Federal-Mogul Corporation has officially opened a state-of-the-art technical center devoted to researching, developing and testing advanced automotive brake pads and linings. The new Friction Products Technical Center, in Plymouth, Mich., is equipped with sophisticated analytical and test equipment. It becomes Federal-Mogul’s North American “center of excellence” for analyzing and preventing brake noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) — historically a leading source of vehicle warranty issues for auto manufacturers. Several hundred customers, government officials, media representatives, company leaders and other employees attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house at the 35,000-square-foot facility in the Plymouth Oaks Business Park. The center initially employs about 25 engineers, technicians, test drivers and managers, who develop and test products for passenger car and truck brake applications. “We are driving to making technology our sustainable competitive advantage at Federal-Mogul, and this new technical center is a prime example of that commitment,” said Frank Macher, Federal-Mogul chairman and chief executive officer. “This facility demonstrates Federal-Mogul’s desire to invest in processes, equipment and people that generate breakthrough products to meet the future needs of our original equipment (OE) and aftermarket customers.” Rene Dalleur, Federal-Mogul’s senior vice president, Friction Products, said: “This technical center clearly solidifies Federal-Mogul’s position as a global leader in brake friction products. We are pleased to establish this integrated R&D and test facility, featuring the best equipment available, in close proximity to many of our OE vehicle and brake system customers. Added Dalleur: “What really sets this facility apart is the skill level of our engineers. They are among an elite group in this industry with the experience and knowledge to run these tests, interpret the results, and apply the findings in ways that can improve brake system performance, quality and reliability.” Approximately two-thirds of the Friction Products Technical Center is devoted to test and measurement laboratories. These labs feature several brake inertia dynamometers equipped with noise and environmental chambers. The dynamometers simulate vehicle braking under various conditions to measure brake pad performance, wear and noise. The special chambers eliminate background noise and are climate-controlled to mirror braking conditions in dry desert or high-humidity, low-temperature conditions. Other equipment includes a laser vibrometer, used in conjunction with the dynamometers, which isolates and measures non-observable vibrations that could lead to noise issues. The new technical center supports Federal-Mogul’s global friction business, which produces about 180 million brake pads and related components each year. Taking into account both OE and aftermarket customers, Federal- Mogul friction products are fitted to approximately 100,000 vehicles each day around the world. Federal-Mogul’s global friction product line consists of disc brake pads and drum brake linings for passenger cars; disc brake pads and halfblocks for commercial vehicles; brake pads for motorcycles and bicycles; and pads, blocks and sintered materials for railway applications. Federal-Mogul’s friction products for the aftermarket include revolutionary, one-piece Wagner ThermoQuiet premium disc brake pads. Wagner ThermoQuiet is a finalist for the Automotive News PACE (Premier Automotive Suppliers’ and OEMs’ Contribution to Excellence) Award. The product also recently received the 2002 Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation Award. The new Plymouth center complements a Federal-Mogul technical facility in Smithville, Tennessee, which formulates new brake friction materials and produces prototype parts. Just as the Plymouth facility benefits from its close proximity to Detroit-based manufacturers, the Smithville center adds value by being located adjacent to Federal-Mogul’s largest brake pad manufacturing plant.