Stemco | Centrifuse HD Brake Drum

Brake drum longevity is a perennial source of frustration and headaches for heavy-duty truck operators, company officials note. Like putting a pair of ballet slippers on an elephant, they add, standard-duty brake drums are no match for the extreme weight, aggressive pressure and frequent stops that define heavy-duty trucking.

Stemco’s CentriFuse brake drum concept dates to World War II. Standard cast brake drums used on bombers would break upon landing, prompting the military to seek a high-performance, safe, reliable, and durable brake drum. Motor wheel engineers designed and developed the CentriFuse to specifically address military aircraft needs; over the years, the drums have transitioned from aviation to a high-performance braking for commercial trucking.

The CentriFuse HD is the only steel-shelled drum certified to a 26,000-lb. axle load rating, and specifically designed for construction and severe service applications. In severe service field tests, Stemco officials note, customers have seen drum life doubled, service intervals extended, and improvement in overall braking system performance. Unlike conventional full-cast brake drums, CentriFuse HD are engineered using a steel-jacketed structure and patented alloy braking surface that provides superior heat absorption and greatly reduces fade and wear.

55 CentriFuse 400

Available in 16.5- x 7-in., 8-in. or 8.62-in. sizes, the CentriFuse HD brake drum is specifically designed for severe service environments with aggressive workloads, including extreme slopes and mountainous terrain, quarries and pits. While built for tough jobs, Stemco engineers note, the drum is not recommended for applications that would exceed the maximum axle load rating of 26,000 lb. or consistently surpass 700°F braking temperatures.

All CentriFuse drums are made of an engineered combination of proprietary high-alloy gray iron, metallurgically coupled to steel. The former offers optimum friction and heat management characteristics, while the steel shell contributes to stiffness, protection against cracking and a lightweight mount system. Weight wise, Stemco engineers managed to make the 16.5-in. CentriFuse HD, available in three sizes, from 100 to 111 lb., the lightest brake drum in its class—saving fleets up to 32 lb./wheel.

To ensure that the CentriFuse HD meets heavy-duty fleet operator expectations, a third party performed severe service field tests. Results showed that the drum excelled during excessive durability and wear procedures throughout a month-long process of exposure to the toughest, most aggressive scenarios possible. The tests subjected the CentriFuse HD to accelerated dynamometer durability tests that included severe thermal cycling well beyond what might be experienced in an actual application. The dynamometer testing was also performed to evaluate CentriFuse HD friction wear using Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J2115 testing procedures, which force the drum and friction material to thousands of progressively higher stopping temperature levels. Because the proprietary alloy used in all CentriFuse brake drums is designed to resist such excessive wear and thermal fatigue, Stemco engineers observe, the CentriFuse HD outperformed alternatives.

Test results enabled CentriFuse HD validation with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 121, which establishes performance and equipment requirements for braking systems on all air brake-equipped vehicles. A steel shell ensures the drum will not separate or come off the vehicle during extreme braking conditions. The patented high-alloy, high-performance braking surface is designed to provide optimum braking power and ensure high gross vehicle weight vehicles stop quickly and safely.

The installation process is straightforward and resembles that of any other standard brake drum. Fleet operators who invest in CentriFuse HD brake drums can also take advantage of Stemco’s customer training and education programs, including information on technical and design aspects, installation, care and maintenance, proper usage and troubleshooting. Stemco district sales managers drive advanced trucks that allow for unique hands-on training on a wide variety of products including the CentriFuse HD. — Stemco LP, Longview, Texas, 800/527-8492;