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LF GmbH & Co. KG was founded in March 2016. The current company's goal is to develop, manufacture and market innovative friction materials for industrial clutches and brakes by reducing thermal energy consumption by up to 85%.
In the long term, the production of the brake pads should be CO2- neutral.
The development strategy follows the idea of the foundress to create a liquid phase of the friction material before it hardens. This can adversely affect today's manufacturing concepts where powdered raw materials are mixed, poured or molded, while the latter require significant thermal energy. The founder had this Eureka idea during a dinner discussion about fluid dynamics.
The company can support manufacturing requests for prototypes and pre-series production for its customers with quantities of liquid friction materials ranging from experimental to large.
Today, the classic friction material structures and materials for clutch- and brake linings are manufactured by homogenizing the mostly powdered raw materials in a mixing process and then pressing them onto a metal carrier on an industrial scale using high pressures and high temperatures. These blanks have to be hardened in a subsequent hardening process and transferred to the specific geometry by means of grinding units. For this purpose, heating and cooling phases are used several times, which make the manufacturing process energy intensive. Due to the necessary shaping processes and pressures, technically complex presses and tools are necessary, which define the manufacturing costs to a considerable extent.
These process conditions have a significant influence on the development times of new products, the manufacturing costs of prototypes, the minimum lot size and thus on the total costs of the clutch linings or other friction technology products. This is where the concept of the LIQFRIC® products comes in and targets in the long term the areas of automotive, industrial, wearables and prototypes. Especially for prototype construction, the product shows excellent starting conditions for disruptive manufacturing approaches due to its free design, as well as the possibility to realize cost advantages of previously unknown size via lot size 1.
The already developed organic liquid 2K-LIQFRIC® systems have been repeatedly subjected to friction tests and other tests and are available for customer testing. The required production capacities have been built up and can easily meet the initial requirements. As part of the Eurobrake 2018, the company presented the first organic compounds that have since been sampled to the first interested parties.
Due to the short curing times of the products (pot life approx. 15 min., green-strength achieved after approx. 120 min), the shaping of the products can be completed with a short cycle time. The hardening process can be accelerated sustainably through additional heat usage.
The free form design together with the simplified structure of the casting molds allows a fundamental redesign of the coupling geometry, as well as the production of thin-layer materials in the range of 150 - 1000 µm.
A water-based compound product family LIQFRIC® HP is in the pre-series evaluation, the temperature resistance of which has been positively tested up to 800°C / 2h. All LIQFRIC® material concepts allow a formulation based on customer requirements, which can be further developed in dialog with the customer specification.
In June 2017, LF GmbH & Co. KG set up a laboratory for the production of compounds and prototypes.
In addition to this, a 3D printing and machining center was opened in spring 2019, so that since mid-2019, we have been able to produce prototypes within 100 hours after receiving a corresponding DXF- or CAD-file and send them to our partner.
An external service provider, who can provide certified tests, was commissioned to test the material concepts.
10-05-2020: Article in "Atmosphere". Reduction of PM10 emissions through inorganic brake pads during the city traffic test cycle (WLTP). A joint study by FZD, IUTA, Daimler AG and LIQFRIC.
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