Workshop to produce one lakh brake blocks for Railways

he Central Railway Workshop here will manufacture one lakh composite brake blocks (CBB) in the current financial year to partially meet the requirements of the Indian Railways.

It is the only facility under the Railways or any public sector unit which is into mass production of the asbestos-free CBB as the bulk of its requirements are outsourced and procured from private players in the market.

The CBB units are an essential component in the braking system installed in coaches with 16 units installed per coach. They last approximately four to six months depending on the usage and the running time of the coach.

The demand for CBB is high and reckoned to be perennial given the fact that the Indian Railways operate nearly 12,000 passenger trains operated daily with an average of 14 to 18 coaches in each rake while the long distance trains have rakes with up to 24 coaches. In addition, the Indian Railways have about 4,00,000 freight wagons in its fleet.

U. Subba Rao, Chief Workshops Manager, told The Hindu that the workshop had a full-fledged facility for mass production of CBB and could ramp up production if required. “We used to produce about 60,000 CBBs to 75,000 CBBs till two years ago but the production capacity has been augmented to meet requirements,” he said.

The production is expected to stabilise at around 1 lakh CBB units now and the workshop produced nearly similar number of them in the last financial year, he added.

Though the bulk of the CBB is outsourced from private players, the presence of Mysore workshop in the market is an effort to prevent private entities from forming a cartel and dictating the price.

“Our presence and sizeable production helps keep the cost in check and if required we can also ramp up our production to meet the competition,” Mr. Rao said.

The workshop has a hydraulic press to meet the specific requirements of the CBB for railways and a pulverizer, sieving machine, gas burners, drying oven and composite power mixing plant was installed to facilitate mass production of CBBs.

The use of CBB in the rolling stock was introduced in the late 1990s in place of cast iron brake blocks as the CBB was reckoned to be environment-friendly, more durable and reliable with less noise pollution.

Even the breaking temperature of CBB was found to be low and it was considered to be less damaging to the wheels.

The Mysore workshop entered into the production of CBBs during 2002-03 after acquiring the technical know-how which was developed in-house.

Regular production of CBB for locos, coaches and freight wagons commenced during 2003-04 and even the Research Design and Standard Organisation, Lucknow, has authenticated that the product met all its specifications.

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