Major performance advantages are available from a new ceramic-formula disc brake pad for heavy duty truck and transit vehicle air-brake systems, according to Marathon Brake Systems. Based on a combination of ceramics and brass chips, the new formula has shown wear and braking efficiency improvements in bus and transit coach applications, and helps control problems of brake noise and dusting, the company says. "This material composition of ceramic fibers and brass chips is new for the heavy duty brake industry," said Rick Howell, General Manager of Marathon. "Most semi-metallic disc brake pad formulas contain steel wool or iron fibers, and some have used Kevlar," he said. "Our new product is step-forward innovation in disc brake technology," he said. In benchmark testing against conventional semi-metallic pads, Howell said the new ceramic pads showed significantly less wear, along with less brake rotor wear. "This is extremely important for reducing fleet maintenance costs," Howell said. Howell anticipates that the new ceramic pads will help continue the industry momentum toward placement of disc brakes on all braking wheel positions in transit vehicles and trucks. The ceramic brake pads also feature a "secure-lock" backing plate designed to assure lining-to-plate attachment. Another advantage of the formula is what Howell called "elimination of morning sickness," an ailment he described as common to semi-metallic brake pads that results in poor stopping power when metallic brake pads are cold. "Warm is better when it comes to braking," Howell said, "but pads made with our ceramic formulation overcome the problem." Quiet operation of the new product addresses a major issue for transit and bus companies, according to Marathon. "The transit industry is extremely sensitive to the noise element of its operation," Howell said. "Noisy brakes, which are simply part of using semi-metallic pads, carry the perception that the brakes are faulty and are thought by some riders to be dangerous," he said. "Brake noise in transit vehicles is considered noise pollution and has resulted in alarmed calls from the public to maintenance garages, city government and school officials," he said. "Our ceramic pads put noise issues to rest." Marathon Brake Systems says it is the first major heavy duty brake component manufacturer to use this specific formulation of ceramics and brass chips in disc brake pads. More information on the company and its product line is available from