On Friday 10th March Guido Perricone (PhD), one of Brembo's researchers involved in the Lowbrasys Project, shared with us his research experience. Mister Perricone has more than 10 years of experience in materials development and has been working in the Brembo R&D department since 2000.
According to you, what does the Lowbrasys project mean to the automotive sector?
I would rather talk about the “braking systems industry”, which is only a part of the automotive sector. In this context, the Lowbrasys project represents a great boost for innovation. In particular, when I talk about innovation, I am referring to something really innovative, beyond the usual electric cars. Car makers tend to be quite conservative when it comes to innovation, their research generally focuses on improving cars’ performances. Instead, the Lowbrasys projects aims at pushing the entire sector towards environmental issues, which are increasingly important to our territory, given that particulate concentration is usually very high here.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for Lowbrasys?
I think that the biggest challenge is succeeding in marketing the new products. In my opinion being innovative is not that hard: a team made up of capable researchers can easily innovate. On the contrary, it is very hard to make innovation and effectively market innovation.
How would you explain the broader significance of your research to an educated layperson?
Brakes wear out over time and thus produce wear particles. Some of these particles stick to the wheel rim, while some others simply disperse in the air. Basically, such particles are comparable to marine aerosols, they can easily be breathed and therefore reach the inner surface of the lungs. I think it is our duty to try to reduce the presence of such suspended particulate matter in the air so to improve air quality, and as a consequence, life quality.
What do you like most about working with European partners?
What I like most is working with different research cultures. Our foreign partners have different methodologies, which I would describe as very meticulous.
Tell us more about working with partners from other sectors: have you noticed different research methods? Have you learnt anything you would like to share with us?
As I said before, I noticed cultural differences in carrying out research. For example, Swedish and German researchers are more meticulous and seldom go astray. Italian researchers have more “phantasy”, they are more instinctive. Although sometimes this can be positive, in order to achieve your goals it is also important to cultivate perseverance and determination.
When it comes to research methods from different disciplines, I noticed major differences between our methodology and Mario Negri’s methodology. Not only do they speak about organisms and cells, topics which are not familiar to us, but also the way in which they proceed is different. For example, they work with fixed quantities and seldom break away from their method.
Do you think the EU facilitates/improves cooperation among partners?
Yes, absolutely! It allows you to get in touch, and thus to confront with, other nationalities. If you only focus on working with national partner, for example, if Brembo only worked with FIAT, I think that there would be less “tension” towards excellence.
According to your opinion, why is EU support important?
One of our partners is the Joint Research Centre (JRC), which is the European Commission's science and knowledge service. Its role is to monitor policy-makers necessities when it comes to regulate particulate emissions. It was the JRC who developed the European emissions standard directives, which is very complex legislation. To conclude, I think that the JRC has an important guidance role.
Is there a specific change that you would personally like to see as the result of the Lowbrasys project?
I would like our innovation to be put on the market. I would also like to see some of our papers consulted in universities.
Finally, according to your personal experience, what is your most significant achievement? What are you especially proud of?
I am extremely proud of our team! I am particularly honoured by the fact that this group of partners chose us to carry out such research.