Road to “Copper Free Braking” Industry Takes Another Step in 2020

Monday, July 13, 2020

By Edward Gerhardt, marketing and data services manager, Akebono Brake Corporation

The next phase in copper content compliance starts in 2021, which means friction produced after December 31, 2020 are required to take the next step in the transition; the technical details of this requirement are as follows:

  • Copper content by weight between 0.5% and 5%
  • Asbestiform fibers, less than 0.1% by weight
  • Cadmium and its compounds, less than 0.01% by weight
  • Chromium (VI)-salts, less than 0.1% by weight
  • Lead and its compounds, less than 0.1% by weight
  • Mercury and its compounds, less than 0.1% by weight

This is the second step of three; the final phase starts at the beginning of 2025 dropping the copper content to less than 0.5%, which is shown to have negative aspects to aquatic life when run-off of brake dust gets into lakes and streams.

Edward Gerhardt sharing the award
honors with Jennifer Lajcaj,
Akebono marketing specialist.

The Akebono Marketing Team is preparing to educate all those who stop by our AAPEX Booth (A1446) at this year’s show. We are excited for these changes, as they present an opportunity for our brake technology, testing and validation to shine. We are once again planning to enter our products in the New Product Showcase and IVC (Import Vehicle Community) Awards, where last year, we won Best Overall Import Product or Product Line for our EURO Ceramic Brake Pads, which by the way has met the 2021 standard since its inception in 2005.

AAPEX is the premier global trade-only event for the independent automotive aftermarket. Each year, the tradeshow floor features thousands of companies displaying their latest products, services, and technologies.

For the 21st consecutive year at AAPEX 2020, Akebono is looking forward to exhibiting our three brands of Akebono ultra-premium brake pads: Akebono ProACT, EURO and Akebono Performance. While Akebono proudly displays products at AAPEX, we also appreciate the opportunity to make new global connections, get a chance to see our customers and help move the industry forward.

Before I go, a little “Copper Free” brake trivia: what was the year, make and model of the first production vehicle equipped with copper free brakes in the United States and who was the manufacturer?  Stop by our AAPEX booth to learn about the changes that are taking place, our products and the answer to this question.

We look forward to seeing you at AAPEX!

About Akebono 

Akebono Brake Corporation is North America’s leading supplier of advanced braking systems and pioneer of ceramic friction technology. Akebono is a leader in ceramic friction material development and production, with a focus on noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), analysis and control.  Akebono sells Ultra-Premium Ceramic Disc Brake Pads, made in the USA for the automotive aftermarket under the brands ProACT, EURO and Akebono Performance.                                            

For more information, visit

Edward Gerhardt is the marketing and data services manager at Akebono Brake Corporation. In his role, Gerhardt is responsible for the company’s Marketing and Catalog Data for their IAM Group in North America. He is an aftermarket industry veteran with over 25 years’ experience that started out as a Master Certified Technician at a Ford Dealership. Gerhardt will be attending his 11th AAPEX in 2020.