In 1961 the Editor paid a visit to Ferodo’s Chapel-en-le-Frith factory, and described in detail their exacting development and test procedures. Since then, the 16-acre works among the Derbyshire peaks (and in particular the £¾-million research centre) has been particularly busy, and this work has now culminated in the announcement of a new range of disc braking pads, known as the Ferodo Two-Four series.
Since the firm’s founder, Herbert Frood, first produced friction materials at Chapel in 1897, great advances were made in wear rate, friction level, squeal resistance and so on, until of late these materials have become so highly developed that any slight increase of performance demands a huge amount of time and money spent on research and development.
In 1964, Ferodo’s physicists and engineers found that they were on to a material with considerable promise, and in September that year a European “safari” was organised in which eight Ferodo test cars were taken on a nine-day journey, covering almost 4,000 miles. Recording instrument data and observers’ reports on performance and wear rates of the new material mix were taken back to Chapel, sifted, and methods of attack decided to correct any slight deficiencies found. The results of each correction method were then rigorously tested on the Ferodo-built inertia machines in their huge test house, the largest of its kind in the World, and then test pads, made in small quantities in the company’s laboratories, were extensively road-tested. A small, tight test circuit laid out on a disused quarry tramway nearby, was used for some testing, but this had its limitations, and in recent years an airfield circuit at Scofton has been used increasingly.
In this way all but the worthwhile changes in formulation were located and rejected and, once the research technicians were satisfied with the material, plans were made for effectively productionising the new mix; producing it in accurately quality-controlled bulk as opposed to the limited samples thus far produced under ideal laboratory conditions. Incidentally, although the firm have always kept a close watch on quality control at all stages of production, all checking procedures were closely examined and, where room for improvement was found, have been tightened-up.
The end product of these past years of development is the new Formula Two-Four series, so far including three basic materials. These are as follows: Ferodo 2424F, with a high coefficient of friction but low noise level (noise usually being a penalty of high frictional qualities); 2426F with slightly lower frictional qualities, but exceptional fade resistance; and 2430F, a material with the best life of any current mix without undue sacrifice of friction level. This latter material has a constant low-wear rate at temperatures as high as 500° C., and would seem to have competition potential, although DS11 (a non-“Two-Four” mix) has been effectively and happily braking Formula One, sports and prototype cars for some years now.
For the time being these three productionised materials will only be available on new car models for which they may be adopted as standard equipment, but once their expected approval for use on existing models comes through they will be made more widely available, production capacity permitting.
Seven years ago, we had cause to write, “It can safely be said that if Ferodo cannot stop your car, no-one else anywhere in the World will be able to do so!” It would seem that this is still as true today as it was then.—D. C. N.