updated on 17th Feb 2023 11:02 posted on 13th Feb 2023 10:14
In the fourth quarter of 2022 Knorr-Bremse has received a major order for coupling, brake and door systems destined for metro trains in Italy. Starting in 2023, the company will supply equipment for a new generation of metro trains built by Hitachi Rail. Among other successes, this project will be the first anywhere in the world to feature Knorr-Bremse’s new couplings for passenger train application.
Knorr-Bremse will equip a total of 46 six-car units built for Milan’s M1, M2 and M3 lines. Deliveries of couplings are due to start in the fourth quarter of 2023, running through to the first quarter of 2026. In addition to pneumatic braking systems fitted with FlexControl Modular brake control units, the order includes door systems supplied by IFE. The first trains are scheduled to enter service in 2024.
The order marks Knorr-Bremse’s successful entry into the international market for coupling systems. Since 2019, the company has developed a broad range of modular couplings for various types of passenger trains, including the AutoLink center buffer coupling and the ShortLink semi-permanent coupling. As well as being extremely robust and durable, the systems feature numerous functions for safe, dependable automated coupling operations.
In parallel, Knorr-Bremse is developing a Digital Automatic Coupling (DAC) for freight trains. By 2026, the company aims to become a leading supplier of automated system solutions for the rail freight industry.
We discussed further details with Knorr-Bremse regarding the production of the couplings: „Sourcing of components is in full swing, and production of the first couplings is running to enable extensive testing before first delivery at the end of 2023. The production is placed in one of Knorr-Bremse’s major European rail plants in Budapest. This was chosen to use synergies with other product groups and directly apply Knorr-Bremse Rail Vehicle System’s high quality standards to couplings.
The manufacturing team is being built-up stepwise until the necessary production volume is achieved. The exact number can therefore not be mentioned at present. Knorr-Bremse is ready to supply couplings for mainline (multiple units and high speed) trains and for most common metro couplings right now. The company is increasing its portfolio step by step and has dedicated people only for the increase of this base portfolio.“
Regarding DAC we asked Knorr-Bremse how continues the testing of prototypes and if was already agreed an installation of them on the wagons.
„Knorr-Bremse currently has four wagons equipped with DACs. Three wagons from DAC4EU train and one wagon of a Swedish operator. The Swedish train will start operation soon, and will even further increase its number of wagons at the end of the year. DAC4EU will include the Knorr-Bremse DACs in their test program. Furthermore, there will be a trainlab by the Europe’s Rail Project (TRANSFORM-R), where Knorr-Bremse will test further couplings. Also more demo-trains are planned by a variety of major operators in Europe. In total we expect to see more than 100 Knorr-Bremse DACs in test operation until 2024. And we’re looking forward to see even more, if possibilities arise.“