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New, Innovative Braking System for Freight Trains

New, Innovative Braking System for Freight Trains
photo: brake system
26 / 03 / 2021

Companies Siemens Mobility GmbH and VTG Rail Europe GmbH have signed a contract to test an innovative brake monitoring system (BMS) for automatic testing of freight train brakes to demonstrate the operational capability of the system. The BMS system ensures automatic brake testing on each train carriage. The expected efficiency generated by freight operators will result in a large market potential across the whole Europe.

Reducing CO2 emissions is at the top of the global agenda. Shifting the volume of traffic from road to rail is an important precondition for achieving the climate protection goals. That is why the need to raise the efficiency of rail freight is becoming increasingly important. "The break monitoring system, developed by Siemens Mobility, is an essential step towards further automated and digitized freight railway. Limited time-consuming manual processes, increased efficiency and guaranteed availability are the main drivers of increasing the competitiveness of sustainable rail transport," said Anne Fischer, head of Rail Automation Products department in Siemens Mobility company.

"The idea of a brake monitoring system was created in VTG already in 2016, and the first development began early. “In Siemens Mobility, we have found a strategic technology partner with whom we can continue to further innovate the rails and to develop intelligent state-of-the-art rail technology. The primary prerequisite of the project is to have direct effects on productivity and efficiency for industry. Because of the implementation of the brake monitoring system, network capacity can be used more efficiently, train staff will benefit from reduced workload and overall safety will increase," said Dr. Hanno Schell, Head of Technical Innovation department at VTG company.

Within a one-year trial, individual system components are tested and optimized. The first of two sets of the carriage was fully equipped with the BMS system and the tests are taking place from November 2020. The system provides train staff with data on the condition. The data are visible on each side of the wagon together with automatic reports of the full condition of the carriage and up-to-date updates of all carriage settings on the locomotive display. BMS also improves overall safety, allowing detailed visualization of incorrect settings, tightened handbrakes and other problems with car components after inspection by the car inspector or immediately before departure. The data collected help to prevent unexpected outages, reduce maintenance costs and indicate wear of the material early.

The initial BMS concept was developed at the end of 2016. After a year of successful field tests across the whole Europe and after some system improvements made by 2019, the results of the current trial operation are an essential input for the development of the Siemens Mobility's serial product.