TRW sees increasing market penetration for Electric Park Brake systems

April 19, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
TRW Automotive Holdings announced that it has been awarded new business for its next-generation Electric Park Brake (EPB) technology with two major North American based vehicle manufacturers. The EPB system functions as a conventional hydraulic brake for standard service brake applications, and as an electric brake for parking and emergency braking.

TRW launched the first integrated caliper EPB system in 2001 and is bringing the wide range of functional and ancillary benefits of EPB to market with the launch of EPB expected in the 2013 model year. The new systems will feature TRW's next-generation technology including its Gen 5 Electronic Control Unit (ECU).

TRW's EPB technology goes beyond the simple functionality of holding a vehicle in a stopped position, because it is based on electronics it can be integrated with other vehicle systems, the company said. For example, the EPB can work with a vehicle's Electronic Stability Control system in emergency stop situations to enable full four-wheel anti-lock functionality enhancing safety in an emergency braking situation.

The current fifth generation of TRW's EPB ECU utilizes a dual microcontroller safety architecture with an application-specific integrated circuit. The memory size is scalable up to 1MB with the option of incorporating (external) customer software modules. For greater packaging and performance flexibility there is an option to integrate longitudinal, lateral and yaw rate sensors within the ECU. TRW also offers an integrated EPBi system where control of the unit is integrated into the Slip Control system, and we can also work with slip control systems from other companies to offer this integration function to vehicle manufacturers.

EPB systems allow for greater freedom of design for vehicle interiors since they utilize electrical cables and a control switch instead of a typical foot pedal or hand lever associated to conventional park brakes. In addition, it helps to reduce weight and thus to improve fuel economy. In an example quotes by TRW, a pickup truck popular in the North American market, more than seven kilograms could be saved when an EPB system replaced a drum-in-hat rear park brake system. Furthermore, for OEMs the assembly of the EPB system into the vehicle is simpler and the robustness of the system can result in fewer warranty complaints.

Other benefits include