Prize winning brake

The SGL Group has picked up the €50,000 Prof Ferdinand Porsche Prize for its carbon-ceramic brake disc.

The award is granted every two years for pioneering inventions in the field of automotive technology. Hans-Michael Güther, Managing Director of SGL Brakes, who was personally awarded, received the prize for his key involvement in the brake disc-development in a ceremony at the Vienna University of Technology.

The prize was created in 1976 by Porsche Holding, Salzburg, and Porsche, Stuttgart. In the past, the prize has been awarded for other automotive innovations such as airbag (1987), turbocharged diesel direct injection (1991) and ABS (1981).

‘In trying to reduce the weight of a chassis, development engineers at automotive manufacturers have to fight for every gram. We provide a brake disc that is several kilograms lighter than a conventional steel disc,’ said Robert Koehler, CEO of the SGL Group.

The carbon-ceramic brake disc offers more than just weight advantages – it also improves shock absorber response as well as handling. Abrasion on carbon-ceramic brake discs is extremely low compared to metal brake discs too, thanks to their extreme surface hardness. Life expectancy is correspondingly high as well, due to the corrosion resistance of the material.

The SGL Group and Porsche initially launched the brake disc at the International Automobile Fair (IAA) in Frankfurt in 1999. It was used just two years later as the “Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake” (PCCB) in the 911 GT2.

Porsche now offers this brake system for all 911 models. More than 50 percent of units of the sporty 911 GT3 model series are ordered with PCCB, while 100 percent of units of the racing version of the 911 GT3 are equipped with it. Since 2005, Audi customers have also been able to order carbon-ceramic brake discs in A8 W12, S8 and RS4 models. The SGL Group also delivers it to Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini.

Around 30,000 brake discs per annum are currently produced at the SGL facility in Meitingen, near Augsburg.

Carbon brake discs must be baked in 900° C (1652° F) carbonization furnaces. Carbon-ceramic discs require an additional production step, known as siliconization. In this process, the carbon discs are subjected to even higher temperatures together with silicon. At around 1,700° C (3092° F) the silicon in the high-vacuum furnace reacts with the carbon of the brake disc and carbon-fibre-reinforced silicon carbide (C/SiC) is generated.