NeoBrake develops lightweight cast iron brake shoe

NeoBrake Systems Inc, an early North American heavy-duty brake remanufacturer and formulator of world-class asbestos-free brake linings and pads, has announced a major breakthrough in S-cam foundation brake stopping power and performance with the introduction of Matrix NeoCast, a new lightweight cast iron 4707Q brake shoe.

Matrix NeoCast 4707Q is the first lightweight cast iron shoe of its kind, combining the traditional advantages of cast iron shoes--lasting rigidity, superior heat dissipation, sustained maximum torque, and optimal lining-to-drum contact--with an advanced, high-carbon ductile cast iron that weighs significantly less than cast shoes of old.

“The future may be air disc brakes, but the roadways are filled with trucks and trailers still using drum brakes,” said Rick Ballew, NeoBrake president and chief executive officer. “We know the beating pressed-steel cores take after each relining, so we developed a shoe that could resist all that and deliver maximum braking power at every stop.”

According to Ballew, safety is the driving force behind his Milwaukee-area-based reman brake shop, which he opened in 1988. Through the years, he’s seen the various changes in the industry and has adapted his operation accordingly. But the one mistake he always believed the industry made was moving away from cast iron. So when he had this idea, he knew the only obstacle standing in his way was weight.

“I travel the world to find the best suppliers and that quality edge to incorporate in my products,” said Ballew. “When I stumbled upon this high-carbon, ductile cast iron, I knew we had the green light to bring back the only true material for brake shoes and boost drum brake stopping power.”

The Matrix NeoCast 4707Q brake shoe weighs within ounces of its pressed-steel counterparts and promises to boost braking power from the moment it is installed--never letting up until the day it is retired. How long the Matrix NeoCast shoe will last depends on multiple factors, which include the experience level of the driver and application, but Ballew guarantees it will last longer than any pressed-steel core.

Matrix NeoCast’s rigid, one-piece construction eliminates table flex, web stretch, and broken welds, which are common signs of deteriorating pressed-steel shoes. This leads to diminished torque, as well as uneven lining wear and, ultimately, premature lining replacement. Yet, the standard practice is to coin the shoe true every time it comes in for relining, then send it back out. Ballew said he believes this is the heart of the problem.

“Pressed-steel cores get softer and softer until they wear too thin to use, if their welds haven’t broken before then,” he said. “That won’t happen with our Matrix NeoCast shoe--that’s the beauty of cast iron. In fact, we fully expect this shoe to resist rust or rust-jacking for at least the average life-cycle of a new truck or trailer based on its cast iron composition and properties.

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