Following the announcement of the honour in April of this year, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, yesterday officially presented Knorr-Bremse with the Queen’s Award for enterprise in the innovation category for the company’s development of the EP2002 Distributed Brake Control system for trains.

The official ceremony took place at the Knorr-Bremse site in Melksham, UK, where EP2002 is developed and manufactured. Following an introduction by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, the Duchess presented the Queen’s Award bowl and commemorative scroll to Paul Johnson, the chairman of Knorr-Bremse Rail Systems (UK) (KBRS). During the course of her visit the Duchess also toured the Knorr-Bremse plant in Melksham and used the opportunity to chat with members of the workforce. KBRS is a Knorr-Bremse Centre of Competence for metro brake control and is responsible for the design and development of metro braking control technology such as EP2002. In addition the Melksham site also houses the company’s specialist platform screen systems division Westinghouse platform screen doors.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the UK and are announced annually on the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday on April 21. The award recognises EP2002 as an important new development in the field of brake control systems for metro trains and multiple units.

Instead of distributing an equal braking force from a central control unit along the entire train, as in conventional systems, EP2002 for the first time offers optimum braking for these categories of train by applying the precise degree of braking force required by each individual bogie.

The modular, distributed system combines electronic and mechanical components into a single mechatronic unit. This so-called “smart valve” is mounted on each individual bogie in a cube weighing some 20kg that includes all the necessary functions for load-compensated emergency and service braking, wheel slide protection and comprehensive self-testing. The pneumatic suspension and parking brake are also monitored by the Smart valve. A data bus links the system throughout the entire train, enabling braking to be adjusted to the particular situation, taking into account a wide range of variables such as passenger weight distribution. This increases brake system reliability and reduces lifecycle costs.

Instead of Smart valves, two bogies in each train are fitted with redundant Gateway valve modules that have additional analogue and digital inputs and outputs and a data bus link to the overall vehicle control system. The Gateway modules contain the intelligent control function for the system – customised for the specific requirements of each local application – and monitor the entire train braking system in real time.