Innovation leadership through raw material research: Knorr-Bremse and John von Neumann University complete joint R&D project

A consortium formed by Knorr-Bremse, the global market leader for braking and other rail and commercial vehicle systems, and John von Neumann University in Kecskemét, Hungary, has successfully completed a joint 27-month re-search project. The focus of the project was on alternative raw materials – particularly polymer and rubber materials – and technologies for use in the commercial vehicle industry. The research findings will feed into Knorr-Bremse's research and develop-ment strategy and activities in the long term.

“The consortium members have clearly demonstrated just how important fundamental re-search on raw materials is, and their achievements directly contribute to our strategic R&D approach,” comments Andreas Wimmer, Vice President Systems & Vehicle Technologies at Knorr-Bremse Commercial Vehicle Systems. “The project’s key components play an essen-tial role in diverse applications at Knorr-Bremse, helping to secure our product portfolio and our technology leadership – today, and even more so in the future.”

The consortium members received a non-repayable EU grant of HUF 350 million (approx. EUR 1.1 million) in 2017 to deepen and expand their cooperation in R&D, researching into alternative product development procedures and raw materials which could help to develop new prototype systems. The project included the development of prototypes of a modular electronic air treatment unit for commercial vehicles and a new trailer brake control valve. In the process, in addition to Knorr-Bremse’s functional innovations, a number of nano-compo-site raw material recipes and testing procedures were developed in cooperation with John von Neumann University and tested at the Knorr-Bremse R&D Center in Kecskemét.

Polymer and rubber raw materials play a major role in Knorr-Bremse’s research and devel-opment activities. Various parameters of their mechanical properties were also enhanced during the R&D project with the help of nano-scale material components. In addition, it also proved possible to improve existing test procedures for use with polymers, generating faster and more efficient methods that reduce the duration of the tests.

The 27-month project GINOP-2.2.1-15-2017-00077 “Use of newly developed raw materials and nano-composites in the design of pneumatic brake and auxiliary systems”, was con-cluded on October 31, 2019. Knorr-Bremse has been active in research and development in Budapest and Kecskemét since 1995 and was the first multinational company to open a re-search and development center in Hungary. The implementation of this research and devel-opment project further consolidated the existing R&D&I cooperation, resulting in effective and efficient cooperation and knowledge transfer between the consortium partners.