Nearly 50 years since manufacturing its first ever brake rotor for a Holden HD, Disc Brakes Australia is going from strength to strength. “Australian manufacturing will always be at the core of what we do. It’s what’s made this company strong, it’s the foundation of what we stand on today, it’s how we continue to learn” says DBA General Manager, Phillip Joseph.
With its head office based in the Sydney suburb of Silverwater, the business firmly believes in its competitive advantage by keeping its core competencies local. “You always hear about Australian manufacturing struggling, being dead” Phillip says. “But that’s not generally true. If you have the right product, R&D and intellectual property, and the right cost structure to produce it, there definitely is a case for ‘made in Australia’. Especially since the pandemic, we are seeing a lot of interest in supporting local business, rather than in importers that don’t provide the level of customer support we do.”
Manufacturing, in DBA’s view, is more than machinery making parts, but a holistic view of the value chain. “The market research, the engineering, the product design, all the way to the strategic sourcing of raw materials – which by the way are 100% ethically sourced – the management of external partners along the supply chain, packaging and last but not least the marketing and sale of the product – we see these as integrated parts of the manufacturing process” Phillip explains.
The days of DBA solely making and selling brake rotors are obviously gone. “We want to support customers in all their braking solutions.” Phillip says. “While we clearly see ourselves as the leader in rotor design and manufacturing, these days we aim to be a full-range supplier of brake components.” To achieve this, DBA’s design and engineering teams works closely with external partners who have built extensive knowledge in the production of brake pads, brake hydraulics and other, ancillary brake products. For all of them, the same wholistic view is applied. “Our brake pads, in fact all our braking products, are as impressive as our rotors in terms of design, manufacturing standards, quality, and performance”.
Customer centricity is at the heart of DBA’s approach. “Obviously, there’s a customer expectation of same-day delivery to most locations within the capital cities’ metro areas. That’s why we operate out of seven distribution centres across ANZ” Phillip explains. Then there’s the export business, too. “We have continued to establish the DBA brand name in the overseas markets and followed it up with a targeted expansion of our distribution structure. The world is quickly catching up on the superior quality at affordable prices that we offer, to a point where at times we have to stretch to meet the demand we are seeing.”
When it comes to its ever-growing product portfolio, DBA these days thinks and operates in application categories more than product lines. This means three product tiers, being OE replacement, Upgrade and Performance. “Essentially, we cover every application, from a daily driver to the motorsport application, following a ‘good, better, best’ philosophy.” Phillip says. “STREET SERIES is our label for anything OE-replacement. Our internal benchmark is to meet OE specifications or, as is often the case, exceed them. We also pride ourselves on the most comprehensive vehicle coverage for the Australian car parc, including our ambition of being first-to-market whenever a new car hits Australian roads and demand for replacement or upgrade parts sets in.” STREET SERIES is also the most comprehensive range in terms of the product types – not only does it offer brake rotors/drums and pads – including those specifically developed for Electric and Hybrid Vehicles – but also brake calipers, hydraulic master and wheel cylinders, brake hoses, and brake wear sensors. “Anyone opting for a STREET SERIES product is guaranteed to be buying equal if not superior quality compared with the original part they are replacing” Phillip claims.
The next level up is what DBA calls its Upgrade range, consisting of its 4000 SERIES brake rotors and the complementing SP and XP brake pads.
“The 4000 is our most versatile rotor and has proven its worth in countless 4WD, heavy towing, GVM upgrade, rally and track day applications, often under the most gruelling conditions that would send most vehicles equipped with inferior products heading for the hoist.” Phillip says.
Designed as a non-handed, direct replacement single piece rotor, cast from high-carbon alloyed iron and undergoing Thermal Stability Profiling (TSP) treatment, DBA says the 4000 SERIES metallurgy can handle the increased stress and heat generated under repeated, intense braking applications. With its Kangaroo Paw ventilation design of 144 diamond and teardrop patterned pillars, the unique pattern achieves an up to 30% increase in surface area and a 20% improvement in cooling efficiency as compared to a common straight-vane design used in many competitor products. Other DBA patents incorporated are the unique Thermographic Heat Paint (TGHP) stripes that change colour at particular temperature thresholds, thus aiding with the heat management of the brake system, and the optional, bi-directional T3 slot design, which enhances pedal feel and braking consistency.
The 4000 SERIES rotor is best complemented by one of following pad options.
STREET PERFORMANCE is DBA’s most popular upgrade pad. It is aimed at drivers seeking notably improved braking characteristics over traditional OE brake pads. It was developed to provide an immediate and effective friction response to pedal application, using a copper-free, semi-metallic formulation and feature application-specific NVH shims, slots and chamfers for less vibration and noise. It also undergoes thermal scorching for extra durability.
Alternatively, drivers looking for extra bite and friction consistency from low to high temperatures might opt for XTREME PERFORMANCE. The range is best suited for performance cars and heavy-duty applications, where higher friction levels are required to safely brake under extreme conditions. Using a semi-metallic carbon fibre composition, these pads are likewise scorched for extra durability and feature application-specific slots and shims.
“Our top-of-the-line is the two-piece 5000 SERIES performance rotor, with the aerospace-grade aluminium used to manufacture our extra lightweight hats, which help reduce the unsprung mass of the vehicle and provide superior steering and braking characteristics.” Phillip explains. “It obviously bears all the patents and hallmarks of the 4000 SERIES rotor. A notable benefit is that customers who wear out their brakes by taking their cars to race events have the option of replacing the rings only and reuse the hats, making this one of the most cost-effective alternatives in the market.”
Finally, there are several options when it comes to pairing the 5000 SERIES rotors with the best suited bake pad. “The XP pad as described earlier should be your choice if you are looking for a serious performance upgrade while still using the car on road. If, however, you take your car track racing on the weekend, DBA’s brand-new RACE PERFORMANCE (RP) pad might be for you. It will happily sustain temperatures of between 350ºC and 750ºC thanks to a carbon fibre-infused friction formulation, making it the ideal track and endurance pad.” Phillip explains. Due to its temperature requirements and ‘bite characteristics’ it must not be used when driving on public roads.‹ Previous Next ›