The Digital Freight Train.
Rail freight is key to meeting ambitious climate targets and to the sustainable transportation of goods. Freight trains must be energy-efficient, cost-effective and quiet, while also making extensive use of digital technology to enable a higher degree of automation. Knorr-Bremse supplies modular solutions that can be customized to each operator’s specific requirements.
A Solid Foundation for Digitalization and Automation Systems
Digital applications based on digitalization and automation systems include continuous location tracking, brake monitoring, cargo monitoring, wheel flat detection and derailment detection. To ensure a solid foundation for the implementation of such applications, two key requirements must be met: First, the freight cars must have the right power supply system. And second, they must be equipped with sensors, actuators, communication modules, a powerful computer and a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) interface.
Digital Automatic Brake Test Enhances Process Efficiency
The mandatory brake test prior to departure is a time-consuming procedure. The locomotive driver and operating personnel must carry out a manual test to confirm that the brake can be correctly applied and released. The digital Automatic Brake Test will offer huge benefits, delivering major efficiency gains in freight train operation. It will significantly cut both terminal downtime and costs by reducing the time taken to prepare a train for departure by up to one hour. Moreover, safe-by-design technology will enhance safety by eliminating human error.
DAC: Digital Automatic Coupling System
As well as coupling freight cars mechanically, Digital Automatic Coupling System (DAC) automatically couples their power and data cables and compressed air pipes. Thanks to DAC, freight trains will no longer need to be manually coupled (and uncoupled) using screw couplings, as is currently still almost always the case in Europe. This not only makes for a significantly more efficient procedure but also means that shunting personnel will no longer have to perform dangerous and demanding physical work on the track bed.
LL Brake Blocks: The “Whisper Brake”
The easily retrofitted low-noise, low-friction LL brake blocks, or “whisper brakes”, deliver a significant reduction in wheel/rail noise.
Electropneumatic Braking System Offers Key Benefits
In conventional freight train braking systems based entirely on pneumatic technology, the main reservoir pipe transmits both the braking signal and braking energy. The drawback of this approach is that these can only be transmitted along the train at around the speed of sound. As a result, while the front cars are already braking, the cars at the back that have not yet started braking shunt the train further along the track. The key benefit of electropneumatic braking systems is that they transmit braking signals electrically, ensuring that the entire consist brakes simultaneously. This results in greater safety, significantly lower energy consumption and generally shorter braking distances.
Lightweight Axle-Mounted Brake Discs
Made from special gray cast iron, our new, lightweight axle-mounted brake discs 'LightDisc Axle' are significantly lighter than previous generations and also have a longer service life.