Our track record…
speaks for itself – both figuratively as well as literally, as “tracks” represent an important part of our business. Tracks and wheel grooves to guide trams, carts, and other transportation on city streets, have been around since before recorded history. The developments leading to our modern railways, however, had their start in the mining industry, which began using wooden tracks around 1530 for corfs and wagons in the mines. By the end of the eighteenth century, the English mining community had developed the system of flanged wheel guides.
Locomotives appeared at the beginning of the nineteenth century and were the result of combining the centuries-old wheel-rail interface with machine-driven propulsion. The weight of the construction initially led to iron-capped wooden rails, and later to the use of cast iron rails mounted on wooden railroad ties. In fact, German derives its word for a locomotive, Eisenbahn (literally: iron-path/track), from this construction.
The more general term “track” first of all denotes the path on which the vehicle travels; the German term Eisenbahn is thus a specification of just what type of path is being taken. It was only later that the term Eisenbahn came to be used for the entire mode of transportation. Here, English, with its Latin-based term locomotive (locus, place + motivus motivation à move) is rather the exception in modern (European) languages – other languages follow the Geman concept of referring to the path followed: ferrocarril: iron lane (Spanish); chemin de fer: path of iron (French); spoorweg: track way (Dutch); Schelesnaja doroga: iron way/path (Russian); vasút: iron path (Hungarian); demiryolu: iron way (Turkish).
Whatever they may call it, all those involved in this field have one experience in common: the legendarily extensive quality control and documentation procedures for all parts produced for use in rail systems. This is, of course – and certainly since the ICE crash at Eschede – completely understandable. However, it does present its own particular set of challenges, which we have been successfully meeting and conquering for some time now. Since the end of the previous millennium, Brechmann-Guss has been a recognized supplier for Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) and, via various Tier-1 suppliers, has provided parts for rail technology systems all over the world.
The requirements imposed by national and international standards span an impressively wide range; the requirements for the materials used in this field span a range that is similarly broad. We tend to believe that they are best served with high-quality SG cast iron (with spheroidal graphite) and, more recently, ADI. Operational and component reliability under dynamic loading is always closely tied to high tensile strength and the highest stress capability possible; this precludes the possibility of using grey cast iron. High-temperature applications requiring SiMo or Ni–Resist are relevant for every train engine with a combustion motor; however, such components typically do not make their way directly to the rail companies, but rather to large-motor manufacturers, who then deliver the completed motors to the rail industry. Most commonly, we supply structural parts such as brake housings, ventilated brake discs, axle brackets, brake shoes/pads, and (partially mounted) brake shoe brackets, among (many) other things.
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