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Rail News Home Mechanical

June 2021

Rail News: Mechanical

Technology update: Wheels and brakes 2021

New York Air Brake’s DB-60 II control valve features Brake Cylinder Maintaining™.
Photo – New York Air Brake


Compiled by Pat Foran, Editor

What's new in terms of wheel and brake technology? This month, suppliers share information on control valves, ‘green’ friction braking, truck-mounted brake systems, traction motor gear case seals and wheelsets.

New York Air Brake

New York Air Brake’s (NYAB) DB-60 II control valve is designed to detect changes in brake pipe pressure and rearrange the connections inside a valve to do one of the following:

• Release the brakes and recharge compressed air reservoirs on the car.

• Apply the brakes by allowing air to flow to the brake cylinder.

• Hold the air pressures in the brake cylinder at the current level.

The Brake Cylinder MaintainingTM feature continually compensates for changes in brake cylinder leakage — made worse by cold temperatures — so engineers can “confidently apply the brakes even on long downgrades and in frigid weather,” NYAB officials said. Benefits include lower in-train forces, more uniform brake shoe wear and longer lasting draft gear.

The company also offers the CCB II computer-controlled brake, a microcomputer network-based system designed to provide faster response for full automatic and independent brake control on freight and passenger locomotives. CCB II features advanced self-diagnostics — seven processors continuously monitor system pressures, signals and each other to help ensure a safe and reliable system.


Transit authorities are seeking ways to improve air quality throughout their network and especially in tunnels, and friction braking contributes to micro particles generation. Last year, Wabtec launched “Shift to Green Friction,” a solution designed to optimize the friction pairing between the friction material and the disc or wheel. The combination reduces particle emissions from friction braking on metro or suburban trains by up to 90%, Wabtec officials said. 

Last year, Wabtec and Paris metro operator RATP entered a partnership to test the green friction braking solution. The study assesses the materials currently used on the trains, and evaluates the performance and particle emissions of the “most suitable Green Friction material,” Wabtec officials said. Based on the results, RATP has launched operational green friction testing on suburban-type trains.

Progress Rail

“We are a strategic supplier for multiple Class Is, supplying their wheelset needs,” Progress Rail officials said.
Progress Rail

Progress Rail is the largest supplier of reconditioned freight car wheelsets, axles and journal bearings in North America, company officials said. The company offers strategically located facilities that operate with certified Quality Management Systems in accordance with AAR Quality Specification M1003 and ISO 9001- 2000.

“We are a strategic supplier for multiple  Class Is, supplying their wheelset needs,” Progress Rail officials said. “We understand the critical importance of having the right wheels, at the right place, at the right time, and with our network of warehouses and repair shops, we have the parts to keep [a] fleet rolling.”

Miller Ingenuity

Miller Ingenuity designs, manufactures and distributes traction motor gear case seals for EMD and GE locomotives.
Miller Ingenuity

Miller Ingenuity is the original patent holder, designer, manufacturer and distributor of traction motor gear case seals for EMD and GE locomotives. 

The seal is free of thermoplastics that can contribute to seal distortion when under stress inside of a gear case, company officials said. Instead, the seal is made from thermosets that undergo crosslinking during the manufacturing process — much like a rubber tire — which results in the formation of a three-dimensional network that resists deformation under conditions of extended heat or stress. 

“This solid foundation creates a leak-free environment that maximizes a locomotive’s productivity,” Miller Ingenuity officials said.

Amsted Rail

The IBEX™ Truck Mounted Brake System is engineered for greater safety, efficiency and seamless performance in heavy-haul applications.
Amsted Rail

Amsted Rail, which manufactures brake systems for the heavy haul-market, offers “the broadest array of advanced braking equipment, with each component designed to meet the exacting tolerances demanded by the rigors of freight rail,” company officials said. 

The company’s IBEXTM Truck Mounted Brake System is engineered for greater safety, efficiency and seamless performance in heavy-haul applications. The IBEX averages 802 pounds less than other body-mounted brake systems and 220 pounds less than other truck-mounted brake systems, meaning more payload capacity.

Maximum shoe-to-wheel alignment and weight balance provides improved wheel wear balance that extends the life of the wheel, while uniform shoe force balance allows for even braking and maximum shoe life, company officials said. 

The versatile modular design features a weld-free bolted construction with replaceable brake heads for a longer life cycle. A beam-mounted slack adjuster with connecting rods for more clearance, and a fast and easy beam position adjustment makes for an ideal rail-car fit and function.

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