RWTH Alumni Meeting at Knorr Bremse in Munich: Expanding the Network Together

19/05/2016
Group of people at Knorr Bremse Copyright: Stefanie Marek

The first get together this year for RWTH alumni in Munich and the greater area was held on May 9, 2016, at Knorr- Bremse. Stefanie Marekt from Marek&Jung welcomed the participants and greeted Dr. Ansgar Brockemeyer, the host of the meeting, on behalf of the RWTH alumni team with printen.

  Two men in front of a machine Copyright: Stefanie Marek Two enthusiastic railmen show the world of Knorr Bremse to the RWTH alumni: Dr. Ansgar Brockmeyer (left) and Dr. Jörg Johannes Wach

Dr. Brockmeyer directly admitted his love of railroads, which has pulled him him through his entire professional life. After his doctoral studies in 1997 at ISEA, the Institute for Personal Electronics and Electrical Drives, he worked at Siemens for many years, responsible for the development of the ICEs. Since 2013 he has been CEO of Knorr Bremse Rail Asia Pacific, whose offices are located in Hong Kong. During his short visit to Munich he took time to give the alumni a closer look at Knorr Bremse and brake technology. His enthusaism and skill contributed to his successful delivery.

He illustrated Knorr Bremse's corporate history with a short film and presentation. Today, Knorr Bremse AG is a globally operating family business with annual sales amounting to 5.2 billion Euros in 2015. The company includes the fields Knorr-Bremse Systems for Rail Vehicles and Commercial Trucks.

Its profits are sustainably invested – unlike at some publicly held companies, which give more consideration to short term shareholder return than to the long term development for the future. As a result, a highly modern research center will soon open in Munich, for example. The company's own Knorr-Bremse Global Care e.V. has also invested for many years in the development and implementation of education and infrastructure projects in third-world countries.

In a comparison between the rail networks of Europe and China Dr. Brockmeyer illustrated where the challenges lie when it comes to high-speed trains – meaning all trains with a speed of 190 kilomters per hour or more. Since the first railroads opened almost 200 years ago in England in 1825, various rail gauges and trackside signals have original in different countries throughout Europe. This has led to hardly any high-speed lines within Europe.

  Man explains something to visitors Copyright: Stefanie Marek Dr. Wach offers a look at the braking technology of highspeed trains – for example on the ICE here.

In China, where railroads and networks were only planned and implemented ten years ago, a five-hour highspeed train of 300 kilometers per hour for the 1318 kilometers between Shanghai and Beijing is already a reality.

Development of Braking Technology

Dr. Brockmeyer called upon his colleague, Dr. Jörg Johannes Wach, head of braking control at the Center of Competence, to help lead one of the two small groups through the exhibition in the Knorr Bremse Forum. Both tour guides provided an entertaining, hands on look at the development of braking technology from the hand crank to pneumatic brake to the eddy brake.

The braking technology from Knorr-Bremse reliably brings highspeed trains, even those at speeds of 300, to a halt – without the tables in the dining cars automatically being cleared.

The RWTH alumni used the opportunity to ask Dr. Brockmeyer and Dr. Koch many questions about the limits of possible speeds on the rails to digitalization.

Not only the official portion of the alumni meeting opened new horizons. During the get together following the tour, participants had many opportunities to get to know each other and talk about Aachen, Munich, and the world.

If railmen around the world feel like a family, the same may apply to RWTH's alumni in Munich. Participants enjoyed talking and remembering places that connected them, such as the Pontstraße, the "Türme," and the Aachen cathedral. Diverse ideas for the next meeting have already been forged. The rail network shouldn't be the only thing expanded.