One of the products we find ourselves talking most with our customers about is Waukesha’s latest generation of Universal Series pump- the Universal 3. When you ask most people what distinguishes the U3, they’re quick to respond, “the front loading seal”. And while that is no doubt a great feature of the U3, it doesn’t give the pump all of the credit it’s due. The Universal 3 not only features a front loading seal, but incorporates 35+ years of customer feedback that result in the cleanest, most efficient, and highest value sanitary PD pump on the market today. In today’s post, we’ll highlight five our of favorite design enhancements that AREN’T a front loading seal and why they have the potential to deliver so much value to your high purity pumping application.
It’s Universal Pump- Four Seal Options & No Body Flush Ports
Over the years, I’ve heard several stories about where the Universal name for the Universal Series of pumps came from. Whether it was the universal gearbox mounting pattern or it’s ability to pump seemingly everything in the universe, to me what makes it the Universal pump is it’s ability on the U1 to accommodate a single o-ring, double o-ring, single mechanical, and double mechanical seal with a variety of different seal and elastomer materials.
This flexibility allows us to custom build your Universal pump for your application. Looking for something that’s low cost and easy to maintain? Go with a single o-ring seal. Trying to seal the un-sealable? Go with a double mechanical seal with flush. Looking for seal you that you can set and forget and clean in place? Go with any single mechanical seal on a U2.
The U3 carries on this modular design with it’s ability to be easily converted to either a single mechanical, double mechanical, single o-ring, or double o-ring design. And the unsung hero of this design is that the flush ports are now incorporated into a modular piece installed only when using a double o-ring or double mechanical seal. This means no more body flush ports! Why is this a big deal? Ever have a customer who was using a single mechanical seal and wanted to go to a double but didn’t have the flush ports drilled? I’ve had many. So the flush port adapters make the U3 the most universal Universal pump yet!
Stainless Steel Gear Case & Flat Body Profile Standard
I’ve noticed that people tend to associate main stay products with colors. Corvettes are red, money is green, and the Universal pump has always been blue. But have you seen one of those blue pumps after a year or so in a washdown environment? They don’t look great. The paint chips and the cast iron gearcase starts to rust. So the standardization of a stainless steel gearcase is a long overdue addition to the Universal pump line and we couldn’t be more excited about it! When you pull a U3 out of the box, it’s robust, all stainless construction immediately jumps out at you.
And that’s not the only new “standard” feature. The Waukesha U3 now ships with a standard flat body profile. This feature, originally debuted on the Waukesha Universal 2, eliminates the pumps hourglass figure, allowing for full drainability with the ports oriented in the vertical. This was an optional feature for the U2 and we’re glad to see it become standard on the U3.
No Shaft Grooves
This is another big benefit we don’t think gets enough attention. On the Universal 1 pump, there are two shaft grooves. The front groove is for the o-ring seal and the rear shaft groove is for a mechanical seal. On the Universal 2, there is a only a single o-ring groove, designed to help hold the rotating seal seat in place. There are a couple of issues with this design.
First, on the U1, we can’t tell you how many times we see pumps come in for repair with o-rings installed in BOTH shaft grooves. If there’s a groove, put an o-ring in it, right? Well not so fast. By putting in dual o-rings, we create the possibility for product to push past the sleeve and first shaft o-ring and get trapped by the second o-ring. As product accumulates, this can create major sanitation issues.
The second issue with the shaft grooves is it creates a weak spot on the shaft. The shaft o-ring groove is a great spot for product of CIP caustic to accumulate, which can result in crevice corrosion and weakening of the shaft. That’s why when we see shaft failure in exceptionally high pressure applications (that are almost always run outside of the manufacturers published parameters) the shafts snap cleanly at the o-ring groove.
To make matters worse, when this happens, the customer thinks, “OK, I just need a stronger shaft material to handle these ridiculous discharge pressures” and goes to a 17-4 shaft (standard in a U2 and optional in a U1). The issue with this is that while 17-4 is “stronger” than 316, it’s more susceptible to corrosion, potentially exacerbating the issue.
With the Universal 3, it’s innovative internal seal design eliminates the o-ring groove and features a 17-4 shaft material standard, yielding the strongest, most robust shaft of any sanitary PD pump on the market.
L Cover Gasket & Enhanced Cover Design
The Universal 3 also brings to market a totally new cover and cover o-ring design. Both the U1 and U2 use a traditional o-ring and groove on both the body and the pump cover, as well as having the recesses for the rotor hubs machined into the cover. The o-ring grove is very difficult to clean (sometimes requiring manual intervention) and the cover hub area is the hardest part of the pump to clean. To work around this, we’ll do things like CIP rotors, which enhance cleaning fluid flow to the hub area and we’ve even machined “slats” into rotors for products that tend to plate like chocolate (a phenomenon known as “pucking”).
The U3 features an L gasket with a groove on the body ONLY. The gasket then sandwiches into cover, which is a much more cleanable design. While the L gasket can be slightly harder to install, we’ve received overwhelming feedback from operators that cleans significantly better than the dual grooved U1 and U2 cover o-ring grooves.
And because the rotor on the U3 are inverted to accommodate the rotating seal, the U3 cover actually extends into the rotor, eliminating the possibility of product accumulation in the cover hubs.
No More Oversized Rotors!
About once a month, we get a call from a customer saying they just bought new rotors and their pump is still not operating with the expected efficiency. After some investigation, we learn that their pump has been remanufactured and they installed standard rotors instead of the slightly oversized rotors used in a remanufactured pump. While the remanufacturing program for the U1 and U2 is a great way to save money on a replacement pump, this rotor confusion can often create more trouble than it’s worth.
The Universal 3 is the first pump to come with SPXFlow’s new “Pump for Life” program. If and when your U3 wears out and can no longer be repaired, just call us at Triplex and we’ll send you a brand new pump at a discounted remanufactured price.
So there you have it. 5 great reasons other than a front loading seal showing how the U3 is the most robust, cleanable pump in the sanitary space today. Have any questions about the new Universal 3 or any of your high purity process equipment? If so, please contact a Triplex Sales Engineer today!