What Base is Best for my Waukesha Universal Series Pump?

If you’ve been following along on this blog, you should know by now that every Waukesha Pump- whether it’s a Universal 1, Universal 2, Universal 3, Universal Lobe, or Universal Twin Screw– needs 2 things; a drive and a base. While drives or motors are application specific, bases are much more standard. We see a variety of bases out in the field, including square tube, flat plate, channel, round tube, and angle. But which one is best? We’ll spend the rest of this post helping you figure out which one is best for you.

Flat Plate Base

Flat Plate

Let’s start by taking a look at the Waukesha standard base- a flat plate, stainless steel base with adjustable feet. Flat plate bases are typically made from 304 stainless steel and are as simple as they sound. A square, stainless plate, with thickness ranging from ½”-1” depending on pump size. Flat plate bases are quick and easy with adjustable feet allow for leveling on sloped floors. Best practices for flat plate bases include slotted mounting, polished finishes for cleanability, and having a plate long enough to cover the entire length of the assembly. Additional advantages to a flat plate base include solid construction with no hollow members- and increasingly popular specification among pet food manufacturers.

Disadvantages to plate bases include a large amount of surface area for water to accumulate, as well as challenges drilling out bases for larger pumps (it’s not easy to drill a hole through 1” solid stainless steel).

Channel Base

The channel base is a common variation of the plate base. Instead of using a plasma cut sheet of stainless, channel bases use pre-cut lengths of commercially available channel. Channel features rounded edges and can be ordered in long lengths and cut to length depending on the assembly it’s being used for. We see these more commonly in industrial applications where they are often carbon steel and painted.

While channel offers economy, we still have the same drainage issues we see with flat plate. Additionally, polished channel in applications where surface finish is important can be expensive and hard to come by.

Square Tube base w/ VFD Upright

Square Tube

A square tube base features either two or four hollow members with  flat plates welded between members for mounting the pump and motor. If you don’t have a waterjet or plasma cutter, square tube may be the most cost effective way to go. Square tube bases also offer flexibility for uprights to mount VFD’s or push handles and casters. And a tubular base’s open design eliminates a significant amount of surface area compared to plate or channel bases for water to pool and accumulate.

Drawbacks to square tube include hollow member construction and the high skilled labor needed to weld out and polish bases. Cost of square tube is also higher compared to flat plate or channel bases.

Round Tube Base w/ ISR

Round Tube

When we need to eliminate almost all chance of liquid pooling, we go to a round tube base. As the name suggests, round tube bases use hollow round tubes with flat plates for our base. The run tubes allow for water and spray to run right off the base to floor. Round tube bases are easy to polish and aesthetically pleasing.

So why don’t we use them as a standard? Round tube bases are the most expensive to fabricate, requiring coping and slotting of tubes to accommodate motor and pump mounting plates. Round tube bases also use hollow members which may not meet the requirements of certain facilities.


The last base type we’ll touch on is angle bases. This is the least common base type we see as polished stainless angle is hard to come by. It requires skilled welding and fabricating to build. Angle tube bases feature less surface area than flat plate or channel and have unlike square or round tube bases have no hollow members. Increasingly, we are seeing many food production facilities, specifically pet food facilities, require that all structural components, including pump bases, be made of angle.

So which base is best for you? It depends. For general purpose applications, we recommend a standard flat plate base. Industrial applications where we need something down and dirty for a big pump, that’s no issue for a painted carbon steel channel base. For higher end hygienic bases or applications where we know we’ll need to accommodate casters and a push hand or VFD upright, we’ll go with a square tube or round tube base. And for pet food applications where the facility requires maximum drain-ability with no hollow members, we may see an angle iron base. As always, if you have any questions about your Waukesha pump or which base is best for you, contact a Triplex Sales Engineer today!

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