The Problock J816M is made from composite materials which are designed to reduce braking noise by up to 10dB compared with more traditional cast iron brake blocks. The brake is designed to comply with EU noise pollution regulations and has been certified to International Union of Railways (UIC) standards.

Knorr-Bremse says delivery of the first order to an operator in a ‘German speaking country’ under a contract worth a ‘six figure sum’ began in May.

Since 2005, manufacturers must follow the EU Rail Interoperability Directive which requires brakes on all new freight wagons operated within European borders to comply with noise restrictions, with many countries imposing further restrictions. By the end of 2020, all freight wagons in Germany must comply with noise limits.

The company previously produced similar low-volume brake blocks designed for retrofitting to older freight wagons. However, this is their first for new wagons. According to Dr Nicolas Lange, chairman of the management board of Knorr-Bremse Rail Vehicle Systems, the new brakes will help secure the business’s position in the sector.

“We are pleased to say that with this volume-production brake block for new freight cars we are making a further contribution to much quieter braking in the rail freight sector,” he says. “This product represents a key strategic addition to our portfolio. On the one hand, it provides us with new opportunities to access market share in the OEM sector. And on the other, it cements our position as a system partner and one-stop shop for freight car brake equipment and maintenance.”