Quieter brakes for freight trains: Knorr-Bremse expands portfolio

2020-06-04 10:38:29
Summary:▪ Knorr-Bremse extends systems expertise in the field of brake equipment▪ For the first time the company is of...
▪  Knorr-Bremse extends systems expertise in the field of brake equipment 
▪  For the first time the company is offering volume-produced low-noise brake
blocks for new freight cars, securing itself strategic access to the OEM market
for quieter brake blocks
▪  Product certified by the International Union of Railways (UIC)
▪  First order worth a six-figure euro sum, with delivery to a major rail operator in
a German-speaking country commenced in May 2020

Munich, June 02, 2020 – Knorr-Bremse, the global market leader for braking and othersystems for rail and commercial vehicles, has taken a decisive step in the strategicreinforcement of its brake equipment business: At its Pamplona plant in Spain, thecompany has begun volume-production of its Problock J816M brake blocks for freightcars. This addition to the portfolio marks a milestone: With these “whisper brakes”Knorr-Bremse will now provide low-noise brake blocks to the OEM freight car marketas well. The company had already reinforced its aftermarket business by developinga low-noise, low-friction brake block for fleet modernization measures.

“We are pleased to say that with this volume-production brake block for new freight cars weare making a further contribution to much quieter braking in the rail freight sector,”said Dr.Nicolas Lange, Chairman of the Management Board of Knorr-Bremse Rail Vehicle Systems,who is also responsible forthe company’s activities in Spain. “This product representsa keystrategic addition to our portfolio: On the one hand,it provides us with new opportunities toaccess market sharein the OEM sector. And on the other, it cements our positionas a systempartner and one-stop shop for freight car brakeequipment and maintenance.”

Quieter brakes: good news for trackside residents; market access for Knorr-Bremse
As part of the braking system, when the brakes are applied the blocks act directly on thewheels to reduce the speed of the vehicle. With the Problock J816M, Knorr-Bremse is helpingto further reduce the noise generated by this process. Made from composite materials, thenew brake blocks help to reduce braking noise by up to 10 dB(A) compared to conventionalgray cast iron blocks. This means that the noise level is only half as loud to the human ear.Among those to benefit from these “whisper brakes” are people living in the vicinity of theshunting yards and tracks used by freight trains. Since 2005, new freight cars in the EU havebeen required to comply with lower noise limits and are fitted with composite brake blocks.Against the backdrop of growing demands for quieter operation in the freight sector, theProblock J816M offers Knorr-Bremse promising oppportunities in the marketplace. Deliveryof the first consignments to a major operator in a German-speaking country commenced inMay 2020, under a supply contract worth a six-figure euro sum.

Knorr-Bremse: full-line supplier of quieter and lighter freight train brake blocks
The fact that Knorr-Bremse has already begun volume production of the Problock J816M isa testament to the organization’s technological excellence. The company started integratingthe underlying manufacturing and process know-how acquired from Federal-Mogul (nowDriV) in 2018 and began development and production at its Pamplona plant in Spain. At thesame time, Knorr-Bremse also began its application for certification of the brake block by theInternational Union of Railways (UIC), which has now been granted. Among other things,certification documents the product’s compliance with the high homologation and safetystandards in the rail vehicle sector.

In the past, Knorr-Bremse had already developed, brought to market readiness and begunvolume production of a low-noise, low-friction brake block generation for the conversion andmodernization of freight cars; known as the “LL-block”, this too is UIC-certified. As a result,as a full-line supplier of modern freight car braking systems, Knorr-Bremse today offers itsaftermarket customers maximum security of supply. In Germany, freight trains will be requiredby law to comply with lower noise limits and thus to switch from gray cast iron to LL blocksby the end of 2020. Deutsche Bahn’s freight business DB Cargo, for example, has alreadyretrofitted some 58,000 cars – equivalent to 90 percent of its current fleet – with the quieterLL brake blocks. To-date, Knorr-Bremse has delivered more than 3.5 million LL blocks.

Knorr-Bremse will continue its efforts to become a one-stop system partner for brakeequipment: The volume production of the Problock J816M is the first of further generationsof composite brake pads and blocks, the development, refinement and production of whichwill begin in the course of this year. In the interests of its customers including vehiclemanufacturers and operators, Knorr-Bremse aims to build up a complete portfolio of brakeblocks and pads for all types of train.

Figure 1: With its first volume-production brake block for new freight cars, Knorr-Bremse is pursuingthe strategic expansion of its systems expertise in the field of low-noise brake equipment.| ? Knorr-Bremse

Figure 2: With the Problock J816M, Knorr-Bremse is making a further contribution to noise-reducedbraking in freight transport. | ? Knorr-Bremse

Knorr-Bremse (ISIN: DE000KBX1006, Ticker symbol: KBX) is the global market leader for brakingsystems and a leading supplier of other rail and commercial vehicle systems. Knorr-Bremse’s productsmake a decisive contribution to greater safety and energy efficiency on rail tracks and roads aroundthe world. About 29,000 employees at over 100 sites in more than 30 countries use their competenceand motivation to satisfy customers worldwide with products and services. In 2019, Knorr-Bremse’stwo divisions together generated revenues of EUR 6.9 billion (IFRS). For more than 115 years thecompany has been the industry innovator, driving innovation in mobility and transportationtechnologies with an edge in connected system solutions. Knorr-Bremse is one of Germany’s mostsuccessful industrial companies and profits from the key global megatrends: urbanization,sustainability, digitization and mobility.

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