Modern armoured vehicles are increasingly faced with more conventional and unconventional threats in theatre. How can a brake manufacturer support vehicle manufacturers so that their new vehicle platforms meet the expectations of the operating and maintenance crews?
To escape threats and bypass dangerous areas, those vehicles need excellent mobility, not only on roads, but also under harsh off-road conditions. This means the installed propulsion power unit has to be safely controlled under all circumstances: steep hills; deep water trenches; hot sand dunes; ice and snow; and deep mud. For this, the vehicles need reliable service and parking brake systems to control speed, slow down effectively and hold safely when stopped.
Specifications for military vehicle brakes are very different from those civilian vehicle brakes, in the aspects of lifetime, robustness and maintenance. To meet these requirements, Knott uses specific techniques on its military brakes, like enhanced sealing systems for water fording and amphibious operations; piston retraction systems to reduce lining wear in mud and dirt; further automatic adjustment systems; and wear indicators to minimise the in-service maintenance requirements. These specific design features already increase the interval between maintenance downtime. The maintenance crews are therefore less involved in simple checking tasks.
In the event that a breakdown occurs after a certain operation time in theatre, or specific wear items require exchange, Knott brakes are designed so that maintenance crews can complete routine maintenance work with minimal effort and time. To assist these actions, Knott provides detailed repair instructions, bespoke spare part kits and even specific maintenance tools, customised for each brake version. For typical four-piston hydraulic fixed-caliper disc brakes, frequently used on most of the current 8×8 wheeled IFVs, the company offers dedicated brake pad, seal and accessory kits ready for installation.
Furthermore, Knott provides special tools; for example, to extract the pistons without damaging the piston and cylinder bore surfaces. This is especially important in caliper versions with an active piston retraction system, as here the piston exchange requires a certain amount of force. On the other hand, there are also tools available for the precise inserting of new pistons and seals into the piston chambers. The Knott Service Department also offers in-house or on-site training for effective maintenance and repair processes for the vehicle manufacturer or even the end users.
If the breakdown is of a more serious nature, Knott recommends the exchange of the complete brake unit. The used brake units are removed, then collected by the logistic units and returned for complete refurbishment at the Knott Service Department. Here, the brake units are completely dismantled and cleaned, all parts are checked for damages and wear, and, if necessary, replaced by new parts from current production. Afterwards, the units are reassembled and tested according to Knott's serial assembly processes. The customer is then returned a fully refurbished brake, produced under the same quality standards as a new OEM product and with the same warranty standards as new products.
As combat vehicles have life expectations of two or three decades, some even more, Knott actively cooperates with customers in developing and offering upgrade kits and brake versions to ensure that older vehicles can also share the benefits of the latest brake technology developments. Here, the customer profits from 80 years of experience in design and production at Knott, and more than 60 years of experience in development and manufacture of off-highway brakes and braking systems.
Prior to new upgrade versions being introduced, they are excessively tested by in-house dyno-tests stands, lifetime endurance test rigs and climatic test chambers. Afterwards, prototype brakes are vehicle tested under the severest conditions at well-known military proving grounds under observation of Knott development engineers. Choosing Knott military brakes is a decision for many long years of continuous and successful cooperation to have the best in braking technology.