disc and drum material, weight and manufacturing costs.
All of this works as a kind of fail-safe against hairline fractures and cracks in pads, which will eventually lead to bigger fissures that leave equipment vulnerable to rapid degradation. In contrast tests with non-OEM brake discs, TEXTAR T3050, for one example, showed 32 per cent less wear.
Comparative testing, now a mandatory practice, reveals that in a TEXTAR Benchmark Deceleration Test of 50 km/h the dangers of non-genuine parts with alarming performance concerns found with the cheaper CV brake pads whose supply in the market is increasing.
Some of the quality concerns include lack of mechanical fastening. The use of non genuine hold down springs can result in incorrect tension of pads within the caliper housing which often causes premature wear of associated brake parts, vibration and noise.
According to David, brake noises can be symptomatic of disc cracks and other issues resulting in changing high-speed vibration, although impossible to see with the naked eye, they usually manifest in an audible squeal.
“As cracks propagate to the other edges of the disc these cracks change the natural frequency of vibration for both the pad/discs,” he says.
“In addition to this, cracks within the discs act like a cheese grater which impacts not only pad wear rate but also raises the friction performance, by changing the friction performance from its design output this can also increase the tendency for noise propensity.”
Small hairline cracks are normal but over a prolonged period these can extend and open in width.
“Repeated high speed deceleration from cook brake temperatures are the driving conditions which generally cause this crack propagation with pad materials prone to this issue,” he says.
“All truck manufacturers have their own specifications for what is and isn’t permissible.”
As a general rule, according to David, cracks in a radial direction less than 1.5mm of width are acceptable. Cracks bigger than 1.5mm that reach through to the cooling duct are not acceptable and the disc, by this stage, should be replaced.
Higher temperatures, like those found in parts of Australia all year round, demand the most out of heavy vehicle equipment especially when it has been in operation continuously for long periods.
Friction materials are a composite of up to 15 different raw materials. Some of these consist of organic raw materials and these degrade as temperature increases.
“As the temperature gets even hotter more of the high temperature protection is reduced resulting in pad wear increasing when the temperature reduces the protection returns to its original state and enables the pad to function as required,” he says.
“TEXTAR products are tested to the edge of destruction to ensure the end user does not encounter unforeseen issues.”
With accident risk prevention a major focus in road transport, TEXTAR brake solutions, as it undergoes the most extreme thermal loads, are a result of processes that are designed to guarantee permanent bonding of the friction material to the backing plate for optimum safety and comfort.
Low quality product specifications can mean an absence of under layer or OE chamfering of pads that leads to high thermal conductivity where heat transfers to the surface of the brake disc enable distortion and cracks.
Non-genuine parts suffer high wear rates even in mid temperature ranges resulting in poor braking efficiency. Friction material deterioration such as brake fade at high temperature operation equates in excessive stopping distances.
TEXTAR unlike non-genuine pads, which contravene brake manufacturer patents, greatly diminishes the risk of these potential dangers.