New lightweight cast iron brake shoe

Lucas Deal

March 23, 2017

NeoBrake Systems, Inc., a North American heavy-duty brake remanufacturer and formulator of world-class asbestos-free brake linings and pads, has released its new Matrix NeoCast a revolutionary new lightweight cast iron 4707Q brake shoe.

Matrix NeoCast 4707Q is the first lightweight cast iron shoe of its kind, combining the traditional advantages of cast iron shoes – lasting rigidity, superior heat dissipation, sustained maximum torque, and optimal lining-to-drum contact – with an advanced, high-carbon ductile cast iron that weighs significantly less than cast shoes of old, the company says.

“The future may be air disc brakes, but the roadways are filled with trucks and trailers still using drum brakes to stop them,” says Rick Ballew, NeoBrake president and CEO. “We know the beating pressed-steel cores take after each relining, so we developed a shoe that could resist all that and deliver maximum braking power at every stop.”

According to Ballew, the new shoe has been something he’s wanted to develop for many years. Through the years, he’s seen the various changes in the industry and has adapted his operation accordingly. But the one mistake he always believed the industry made was moving away from cast iron. So when he had this idea, he knew the only obstacle standing in his way was weight. An obstacle he quickly overcame once he learned of this next-generation casting technique.

“I travel the world to find the best suppliers and that quality edge to incorporate in my products,” he says. “When I stumbled upon this high-carbon, ductile cast iron, I knew we had the green light to bring back the only true material for brake shoes and boost drum brake stopping power.”

NeoBrake says the Matrix NeoCast 4707Q brake shoe weighs within ounces of its pressed-steel counterparts and promises to boost braking power from the moment it is installed – never letting up until the day it is retired. How long the Matrix NeoCast shoe will last depends on multiple factors, which include the experience level of the driver and application, but Ballew guarantees it will last longer than any pressed-steel core.

In fact, he says doesn’t shy away from making the same claim about linings, drums, and air brake system components.


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“Whatever service life you’re getting out of your linings and wheel-end components now, it will be longer with Matrix NeoCast shoes,” says Ballew. “One of our drivers reported it taking half the air pressure to engage his brakes. He knew they’d help him stop better, but was equally impressed with the amount of stress it took off his air brake system.”

Matrix NeoCast’s rigid, one-piece construction eliminates table flex, web stretch, and broken welds, which are common signs of deteriorating pressed-steel shoes. This leads to diminished torque, as well as uneven lining wear and, ultimately, premature lining replacement. Yet, NeoBrake says the standard practice is to coin the shoe true every time it comes in for relining, then send it back out. Which, told by Ballew, is the heart of the problem.

“Pressed-steel cores get softer and softer until they wear too thin to use, if their welds haven’t broken before then,” he claims.

Matrix NeoCast shoes are currently available for all 4707Q applications and can be purchased directly from NeoBrake or through an authorized NeoBrake dealer. Additional sizes are currently in development and will be available once completed, the company says.

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