Global air disc brake development

Product development at Meritor - a leading global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets ( - centers around three focus areas, says Joe ElBehairy, the company's vice president of engineering and quality. They are:

  • Regulatory - Safety, fuel economy and environmental.
  • External - Differentiated/value-added technology, high-value products and strong products.
  • Internal - Margin-enhancing technology and products that are applicable globally.

Materials engineering is a key part of what Meritor does, he notes. So, too, is robust application and validation to ensure reliability, uptime and less warranty.

Advanced technical capabilities and a highly structured testing strategy are used in the development and evolution of the company's full line of foundation brakes. A significant investment has been made to upgrade and add testing equipment.

Meritor is continually working on high-efficiency and lightweight products which will improve fuel economy, ElBehairy says. Also under development are improvements in brake technology to advance safety and to maintain the company's global leadership position.

Products are tailored products to fit regional needs and support market expansion, he says. Additionally, Meritor's vehicle suspension portfolio is designed to deliver maximum maneuverability in any type of environment.

Nearly 60 percent of Meritor's 420 engineers are based in the U.S. and Mexico; 19 percent are in the European Union; 17 percent in India; 2 percent in China; and the remaining engineers are elsewhere.

Dietrich Zaps, general manager, brakes, CVS Europe, Meritor, says the company has a long-term roadmap for the next 10 years that includes a sustainable high performance supply chain, facilities and manufacturing equipment enhancements, investments in people and a broader customer base.

There will also be "bionic optimization" for parts design, a high commonality of parts and lighter weight parts, adds Tony Williams, deputy chief of sales, brakes, Europe, Meritor.