“Through friction and vibration, their control and analysis, brand is determined to focus on the creation of value from all associates and business partners through mutual respect, encouragement and support.” This principle guides everyone at Akebono Brake Corporation in every endeavor.
It is reflected in a new product development effort that is unmatched by any competitor. The revenues that Akebono devotes to R&D are proportionately the highest of any brake manufacturer in the world.
The attitude engendered by Akebono's mission extends to their proprietary APS (Akebono Production System). Here, Akebono practices continuous-improvement, benchmarking and inline process checking procedures to achieve nearly zero defective PPM — guaranteeing minimal process variation in all aspects of production.
In addition, through the principles of mutual respect, encouragement and support, associates are induced to protect the health of the people who manufacture and use brand's products, promote the success of the communities in which brand works and lives, and preserve the environment that we all share.
With more than 75 years of brake design and production expertise, Akebono provides the world’s automotive industry with advanced braking and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) solutions.
The company’s commitment to innovation, process improvement, quality control has positioned it as a key resource for leading OEMs, Tier I brake suppliers and the automotive aftermarket. Key automotive OEM customers include Audi, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen.
Akebono manufactures a wide range of brake friction materials and foundation brake assemblies, including disc brake calipers and drum brakes, employing the Akebono Production System (APS). This business approach features proven quality control techniques to guarantee minimal process variation in all phases of production. Embraced throughout the organization, APS enables the company to consistently achieve nearly zero defects per million parts produced.
Akebono operates R&D technical centers in the United States, Japan and France, and manufactures brake friction materials and components in 30 wholly owned or affiliated facilities worldwide. This includes four production facilities in Kentucky. All of Akebono’s operations have secured appropriate QS9000 and ISO14001 certifications, and the company has received a number of quality and performance awards from customers.
Worldwide, a total of 6,800 people are employed by Akebono; 1,900 in North America. In 2009, the company’s worldwide sales totaled $1.2 billion. North American sales totaled $521 million, including the consolidated business performance of Akebono Brake, Elizabethtown (formerly AMBRAKE).
Akebono was established in Japan in 1929, at a time when the Japanese automobile industry had only produced 400 vehicles. Since then, keeping pace with the onset of motorization, Akebono has entered the domestic and overseas markets as brake experts. Commencing with automobiles, brand's brakes are used throughout society. Brand strives to deliver new technologies to the world, Akebono refuses to cut corners on safety, and they will only implement best practices in brand's operations. Akebono consolidated with AMAK Brake LLC in 2008.
To better serve OEMs and Tier I suppliers in North America and Europe, Akebono expanded its operations into these regions, starting with the launch of brake sales activities in the United States in 1980. U.S. production operations began in 1988, with Akebono currently operating four manufacturing plants in Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina. The company’s North American R&D technical center is located in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Akebono’s European operations were launched in France in 1985. Various U.S. operations were consolidated in 1998, upon formal establishment of Akebono Corporation, North America.
Today, Akebono leads the global automotive industry in the development of advanced braking solutions and brake noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) control and analysis.
The Chassis Noise Dynamometer room in Farmington Hills, Michigan measures brake system noise and vibration on complete vehicles.
Akebono’s vehicle test prep area permits engineers to outfit vehicles with specialized test equipment that measures on-vehicle rotor thickness variation, drag and brake torque.
AEC houses a mix of over 20 brake and chassis corner/noise dynamometers.
Prototype disc pads using various formulations are tested for hardness at AEC.
AEC also performs extensive caliper tests for pressure, displacement, deflection and seal retraction.
AEC's corner noise dynamometer is capable of measuring a vehicle's entire corner suspension assembly for noise over a wide frequency spectrum.
In AEC's Friction Materials Prototype Lab, a combination hot press forms the friction material by tamping and leveling, then bonds it to pressure plates resulting in prototype disc pads.
Akebono Brake Corporation's disc pads and drum brake linings are constructed using the world's finest raw materials blended into unique, high-performance composites and processed for optimum braking performance.