New Long Life carbon brake goes into service on Air Asia’s A320
In late-April 2018, Airbus delivered the Long Life A320 brake to Air Asia AXM (a subsidiary of Air Asia), fitted on its aircraft MSN 8137. The launch of the new SepCarb IV brake is a landmark event insofar as it is the first time a new carbon brake has come into service since the release of the Sepcarb®III OR fifteen years ago. The Long Life brake features two major innovations: SepCarb®IV carbon and Anoxy® 360, a new system to protect brake disks from oxidation. When compared with Safran Landing Systems' current range of brakes, the Long Life offers improved ease of use as well as more gradual braking at the beginning. Braking is uniform, consistent and smooth. In addition to these improvements in quality and reliability, the Long Life brake also provides a solution to the challenge of ramping up production on the A320neo.
The innovation of this brake isn't just in the product itself, but also in the manufacturing process used to produce it. The Villeurbanne site, a center of excellence in carbon production, has developed a unique manufacturing method that offers the only way of producing SepCarb IV on an industrial scale. By combining thermal and chemical processes, the Impregnator-Damper makes it possible to perform two processes in one: the impregnation of parts with solvent and the damping or drying, and therefore produce the same equipment in less time and at a reduced cost. This innovation improves the composite resistance and enables a 30% reduction in brake usage, which benefits both the client and Safran in terms of production capacity.
The delivery of the Long Life brakes to Air Asia's MRO facilities began in early April, with the brakes being fitted to the aircraft as and when they are needed. Air Asia (AXM) has been chosen as the company to launch these new brakes, both on its original equipment and in upgrades to its current fleet, soon to be followed by All Nippon Airways. Some fifteen companies are expected to receive delivery this year, with the upgrading of other companies' brakes to begin in 2019.
The next step will be to qualify the brake modernization and production process across all Safran Landing Systems sites, and continue the upgrading of the current fleet.