Source: Knorr-Bremse announcement

MUNICH — Knorr-Bremse is developing a portfolio of couplers for making rail transportation even more efficient and flexible. With respect to the Digital Automatic Couplers (DAC) for freight trains, the company is concentrating its resources on producing the first prototypes, which will then be optimized for series production by the start of the planned upgrade phase mid-decade.

As for Knorr-Bremse’s portfolio of couplers for passenger trains, the company is at an advanced stage of validation, expanding the range of modular options and ramping up production facilities.

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Dr. Jürgen Wilder, Member of the Executive Board of Knorr-Bremse AG and responsible for the Rail Vehicle Systems division, laid out the situation as follows: “Based on tons per kilometer, rail is the mode of transportation with the lowest carbon emissions. But to build the backbone of an environmentally friendly freight-handling system and become competitive with other modes of transportation, it is essential to invest in new technologies and roll them out across the industry.

“We regard the Digital Automatic Couplers as a key lever for bringing rail freight into the digital age. If the political will to support this huge project continues, and the process of upgrading freight cars is kicked off in the second half of this decade, we believe we’ll be in a position to become a leading supplier of DACs and many other automation systems for the rail freight industry.”

Knorr-Bremse is developing the DAC according to the timeline envisaged in the European DAC Delivery Program (EDDP). The roadmap from initial prototype to the planned full-scale upgrade of as many as 500,000 freight cars and some 17,000 locomotives throughout Europe is regarded as exceptionally challenging.

The recent EU-wide decision to opt for a Scharfenberg coupling system, however, has again validated Knorr-Bremse’s development strategy:

“Our in-depth engineering know-how, longstanding commercial relationships with manufacturers and operators, manufacturing expertise, and network of local service centers all form a solid basis for successfully bringing our DAC to market and rolling it out,” confirmed Dr. Nicolas Lange, Chairman of the Management Board of Knorr-Bremse Rail Vehicle Systems. “Provided the relevant conditions continue to improve at the present rate, we believe there’s a realistic chance of completing this ambitious migration to DAC by 2030.”

To view the entire announcement, click HERE.