Drum brake calipers:
The earliest brake calipers existed in the form of drum brake calipers. They were simple yet effective and comprised a brake drum, shoes, and a hydraulic cylinder for pushing the shoes against the drum. However, drum brakes had their limitations, such as excessive heat buildup, fading, and uneven wear. In addition, they were challenging to maintain and repair since they required complete disassembly of the brake system.
Single-piston brake calipers:
Single-piston brake calipers replaced drum brakes as the new standard in the 1960s. The design featured a single hydraulic piston mounted within the caliper, pushing one brake pad against the rotor. Single-piston calipers provided better braking performance, offering more stopping power and improved heat dissipation. Furthermore, they were easier to maintain and repair as they required less disassembly of the brake system.
Fixed calipers were introduced in the 1970s to refine the single-piston design. Fixed calipers incorporate one or more pistons mounted on both sides of the rotor. The caliper housing remains stationary and offers a more rigid and consistent braking force. This design allows for more significant braking forces than the single-piston design, making it a popular choice in high-performance applications.
Floating brake calipers are similar to fixed calipers, except they slide on pins or bolts that allow them to float. These calipers push only one pad against the rotor while the other pad sits on the opposite side of the rotor. The floating design allows the caliper to self-center and adjust with rotor deflection. This intelligence makes them less prone to uneven pad wear or brake drag.
Integrated calipers are the latest and most technologically advanced brake calipers available today. They are designed to incorporate the brake caliper and rotor into one unit. An integrated caliper enables a more substantial component reduction and lowers the vehicle's unsprung weight, resulting in improved handling, less brake fade, and better overall performance. However, these advanced calipers require specialized machining equipment and increased production costs.
Over the past few decades, automotive brake caliper technology advancements have been remarkable. From simple drum brakes to sophisticated and technologically advanced integrated calipers, braking systems have become significantly more efficient, reliable, and safer. With the increasing demand for better braking performance, experts in the automotive industry will continue to develop innovative solutions to improve the braking system's quality in every way possible.