Good news for South Africa is that Knorr-Bremse has announced it is investing EUR80-million (R1,7-billion) in a new test and development centre at its company headquarters in Munich with the intention of extending its market position as a global technology leader for rail and commercial vehicle braking systems.
“By renewing production facilities and expanding innovative research and development capacity in our global growth markets, we are increasing our efficiency and strengthening our innovative capabilities. This will enable us to respond to the growing pressure of costs and supply our customers with extremely competitive systems,” said Dr Michael Buscher, chairman of the executive board, at the official announcement of this development.
The new centre at the Munich site will bring together under a single roof the testing and development functions of the two Group divisions – Rail Vehicle Systems and Commercial Vehicle Systems. On a floor space measuring some 17 000 square meters, there will be around 100 rigs for technical testing and quality assurance of components for braking systems and their sub-systems, providing modern workplaces for up to 350 highly specialized engineers and technicians.
Test preparation has an important role to play in the development of braking systems and there are various different types of test and testing systems involved. In addition to countless function test rigs and endurance test rigs for load testing of braking systems and their materials, the centre will also house four friction dynamometers, which are used to simulate emergency braking in order to test commercial vehicle brake discs‘ resistance to distortion and cracking under extreme conditions.
Although few of us will ever get to see the centre first-hand, we will, however, get to benefit from the results of what emanates from it via advanced braking systems for our trucks. As FleetWatch has stated in the past, being linked to international corporations such as this stands us in extremely good stead. Let us nurture and grow such connections.